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The Qualified Sales Consultant – What you should be doing – pre meeting

The Qualified Sales Consultant – What you should be doing – pre meeting

The Sales ConsultantSchultz and Doerr (2014) argue that the ‘solution sales is not, in fact, dead.  It is still necessary, but no longer sufficient on its own’.  The outstanding question is; what is required to compliment solution selling?  Schultz and Doerr (2014) have designed a three level grid that applies to ‘Sales Winners’, level three being the optimum and most desired  level of attainment for any sales consultant or sales winner.  Essentially the common theme for Level Three sales winners is ‘Collaboration’, sellers who will ‘Collaborate with buyers by being proactive and responsive; Collaborate with buyers to educate them with new ideas and perspectives and bring value to the table themselves’.

But first, if you are interested in our services at Digital Sales, check out this quick video:

Consultative & Collaborative Selling – The Sales Consultant

The question is how does one get to a level of account collaboration?  That level of trust and value is usually hard won.  One argument put forward by Schultz and Doerr is that a collaborative sales professional challenges and provoke customers…..’we agree that sellers should ask tough questions, be comfortable with (and, if necessary, create) tension, and help buyers see new possibilities’.  Remember, successful sales professionals ask four times more question, but what type of questions are required in order for the buyer to see new possibilities?

The Sales Consultant – Asking Initial Questions – Opportunity Qualification

Sales research carried out by Neil Rackham (1988) concluded that the best salespeople were not necessarily the best talkers they were the best listeners. They listened first and talked second; they discovered the need before presenting a solution.  Yes, they discovered a need before presenting a solution, but surly they asked certain questions which allowed them to listen?  ‘The Complex Sale’ composed a questioning grid which helps to qualify an opportunity, manage the opportunity internally and forensically questioning the steps involved to bring the opportunity to a close. If you would like a copy of this questioning grid, let me know (my CTA is at the bottom of every page on this site!!).

The Successful Sales Consultant

In essence, by posing questions, a sales consultant can reflectively anticipate the response and tailor the solution. Posing such questions at the research and qualification stage of the sales process.  A successful sales consultant is questioning pre-meeting as a form of research and preparation, validating the opportunity, raising red flags, presenting a form of needs assessment from the customer perspective which should ‘help (s) me (you) determine whether I (you) have a fit before I (you) ever present a solution.  It prevents presumptive selling – i.e., “How dare you present a solution? You don’t even understand my problem!”  It builds a better rapport between seller and buyer, because it compels you to listen.’’ (Complex Sales, 2014).  Before you get to that listening stage of the relationship you must first objectively analyse the buyers roles, their business and career agenda and take a quick snapshot of their DISC profile.

Remember, if you need help with any aspect of your Sales process, consultancy, lead generation (digital and traditional), metrics, motivation, etc.  Reach out, send me a mail ( or give the team a call.

Diarmuid Haughian – Business Development Director – Digital Sales

Dip. International Selling, Cert. Digital Marketing, MSc. BITS, MA Career Guidance

Sales Consultant

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