This is the second of two posts on AchieveGlobal’s study on inside sales teams, and our report “Contender or Pretender? The Role of Inside Sales in Winning Business.” Be sure to read the complete report.
In our recent study on the importance of inside sales, we looked at the differences between transactional selling and consultative selling.
For starters, transactional selling is short-term. A transactional seller may be a “professional visitor” who wins with personality; a “price seller” who highlights costs and deals; and/or a “content seller” who emphasizes features, often without linking them to benefits for the customer. Customers may be willing to receive product information or initial contact calls from these sellers, and may even take the leap toward closing a sale. However, transactional selling cannot impact the buying process and is subject to the whims of commoditization.
On the other hand, in consultative selling, the sales professional acts as more of an expert guide:
- A Need Satisfaction Seller looks deeply at a customer’s critical needs and customizes offerings
- A Resourceful Expert applies in-depth industry expertise to meet those needs.
- A Loyal Champion has deep insight into the customer’s business and industry
- And a Trusted Advisor uncovers and meets needs, and will also provide advice and assistance
It’s been shown that a customer’s comfort level is much lower in making buying decisions with transactional sellers compared to consultative sellers. So how can you help the inside sales team move from transactional selling to become expert consultative sellers?
The answer lies in navigating the terrain of “The Great Divide” (shown below) and undertaking the more consultative approach supported by preparation and skill.
On the Website of the National Parks Service for the Grand Canyon, there’s one line that speaks volumes. It says, “Depending on how prepared you are, your trip can be a vacation or a challenge, a revelation or an ordeal.” If you’re like me, and if you’re about to travel through an unfamiliar or challenging environment, you’d appreciate an expert guide – one who considers your past experiences, goals, and strengths in charting the course you’re about to travel.
Why would a customer be any different when navigating through the terrain of a buying experience?
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida