Is What You Are Doing Really Consultative Selling?

Mack Hanan Consultative Selling

Most of us believe that we are consultative salespeople. Forty years ago, Mack Hanan wrote the book on Consultative Selling. What most of us are doing hardly compares to what Mack wrote four decades ago.

Because I am re-reading on a Kindle, I can’t point you to the pages, but Figure 1-1 describes the differences between consultative sales and vending. Here are just a few from a long list of ideas.

“The sellers supply profit as their product vs. The sellers supply product.”

This is the first item on Mack’s list, many (if not most) of us have trouble getting beyond this first test.

“The sellers use a Profit Improvement Proposal vs. The sellers use a bid.”

Most of the proposals we submit come with pricing and more closely resemble a bid.

“The sellers products are improved customer profits vs. The sellers products are equipment, a service, a process, or a system.”

While this is what most of us aspire to, there are many reasons why it is far more difficult to sell improved customer profits, even though we have moved beyond simply selling and are now taking responsibility for achieving outcomes.

Conclusion

For many of us in sales, we use the term consultative selling to mean a soft sell in which we do little in the way of asking for and obtaining commitments. In fact, consultative selling is a much higher standard and, it is far more difficult. Re-reading Mack Hanan’s book is a good reminder that for all the progress we have made over the last forty years, that we still have many miles to travel.

Questions

  1. Is what you sell improved customer profits?

  2. Is what you propose a product or a service with features and benefits, or is it a plan to improve profits?

  3. Can you tie an ROI analysis to service issues or softer issues with metrics that are difficult to capture?

  4. How can you bridge the distance between product or service and profit improvement?

  5. Are terms like “consultative selling” and “trusted advisor” used to describe a method of selling in which sales behaviors are avoided? Does avoiding sales behaviors serve our dream clients by making us “consultative” and “trusted,” or is that a set of skills, attributes and behaviors that can exist even if you attempt to obtain commitments?


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Comments

comments

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  • Juan

    Thanks Anthony for this post, certainly most sales people are not well trained, maybe because most companies do not train their sales people or do not have a training system in place. I am personally a maniac about learning and studying everything I come across about selling, this is my life, this is my profession as such I have to be prepared. Most companies speak about their value-added proposition, but in reality is a bunch of general purpose corp presentations, the fact is every single company or customer/client is different, as they have different needs at any given time. Every proposal has to be tailored to those needs, that’s why Consultative Selling comes:
    - Is what you sell improved customer profits? You have to quantify the benefits in financial terms.
    -Is what you propose a product or a service with features and benefits, or is it a plan to improve profits? My goal is to help my customer maximize its profits, ironically when you bring value; money (price) is not an issue.
    -Can you tie an ROI analysis to service issues or softer issues with metrics that are difficult to capture? By having monthly or Quaterly Business reviews you have the opportunity to show the progress and quantitative financial results; also pointing our the non-tangible value.
    - How can you bridge the distance between product or service and profit improvement? The way you present your proposal matters, via a Total Cost Of Ownership cost/price analisys.
    -Are terms like “consultative selling” and “trusted advisor” used to describe a method of selling in which sales behaviors are avoided? Does avoiding sales behaviors serve our dream clients by making us “consultative” and “trusted,” or is that a set of skills, attributes and behaviors that can exist even if you attempt to obtain commitments? Consultative is the first step to really understand your customers needs, pains to be able to align your company’s resources to present a TVO proposal, by giving results via QBRs you start to develop a Trust, inch-by-inch, step-by-step, litle-by-little you become a Trusted Advisor/Consultant/Partner.

  • http://filmdirection.net pavani perumalla

    Thanks Anthony for this post.



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