Salespeople should be Consultative Problem Solvers, not Closers

Posted on 07/01/2014 in Selling Skills

Newer salespeople are often uncomfortable with the idea of appearing too pushy.  This natural inclination is a good one. Salespeople should strive to become consultative problem solvers, not pushy closers. Think about your last good and bad experiences with a salesperson.  The bad salesperson probably talked too much, didn’t listen to your needs, and pushed you toward a solution that they thought you should choose. The good salesperson asked questions to learn about your needs and really listened.  They offered you a solution that matched your needs.  

When we work with new salespeople they are like sponges, really soaking up everything new.  They are excited for their new job, but they also universally express some apprehension.  They do not want to be perceived as a pushy "closer”.  We use a selling skills inventory questionnaire for our sales workshops that identifies a person’s natural selling style as well as their aptitude in the various stages of selling.  The new salespeople typically score on the lower end of the spectrum for the agreeing to action stage.  They don’t want to ask for the sale, so we spend a considerable amount of time discussing the Agreeing to Action Selling Stage to remove the negative stereotypes. 

Asking for the next action does not mean you have adopted the role of the high pressure salesman. There are plenty of examples of how a salesperson can ask the customer for an appropriate next action without being too pushy.  For example, "What if we agreed to set up local inventory for you?  Would you be willing to then sign a long term contract with us?" 

Professional salespeople are consultative problem solvers.  When they stop worrying about appearing to be too pushy, and focus on recommending actions and next steps that address the customer’s issues, they will be more successful.  
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