Sales pitches have changed drastically over the years. People no longer want to feel like they’re being sold to, they don’t want to hear about your different products or services and they definitely don’t want to hear how much your “numbers have increased this year”.
They want to know how you can help them solve their problems.
Enter Consultative Selling
This is a sales pitch strategy that focuses on the buyers needs and experiences over the product a company is selling. This is a strategy that allows you to understand your customer’s needs and provide a customized solution that fits their requirements.
Instead of trying to force your products or services down your customers throats, you need to be building a relationship to understand what they truly need.
Instead of a sales person, you need to talk to them like a consultant. Advising them on what best suits their needs.
By engaging in a conversation with your customer instead of constantly selling to them, you can better understand the target market’s way of thinking, their pain points and expectations.
This will help you deliver not a product or a service, but a solution.
This term was coined by Mack Hanan in 1970, but that doesn’t make this outdated. Even today, nearly five decades later, consultative selling is one of the most effective ways to close a sale.
But only when it’s done right.
There are a lot of people who think their sales pitches follow consultative selling strategies, but it is still firmly rooted within the traditional selling routine. So here are some tips to ensure that your selling strategies are updated for 2020:
The consultative sales process is primarily focused on the experience that the potential customer (the lead) feels and sees during their interactions with you. It’s about how you find ways to provide your leads with value and make it all about them.
Hubspot’s definition of consultative selling emphasizes the need to understand how you can create value towards your buyers needs.
As a seller, your main role is to help the buyer clarify their needs and to do so while positioning yourself as the ultimate solution. This doesn’t only mean to understand their needs. Instead more and more buyers are looking to be educated with new ideas and perspectives on how they could address their needs.
These new ideas is not always about how to solve the problem but could also be about providing a fresh take on how to define the problem in the first place.
For instance, here at Tap payments, we get many customers asking for goSell, our payment gateway, so that they can accept payments online. Yet, many of them aren’t selling online and want to create a website just to accept online payments.
In such cases, our sales experts reframes the buyer’s thinking to educate them of the alternate options they have to collect online payments- namely goCollect, our billing solution. This will let them do exactly what they wanted, collect online payments, but without the hassle of having to create a website for it.
This is what consultative selling needs to be about. It’s not just about selling your product or services but about educating the customers about the different options they have available to solve their problems.
From product experts to business experts
In traditional sales strategies, there is a strong focus on building a deep understanding of the products you’re selling so that you can showcase the product’s best features as required. In consultative selling, the emphasis instead is on what the buyer wants and needs so that they can cater the solution to it.
There’s a certain level of technical expertise, communication skills, product knowledge and insight needed to do well as a great sales agent.
However, now more than before, sellers are also expected to be general experts. There’s an increasing number of buyers who expect sellers to have a broad business background and a strategic mindset so that when they’re pitching a product to a buyer, they are able to think about the buyer’s long term strategies and to connect with a broad range of stakeholders on their part.
These are the kind of sales agents that will be exceptional at what they do, because they sell with insight. They help buyers redefine their problem, and demonstrate unique ways in which their products or services can deliver impact.
For instance, our team of experts always make it a point to tell new businesses about our start price plan with no monthly fees and that they can change price plans at any point. The reason why this is helpful is because during the initial months, when businesses are starting out, sales could be low or they may not have any accurate information about their sales volumes.
The start plan has been created with that in mind, since they will only need to pay per transaction. Then once they’ve got an accurate sales volume, if they want, they can always move to a plan that’s better suited for their business volumes with a monthly fee but lower rates.
This takes into consideration the businesses’ end goals along with ours, and more importantly, it shows them that you’re considering their business goals as well.
SMarketing is the way to go
Last but not least, the rise of Internet and social media has also changed the game for sales. Buyers are turning to the power of the Internet to conduct research, help clarify the problem and to look at potential vendors.
So instead of sticking to the same old cold-calls sales pitch, you need to think about creating clients, and the best way to do that is to team up with your marketing department.
Smarketing is when a company aligns their sales and marketing to grow your business as a cohesive unit.
If the sales and marketing teams are aligned, it becomes a lot easier to create high punching lead generation and nurturing campaigns.
One way that this can be done is by using content marketing. The marketing team needs to anticipate what your clients look for, what they read, what they like, what they don’t like. Everything.
If the marketing team starts creating content specifically addressing their problems, it positions your company as resource hub.
Create and share content that they’re looking for. Attempt to position yourself as a trusty, capable and knowledgeable agent. Your content must make them feel understood, must make them trust your expertise and to feel excited about investing in the product or service.
If you do this right, when your audience or someone they know need your services- you will be at the top of their mind.
This might be a slightly longer approach since it could take some time to cultivate that relationship, but you are more likely to close these than meetings where you reached out to them, because in this situation you have already taken a huge step at proving yourself to them.
This means that in your pitches, you can focus on how you’ll be creating value for them rather than about proving your own value and competing with other vendors.
Are there any other sales strategies that have worked for you in the past? Are there any sales trends that you think would be important in 2020? Let us know!