Hi, it’s Ben Lai from Sales Ethos. Today I’m going to continue on with the series The Many Hats that Sales Professionals Wear. Today’s topic is on being the consultant or the trusted advisor. This is considered to be the gold standard in modern selling. So how do we go about achieving this status and therefore solidifying the relationship with our clients? Here’s how sales professionals are expert consultants.
Sales Professionals Are Expert Consultants Tip #1: Ask Consultative Questions
My first tip for you in this area is to ask questions that diagnose the problems and the issues and the obstacles that your clients are facing. Similar to a doctor, we need to know what are all the diagnostic questions. This tests what we can do to figure out what’s going on in the company and how this is affecting their business. If you find out, for example, that a certain issue with their machinery is causing tens of thousands of dollars of downtime… Then as the expert consultant and trusted advisor, it is your duty to uncover that and to propose solutions to that problem.
Sales Professionals Are Expert Consultants Tip #2: Be An Expert At Listening
Therefore, the second skill that you’ll need to develop as a professional consultant and trusted advisor is the ability to listen really effectively and to read the situation. Read body language, and read in between the lines. Sometimes your prospects and your clients will give you very, very subtle hints as to what is going on. They might have a slip of a word or a certain body gesture that indicates that something else is going on and you need to pick up on these things to be very, very observant and pick up on those items so that you can bring it up in the conversation and bring it to light.
When it comes to expert listening skills, one of the main things that you can do is to practice active listening. Active listening is your ability to paraphrase back to the person your understanding of what they just said. When you do this, you establish to the other person, not only have you heard what they said… But you’ve actually processed it in your brain and you’re then giving your own interpretation. When you do this and you say it back to the person, “So the problem that you’re facing right now is that these machines are breaking down and it’s costing tens of thousands of dollars,” they say, “Yes, that’s right,” you have a magical situation called consensus. Now when you have consensus, then you can move on to proposing your product and your solution.
Before I go into the third point… A quick offer to those of you who are sales managers or an entrepreneur. If you’re looking at ways to improve your sales results while doing it ethically, feel free to drop me a note in the comments below or via the link, and I’d be happy to have a sit down with you or a phone chat initial consultation to explore ways that we can help you to improve your results.
Sales Professionals Are Expert Consultants Tip #3: Be Thoroughly Knowledgable
Now the final point on becoming expert consultants and trusted advisors is to use your knowledge to recommend changes and actions and hold them accountable to those things. Sometimes the sad reality is that people are “happy” to live with the problems that they have.
For example, I had back pain as a teenager. I saw a physiotherapist and he recommended certain exercises for me to do… Which was the right thing to do, but he was not very strong in persuading me to continue with. And as a result of the physiotherapist not thoroughly recommending me and persuading me to do the exercise, I carried it out for maybe a few days and then gave up. Unfortunately, I had to live with that pain because I was not thoroughly convinced. Of course, it’s my own fault. But, part of me just wishes that the physiotherapist had been more adamant at following through with the recommended exercises.
So if you want to be a trusted consultant and advisor, you need to ask well-planned questions that diagnose the problems and the obstacles that they are facing. You need to have expert listening skills and reading body language, as well as using active listening. And you also need to use your knowledge and your persuasive abilities to make sure that they actually take the action and make those changes for themselves.
So what are your thoughts? What are some of the ways that you develop the consultative and trusted advisor status with your clients? Leave a comment below. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, and remember that integrity plus skills equals success.
Sales Ethos helps companies increase revenue through sales training in Melbourne & Adelaide. We achieve results through sales coaching, customer service training, sales management training, and sales process consulting, and sales training courses in Melbourne. Ben Lai and Jimmy Southasee are leading sales trainers in Melbourne & Adelaide. Ben is also a business coach in Melbourne and sales keynote speaker in Melbourne.
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