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Consultative Selling Skills: Be Indispensable! [Week 5 of 6]

Posted by on February 8, 2012

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Selling SkillsLast week, we talked about how Sales Negotiation Skills really can create a win-win for both you and your client. Now that you have the beginning of that 4-stage Roadmap to sales success, it’s time to talk about the essentials of Consultative Selling Skills.

Consultative selling is more an art than a science. It requires you as a salesperson to make your client feel comfortable, and to earn their trust so your interactions can take place on a solid foundation. This process is arduous and time consumingand almost never yields immediate results. But your investment will be well worth it! Once a bond is established, consultative selling offers rare opportunities that are simply unattainable for salespeople who sell their products or piecemeal. 

There are two categories of consultative selling skills, each holding appeal for two distinctly different types of clients.

Benefits Selling

Benefits selling is the art of driving sales through the introduction and explanation of features and benefits. This technique is particularly well-suited to finessing those buyers who consider themselves experts. As such, this selling technique requires an absolute adherence to the concept that the customer is always right.” Be careful not to oversell, but do listen attentively—the buyer is usually intent on sharing their knowledge with you.

This type of buyer is strongly influenced by technical details and by on- or off-site demos. It is imperative that the salesperson understand every facet of the product. Be forewarned: This type of client will probe with questions and will attempt to demonstrate a superior grasp of the details of your product. Your selling skills and patience will be tested as you try to educate your client without appearing to patronize them.

Relationship Selling

In relationship selling, the client is far less aggressive but no less demanding. Instead of technical details, the client wants to fully trust you as their salesperson and completely depend on your expertise. Develop this type of bond through dedicated service, careful attention, and entertainment. Become their favorite sales rep!

It can be easy to establish this relationship and even to get a few small sales, but it is notoriously difficult to move up the relationship ladder from mere vendor to strategic partner. Many salespeople shrink from discussing long-term commitments or complex business issues for fear that they will damage the relationship. This is a huge mistake! Ignoring these important topics will ultimately damage your selling ability. Fortunately, once a strong relationship-based connection is established, your competition will face an uphill battle trying to dislodge your company as the vendor of choice.

Selling Skills

The selling skills necessary to succeed in a consultative vendor-client relationship may seem daunting, but they are the same skills required in any business setting. As always, your willingness to listen, understand the needs of the client, and then offer innovative, customized solutions will prove vital to your efforts.


We enlist yor own regional sales managers whom we have previously trained in Consultative Selling Skills and Coaching to help us drive results. Because of this, sales reps, region managers, and area sales directors consistently rate this workshop over 90% in the areas of applicability, relevance, and helping drive business in their territories better than ever.At CGWA, our 5 targeted Sales Execution Workshops are each developed, tested, and refined in the field—in response to real sales execution issues faced by very successful commercial teams. Next week, we’ll talk about the fifth and last in this suite of workshops: Great Territory Planning. Be sure to check it out!