It is no accident that two core competencies of human resource professionals, for example, include consultation and relationship management. And this is no different for other professionals whether internal company consultants or external sales consultants. Trust is vitally important, and this is built on credibility and respect. With this new understanding, internal and external consultants can help in the decision-making process using information all parties have readily available, thanks to the Internet. They days where one side (usually the seller) had all the information is over.
Dan Pink, in his book, “To Sell is Human,” talks about how we are all in sales so to speak. He calls this the art of moving people and it applies to everyone from consultants to teachers. The old formula of sales no longer works. Those who remember sales from years ago remember ABC which means Always Be Closing. This is a tactic no longer works in today’s information rich environment. Using gimmicks to get sales in the past was based on the fact that the seller had a deal or that the buyer did not know what the seller knew. Today we buy things from the Internet. In fact, anything a buyer wants to know is on the Internet. The buyer can also easily obtain information on the seller.
In today’s environment we need to understand that we are all in sales so far as we are all influencing people in one way or another. The value of our advice and is what matters now. For example, home buyers can educate themselves on neighborhoods, schools, homes, asking prices, and anything else. Today’s smart realtor knows that by being a source of information she can create value for her clients. People can do the same Internet research when they buy a car. Therefore, when the realtor, the car salesperson, or the business consultant uses the shared information, they can place themselves in the position of assistant buyer and of trusted advisor to the customer’s interests.
Knowledge is readily available to buyer. Therefore, the seller should acknowledge that fact and spend the necessary time to develop a relationship with the customer which will gain the customer’s trust.
You must spend the time and build the relationship so that you learn your customers’ needs and desires. Many in sales make a serious mistake by rushing this phase of the process. Researchers have found that the more successful salespeople are those who can uncover problems rather than listening for needs and providing solutions. Uncovering problems and issues will take time and careful listening. Continue to peel back the onion by listening to understand. Developing this skill will uncover the real issues and this will position you to provide the solution which will exceed your customer’s expectations.
The ultimate source of your credibility will be your ability to deliver, to solve problems, to take on the hassles that the customer would rather not think about nor bother with. When you do that and more you will exceed your customer’s expectations. You will also position yourself to become their trusted advisor.
Do what it takes to become a trusted advisor. Trusted advisors earn more money, they receive many more referrals and repeat business, and they establish a long-term relationship with their customers.
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