Written by Sean McPheat |
I think by now, we all acknowledge that consultative selling is the way to go.
Most salespeople we see on our sales training courses like to consider themselves as consultants rather than salespeople.
They tend to think that salespeople get tarred with the same brush and like to think they can rise above this label and be viewed as a consultant because it sounds better to prospects and looks better on their business card.
But when we ask them what makes the difference between the two, many of the answers are pretty vague and sometimes downright incorrect.
It’s possible that many salespeople just like the sound of being a consultant, but lack the business acumen to actively apply it.
Just because a prospect may ‘consult’ with you doesn’t automatically turn you into a consultant.
Here’s my take on what consultants do, as opposed to salespeople:
1. Consultants do their research on their products, their competitors’ products, their industry and their prospects before thinking about approaching any prospects
2. Consultants have a clear and precise level of business acumen that sets them apart from other salespeople
3. Consultants are viewed as business advisors by prospects and customers, rather than someone trying to sell something
4. Consultants recognise the soft skills that are required to achieve rapport and long-term relationships with prospects
5. Consultants are aware of the psychological aspects of business relationships that helps them understand the specific nature of the buyer’s business decision-making processes
6. Consultants know more about the businesses they are approaching than their competitors do
7. Consultants create opportunities for the buyer’s business that they didn’t know existed before the consultant worked with them
8. Consultants become experts in their field and are actively sought by industry and business colleagues
Many salespeople do some or even most of these, or so they tell us. But if you were to genuinely assess your agenda, strategies and tasks, you’ll find that the majority of these elements are done to a less a degree than is necessary for you to be considered as a ‘consultant’ to most companies.
That doesn’t mean that you aren’t playing a valuable role with you current and future clients.
It just means that there is always potential for you to achieve more and closer relationships with clients who require you to take on this consultative role.
Originally published: 10 August, 2015