“Consultative selling” comes up again and again. But what does it really mean? And how can you make your sales pitch -- which is traditionally product-centric -- more consultative?
First, let's dive into the differences between product selling and consultative selling. Then, I'll explain how to create a consultative sales pitch. Finally, I'll share a customizable connect call script that works with the consultative style.
Product Selling is Easier
If you compare product selling and consultative selling, it might seem obvious the second is better.
But most salespeople use the first approach. Why? It’s an easier way to try to sell.
Most salespeople have a lot of product knowledge, allowing them to talk to every prospect about their products without much extra thought or planning.
While a product selling sales pitch might be easier, it’s less effective. A push approach often repels prospects, damages rapport, and leads to time wasted chasing low-quality prospects.
A consultative approach, on the other hand, helps reps start conversations, create good impressions, work new accounts, generate more leads, and increase average deal size.
Sounds pretty good, right? Well, if product selling is easier, how do you switch to a consultative approach?
Converting Product Selling to Consultative Selling
Here are the main elements of product selling. If you flip them, you’ll become a consultative salesperson.
- Focus primarily on the product → Focus on the prospect
- Assume every prospect needs the product → Ask probing questions to see if the prospect has a true need
- Try to sell to every prospect → Find prospects that fit with what you sell
- Focus on selling products → Focus on providing solutions
- Try to sell the product at every step of the sales process → Sell the next step in the sales process
- Do most of the talking → Try to get the prospect to do most of or an equal amount of talking
- Center your sales pitch on explanations and descriptions of the product → Center it on probing questions
- Talk about product specs and functionality → Talk about benefits, problems, ROI, and client examples
- Prioritize your own interests (selling, closing, making money, etc.) → Prioritize the prospect’s interests (making money, decreasing costs, making their life better, etc.)
Building a Consultative Selling Sales Pitch
Even if that list makes sense to you, you might still be unsure what to say and which questions to ask. It is easy to know what to say when all you do is talk about the product. It is a little more difficult to have good probing questions ready and to keep the conversation centered around the prospect.
Here’s a simple process that will make it crystal clear what to say and ask.
- Step 1: Think of a 2-4 benefits that your product offers (improvements that your product will create, e.g. automate processes, decrease time, decrease costs, increase revenue)
- Step 2: For each benefit, think a of a problem or challenge that is solved (sometimes the opposite of the improvement that the product creates)
- Step 3: For each problem, compose a question you could ask to see if someone has that concern
Consultative Selling Call Script
Use the points you developed to create a call script. Here is an example of one I’ve personalized with my information -- simply take out my details and replace them with your own.
Hello [prospect name], this is Michael Halper from SalesScripter. Have I caught you in the middle of anything?
Great. I’m calling because we help sales managers make their teams more successful with phone prospecting and lead generation.
I actually don't know if you are a good fit for what we provide, so I just had a question or two.
If I could ask you really quickly:
Are your sales reps able to consistently generate leads and get into new accounts?
How concerned are you about the amount of time it takes to get new sales hires ramped up and performing?
How confident are you that all of your sales reps are asking prospects the right questions?
Is identifying and correcting under-performing sales reps important?
Is decreasing sales staff turnover one of your goals?
Are you open to exploring new ways to boost sales performance?
Do your sales reps use any kind of script or sales playbook?
Examples of Common Problems
Oh, OK. Well, as we talk with other sales managers, we have noticed that they often express challenges with:
1. Getting sales reps to consistently generate leads and get into new accounts
2. Helping sales reps give good sales pitches and ask the right questions
3. Getting under-performing sales reps corrected and on the right path
4. Decreasing high sales staff turnover
5. Ramping and training new salespeople
6. Increasing sales performance and consistently hitting targets
7.Are any of those areas that you are concerned about?
Company and Product Info
Well, based on what you shared, it might make sense for us to talk in more detail. As I mentioned, I am with SalesScripter -- we provide a sales prospecting platform and sales methodology that makes it easy for salespeople to engage with new prospects and generate leads.
But I have called you out of the blue. I have some more questions for you. Can we schedule a 15 to 20-minute call next Tuesday or Thursday?
Once you've mastered the consultative selling approach, you'll never want to go back to a product-centric sales pitch again. This one might require more time, energy, and thought -- but the ROI is worth it.