The Art Of Selling: How To Think Like A Consultant
This month, Columnist Jerry Montgomery instructs growers on how to become the go-to expert for their customers.
January 31, 2013
Forget about your needs like sales quotas, commission and sales incentives and serve your customers the way a consultant would.
Focus on three things:
- Helping your customer make money
- Helping your customer save money
- Making your customer more competitive
If you concentrate on these areas, your sales and income will increase. You will be viewed as a very successful professional. It’s all about the customer and his issues, not about yours and your company’s. Helping the customer succeed by continually identifying problems and providing solutions will ultimately gain you the status of a trusted consultant.
How do you get to the place where your customers consider you a trusted consultant?
- Ask and listen. Always interview the customer on every call and listen intently before forming any opinions. Be sure to take notes.
- Ask questions about specific major crops. For example, say something like, “Joe, tell me about your geranium program? What would you like the results to be next year?”
- Continue this line of questioning and make sure you have uncovered all the issues before you even think about presenting a selling solution.
- Once you pose a solution, make sure it has the best chance of achieving the customer’s goals.
- If the solutions are very complex, you might want to bring in an outside expert, especially if there are highly technical elements you need to address.
Becoming a consultant to your customers will result in a number of success stories where you have provided solutions that make or save the customer a lot of money. Once you reach the point where people can tout your success, you have achieved the status of “go-to person.” Congratulations, you are now their consultant.
Jerry Montgomery (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a veteran of the floriculture industry who has worked for distributor companies, breeders and large growers with a focus on sales and marketing. As an industry consultant, Montgomery works for large growers, distributors and breeder/producers. His focus is to understand the market dynamics from breeder to consumer through intense retail travel, visiting about 2,700 stores since 2008.