In today’s market sales professionals can no longer rely on sharp presentation skills and closing techniques. The customer is much more knowledgeable about products and has access to many other buying options thanks to the internet. Consultative selling skills focus on understanding the client’s needs and offering expert value solutions after listening and building a partnership of trust. Whilst many of the techniques of traditional selling are used, the fundamental difference is the sales person must become a consultant, problem solve through common understanding and be willing to offer the best solution even if they don’t close the sale immediately. Over time consultative selling gains customer loyalty by demonstrating integrity ensuring competitive advantage through sustainable business development.
Bill Levell, Director of Courses at Institute of Sales & Marketing
, Dubai, believes that the process of consultation and establishing a rapport where the relationship with the client is an advisory one is essential to modern business. The aims are to establish a procedure and standards for client qualification which provides a better idea of the client’s expectations, values and beliefs. Establishing shared visions and understanding the complexity of stakeholder interest within organisations during the pre-qualification process enables effective business consultation. Developing a practical knowledge of NLP (neuro-linguistic-programming) will also enhance the ability to gain support, commitment and buy-in from the stakeholders to build successful relationships.
Once the position of trusted advisor has been established it will be easier to drive projects through to agreement and completion. Since the consultant has invested in relationship building they gain broad insight into the clients business environment, critical drivers, priorities and future business initiatives and will be in a valued position to advise on these.
A consultative value driven approach with strong customer relationships may also prove to be differential during economic downturns and prove to be mutually beneficial with increased business referrals.
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