Putting Customer's Needs

in the Spotlight


It's 2020, and if you still think that one size fits all, you are in for an awakening.

Your customers want their unique needs in the spotlight, and not your product or sales pitch.

Customization is king, and consultative selling is your secret weapon to differentiate yourself from the competition.

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What is Consultative Selling? 


Consultative selling is a modern selling approach that puts the needs of customers ahead of the sale.

The core tenets of consultative selling include:

Consultative selling's primary focus is to become a trusted advisor of the prospect and not just be another vendor. The end outcome—you become their go-to person to solve their problems.

What is NOT Consultative Selling?

  • Not taking time to understand a prospect's requirements
  • Just focusing on the sale, not the relationship
  • Force-fitting your product to the need
  • Circumventing roadblocks without addressing them
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6 Reasons Why a Consultative Selling Approach is Good for Your Business

Saves time and effort for salespeople 

It costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep the current ones.

In consultative selling, it might seem like sales professionals are spending much time understanding a prospect.

But once you build rapport, the prospect begins to see your sales team as the go-to people for addressing their queries and needs.

A consultative sales approach will save your company time and money because of lesser advertising costs, discovery calls, and higher value repeat sales. 

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You are trusted and preferred over the competition

Once you build a rapport with prospects and get them to share more about their challenges, you develop a mutual trust that will give you an edge over the competition.

Prospects will prefer someone who understands and customizes for them rather than offer competitive discounts.

This wins over prospects for the long term. 

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You can provide customized solutions to their problems

Prospects are focused on their problems.

With consultative selling techniques, you can help them solve their specific problems by building your product according to their needs.

Begin by understanding their exact concerns and see how your product can solve them.

Then share case studies showing your product resolving similar pain points. Do not push features they do not require. 

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You focus is on the relationship, not the sale

All too often, you might be guilty of considering prospects as numbers.

Just another deal to close, or means to meet your monthly targets.

But consultative selling process shreds this idea of transactional selling and focuses on the prospect's needs, challenges and experiences.

This leads to a lasting relationship that keeps giving and builds customers for life.


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Prospect appreciates your buying journey 


A prospect begins to enjoy the consultative selling approach experience, as there is time, attention, and care given by you.

Prospects feel like the focus is on them, and they enjoy the buying process rather than being rushed through it.

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You establish trust and long-term relationship 


The relationship does not end with the sale. The relationship between a prospect and a salesperson begins with the sale in a consultative sales process. Prospects continue to reach out to you when they are stuck somewhere or need more products.

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7 Consultative Selling Skills You Should Develop


Consultative selling is an approach you develop over time after interacting with many prospects. Here are four questions you need to ask yourself

  • What kind of consultative skills should you develop?
  • Is there a need for change with my current approach?
  • Do customers see me as a trusted advisor?
  • How can I acquire consultative selling skills?

Here are seven skills required in an excellent consultative seller. 

Deep Empathy and Active Listening

Consultative selling adds a customer-centric flavor to selling. This includes hearing customers and giving them the time to open up to you. I

According to Sanjeevv Somanath, Founder, The Sales Yogi, "Though spoken about a lot, listening in sales is underutilized. Ask the right questions, listen to the answers, and reconfirm what you understood at the end. This starts the process of letting the client know you are there to help." 

Hone Your Interpersonal Skills 

Interpersonal skills include the ability to communicate effectively with prospects. To get more detailed answers from prospective customers, ask open-ended questions such as: 

  • Why isn't your current process working for you?
  • What's preventing you from achieving your targets?
  • What are your key differentiators?
Confirm What You Hear 

When you are talking to multiple prospects, there is room for miscommunication. According to Laura Janusik, Founder, Listening to Change, "The skill of confirming is critical—just paraphrasing and asking if you're right is so important to build trust. It's the #1 skill that develops trust for even physicians."

Empathize With Your Prospect

Consultative selling involves letting the prospect know that you are human too. Rather than traditional sales, the salesperson takes extra effort to understand the pain points and addresses the issue with their offerings. This requires a certain level of empathy and humanness from the salespeople

Ooze Confidence in Every Conversation

Prospects look up to your people as domain experts. And experts do not falter. Even if salespeople do not know the answer to their problems, they should appear confident and know what to say when the situation demands it to build that bond with the prospect.  

Be Curious 

The aim is to find the prospect's challenges. For this, sales reps should ask questions in real time, follow industry trends, research the prospect, understand product capabilities, and offer insights. Sales reps should have that drive to know more, always ask more questions and look for nonverbal cues.

Develop Patience for the Consultative Approach 

It takes time to build trust with prospects, so salespeople should patiently answer queries, research the prospect, share examples and case studies, and finally be ready to customize the product to suit the prospect. Rushing through a sale is a big NO if you are following the consultative approach. 

6 Ways to Get Started with Consultative Selling Process

Consolidated prospect data and intelligence 

Before you connect with prospects, take the time to understand them.

For this, you need all your lead data in one place.

CRM software like Freshsales (formerly Freshworks CRM), has an in-built AI assistant called Freddy, who makes this job easy for you by automatically enriching prospect data, including social profiles, touchpoints with your company, and even insights on the next best action to move the lead down the funnel. 

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Drill deeper with context 

Analyzing your customers and the kind of products they bought and continue to buy will give you a fair idea of your ideal customer.

With this information, you can personalize your campaigns to drive conversions with similar prospects. Equipped with complete information about your prospects and what they are searching for, you can reach out to them in a meaningful way. 

Advanced CRMs provide visibility into the entire prospect to your entire organization's customer journey within a single screen.

Track prospect behavior, stage in the buying cycle, recent conversations with your company, and recent activities to get full context before engaging in conversation with the prospect.

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Nurture prospects with a customized buying experience

Sending the right information at the right time can really help you connect with prospects. Make sure you put your relationship before the sale by engaging with prospects using customized email journeys.

A CRM that integrates with marketing automation software can help you share nuggets of information like case studies and downloadables and get them to recognize their need for your product.

Segment audience based on demographic factors like age, gender, or locality. You can also group them based on behavior like abandoned carts, pages they visit, links they click, and more. Using different segments, you can automate email journeys to different sets of prospects and move them down the sales funnel.

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Get more productive with integrations

Integrations help you perform multiple tasks from within a single window.

This improves your efficiency and gives you more time to build a relationship with your prospects. Get the most out of a CRM by integrating it with various software for billing, file sharing, collaboration, and customer support.

This will help you have all prospect and customer-related information in a single screen and help you deliver a seamless buying experience to your prospects and customers. 

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Track metrics and prospects' interests 

To know what sales activities work best, you can use the sales analytics features in a CRM to track and optimize your selling process.

Get better at consultative selling using visual reports, which allow you to cut through the noise and identify gaps in the selling process. With sales analytics in Freshsales, you can: 

  • Measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns 

  • Find out segments where consultative selling works

  • Measure sales cycle and sales velocity 

  • Identify roadblocks

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3 Tips to Master Consultative Selling

Stay relevant and updated about your prospect


Before you approach a prospect, make sure you brush up your product and industry knowledge. They look up to you as experts in your domain. If you fumble, it gets hard to convince them to believe in you and your product. 

Almost 70% of salespeople are not ready to answer questions from buyers. This does not fly well in consultative selling. Here, to win the prospect's trust, you need to be in an advantageous position. You can achieve that by learning about: 

  • The prospect's company
  • Relevant industry trends
  • The market position and company size
  • Recent updates about the company
  • Competitors
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Do not push the sale 

Learn to look at the larger picture, especially when it comes to solving a prospect's challenges. Do not keep talking about your product. Instead, allow the prospect to explain their needs.

How to not sound salesy?

  • Take extra effort to customize: Consultative selling is all about providing custom solutions for prospects. So understand prospects' requirements and tailor the solution for them.

  • Know the right time to sell: Suppose a prospect is a small computer hardware business that uses Excel sheets to maintain customer data. A CRM software will help them get rid of Excel sheets and manual tasks. For the prospect, a CRM software is not an immediate need. Research how computer hardware businesses manage their customer database and understand at what growth stage a prospect would need to invest in a CRM. 

  • Have use-cases at your fingertips: For instance, quote success stories like "We helped our latest client save over 30% of their budget. On average, our customers save between 20% and 50% by using our products." 

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Be committed to the prospect 

Instead of rushing behind numbers and targets, focus on the prospects you have, nurture them, and create a customer partnership for life.

In consultative selling, the salesperson and the prospect are equal partners.

Be with your prospects through any issues they have and help solve their problems even after the sale is complete.

According to Ananya Ananth, Senior Account Executive, Freshworks, "I have used a consultative selling approach to foster a long-term relationship with my customers. A few customers have even recommended us to others, therefore, bringing in more customers. This goodwill creates a competitive advantage."

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Become a Trusted Ally

A CRM helps salespeople sell with better context and meaning by unifying all the information available about a customer on one single page. Don't hunt multiple sources for information. Get high-quality leads, quickly engage and build a rapport and get customers for life with Freshsales.

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