B2B sales are often complex. This is in part due to the fact that the products and solutions themselves are increasingly complex. What’s more, the buying process at companies often involves multiple decision makers and departmental signoff. Combine this all with the fact that the selling landscape has become incredibly crowded. These various factors have pushed sellers away from Product-focused Selling towards Consultative Selling.
Product-focused selling focuses on the value and features of the product being sold. It tends to focus on what the seller has to offer and not on what the buyer needs. It also tends to treat each buyer the same, assuming much about their needs.
Consultative selling on the other hand is a tailored and personalized approach to sales. The seller is required to do significant research about their prospective buyer and focus on their needs. Reps are encouraged to ask the buyer meaningful questions in order to tailor their pitch and offering to align with their needs. By presenting themselves as a guide in search of the right solution, the seller will often detach themselves from answer and will even recommend products that they aren’t selling themselves.
The benefits of a consultative approach:
- Builds trust and credibility → the buyer is more open to the seller’s recommendations when they feel heard, seen and understood. The connection is more authentic.
- Builds better alignment → the process of researching and learning about the buyer’s needs makes it easier for both parties to determine if there is a truly good fit between the buyer’s needs and the seller’s solution. This leads to a more successful sales process.
- Leads to bigger opportunities → tailoring a solution to the researched needs of a buyer opens up many opportunities to upsell and or create a more personalized but even bigger proposal to truly meet the needs of the buyer.
- Leads to long term relationships → by detaching oneself from the immediate need to sell, buyer’s are more inclined to view the seller as an authority and therefore think about them in the future when timing or needs change.
The b2b selling landscape is constantly evolving. To stand out from the crowd, reps are encouraged to offer more personalized solutions and establish authority. Unless reps are selling extremely simplistic solutions with low friction, a consultative selling approach is the preferred strategy.