8 core principles of the consultative sales approach

Why use the consultative sales approach?

Nobody likes feeling sold to – but they’re often more than happy to buy something that has a tangible value to them. This is where consultative sales comes in.

Consultative sales is an approach that positions the sales rep as more of an advisor than a seller to help the buyer find the best solution for their problem. This approach promotes and encourages relationships and meaningful open dialogue between the salesperson and buyer.

Consultative sales has several benefits for sales reps including:

  • More effective understanding of buyer’s challenges

  • Allows you to frame your offering as the solution to a challenge the buyer identifies

  • Better, more meaningful sales conversations

  • Identify and handle objections upfront

  • Higher close rates

While the buyers of today have access to more data and information about various products than ever before, many of them still benefit from (and prefer) talking to sales professionals – which gives you an opportunity to convert them.

The consultative sales approach can be broken down into 8 core principles:

1. Prepare for your sales conversations

The consultative sales process starts before the conversation does: you need to prepare by researching your buyer and using this information to ask the right questions during your conversation. This ensures you have more productive conversations with your buyers and gives you time to gather any information you may need to win the sale.

Effective preparation can often be the difference between a sale that’s won and a sale that’s lost.

2. Engage with your buyer

A consultative sales conversation is exactly that – a two-way conversation. Engage with your buyer and demonstrate active listening skills when they’re speaking to build rapport and trust. A key difference between a standard and consultative sales approach is that your next question or comment will always be influenced by something the buyer has said – rather than a series of scripted questions and sales pitches.

3. Learn from the conversation