Consultative Selling Addresses the Need Buyers Never Admit
© 2007 Paul Johnson. All rights reserved.
The nature of your buyer's need is a factor that can make it easy to determine if Consultative Selling is the right approach for your sales team to take. Prospects will tell you they need many things ranging from fuzzy terms like wealth and happiness to specific conditions like color and size. However, one need they never verbalize is the need to avoid high costs of failure.
Each purchase we make carries the potential cost of failure; that cost is measured by all the bad things that can happen if the purchase we make doesn't do all the things we bought it to do. Cost of failure has three measurable components: Money, Time, and Success.
For instance, if we try a new candy bar and decide we don't like it after the first bite, we can afford to throw it away because we're only out a dollar. This simple candy bar example really only affects us along the Money dimension. Loss of Time and Success is insignificant, because our next step can be to immediately buy a sure thing -- our favorite candy bar -- and resume a successful candy eating experience.
Consultative Selling is more applicable when costs of failure along all three dimensions is high, especially success. I can redo a candy bar, but I can't redo my life. If I'm weighing treatment alternatives for a serious illness, I more fully appreciate a consultant who can help me make that decision, especially when one of the costs of failure may be death.
In a business setting, the person responsible for making the purchase decision relative to an important project can fear all three cost facets of failure. After spending a lot of MONEY and investing six months of TIME for implementation, as well as all the labor hours consumed during training and adoption, failure of the project to SUCCEED in delivering the desired results may end up costing the individual their job. While your buyer may never verbalize these concerns, you can bet they're on their mind.
Consultative Selling actively works to reduce risks associated with potential loss of Money, loss of Time, and loss of Success. When your buyer is facing high cost of failure, Consultative Selling is usually the right sales approach for you to adopt.