No matter how much we rely on our smartphones, laptops and tablets to navigate every aspect of our lives, human interaction always will emerge as one of the most important factors in developing successful relationships. This couldn’t be truer than with the sales process. Great interactions with your prospects can lead to successful sales. Having the tools and technology at your disposal are what enhances and accelerates the interaction.
Consider how the digital age is influencing your consultative sales approach when it comes to one-on-one interactions with your prospects. Unlike in previous years, your prospects, more than likely, won’t need a comprehensive presentation that spells out every single detail of how your product or services work. Chances are they have already a good idea. By the time the sales prospect engages with the sales representative, they need to present specific content that speaks directly to the buyer’s curiosity. You’ll need a consultative selling approach.
According to the Acquity Group, the vast majority of B2B buyers – 94 percent – have already done their research by the time you send an email, pick up the phone or engage in a one-on-one presentation. Acquity’s 2014 State of B2B Procurement study showed that 84.3 percent check business websites, 77 percent perform a search on Google, and 41 percent read user reviews. This all is going on before your sales rep comes into the picture.
Here are three strategies for the consultative selling approach your team should consider when interacting with these type of informed prospects:
- Start with a conversation. You may already have done your research on the prospective company. Maybe even putting in hours outlining the weak spots on their site, their process or where they’re lagging behind competitors. You could have put together an amazing slide presentation. Avoid the temptation to just roll with it. Instead, try to get your prospect to talk about their challenges or pain points. After all, there was a reason they had been doing all that research. If the subject goes in a direction that’s different from your presentation, hit the highlights of how you can address their issues – even if it means skipping over several of those amazing slides.
- Act as a guide. Be helpful in your approach with the prospective buyer. Maybe your company doesn’t have all the solutions to solve his or her problems. Be willing to guide them in the right direction so that they can gain a comprehensive solution. Think of yourself as a partner during the sales presentation; chances are your prospect will see you as an invaluable partner over a long-term basis.
- Avoid the high-pressure close. Remember, the prospect is likely still in a learning mentality by the time you enter the picture. Chances are he won’t be willing to immediately sign a contract until he is assured that he has the best option. Part of reaching that conclusion may lie in him further understanding the solution and product you’re proposing. Be willing to take the time to give free demos or thoroughly explain how the solution/product produced results for a client in a similar industry.
It’s imperative that your sales representative have every product brochure, white paper, case study, video, and other supporting assets at the ready. By the time your prospect connects, they need very specific information and must work with your sales representative to overcome any additional challenges, including budget, features, etc. Being confident in the consultative selling steps and having a platform ready ensures your representative can find the content they need when they need it. Following these consultative selling tips will reduce the sales cycle and increase conversion rates.
Need some assistance in fine-tuning your sales process and consultative selling approach? Check out how FatStax can streamline your operations with a platform that keeps data, presentations and information easily accessible.