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Offering A Human Sales Experience To Scale Consultative Sales

by John Doe
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scale consultative sales

create a great buying experience where customers feel informed and confident.

Imagine walking into a high-end boutique when you need to buy an outfit for a special occasion. Your associate examines current fashion trends, the facts of the event, your size, your budget, etc. to give you suggestions based on the event and your vision. Then she can refine her recommendations until you find exactly what you’re looking for based on your feedback.

However, when you shop at discount retailers, these experiences are scarce since the biggest help you can expect is a list of products to choose from. We have been examining ways to bridge that gap using technology for the last year. With “Human+ Expert Advice”, three core elements of the consultative buying process are made more accessible to a wide audience.

First, expertise provides a link between the customer and a person, brand, or other entity with a unique viewpoint on the space. And finally, it’s interactive: It explains why its expert opinions make sense, as well as takes customer feedback into account to refine its recommendations.

The human+ sales associate

As technology becomes more prevalent in retail, it will be critical to help novice sales associates develop their skills. Physical stores can be transformed with this approach. It is possible for stores to become places where shoppers go to get what they really need, not just pick up products. Using artificial intelligence systems, Accenture Labs is envisioning a future where novice sales colleagues provide high-quality advice just like the experts. A truly consultative sales associate experience can now be delivered at scale by retailers.

During the conversation, the associate will use both the customer’s vernacular and expert terminology, meaning the customer will be engaged in a human way. The AI component provides expert reasoning while the associate handles the in-person interaction: She does not need to understand the logic of expert consultations.

Human associates and customers converse…

  • A customer asks the associate a question…
  • Expert advice is given by the associate…

Their conversation is being analyzed by AI.

  • The AI system will guide the process.
  • It generates suggestions based on these parameters.
  • This results in improved suggestions from the AI.

The fashion industry was the focus of an augmented buying experience that we built. According to interviews with a professional fashion stylist, not just product attributes such as color and material are considered by the professional model. Stylists often begin their discussions by asking their clients how they want to feel when they wear a particular outfit.

Experts can provide example outfits and rules that the AI will follow, as well as the vocabulary for the human+ associate to use. Customer wishes and context cannot be fully understood by AI. This is why the AI system receives feedback from the human associate following up on questions. Humans should be able to fill in the gaps after the AI has provided a rough answer. Their expertise is communicated through a consultative approach.

Possible futures:

A scalable method for providing richer, more helpful sales conversations is Expert Advice. The experience will be similar to the one that high-end sellers currently offer. In the next several years, emerging technologies will transform the buying experience in many ways. Among them is enabling human+ sales associates.

Researchers are planning the next step in their research, so we can push the frontier to its limits. Using immersive technologies, social media, smart environments, and AI, they’re creating a shopping experience that helps them learn about customers and reinforce their message. The ability to engage customers deeply through education, entertainment, and connections to similar communities will lead to more confident purchasing decisions for companies. We will continue to reimagine the future of retail in the coming months!

By asking questions, listening to their needs, and tailoring your product and service to meet their requirements, a consultative sales associate builds relationships with their prospects. Salespeople who practice consultative selling gain an in-depth understanding of the buyer’s needs and then develop a customized solution to meet those needs. Relationships are the backbone of good sales. A company’s best chance at survival in a competitive sales environment is to develop relationships with their customers that will last.

The Benefits of Consultative Selling

The importance of building relationships cannot be overstated in sales. This makes logical sense since you should focus on establishing a trusting relationship with your customers over making quick sales. Increasingly, B2B customers are disengaging from their companies. Almost half of B2B customers are now ready and willing to pursue other opportunities. According to a Gallup study. The study found that no industry, including pharmaceuticals and law firms, is safe from B2B failures.

In addition to being beneficial to value-added sales, consultative sales are also conducive to it.” Sales reps who approach prospects with a consultative selling mindset are more likely to understand what customers need than reps who have gone straight for a hard sell. A consultative sales associate can typically uncover a great deal of information about a prospect’s desires, so it’s much easier for a rep to suggest benefits or upsells related to the product.

You and your sales team will benefit in the long run by investing time in consultative selling because it values customer relationships. Using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software automated some of this work, however, you still need to keep quality relationships at the forefront of your sales strategy.


Skills & Techniques of Consultative Selling

Prior to offering a product or solution, consultative sales professionals gain an understanding of customer needs. The delivery and positioning of product knowledge based on customer needs and language convert product knowledge into a tailored solution.

