The best sales consultants make sales to be a consultative process. A sales process becomes consultative when the stages and actions align with customer’s buying experience and are defined in terms of customer experience. A consultative sales framework has process components and human components. Typically, a consultative sales process follows a couple of steps. Each step maps out winning behaviors and strategies. The sales process stages act as a guide to salespeople to help them in qualifying, closing, expanding businesses as well as building relationships.
Each of the steps should define objectives, best practices, tools and models to be applied as we defining customer insights in readiness to advance to the next step. Additionally, there should be a list of sales coaching questions to each of the stages. Questions such as what the business is trying to solve for the customer should be common. All these stages must be properly aligned with the buyer journey. These are the processes buyer go through in efforts to become aware of a product, evaluate it and eventually make a purchase.
The typical processes include the following;
Targeting and Qualification
With this process, the customer becomes aware of a business problem. Alternatively, the sales person creates an opportunity by introducing an idea or challenge that is not yet in customer’s agenda, or raises the viability of an issues the customer has underestimated. At this stage, it is the work of the salesperson to identify a problem or a potential problem the company or industry is facing and tease a solution.
Explore and Assess
At this second stage, customers assess how much of a priority the issue is and then work to determine options. They then develop decision criteria and decision process. A salesperson can be of help to their prospects by sending them how to blog posts and other materials that offers a consultative call. During this stage, the salesperson would send case studies on how they have helped similar businesses overcome a certain problem. Additionally, they might also share relevant research that would be useful to the customer.
Access and develop solution
Customer research, compare solutions and work on narrowing down choices to refine their decision criteria. It is the work of the sales person to differentiate, put a lot of focus on the business outcome and prove value. They must elaborate how their solutions differ from that of competitors. That should be very clear for all prospects. Many competitors offer similar or related solutions and that makes it very hard to have a competitive advantage. You must get your research right on key differentiations your product or service will offer to your customers and what clearly defines your competitive advantage.
You then work on presenting solutions and follow ups. Knowledgeable customers will always make their selections and do negotiations. Skilled salespersons will always have an already involved procurement prior to this stage. You need to be fully aware of the steps to be taken by your organizations to address all customer issues.