Consultative Selling Requires Listening

Last week I sat in on a sales call where the salesperson told me going in that he is a master at the consultative selling process and that he achieves incredible results from it. Soon after speaking these words, we were face-to-face with the customer. What I saw (or, should I say, what I heard) absolutely appalled me.

The salesperson did all the talking. The customer talked maybe 5% of the time. On the rare occasion when the salesperson asked the customer a question, he wouldn’t even wait for the customer to respond before he would answer it himself. Needless to say, this was a “no sale call.” Amazingly, on the way out, the salesperson commented to me about how he just knew the customer wasn’t going to buy from us on this visit and that’s why he had to use the consultative selling process to make it easier to close the sale on the next call.

I choked on what he was saying. The only sales technique I saw was “show-up and throw-up.” Consultative selling is all about listening, and that means asking the customer questions and taking the time to listen to what they have to say and then asking them a follow-up question on what they just told you. Not complicated, but it does take a brain and some time (neither of which this particular salesperson wanted to devote). (Sorry, I won’t tell you how I handled the situation. I’ll plead “client confidentiality.”)

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