Consulting and Sales
How strong are my consulting and sales skills? How good are my prerequisites for success in consulting or sales? How can I improve my sales skills? You are not the only one asking yourself these and many other questions.
Consulting and sales are very closely related - one usually doesn't work without the other. Thus, a good consultant is also a good salesperson and vice versa. In the following we will use the terms consultant and salesperson accordingly as synonyms.
Connecting with clients
The consulting process always takes place on a factual level and an interpersonal level. A good consultant senses the counterpart and can quickly recognize what is important for him or her. Aspects such as interest in people and enjoyment in advising people is an important prerequisite for this. Clients want to develop a feeling for the relationship and assess the consultant in terms of honesty, reliability and expertise. In this way, trust is built toward the consultant.
Of course, every client contact requires appropriate preparation. Already after the first contact via mail or phone you can get a first impression of the client.
- If you take over a client base from a colleague, it can be helpful to create a written overview of the individual client with their needs and characteristics. This will make it easier for you to talk quickly with the client about his or her needs and wishes.
The principles of consulting and sales
Demanding clients regularly pose challenges even for experienced consultants. Based on our experience, however, most situations can be handled by adhering to a few principles. These clear and simple guidelines define the mutual interaction between client and consultant. The following guidelines can be worked out together, for example, in a short workshop:
- The most important person is the person you are talking to at the moment.
- Be confident, control yourself - control the situation!
- Set yourself ambitious but realistic goals.
- Use targeted questions to find out where your counterpart has specific needs and what is important to him or her!
- Show continuity in the way you lead the conversation! Start with a clear goal, build up excitement and conclude the conversation with a definition of the next steps. Avoid time pressure during the conversation by all means!
- Conduct trial closings to induce unconscious acceptance / commitment (e.g. "Would you agree to a delivery within the next week?"). If the customer responds positively several times, she or he is unlikely to bail on you at the end of the conversation.
- Honesty and reliability are the basic requirements for your persuasive power!
- Learn from the best in the field, but find your own way.
- Strive for a fair deal to build long-term relationships with your clients.
Focus on a good deal and yet remain flexible
Depending on the situation, product or service, your clients need support and assurance. Accordingly, it is important that you as a consultant have a selection of strategies to adapt to the situation and the client, and to develop the best possible consulting effectiveness accordingly (Ryals et al., 2010). You will receive concrete feedback on your consulting flexibility and consulting effectiveness, as well as individual recommendations for action, when you carry out our sales efficiency analysis.
- Once hidden skills are recognized, one's own consulting behavior can be quickly optimized and closings increased.
We can all learn more! If you want to develop yourself as a consultant, we recommend you take a look at our Premium package - we are convinced that you will find a lot of valuable information in it.
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