Every business has their own sales methodology. No matter how big or small your enterprise is, whether you know it or not, you have a preferred way of selling.

So, how do you sell?

The goal of inbound sales is to sell what you create, also known as the consultative selling approachand it can make a world of difference to you, your customers, and your business.

Consultative selling is mainly focused on the potential customer (the lead) and their experience throughout their interactions with you (the salesperson). It’s about discovering ways to provide your leads value and make it about them instead of your product/service/business. This solution-based approach is built around what the lead wants and needs, not on what you want and need from the potential customers.

Consultative selling is an approach made up of six principles:

1. Research

The research phase involves using lead intelligence you’ve gathered as you have acquired each lead. If your business is doing inbound marketing well, you’ve collected data on leads such as:

  • Company size
  • Pages visited on your site
  • Email preferences
  • Social media behaviors

And even more significantly, you’ve gathered lots of information that tells you exactly what type of content your lead is most interested in, which helps you determine the questions they have and problems they are looking to solve. Before you make your next move in the process, ensure you have researched the lead thoroughly.

2. Ask

As you speak with the potential customers, be sure to ask open-ended questions. You might be tempted to assume you already know everything about your lead thanks to your thorough research, but this is a mistake. Allow the lead to volunteer information about themselves as a way to build trust between yourself and your potential customer.

To discover what the lead’s goals, plans, challenges, and possible timeline are, ask questions that start with the words Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. One of your greatest sales tools is asking questions.

3. Listen

Actively listening is the most important thing a great salesperson can do. When you are focused on understanding what your potential customer is saying, the information they share can help you to qualify and close the lead. Pay attention to their tone, pitch, and enthusiasm level to decide what your next move should be.

4. Teach

When you are always listening, you need to be responding – and as you respond, you should be looking for opportunities to teach. However, keep in mind that you are not educating them on your product or service. Instead, help the lead learn to create a strategy to reach their goals and overcome their challenges.

The solution-based sales approach focuses on supporting the lead, no matter what – which may or may not involve your product or service.

5. Qualify

You should always be qualifying the lead. Qualified or not, any lead is worthwhile in the consultative selling approach. In the process, you are always friendly and helpful, whether or not you end up making a sale. The difference is time. Therefore, the sooner you identify a lead isn’t the right fit, the better.

At the end of the day, you want to provide the most attention and spend the most time on your qualified leads.

6. Close

When you do have qualified leads, this step is a total breeze. They have the budget and authority needed to commission the purchase. The closing phase should feel natural both to you and your lead. If you’re consistently closing leads that are the right fit for your business, your customer retention rate won’t suffer.

Most salespeople perform at their highest when they are working around a repeatable sales process they know works for their business. So what are you waiting for? Use these six principles to craft your own consultative selling approach and start creating a new kind of sales experience for your leads!