Is Consultative Selling The Right Fit For You?
If your product represents a simple choice for a single use, a consultative sales approach is not a good fit. The more complex the available choices become, the better Consultative Selling will serve you and your customer. Consultative Selling helps the buyer choose the right option, or the right combination of options, to satisfy their purchase objectives.
The consultative salesperson asks penetrating questions to determine the buyer's purchase objectives, then uses his or her familiarity with the variety of available choices to recommend selections so the buyer can make a satisfactory purchase decision in a reasonable amount of time. The seller's comprehensive understanding of the available choices and their workable combinations can be invaluable to the prospective purchaser.
The nature of your buyer is an important factor to consider when determining whether Consultative Selling is the right approach for you. Specifically, consider your buyer's frequency of purchase. The less frequently they purchase the types of products/services you sell, the more appropriate it is to use a consultative sales approach.
Consumers may wait years or even decades between purchases of homes, insurance policies or automobiles. Company acquisitions of furniture or computer network upgrades may also span long gaps of time. Consultative Selling is often the appropriate approach to take with these buyers.
Conversely, a consultative sales approach does not typically fit selling situations for products or services that are purchased frequently. Examples include necessities and entertainment options such as groceries, movie tickets or tickets to sporting events.
Frequent buyers are experienced buyers who make it a point to keep their finger on the pulse of the market. They don't have any substantial gaps in knowledge that would require bringing in an expert - a consultant - to assist them with the purchase.
On the other hand, infrequent buyers tend to have knowledge gaps, and they know it. They are more likely to appreciate the salesperson that helps them understand what they don't know and shows them how to make a good selection in the current market environment. So, focus on using Consultative Selling with infrequent buyers and be the expert that fills their knowledge gap!
Each purchase a buyer makes carries a potential cost of failure. Cost of failure has three measurable components: Money, Time and Success.
Consultative Selling is more applicable when the cost of failure for all three of these components is high. For example, after spending a lot of money and investing six months of time for implementation, failure of a project to succeed in delivering the desired results may end up costing a prospect their job. While your prospect may never verbalize these concerns, you can bet they're on their mind.
Consultative Selling actively works to reduce the risks associated with potential loss of Money, loss of Time and loss of Success. When your buyer is facing a high cost of failure, Consultative Selling is usually the right sales approach for you to adopt!