Couple to consult with sales consultant

Contributed by AFFLINK.

One of the most effective sales techniques available to distributors is consultative selling — a problem-solving approach to selling products and services. However, the first step in the process is moving from being an outsider, just selling products, to becoming a trusted advisor and a welcome member of the prospect’s team.

“The entire process starts with the first sales call,” says Michael Wilson, vice president of Marketing for AFFLINK, a sales and marketing organization for the distribution industry. “With the first call, distributors can establish the foundation necessary to build a relationship with the prospect.”

In addition to this, Wilson says there are seven key characteristics of a successful consultative salesperson. These are the following:
1.   Having excellent “schmoozing” skills; “develop socializing skills to find common ground with the prospect; get to know the prospect on a personal level; try and get them smiling and laughing with you”
2.   Having exceptional listening skills
3.   Never interrupting a prospect or completing a sentence or thought for them
4.   Identifying and catering to the prospect's unique personality and style
5.   Getting the prospect feeling they made the right decision by meeting with you
6.   Asking probing questions; “this will help both the salesperson and the prospect identify their unique needs and challenges”
7.   Begin offering solutions

“For instance, if you can show the prospect product solutions using an online computer 'dashboard' system, all the better,” says Wilson. “Now, the prospect sees the solution, better understands the product and how it can help them. The next step is typically the sale.”