The Customer: The Center of Consultative Selling.

For the customer, trust is everything. All it takes is one bad salesperson, focused only on their commission, to taint the entire profession. The stereotypical sales rep churns and burns through his opportunities, leaving dissatisfied customers in his wake. However, when it comes to World-Class Sales Performance, “win/win” isn’t just overused, feel-good hyperbole. These sales professionals consciously collaborate with customers to make it happen.

Long-term success in sales requires customer and sales professionals to be on the same side. Unfortunately, too many salespeople are focused on their commission check, not on the customer and whether or not they are meeting the customer’s objectives. It’s no wonder many prospects come away feeling as if the salesperson doesn’t care about their problems or objectives.

Sales leadership often exacerbates the problem. “Many sales organizations focus only on metrics like revenues without regard to their customers and whether they are actually achieving the results they anticipated when they signed on the dotted line,” says Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer for MHI Research Institute.

Customer success more important than ever

Yet right now, customer success is more important than ever. In an uncertain economy, it can be harder than ever to acquire new customers at decent margins. Many businesses rely on repeat business, and they can’t afford to have customers that aren’t satisfied with their solutions.” Not only will these customers not buy more, many of them will vent their disappointment through the myriad of social media outlets available to them.

This is a key difference between the sales rep and the sales professional. While the sales rep is looking at his commission statements, the sales professional is looking at the customer’s goals and working with them to assess whether they were achieved. The sales professional knows he is only successful when his customer is successful.

That’s not to say that the sales professional is at the mercy of the customers’ preconceived notions of what they want to accomplish. According to a MHI Sales Best Practices Study, 87 percent of World-Class Sales Performers jointly set long-term objectives with their customers.

During the sales process, the sales professional plays a vital role in determining these objectives by understanding the customer’s context, concepts and decision-making process. Using these insights and knowledge gained from similar scenarios, they add their perspective on what can be accomplished. Through conscious collaboration with the prospect, the sales professional helps them set achievable objectives and guide them toward the right solution.

Credits:Miller Heiman

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