Consultative selling leads to selling solutions

Solutions-based selling starts with the proper selling techniques

Selling involves more than merely taking an order and delivering a product or service. To be successful—and to stand apart from old-school salespeople—you need to develop a consultative selling approach. It’s a specialized sales technique that entails looking at the matter from the customer’s perspective. 

sales techniques, selling solutions

The buzz word today is “solution.” Salespeople often say they offer solutions for their clients or that they are solution providers. It’s easy to say, but requires a fair amount of thought and, in some cases, restraint, to implement. You must avoid the temptation to sell your entire portfolio or at least your most expensive products and services. A sincere salesperson considers himself or herself more of a partner or team member; hence the term consultative selling.

Even if your firm can offer a host of good solutions, your client may not need all at one time. He may not be able to afford them either. It’s OK to discuss future sales, but concentrate on immediate needs. Use your first sale, as modest as it might be, to establish your relationship. Provide exemplary service after the sale, and you’re more likely to be offered additional opportunities.

Consultative selling based upon asking good questions

Selling solutions means just that: offering solutions to needs or problems that your prospect has. To find out what those needs are, ask the proper questions. Some of these include:

– What are you trying to accomplish?
– How do you feel about your current program (product/service)?
– What are you biggest challenges?
What has been your experience with…?
– What are some of the latest trends in your industry?
– Anything new your competitors are doing that concerns you?
– Where do you see yourself—or, where would you like to be—in three to five years?
– How will you get there?

You will note that for the most part these are open-ended questions. They provide your prospect the opportunity to offer an in-depth reply. Use this type of question frequently.

Avoid the temptation to start off jabbering about your firm, its strengths, products, and such. Your prospect doesn’t give a rip. Your first meeting should be of an exploratory nature. Remember: You can’t know for certain whether you can help the person if you don’t know anything about him and his firm.

Responses you offer should be offered in terms of benefits. What does your product or service offer the customer? Minimize the chatter about features, and emphasize the benefits. Now you’re really selling solutions.

Do you have a favorite question or technique as part of your consultative selling process? Feel free to offer it below. Also, if you enjoyed this column, could you do me a favor and share it with others? Select from any of the social media below. Thanks!

For related reading, see “Good customer service starts with the incoming call” and “Powerful open ended sales question helps you offer solution.”

Tom Fuszard, content writer, blog writing, pr writing, web copy



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4 thoughts on “Consultative selling leads to selling solutions”

  1. Good point, Chery. I often ask similar questions, though geared toward the business or industry. A Google search or trip through the firm’s website often prompts those types of questions. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Robert,

    Thanks for the kind words. I started in sales about 20 years ago. It took awhile – and some good coaching from a manager – to develop the fine art of asking good questions. Doing so has made a world of difference in my sales presentations.

  3. Hey Tom,

    Really great post, as you pointed out, in consulting it is about asking the opened ended questions. This gives the person or company that is doing the consulting more valuable information to help the person or company that is looking for a solution.

    Keep up the great posts!

  4. Hey Tom What a Great article.. I always like to start my conversations with Tell me a little about yourself and What you have been up to?? This always gets them to talking… Thanks for sharing Chery 🙂

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