- What is a consultative sales approach
- Build rapport
- Build trust
- Sell your product
How do you create a strong sales pitch?
Let’s be honest, the market feels crowded with too many salespeople always trying to sell something. On top of that, the working world is changing with hybrid work models, an increased need for flexibility and an increase in technologies businesses are trying to decide between.
At Locafy, we love the consultative sales approach. It’s all about building a strong relationship with our clients to ensure that our products work for them over time. Here’s our take on how to create a strong sales pitch, based on what our experts had to say.
A consultative sales approach is a sales strategy that is centred around developing a real relationship with your client. With trust and an understanding of what success means to them and knowledge of their pain points and why they are there, you act as a guide and expert to help them make the best decisions for their business. With this method, you are selling the client on the value of a partnership with your business, not just your products.
These days, businesses don’t want to be sold to, and they don’t have extra time to be wasted by pushy salespeople. By putting in the time to take care of your client’s business needs and forming a lasting relationship with them, you are both rewarded with dependable support from the other in the future.
In the B2B world, consultative selling has become the norm, meaning you’ve probably heard of it. But how do you stand out from all of the other business-to-business companies trying to build relationships?
We’ll say it again. Small businesses don’t want to be sold to. They’re already doing their best to navigate a rapidly shifting market, full of technological advances and workplace disruptors (we’re looking at you, covid).
So how do you pitch to a local business client and actually make a connection with them in the first place? Here are some tips to get you started.
The first step in creating a consultative sales pitch is to know what you’re selling.
According to LinkedIn, the 3rd most common reason a sale is killed is that the salesperson does not understand “their own product or service,” and the 4th is because they do not understand “their competitors’ products and services.”
And the top sales killer? When a salesperson tells the client misleading information about the product.
As a good salesperson, avoid these sales-killers by knowing the following about your own business and product:
Once you know these things and can properly represent the value of what you’re selling, and will be able to properly pitch to clients.
Learn how to explain your product in at least two ways, just in case a client doesn’t understand one explanation or another. This will allow you to illustrate value to them no matter their learning style or familiarity with the product.
TL;DR: When we say to know what you’re selling, we mean more than just the name of the product and two or three benefits. What is the core purpose? How can it make a noticeable impact in someone’s life day to day, week to week, and month to month? What emotions surround success with the product?
Your first interaction with a client doesn’t have to be too deep, and it definitely should not be your entire sales pitch. Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship; don’t put your lead in conversation jail and make it all about you.
Here’s a good way to start: Introduce yourself and your business. Be straightforward, to the point, and have a one-liner prepared to describe your business. For example, Locafy’s one-liner could be something similar to “We help local businesses show up on the first page of search results with our patented and incredibly fast technology.” Your introduction should give your clients confidence that they are talking to a competent person who has something intriguing to share.
In consultative sales, you always want to be on the same page as the client. Don’t bombard them with industry-specific jargon or offers. Just keep it simple and introductory until you properly feel acquainted and the basics of your relationship have been established.
Once you have properly introduced yourself and your product, it’s time to hand some control back to the client and listen to what they have to say. “Not understanding my company and its needs” is LinkedIn’s 2nd highest killer of sales, so it’s an important mistake to avoid.
Every client is different. Some will be highly organized or open, able to quickly tell you everything you want to know about their business. Others may prefer to have you lead the conversation with questions or other means. In both cases, make sure the client feels that they are in control of their own story.
In this discovery period, your goal should be to learn as much as you can about your client:
But it’s not enough to simply sit back and ask these questions.
At this stage, you need to be actively listening and understanding where the client is coming from. They need to feel that you are present with them and care about what they have to say because they don’t want to waste their time.
As you progress through this ‘getting to know you’ stage, you need to consider the kinds of questions you are asking the client beyond, “Can you tell me about your business?” Easy questions such as that will allow you to understand the general industry that the client is in, but you’ll need more to go off of to close the sale.
It might take time, however, to gain the client’s trust enough to begin asking medium or high-risk questions, no matter how much the small business wants you to provide solutions for them. Conversations about their future objectives or margins are more sensitive and require trust.
Start small with your sales pitch once you have a sense of what the client's needs are. You can do a show and tell to demo your product, and give examples of its past successes and value to other clients. At this stage, you are still educating the client, but also showing them how the product fits their needs.
The power dynamic can often feel unbalanced during a sales pitch. Luckily, the consultative approach can even the playing field. Each party is bringing something to the table and should have the confidence to be direct with the other as equals.
Remember though, every client is different. You will need to ask different questions at different times depending on who your client is and what their needs are. With a consultative sales approach, it is up to you as a salesperson to properly gauge where they are at in the process.
This approach is about forming a strong business partnership that provides long-lasting value to both parties. It can take time. While you’re succeeding in making sales, the client is succeeding by finding solutions for their business.
At Locafy, we feel confident during sales pitches because we can assure our clients that they are safe with us. One way we do that is by offering a 30-day cancellation option. While this option doesn't act as a guarantee that we will hit the target 100% of the time, it does give our clients the choice and power to make the best business decision for themselves. We trust our products, and by not tying clients into contracts right away, they can share in that confidence too.
