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  • Duane Cashin

What Consultative Sellers Do Differently

Updated: Feb 17



Consultative selling has become one of the most important seller competencies.

When salespeople master consultative selling, they close more business, receive more referrals, and retain customers and clients indefinitely. In short, they become elite.

I’m not alone in this assertion. Objective Management Group’s data shows that the elite 6% of salespeople and some of the top 26% have this competency in abundance. The bottom 74% of all salespeople have even less than 21%.

The really interesting thing about this consultative selling is that it means different things to different people, and most salespeople think they’re doing it already. But, repeated sales force evaluations across all industries reveal otherwise. Consultative selling is actually quite rare.

We’ve defined it before, but to reiterate, when true consultative sellers “work their magic”  they are actually doing 5 distinct things:

  • asking good questions -- tough, timely, and relevant -- and lots of them.

  • having deep and wide discussions that reveal the prospect’s compelling reasons to buy.

  • discussing the implications or consequences of taking various actions or steps and acknowledging who is affected.

  • differentiating themselves from the competition and avoiding the commodity trap. 

  • building relationships and listening, building trust.

Some sales experts assert that this kind of selling is dead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Science has proven again and again the importance of consultative selling: 78% of salespeople engaged in such selling methods outsell their peers who are not engaging in the practice.

Fewer than 15% of all salespeople have even learned to sell consultatively. The rest are still selling in a transactional way, selling based on relationships, or selling by presenting and proposing.  That’s unfortunate. Salespeople who don’t learn to sell consultatively will lose out more often than they will win. ​ If you are ready to identify new salespeople who can sell like this, or you’re interested in scientifically evaluating your current sales force, give us a call. We’ll help you get started on the path to building a world-class sales force that will bring you the success you desire.

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