Most of the CEOs and sales leaders I speak with agree that their sales organizations need to be more effective at taking a consultative approach to selling. At the same time, they insist that they talk about it often and that their salespeople are doing OK with a consultative approach. OMG's Sales Force Evaluation usually reveals that they aren't doing much more than talking about it, as their scores for the Consultative Seller competency are quite low.
How can you determine if you or your team are being effective at using a consultative approach? I created this list of outcomes that would be true if your consultative approach was working effectively. You and/or your salespeople are :
- Having much better, very different conversations
- Experiencing prospects who are much more engaged
- Witnessing your prospects becoming emotional
- Watching prospects take shortcuts to give you their business
- Being thanked for your help by your prospects
- Realizing that price is no longer an issue
- Finding it easier to get and keep the decision maker engaged throughout the sales process
- Seeing your sales cycle becoming shorter
- Getting excited over higher win rates
- Finding your competition becoming irrelevant
- Bonus - Closing occurs naturally.
Speaking of closing, Graham Hawkins shared a post on LinkedIn which listed all of the known closing techniques. He noted that his close rate is through the roof and he doesn't need to use any of those closes any longer because when you are selling consultatively, the sales close themselves.
He is completely correct because the top 5% of all salespeople in the world have mediocre scores for closing (55%) and very strong scores for consultative selling (77%). Looking at this data another way, only 24% of the top 5% are strong closers but 60% are strong at selling consultatively.
If you're truly selling consultatively, you won't have a problem with the buyer journey either. Whether you call it the buyer journey or the buyer-seller journey, there are things you need to consider.
The buyer journey is a slippery slope. The journey is completely separate from the sales process, When salespeople align with the journey, they become facilitators, and when they facilitate, they are the same as everyone else and become commoditized. When salespeople use a consultative sales process, the buyer journey is completely neutralized.
Image copyright iStock Photos