To "Sell" With Magnetism ©
By Terri L. Norvell, Business Coach & Consultant

What's the difference between selling and consulting? Lots more sales for the associate trained in the consultative approach to selling. This approach is customer-centered and assists prospective buyers to determine their needs and wants. Most sales reps sell just like any other sales consultants. The difference with a consultative professional is in their attitude, their approach and their commitment. It's more than a title change, it's a process and it isn't easy. There are no steps to learn, this is not a technique. Consultative selling is a style and a strategy.

Check Your Attitude
This approach begins with the "I can do it" state of mind…a positive attitude. It requires an ability to set and meet goals, a strong desire to help others, strong personal ethics, strong listening and communication skills, and confidence in your abilities. Confidence in what you do and who you are breeds confidence to buy what you're selling. Accepting responsibility and taking ownership of the complete transaction indicates you are a "I'll handle it personally to your satisfaction" person. Also, your enthusiasm has a magnetism that attracts people.

Action Application
People do business with people they like! When you look in the mirror today, do you like who you see? Are you drawing prospects and people to you that you want to do business with?

Knowledge and Approach
Comprehensive knowledge of our business is a given for any consultative professional. This includes knowledge of your products, your company, the market area and competitive products. An understanding of the sales process forms the foundation on which to now build knowledge of your prospective buyers…to transition into a customer-centered sales consultant. Asking questions to get your prospect thinking in new patterns is a big key.

Action Application
Think about the types of questions you ask and make a list of them. Good consultative questions are open-ended and provide valuable information. For example: What's most important to you about…. What do you see… What has been your experience… How have you…?

Defining the Consultant
There are specific qualities and expectations of a consultative professional. The goal is to transform yourself from a sales rep to a resource in the mind of your prospects. Consultants are considered experts and specialists in their profession. They are problem-solvers who ask deep probing questions to assist their prospective buyers. They offer real-world solutions and make recommendations to assist their prospects in the purchase decisions. The consultant is so beneficial that the relationship transitions to a trusted advisor in acclimating the buyer with their current and then future purchases.

Action Application
Evaluate your ongoing relationships with your new and existing buyers. Do they look to you as a problem-solver? Are you an expert in your field? What next steps do you need to put into action to become a trusted resource…a consultant.

Becoming a consultative seller is not achieved overnight. It's a dedicated self discipline that must be practiced every day, not just as a dedication to changing the way you think about selling, but a dedication to changing and enhancing the way you think about yourself and your ability to serve the prospective buyers. Thinking about yourself as a leasing consultant is one thing. Having the prospect perceive you as one is quite another.

Terri Norvell is a national business coach and consultant
for fast growing and entrepreneurial businesses.

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