• Posted On Tuesday, February 07, 2023 by Vince Antoine

    Consultative Selling

    Consultative selling has become a red-hot trend in the B2B industry. According to a recent survey conducted by Accenture, over two-thirds of decision-makers believe it's important. Many decision-makers in the B2B industry prefer to interact with sales reps who use this strategy over those who use a traditional approach to pitch their products or services. To leverage it in your B2B company's operations, though, you must understand what consultative selling means and how it differs from traditional sales tactics.

    An Introduction to Consultative Selling

    What is consultative selling exactly? It's an alternative sales strategy that revolves around helping buyers solve their problems. It's classified as a needs-based sales tactic. All buyers have needs. They seek products or services from B2B companies to solve problems within their own business's operations. Consultative selling is a multistep process in which you provide a buyer with a solution based on his or her business's needs.

    Consultative Selling vs Traditional Sales Tactics

    While classified as a needs-based sales tactic, that doesn't necessarily define consultative selling. Consultative selling receives its namesake because it focuses on "consultations." All sales tactics, of course, involve meetings or consultations. As a sales rep, you must talk to prospects so that you can pitch your B2B company's products or services. But consultative selling places a greater emphasis on these consultations.

    Traditional sales tactics revolve around direct selling. After reaching a prospect on the phone -- or by other methods -- sales reps will talk about the benefits and features of a product or service. And sales reps will generally use this same approach when reaching out to other prospects. Some prospects may make a purchase, but others will reject sales reps' offers. Consultative selling is different in the sense that it's a more personalized, helpful and user-centric sales approach.

    Other, traditional sales tactics typically fall under the category of product-based selling. Product-based selling, as the name suggests, revolves around products or services. Sales reps who use product-based selling emphasize the benefits, features, pricing, availability and other characteristics of their products or services. They don't necessarily seek to help the prospects to whom they pitch these products or services. Instead, sales reps use scripts that revolve around their products or services.

    Increased Trust

    You can get prospects to trust your B2B company by using consultative selling. Sales reps who use this alternative sales approach are viewed as being more trustworthy than those who use traditional sales tactics.

    Prospects, of course, are decision-makers, and many of them hold high level job titles like Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). They are used to talking to sales reps during their workdays. Most sales reps, however, use traditional sales tactics that revolve around their products or services. They spend all or most of their time talking about their products or services while attempting to persuade prospects to buy them. Consultative selling offers a breath of fresh air for decision-making prospects. Because this alternative sales approach focuses on their needs, they trust sales reps who use it.

    Shorter Sales Cycle

    Embracing consultative selling can help your B2B company achieve a shorter sales cycle. Long sales cycles are frustrating. As you may know, a sales cycle represents the total length of time it takes to convert a lead into a paying buyer. The longer this process takes, the more resources your B2B company will consume. Research shows that some B2B companies have an average sales cycle of nearly three months. For a shorter sales cycle, though, look no further than consultative selling.

    Consultative selling is designed to satisfy the needs of prospects through helpful consultations. You can still pitch products or services during these consultations, but your ultimate goal should be to help to prospects. You can help prospects in different ways. Some prospects may need help identifying a specific problem that's holding their business back. Other prospects may need help choosing a product or service that's right for them. With consultative selling, you shouldn't try to sell prospects the most expensive product or service. Rather, you should recommend a product or service that can solve their problem and benefit their business.

    Increased Buyer Satisfaction

    Another benefit of consultative selling is increased buyer satisfaction. Many buyers prefer to deal with sales reps who use a consultative selling approach over those who use traditional sales tactics. They get tired of listening to the same generic sales pitches. With consultative selling, you can promote a more personalized and enjoyable experience for buyers, resulting in increased buyer satisfaction.

    Consultative selling seeks to satisfy buyers' needs. Maybe a buyer is struggling to expand his or her business into a new geographic region, or perhaps a buyer is struggling to lower his or her production costs. With consultative selling, you should seek a solution for the buyer's problem. And by doing so, the buyer will have a positive and more enjoyable experience with your B2B company.

    More Referrals

    Using a consultative selling approach can help your B2B company earn more referrals. Referrals are recommendations from buyers. Buyers who enjoy doing business with your B2B company may recommend or refer other decision-makers to it.

    For more referrals, you should consider using a consultative selling approach. Buyers are more likely to recommend your B2B company to their coworkers an colleagues if you use this alternative approach. Each referral is an opportunity to generate a new sale.

    Increased Buyer Retention

    Because of its impact on buyer satisfaction, consultative selling can lead to higher buyer retention rates as well. Buyer retention rates represent how many buyers stay with B2B companies over a specific period of time.

    A low buyer retention rate means your B2B company will have to spend more resources to acquire new buyers. As existing buyers leave your B2B company, you can expect fewer sales. To keep the sales coming in, you'll need to replace them with new buyers. Fortunately, consultative selling can boost your B2B company's buyer retention rate. More buyers will stay with your B2B company because of the helpful, problem-solving consultations that it offers.

What to learn more? Get in Touch