At the risk of stating the obvious, it might be essential to start with the fact that buyers want to be understood in today’s marketplace. Historically, this was not always so. At some point in time, buyers were content with basics like quality service and fair pricing.
These days, modern buyers have higher expectations for things like:
A deliberate approach to meeting these expectations is a significant differentiating factor for many in sales. As a result, buyers are more likely to go with sellers who make an effort. According to this Salesforce Report, 66% of 15,600 business buyers surveyed expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. In addition, about 85% stated that they are more likely to buy from sales reps who do so.
Regrettably, until technology allows us to read minds, developing a critical understanding of the customer is not so straightforward. So positioning is important. Salespersons must be capable of selling not only their product or service but also of selling themselves as strategic advisors capable of helping solve customers’ business problems.
This requires considerable investment in developing personal ties and dialogue with customers — just enough to gauge their backgrounds, lifestyles, and preferences and use those insights to offer solutions for specific needs.
The entire sales pipeline utilizing these principles is known as the Consultative Sales Approach.
As you may have surmised by now, the consultative sales approach is, by design, a customer-centric sales methodology rooted in problem-finding, education, and problem-solving. Rather than taking a transactional approach that merely emphasizes pre-rehearsed pitches, consultative sales involves garnering up-to-date insights on your customer’s pain points.
In this manner, the customer’s needs take precedence over the sale. Ironically, this method is proven to improve your deal-closing rates substantially more than if you prioritized the deal over the buyer’s needs.
A consultative sales approach begins with:
Usually, the fact that you have done most of the work for your prospect, making it easy for them to navigate the sales process, positions you more compellingly and effectively. That eventually can translate into:
Here is a closer look at the primary advantages that can come with a consultative sales approach.
Because you utilize empathy and insights to understand a customer’s business challenges and identify the solutions that best meet their needs, you entrench a kind of loyalty that builds a good foundation for repeat business and ultimately increases your ACV, conversion, or retention rates.
The ups and downs of the modern marketplace demand agility. To survive, businesses are paying more attention to business flexibility and adaptability, and all the success stories in sales are usually aligned to making agility part of their approach to selling.
Consultative selling is one approach that utilizes flexibility to significant effect. By design, the consultative approach seeks the most up-to-date reading of the customer’s needs. As these needs change more frequently, the sales professional is also able to keep pace and make better decisions. This, in turn, forms the foundations that drive sales for themselves and ensure customer satisfaction.
You are not wasting your customer’s time asking them questions about their company; you can find out with a quick Google search. Instead, you are using your research to frame their problems in a way they had not yet thought about or found an answer to. This then helps you help them answer the question together.
Customers are more knowledgeable than ever, and it is highly likely that your customer already knows about your product, your competitors, and your pros and cons. Taking a consultative selling approach allows you to help them consider an issue they perhaps had not yet considered.
This has the very beneficial effect of transforming you from a supplier/vendor into a solution-based strategic partner and increasing your value in your customer’s eyes.
In a world where it is effortless for competitors to quickly duplicate even the most unique product features, taking a consultative approach to sales makes it possible for a seller to create a differentiated offering by creating individualized customer value competitors cannot quickly provide.
At Cowen Partners, our sales executive recruiters are exceptionally skilled at delivering in-demand candidates, no matter the need and across all industries. Backed by a proven executive recruiting process, we have been the partner of choice for startups, corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and more, meeting unique and critical recruitment needs across the entire C-suite, including CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, CHROs, VPs of sales, other VPs, directors, and several other leadership roles.
With our executive recruiters, you get senior partner-led searches, due diligence-run networking, meticulous candidate vetting, and so much more, all geared towards one goal — placing the very best talent as soon as possible, all while ensuring a seamless fit with your company culture, your big-picture objectives, and other factors. Plus, we have one of the highest candidate retention rates in the industry while consistently delivering world-class talent faster than the competition.
That’s how Cowen Partners has become a leading executive search firm nationwide, and it’s why our executive recruiters have a reputation for excellence and success.
We also invite you to continue exploring more executive recruiting insights from our team: