Consultative selling is an approach that focuses on client relationships and open communication to discover and provide more personalized solutions. Its focus is on the client rather than the product being sold. This approach allows you to open a stronger line of communication. The goal is to better understand each client’s needs and how they may be addressed. It allows you to position solutions within the context of their actual experience. Your expertise is transformed into a tailored solution that is specific to that client’s needs and goals.
There are three key factors you should consider when using a consultative approach.
Since long-term care planning is a personal choice that often requires having a loved one in extended care, taking an education-based approach is a strategy that seeks to build credibility so that you are top of mind when the person is ready. It positions you as a specialist who wants to improve their experience and encourage them to make better, more informed decisions. When you take the time and effort to educate your clients, they feel validated. When they see you as the caring expert, they will be more willing to accept your recommendations.
Who wants information “sold” or “pitched” to them? Not many care for this approach and most would prefer to explore a topic and contribute their own experience and input to the discussion. Does this imply you don’t need to be seen as the specialist? Certainly not! It implies that instead of being just a product specialist, it’s important to:
- Adapt your communication style to what the client needs (including conversation style, decision making, and degree of participation)
- Ask questions that will get clients to participate and become involved
- Listen to what the client is telling you – it’s their story
- Explore solutions that will benefit them based on their needs
- Share expertise and knowledge without sales pressure
- Allow time for additional discussion
It’s not enough to drive the conversation, you must also drive action. The key here is to acknowledge their concerns and demonstrate compassion. You want to place them in the center of the story. Highlight the benefits of the solution and how that solution aligns with their personal needs and goals. Show them how having a plan in place will protect them and their loved ones when the need arises.
This consultative sales approach is not difficult to adopt if you remember to maintain a strong and compassionate client focus throughout your process. Focus on education, collaboration, and compassionate persuasion and you will build trust and long-term relationships that result in sound solutions.
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