Creativity at Work
You may think your sales strategy is flawless, but even seasoned professionals need an occasional boost. This is where consultative selling can help. Consultative selling involves a creative approach designed around the client's needs. To do it right, the salesperson must develop a relationship with the potential client before trying to make a sale.
We spoke to Paul Kiewiet, executive director of the Michigan Promotional Products Association (MPPA), Grand Rapids, Mich., and Ryan Sauers, president and owner of Sauers Consulting Strategies, Stone Mountain, Ga. Kiewiet and Sauers have decades of experience successfully using this method, and offered advice on how to get started.
Check out five of their best tips here.
1. RETRAIN YOURSELF
It may not be new, but consultative selling is a preferred approach for many, since it will make you stand out in a crowded field of sales-people with the same sales pitch. You are not just trying to sell 200 pens or 500 tumblers. You're digging for a more comprehensive solution by learning what keeps clients up at night. This approach may require more work before landing a sale, but the sale will make the extra effort worth it. "When you're approaching clients and problems from a consultative basis, you're really expressing your desire to solve their problem, and that's a completely different dynamic than 'what can I sell them?'" Kiewiet said. "Instead of 'what can I sell them?', I think your whole mindset is 'what problem can I solve for them?'"
It is also important to change how the client views you. Instead of working across the table from them, sit next to them. This creates an atmosphere in which you are working together, Sauers explained. "A consultative selling approach is coming beside somebody and saying, 'How can we truly help you in a way that you see us as part of an extension of your team?'-not as some person to beat up on because you can get another $5 out of a quote," he said.