Consultative Selling Tips – Sell the Solution

April 17, 2009 by  Filed under: Advertising 

The best tactic in the consultative selling model may be the easiest of all to implement-if you have taken all the previous steps carefully and successfully. Even though this step calls for selling skills acquired through experience, you can’t leave anything undone. In other words, if you have come this far, at considerable expense of time and ef­fort, you must plan the final step carefully to guarantee a payback for the effort. Most of the action steps involved in selling the solution are of the checklist variety-questions, reminders, and planning tips.

The objective of solution selling is to maximize previous informa­tion gathered in the earlier phases of consultative selling and leverage that information with the final decision maker(s) in the account.

Successful solution selling occurs when you can answer “yes” to these questions:

  1. Has adequate research and analysis been done?
  2. Have all questions been asked and answered?
  3. Have all values been defined?
  4. Is the account in agreement with the “test” solution?
  5. Is presentation of the solution to the final decision makers the only step left?

No matter what form the preliminary work has taken, always con­sider the following:

The solution selling step is when all of the ultimate decision makers should be on hand. If the final decision makers have not been present up to this point, the audience for this step will be different than it has been. Include supportive people from the account, as well as a limited number of people who contributed to the result. The solution selling step is the time to call in your company’s resources. These may include corporate ex­ecutives, technical experts or specialists, and anyone who can enhance your recommendations with know-how, rank, and credibility. Your re­sources may also mean compiling graphics, prototype packages, slide pre­sentations, or whatever else is necessary to sell your solution persuasively.

The solution selling step should include a management summary, preferably in writing. Whether presented in writing or verbally/visually, the summary should follow this content outline: the objective of your consultative approach, description of research and analysis methods, summary of findings, and recommendations.

The consultative selling strategies require your involvement throughout the implementation period. Remember, the account has “bought” because you, as the consultant, created the need. It’s important to reinforce the account’s decision by having the salesperson stay visible and accessible. The sales consultant’s presence during implementation establishes continuity and nourishes the long-term partnership-the main objective of consultative selling. It also keeps the door open for regular or additional business. You can stay involved during the implementation of the solution through transition meeting(s), ongoing coordination, periodic check-ins, telephone contacts, interim reviews, measuring of results, and “spreading the word.”

In the final analysis, the consultative selling strategy is a paradox of sorts. It’s one of the most powerful and effective strategies, yet it’s the most challenging to implement. However, with proper direction, disci­pline, tools, and careful account targeting, it can be a major force for ac­count penetration, development, management, and maintenance. And, as stated earlier, even if it doesn’t work to completion, you still gain in terms of account knowledge, trust, relationship, and professionalism.

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