CAREER ADVANCEMENT / NOV. 26, 2014
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Tips for Consultative Selling

Consultative selling is a sales model where you act as a consultant rather than a traditional salesman. It involves helping people identify their needs, and then proposing solutions or products that can satisfy those needs. This model can be very effective when selling an idea to your boss, customers, investors or your team. However, it requires a high level of credibility and trust.

Here are some guidelines for successful consultative selling:

Preparation

Whether you are selling a product, service, project or an idea, it is important to prepare thoroughly before approaching people. Here are some tips for preparation:

  • Identify your target audience – Decide beforehand who you are going to speak to. Will it be a team member, your boss or an important client?
  • Define key drivers – Once you have identified your audience, find out what drives them. For example, if the goal of your team is to increase sales by 20 percent, how will your idea help in achieving that goal?
  • Learn the lingo – Find out what language would be appropriate for your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting financial experts, use data and numbers to convey your message.
  • Decide what you are selling – Is it a new product idea? Or is it a service which will enhance the profitability of your organization? Identify it and make sure you have a thorough understanding about it
  • Understand the benefits – To sell effectively, you need to understand the difference between benefits and features. Features refer to what your idea or product can do, while benefits are how those features will impact your customers. When doing your preparation, take time to think of how your product or idea can benefit your audience
  • Create a Unique Selling Proposition – Think about what makes your project, idea or product stand out from the competition    

During the pitch

The following are some tips which will come in handy during your pitch:

  • Make it a conversation – To pitch effectively, your presentation should be done in a conversational style. Encourage your audience to participate as you discuss the benefits of the idea or product. Keep them engaged by asking questions
  • Focus on helping – Consultative selling focuses on meeting the needs of you audience rather than making a sale. Therefore, your motivation should be to help others
  • Observe body language – During your pitch, watch your audience’s body language. If people start fidgeting, then you need to change your approach or finish your presentation

Closing the sale

If your audience doesn’t make a decision immediately, you need to do a follow-up. When the pitch is over, you could set a specific date for the next meeting. This will give you a chance to improve your pitch based on the feedback received. However, if you realize that your idea or product is not really suitable for your audience, it would be advisable to withdraw gracefully.

To sum up, the first step to successful selling is thorough preparation. Take time to understand the benefits of your idea or product. Make the pitch conversational and keep your audience engaged. Finally, don’t forget to follow up.

Image source: isrisk

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