The sales process can be different for every type of customer, or for every type of sale that you’re doing. As a sales professional, you must use a different sales process, tested by the sales team’s expertise, not by your sales VP or by the CEO. You must define what process is better, based on the actual purchase process of the customer you’re selling, so matching the sales cycle to the purchase process.
Consultative selling is actually hard, you must be a big believer in what you are selling; otherwise, you wouldn’t be selling it. We often focus on our biggest competitor or the one we think is close to us in terms of capability and skill set; however, really what we should be focused on more than anything, it’s getting customers comfortable buying. You have to sell your product or solution, and also sell the idea of why they need to make a change? in order to move forward to your solution offered.
You can use a lot of discovery questions to uncover the challenges they have in their business or the outcomes they can’t drive. Often, customers try to avoid the conversation with an answer like “Send me an email with more information”. If someone asks for an email, you should get them to specify what it is they want to see and get them talking even more about what they are looking for. A good answer could be: “I’ll be happy to send you an email. I have a few things I could send over, and I want to make sure what I send is relevant to you”.
People have access to tons of information now and they often do a lot of research before they invite you in. So, as a consultative salesperson, you need to kind of force them to think about their pain, not minimize it. Highlight all the opportunities that they are missing and related costs. Customer’s top managers have to know that there is a problem they can’t handle any more; that pain is big enough that they need to do something, and you have the right solution to do it.