A consultative approach in business-to-business selling is perhaps the most effective these days.
When you spend time with the right decision maker/s and understanding their needs before offering any solution, you have a much stronger chance of doing business.
Believe it or not, many salespeople still roar into action from the very first minute spent with their prospect and start presenting before finding out what their needs are. In Brian Jude’s words – “that is telling, not selling”. Others refer to this approach as a “product and feature dump”.
What type of approach do you use? Are you trained into a generic approach, or have you crafted an approach that works for you? By “approach”, I mean preparing the questions you need to ask a prospect about their needs and their business. Not just a one-size-fits-all question list, but a list of questions referring specifically to that prospect, based on what you have already researched or found out about their business. It’s called pre-call planning – an essential step in consultative selling.
After asking those quality questions and finding out what their exact needs are, it is worth reviewing and agreeing what their specific priorities are.
Quality questions and a blank notepad is all you need for your first meeting, not a trillion brochures and an order book. However if your particular product or service lends itself toward a short sales cycle, and if the buyer is ready to make a decision right then and there (i.e. at that phase in their buy cycle), perhaps you could present your solution at that early meeting too.
Here’s to your first appointment success!