They have their needs, their own set of problems and their own motives for choosing a particular supplier.
That's why if they receive a 'bulk standard' pitch they will feel less compelled to properly evaluate it. Whereas a consultative approach seeks to fully appreciate each prospects needs and gain agreement to those needs, before presenting products/services in a way that demonstrates how their needs can be met.
As I suggest in my first "Twelve Golden Principles Of Selling" (2012 version is currently being prepared)
"It is important to remember that all people are different, so you cannot sell the same way to everyone.
Second, no two sales are the same, even if they are made to the same company under similar circumstances.
To become a good salesperson, it isn't enough to know how to sell. You must aim to become a people expert. It may sound shocking, but the best professional salespeople actually like people!
Remember, people buy from people - they always will."
There are a number of positive benefits gained by using this approach that includes:
• Improved sales results because the whole sales process becomes easier
• Less objections because your proposals are aligned to their requirements that they have already agreed to
• Better relationships because the prospect feels that you have a good understanding of what they want
• Easier negotiations because you have agreed their requirements with them that you can refer back to at a later date
• Price becomes less of an issue because you have identified all their requirements not just the price one.
The more requirements they have helps you to build a case for why they should choose you.
Prospects feel listened to because a consultative approach has more contribution and input from the prospect.
More leverage because the offer is more compelling to the individual as it has been tailored to what they said they wanted
During each of the 4 steps of a consultative approach there are a number of areas of competence that sales people should be excellent at demonstrating:
1. Finding out the prospect's requirements
• Good questioning skills
• Ability to probe for problems/the prospect's pain
• Rapport to ensure that the prospect feels comfortable answering the questions
• Active listening skills•
2. Agreeing the prospect's requirements
• Ability to summarize requirements in the prospect's own words
• Asking checking questions to flush out any other requirements that have not been mentioned
• Maintaining good levels of rapport
3. Presenting solutions tailored to the prospect's agreed requirements
• Taking each requirement in turn and linking to a relevant feature of your product/service and highlighting the benefits gained from that feature - and of course, the value.
• Using the prospect's own words
• Looking for non-verbal signs of agreement and if not seen, asking checking questions such as "How does that sound?"
• Using the sensory communication type that the prospect has shown a preference for using. For example, if the prospect is very visual, then using visual aids will help them to better understand your proposition
4. Agreeing the solutions
• Summarizing your proposed solutions
• Maintaining rapport
• Being vigilant to buying signals
• Asking checking questions to flush out any hidden objections
Sound simple enough? Note, not one "challenge!"