  1. Beware of Seller-Centric Behaviors

There are few sales professionals who truly care about their customers, despite their claims. According to a recent McKinsey report, most B2B companies score below 50% on customer-experience measures. The result is a deepening of mistrust.

An effective salesperson needs to understand the person seated next to them. Identifying their problem accurately requires accurate diagnosis. As a result, credibility is built and trust is fostered. It is imperative that you take these steps in order to earn the right to ask the incisive questions that foster dialogue. In order to deliver real value to their buyers, sales professionals must get to the core of the buyer’s challenges.

  1. Authenticity in the Sales Process

Professionals in sales must first give before they receive. Opening the relationship up to the buyer early on fosters openness. When sales professionals are open about their buyer’s challenges and needs, they can diagnose those areas more accurately. From this point on, the seller can explain to the buyer how to fully utilize the specific pieces of information needed to reach a resolution.

  1. Establish a Direction for the Conversation

Directly starting the conversation with a clear destination helps sales professionals understand what the buyer expects early on. Adapting the plan of the conversation to fit the buyer’s intentions is possible if the intended path is divergent from the buyer’s goals.


    1. Create Momentum for Action

A sales professional can handle this dialogue by eliciting feedback from the customer. The periodic checking helps build commitment incrementally throughout the buying process; this helps move the buyer forward. A practice in which alignment with the buyer makes each successive decision more straightforward builds decisive momentum.

  1. Leverage insights Through Questioning

Asking smarter questions allows you to help the buyer connect the dots and determine the perfect solution for him/her. Sales professionals have the chance to propose ideas when they ask insightful questions that get straight to the point quickly. Making concepts into questions can make the solicitation of new ideas less threatening.

  1. Learn How Buyers Make Purchases – or Don’t Make Purchases –

To begin with. Whether through what they hear, what they read, or how they decide at the end, most buyers want to feel good about themselves. Furthermore, these needs include relatedness in addition to autonomy and competence.

  1. Work off of Facts, Not Assumptions

Known as a cognitive bias, anchoring refers to the tendency of human beings to put too much weight on one piece of information. The problem is that sales professionals tend to anchor their assumptions rather than explore possibilities proactively.

Rather than moving away from the customer’s thoughts rather than listening to them, the best sales professionals mindfully engage in active listening to recognize new information or viewpoints. In order to produce the best value proposition for the customer, they do not be afraid to ask tough questions.

Consultative Selling Benefits

Selling involves overusing the words consultative and solution, two of the most misused and abused words in the world. The distinction between consultation and solution is interesting because, without consultation, the solution is essentially a standard product pitch.

Consultative sales associate practitioners enjoy several benefits, including:

  • Improved close rates for new customers and increased business from existing customers
  • This approach provides a competitive advantage by uncovering unrecognized needs
  • that serves as an entry point to larger opportunities within current accounts
  • By building consumer confidence and driving momentum

Consultants vs. Product-Focused Sales

As a result of changes in the market, the transition from product-focused to need-focused selling occurred. In a sales call, the emphasis shifted from the seller to the buyer as a result of increased competition and customers’ better access to information. Due to their greater knowledge and preparedness, modern buyers faced an abundance of information and options, entered an environment of complexity and ambiguity, and had to navigate an environment of increased stakeholder involvement, leading to a shift away from existing solution providers.

The connection between buyer and seller faces increasing challenges thanks to technology, skepticism, and risk-averseness. The result has been a protracted sales cycle or even a complete halt to it. Due to the seller’s difficulty navigating misconceptions resulting from buyer research, inertia arises. As a result, limited access to buyers complicates matters. While sellers of average skill and agility are still able to make the top, average sellers are no longer able to sit idly in the middle of the pack.


The buyer may seem unreachable due to these factors, but sellers must not forget they offer critical expertise of their own. To be able to synthesize value from their resources, buyers are still seeking transparency, authenticity, and credibility. Delivering on these needs can help sellers differentiate themselves.

An overview of consultative selling

You need to spend time understanding your buyer’s unique needs and objectives in order to nail consultative selling. Our goal is to build authentic, personal relationships as well as in-depth research and listening without hard-selling. While prospect research tools and automation will be very useful to consultative sales associates, the most difficult thing will be keeping the seller-buyer relationship authentic.

Keep in mind that your pitch is meant to make your prospect happy, not to increase your sales. Make them feel like heroes in their workplace by offering them a customized solution.




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