As a B2B sales trainer, one of the most common questions -- or requests, rather -- is “how do I become a consultative salesperson?”. The term itself is a bit misleading, as it can lead some to believe that consulting and sales go hand-in-hand. However, most of your prospects won’t see it that way.
No, the only proper way to become the ultimate consultative salesperson is to gain your prospect’s trust. This way, they consider you to be their advisor of sorts; someone who gives them advice and solutions (which end up being the product/services you’re selling). Let me explain how this is done:
Knowing Your Client’s Needs
First and foremost, you need to know what your client or prospect needs to produce better results. Additionally, you should know why they’re struggling to produce the type of results they’re looking for already and the root cause (or causes) that must be addressed.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still going strong, this is likely to be the catalyst for many of your clients’ setbacks and shortcomings. However, it may not be that simple. Showcasing the ability to truly understand and get to the root cause of whatever it is that’s leading to poor results for your client is critical to gaining their trust.
Then you can begin to have the ‘change’ conversation. This is where you sit your client down and iron out exactly what they need to do differently in order to get the results they’re looking for. Keep in mind, this can be a daunting proposition to your client, but if done right, they’ll be able to see the vision properly.
Caring About Your Clients
If you’re not fully invested in your clients, or the prospects you want to turn into clients, believe me… it will be obvious. A massive part of the trust-building process is convincing your clients and prospects that you truly care about them and the outcomes they desire.
Treating each sale as simply a transaction, and going through the motions, is a surefire way to let your prospects know you’re only in this to make a sale; nothing more, nothing less. If you want them to know you care, take the time to listen to their wants and needs and get to know them on a personal level.
This doesn’t mean you have to invite them over for dinner; simply asking them about their children or gauging their opinion on the current economic climate can do the trick. The goal is to get them to believe that you’re both fighting for the same goal, and that’s to reach better outcomes for their company.
Trying to Help
It’s important to understand that not every prospect or client will accept your help. Some truly won’t need it, while others may simply want to pretend they don’t for some underlying reason. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Trying to offer your help for a myriad of problems, no matter how complex or simple they may be is a great way to convince your prospects that you’re there for them. Sharing ideas to help your prospects solve an inefficiency somewhere in their company -- even if the solution has nothing to do with what you’re selling -- can do wonders.
If you really believe that your advice can help your clients or prospects improve and get better results, then it’s your responsibility to be persistent; even when they reject the help. It’s important to understand that gaining trust might (and likely will) take time. This is why persistence is key.
With that being said, there’s a big difference between persistence and being pushy. If you don’t want your prospects looking elsewhere, it’s important to fully grasp the distinction. If you need guidance on becoming a better salesperson or want to hear additional tips for navigating the world of b2b sales during this turbulent time, check out my podcast The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling!