Today I am out on the west coast working with a global technology firm’s marketing team on product messaging. While preparing on the flight out, I was reminded that the best sales people are consultants. By this, I don’t mean billing their time. But they do have to approach clients in a consultative manner. I find that more people talk about “solution selling” than actually know what it looks like. There’s actually a book called Solution Selling, written by Michael Bosworth, and if you haven’t read it, you might do so. While it’s not new, it does offer some insight on what is meant by “consultative”. Here are some points to consider on your next sales opportunity:
- Do you know how the things you are selling are going to affect various parts of the organization on the business side? Are you just guessing, or have you actually taken time to meet with them? Refuse to sell only to IT.
- When people ask you what you do, is your answer “Sales”? Wrong answer! Speak in terms of outcomes.
- Do you have examples of how past project work has shown returns to your clients, reduced measured risk, or offered up competitive advantages? Are you able to articulate these stories in a way that allows your prospects to see value your current offerings?
- Is your line of questioning thought provoking? Are you asking the same questions your competition has been asking for years, or are you just leading you client down some path to make a sale; or have you become like a consultant, discovering where they are headed as a company, where they are right now, and how best to help get them to their next milestone?
Consulting is a process that improves the client’s condition. Only by first understanding their condition and objectives, can you facilitate change. Your offering comes into place as one of the accelerators to move them forward. Your personal experience and understanding are the catalyst to get things going and to provide some level of course correction along the way. If you’re wondering how to take your business to the next level, start studying how to be an effective consultant and begin making application.
© Copyright 2009, David Stelzl, All rights reserved.