How to Sell Solutions, Not Stuff

Some salespeople walk into a prospect’s office and just want to sell “stuff” – mugs, T-shirts, pens, whatever. But other salespeople want to sell solutions to a problem. This more in-depth approach will create a better long-term partnership between you and your clients.

Here are four ways to turn your sales process into a consultative one that results in meaningful relationships that aren’t just transactional in nature, and also bring bigger profits:

1. Listen up! The most important step in the consultative sales process is to really listen to your clients. Too many times, distributors come to a meeting simply wanting to show off the coolest new promo items. You can’t do needs-based selling without first knowing what their needs are.

2. Ask open-ended questions. The best way to determine a client’s challenge is to get them talking. Ask questions that are designed to uncover information, such as: “What are your biggest events happening this year?” or “What’s the biggest challenge you’re having with your marketing right now?” Don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions.

3. Offer ideas. Once you’ve uncovered your client’s challenges and pain points, you can provide solutions. Be creative! If you just suggest a simple promotion with T-shirts as the giveaway, then you’re not providing any solutions or services that the client can’t get from a website or another vendor. Be unique with your suggestions to spark further conversations.

4. Follow up frequently. Solution selling involves creating a partnership with your clients. So, don’t expect to sell something every time you speak to them or send them an e-mail. Stay in touch and show an interest in their everyday operations. The more you can find out about how their business runs and what drives their success, the more ideas you’ll be able to suggest along the way.