Role Play by Consultative Salesman

Whenever you attend any sales seminar or workshops, in all probabilities you get to hear about consultative approach to selling. This buzz word has caught up in the recent past with all organizations. Historically business was always profit oriented and selling the product or service was more important for Organizations. Sales figures and bottom lines were the only areas of focus as far as the managements were concerned for they measured their success and performance based on these two parameters. Even today these two areas remain the benchmarks of organizational growth and score card. Few decades ago there was a shift from selling to customer service and customer satisfaction. Management experts began talking about the need for organizations to focus on exceeding customer expectations. Marketing and sales theories were re-written and the gradually, all organizations turned to consider customer as the king. This orientation was further supported by the quality systems and the value systems adopted by the organizations to define their business processes and operations. In the area of sales and the approach to selling, the customer centric approach led to the growth of the concept called “Consultative Selling”.

Consultative selling approach demands a different orientation and thinking on the part of the salesman. The Sales person happens to engage with the customer and put himself into the customer’s shoes to be able to define the needs and help build a solution that addresses the customer’s business needs. In siding with and working in the interest of the customer, the salesman represents the customer in his Organist ion. On the other hand, he is the representative of the seller Organization as far as the client is concerned. The client gets to know the Organization through the salesman and his interactions as well as engagement and responsiveness. Thus with consultative approach the salesman brings the two entities together at a different level or platform of interaction which results in successful, mutually beneficial and win- win interaction and relationship for both the parties concerned.

In having to play a different role and manage relationship between the two organizations, the consultative salesman has got to be sensitive to manage a lot of soft issues and take several factors into consideration. One of the key factors that has got to be managed and addressed by the salesman is the difference in the language and cultures of the two organizations. No two organizations will have common culture or outlook. Every organizational culture and language would be different. In such a situation, it becomes important to understand each one’s expectations and style of thinking and find common approach to create a fruitful partnership. It is but natural that the Buyer Organization would always speak the sales language recognizing and pushing for sales while the customer would look not only at the product or service that they are buying but the value addition that they would get by associating with the buyer’s Organization and the product. While the seller Organization keeps looking at incremental sales or the price, the buyer is always looking at discount or cheaper price and service. In such a situation it becomes the responsibility of the sales manager to manage both the parties’ expectations and build relationship based on win-win approach.

In current times, no seller can be aggressive or coerce the client to buy. Any overtures or explicit exhibition of power or position as a buyer does not go well with the customers. There is only one way of engaging with the customer which is by building relationship based on superior value proposition. This approach can work only with consultative mode of selling. Understanding of the role of consultative salesman provides useful direction for the grooming of tomorrow’s sales and marketing managers.


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