Offering some sort of quality assurance or customer experience guarantee can be a great way to help even the most hesitant clients take a shot with your product.
In consultative selling, you’re not just selling a product. Done right, you are actually a consultant or educator, guiding the client through an ecosystem in which you are the expert. You are acting as a trusted advisor to them.
The questions that you ask and conversations you drive need to be relevant and necessary, allowing your client to see where the conversation is going, never blind-siding them. Small businesses don’t want to be sold to, rushed, or made to feel that they’re just a source of income for you. They want simple solutions.
Small businesses are too busy doing their day-to-day to follow every market change and new strategy update. Be the one they can turn to as the expert, educating them on possible next steps and remedies/solutions to their problems.
LinkedIn’s 2021 state of sales report says, ‘89% of buyers describe their sales reps as “trusted advisors.”’
So you’ve gotten to know your client, built trust, and are ready to start driving home the sale. Here are some final ideas to keep in mind to help you land your pitch.
No matter who your client is, budget is important. Once both sides feel secure and confident in the partnership, you need to learn their budgetary restrictions and breakdown. This will help you understand your client’s needs, which product to offer, how far you can push your product, and when to ease off.
Does your client want to spend their budget across multiple solutions, or do they want to focus it all on one key area?
Markets are changing, interest rates are rising worldwide, and local businesses are looking for new solutions to help them build stable foundations that will get them through it. You and the client need to be on the same page. Budget doesn’t only tell you how much you can make off the sale, it also tells you the type of success your client can expect.
How Locafy approaches the budget conversation
We dismiss the notion that bigger clients don’t need our local search products, and that smaller clients don’t have the budget for them. Through show-and-tell, we show our clients that our solutions are a cost-effective way of being found, chosen, and trusted online (more on show-and-tell later). In fact, through SEO’s potential for exponential growth over time, any budget allocated to SEO can produce big returns.
With all of the information you have learned by now, you should be able to see where the ‘gaps’ are in your client’s business- the places where their services or products could be improved, or where your products could add value.
If you don’t have a gap, you don’t have a sale.
It’s common that a client won’t know what’s missing or see any room for improvements. Remember that small businesses are time-poor and don’t have time to keep up with industry trends. They can’t sift between what’s right and what’s wrong for them, so it’s really your job as their trusted advisor to educate them and help them succeed by filling in the gaps in their knowledge and the gaps in their business.
During your pitch, it’s a great idea to use traditional pitch decks and other visual aids only as an anchor point to help you and your client focus. It should be your explanation of the product and the story you tell about it that is the main event.
Show simple examples of how other businesses have used your product, how the product or service works, what the client can expect, examples of where it could have been used, and how this client can use it in the future.
Here’s an example:
Here at Locafy, we’re proud of our local search products, our knowledge of the industry, and how we fit into it. That’s why we don’t hesitate to tell our new clients the facts to outline why local SEO is so important:
Statistics like these provide our clients with proof that local search is important to the success of their business, making it easier for them to see how Locafy products will benefit them.
And that is exactly what you want. Through your consultative pitch and demonstrations, your client should see how your product works for others and will work for them too
Every local business is unique and will have different perspectives and different problems. You need to be flexible and creative in your pitch to your client to make product work within the limitations of their business.
In today’s landscape, the preferred solution for any client is usually the simplest option that also saves time and money. But there could still be multiple solutions that will work.
In that case, look at who is most impacted by the current problem that the business is facing. Check if it’s a problem of visibility, lead generation, or general efficiency. Maybe different decision-makers in the business need to get different outcomes and should be brought into the conversation.
Whatever the situation, be flexible to the client’s needs in order to find the best solution for everyone involved. As time goes on, that flexibility will ensure future sales for you.
No matter the product that you are selling, you are bound to face some objections. Your job is to patiently hear them and use them as an opportunity to further educate your client.
Locafy hears the same objections about selling SEO all the time, so much so that we actually wrote a complete blog post on how to overcome them! But since we’ve heard these objections a lot, we know how to handle them.
For example, if a client says ‘we already do our own SEO’, our Locafy reps acknowledge those efforts and show them that we’re not taking away from their SEO strategy, but adding on to it. Locafy products are an additional SEO tool that can help our clients get found faster online and enhance their reach.
Find out the common objections you may hear about your products, and learn how to respond to them in a constructive way. Your client’s worries or questions shouldn’t be dismissed, but validated and addressed as needed. By bringing up objections, your client is giving you the opportunity to really show off how strong and versatile your product is.
Using the consultative sales approach to pitch your product is a fantastic way to drive home sales. While it takes time to build a partnership, the rewards are many. You will be able to offer your clients ongoing solutions for their business, ensuring future sales for yourself, and new successes for them.
Keep your pitch simple and progress your business relationship according to the needs of your client. When you move at their pace, more trust can be built between each party, you will learn how they like to work and be able to find the gaps where your product will be beneficial to them.
When you work as a trusted advisor for your client and not just as a salesperson, you can be confident that you are adding value to their business, and yes, that your sales pitch will land.
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