The first action you should take when you begin to look for a new or replacement product should be to determine what your current needs are and make your choice accordingly. It makes no sense to structure your business around what is available to you; it should always be the other way around. This may seem obvious but it is not always an easy question to answer. What should a sales person be doing while you are in the evaluation stage of your journey? Well, in the case of local information, a salesperson should be a consultant and a wealth of knowledge not only about the products that they offer but in the industry in which they work in. Any company that provides local level information should stress the importance of their sales team being experts in consultation for their clients.
Consultative Sales – long term, sustainable relationship selling
It focuses on clients’ needs and vision, then can offer creative solutions that add value to a business relationship. It's all about the relationship and value, not price. Many salespeople talk about using consultative sales techniques but the truth is it must be part of your company's sales culture to be an effective strategy. It is in nobody’s best interest for a potential client to wind up with something that is not in line with their current and future business needs. This puts two very important skills that are imperative for any sales person to have: observational and visionary skills.
In a retail model, consumers spend millions of dollars every day on merchandise and often form their impression of a store by evaluating its sales force. Therefore, retailers stress the importance of providing courteous and efficient service to remain competitive. For example, when a customer wants an item that is not on the sales floor, the salesperson may check the stockroom, place a special order, or call another store to locate the item. This methodology also fits with a good sales team. The more they know about their clients’ business model the better the recommendations they can give for how to enhance it. Clearly, the sales representatives do prior research on every firm they approach. That goes without saying. They should obtain information through detailed questions and evaluate each clients needs and then help to fulfill them with detailed product lines.
Nobody should want to sell you something for the sake of selling it. Their success is directly tied to their clients’. Doing a proper job on the sales front is what leads to a lifelong client that is extremely satisfied with the products they get from you; not just the pricing that goes along with it.
To understand where your business is today is something that most sales people have a hard enough time doing. To envision the many different paths they could go down is something that cannot be taught. Its instinct and feel. We look at our clients’ business three, five, or ten years down the line. We feel that is what separates a good sales force from the rest of the industry. You must assess what your client’s current needs and capabilities are, along with addressing the future to deliver an appropriate yet scalable solution for a growing business.
Takeaway: The questions a sales professional asks you are sometimes more important then the goods or services they are trying to sell you.
-Patrick Healy, Sr. Account Manager -Josh Butler, National Sales Manager
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