Consultive Selling: Becoming a Trusted Advisor Instead of a Salesperson
In a previous business in the home service industry, this was standard practice when a prospect contacted us. We would take a look at what they wanted, and provide a price for all of the services we offered should they need them down the road. We provided our professional opinion as to what would be best for them based on their needs; what we called “professional recommenders”. There was no pushy salesmanship, we wanted to fulfill their needs and leave them a satisfied customer - so they would use us again and maybe even tell their friends about us. We never recommended anything they didn’t need. Because of this, we were trusted and rewarded.
The take away: Instead of pushing your stuff onto clients, take the time to listen to their needs and provide your professional opinion as to the best route for them. This will lead to satisfied customers. Sometimes the best fit for them may be with another company, and this is ok because it saves you a headache down the road.
Listen to Their Needs
The biggest mistake a sales person can make is to ramble on and on about endless features without gaining a true understanding of what the potential customer needs and wants. When you understand what the customer is truly seeking, you can tailor the message to specifically address questions they have. By the time a prospect is speaking with a sales person, the prospect has already interacted with you company at some level and most likely knows most of the features you provide. What they do have is questions. And that is the true purpose of a sales person - to answer any questions that the prospect still has, and to make sure they are a good fit for the company.
Provide Your Professional Opinion
Once you understand their needs and situation, you can provide your professional opinion as to the best solution for their problem. This is where you become a professional recommender. You may recommend certain products or services the company provides, or if it doesn’t sound like a fit - the name of another company that would be able to best serve their needs. Not everyone is your ideal client, and it is important to remember this.