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. 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.
When salespeople use a consultative sales process, the buyer journey is neutralized.
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.
PS: Please check out the Membrain Baseline Selling Edition that comes with my process and methodology pre-configured, including sales enablement resources and training videos. It's key to start helping your salespeople to consistently to a good job on every opportunity and start selling more consultatively.
Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best selling author, successful entrepreneur and sales development industry pioneer. The founder and CEO of the Objective Management Group, Inc., the leading developer of sales assessment tools, headquartered in Westboro, Massachusetts. He is also the CEO of Kurlan & Associates, Inc., a leading sales force development firm. He has 3 decades of experience in all facets of sales development, including consulting, training, coaching, selection, strategy, systems, processes, and metrics.