What Is A Consultative Salesperson (3 Things You May Not Know)
Difference Between a Consultative vs. Transactional Salesperson
Salespeople will likely never go away, but there are times a salesperson isn’t needed. One of those is not a consultative sale. There are two main types of salespeople: Consultative and Transactional. Simply put, a salesperson disappears when it’s simply a transactional sale. A transactional sale is one that doesn’t require a salesperson to be present and usually goes smoother without him or her. The salesperson often times will mess things up in a transactional sale and will inflate the product/service pricing by being involved.
Consultative Selling Salesperson
Consultative Selling is simply needs-based selling. Consultative selling requires the salesperson to listen to the potential buyer and learn what the problems he or she is experiencing and figuring out if their product will solve the problem being raised. If the problem can be solved, is there enough pain (or problems if they don’t buy) to create a sale. It’s a totally different sale than transactional, and we think it’s better.
This episode we talk about how we’ve started to see the transition to more transactional sales (software, banking, etc.) to the requirement to be a better consultative salesperson. Without the consultative approach, the salesperson likely won’t get the sale. The reason is because there isn’t a strong enough reason to buy on the prospects side. And the consultative salesperson needs to know what those issues are before they can make the sale.
Consultative Salesperson Skillset Requirements
We also talk about the skillset required to be a consultative salesperson. We talk about listening skills, questioning skills, and even some presentation skills. By the way, the presentation skills are more like recapping the pains and problems of the prospect more than presenting why they should buy. Subtle difference between transactional and consultative…actually, not that subtle.
If you’ve struggled to make sales, you’ll want to listen to this episode.
Podcast episode recorded on Squadcast.fm
Want to connect with Bob? You can reach him at Bob@BobFrare.com. Tell him The Slow Pitch sent you!
NOTE: Some links may be affiliate links, which means we get paid a commission when you purchase, but it the cost remains the same for you.
Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.
All right, welcome back, everybody to The Slow Pitch and today we have a special guest. And first of all, first of all, there’s other special guests that’s here. Who hasn’t been on an episode for a little while. Is Lane. Lane, welcome back. Hey, haven’t seen you know why what’s happening?
Yeah, it’s been a busy time a jury duty. We got just all sorts of stuff going on.
Bob Frare 00:28
Yeah, permanent special. Yeah, apparently,
Yeah. And the other special guests that we have is Bob Frare, who is a speaker, he’s a trainer. What he does is he really helps companies with their sales teams, and really helping them evolve and improve and, and business growth essentially. Right. That’s what you’re all about. So welcome, Bob. I really appreciate you coming on.
Bob Frare 00:50
Thank you. Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Lane.
All right. So today, we’re gonna talk a little bit about the what’s what’s happening in the future? What does the future of sales look like, in a sense? So, you know, everybody thinks that sales is always the same, and it’s never changing. But it’s changing a lot. And it’s changing, it’s going to be changing significantly in the near future. And it already is in that transition mode. So, you know, Bob, let’s talk a little bit about where we’ve been in before.
Bob Frare 01:16
Yeah, thank you for the opportunity. I think if we look back just a little bit, a little bit in history, we see how the Internet created a completely different playing field where when you buy online, now it’s been it’s been obviously a few years, but the salesperson is gone. There’s no salesperson, the cost of a salesperson has been removed from online, we would call that back in the day we’d call a transactional type of sale. So it’s really no future there for salespeople because they’ve been purposefully removed. I had people come up to me during this time period and say that salespeople were going to become extinct. They were threatening that they would they said this to be in a threatening way…
Bob Frare 01:57
…threatening your way of life, your work is going away. And I knew that that was not true. Because what remains is were what we would call consultative selling, where the salesperson does play a role is in the mix. And and to the extent that they create value for their customer. How do they do that? And so the future of sales, it’s not any a future prediction. It’s already happening now where you know this Rob every day, you’re in this right, where salespeople first of all, every salespeople on earth will tell you with any history that it’s changed dramatically, just like your opening. And so it’s going to where’s it headed, what’s coming is more value created by salespeople. And that’s also where typically or commonly, particularly in the future, they will be commissioned, paid. So that is a job that also usually has some kind of incentive, beyond salary. For those jobs, those people that have those consultative advisory skills, and know how to position it with their clients should make more money than everybody else, because it’s difficult and you bring a customer to the to the table, you get paid for that. That’s revenue building. So those jobs are there are opportunities are for effective salespeople
That… and that’s interesting, because to me, what I’m also hearing is that you’ve got these younger people out there that seem to think everything just happens, they don’t need to talk to anybody, they don’t want to talk to anybody. And so what you’re saying is, is they’re they’re going to basically change the way that sales is happening, if they maintain that transactional style, right. But the ones that want to make very little opportunities, very little opportunity, yeah, with the ones that want to make a lot of money are going to be doing which is now which is something that has been trends happening, but basically been happening for a while, is this transition over to consultative selling. And so let’s get into
Bob Frare 04:00
Yeah, it’s what has been going on for a very long time. It’s it’s, it’s, it’s definitely in our futures, where the opportunities alive for people who are in sales and and are willing to learn, they may have to learn new products, which is altogether possible. So this consultative role comes with them having knowledge of their product, perhaps or their industry, or even more importantly, their knowledge of their client, what’s going on with a client and how will we bring it out? You do this Rob, right, you’re a value added seller. Right?
Bob Frare 04:36
Anybody. Anybody could sell video services. But look what you guys like that. And you are a perfect example of what I’m talking about, though, and it’s high level skills. All right, you know…
Well, and what I’ve what I’ve noticed is out in the you know, the normal world out there what’s happening is is you’ve got the traditional salesperson, which is push push, push, push, push, trying to get sale, try to get, you know, close, close, close, you know, try to get them to buy you Why are you not buying, there’s just going to expire you all the urgency things, you get this other group that’s like, I don’t really want to talk to anybody, let’s just make it automated. And that’s fine for some things. And I think right now, but then, you know, I, in fact, I was listening to a podcast earlier today. And it was called Built to Sell. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but basically have Yeah, and basically, the whole premise of that show is, hey, build something so that you can sell it off. And the person that was talking had developed an idea or a concept, when to sell that got somebody to invest in buy a whole bunch of it, right. But then they said, We also have this other service. And it’s kind of one of these things. It’s an automated system. And they don’t have to do we need there’s no personal involvement. And they sold the upsell that as well. His upsell helped a lot. What he ran into was a little bit of a problem selling it to the general public without having that interaction with somebody. And understand, yeah, so so to me, that whole transition to consultative selling is a big deal. For those of you that are trying to just make it automated, it’s okay, you can do that with some things.
Bob Frare 06:11
There’s a market for that. It’s billions of dollars worth of right. Yesterday, Rob, I’ll announce it. I’ll announce what I did yesterday on your show for that. Yesterday, I bought a new set of golf clubs…
No, come on. You don’t golf.
Bob Frare 06:27
I have to compete with with with younger people more and more. So I upgraded my equipment yesterday, because and as we all know,
We all know it’s the equipment. That’s the problem. Right?
Bob Frare 06:38
Right. Correct. Correct. And there may or may not be the word senior in my new set. But I ran into, fortunately, a value added seller. Yes. That in a store that doesn’t have them that they’re usually much more transactional. There’s a store in our community that sells golf equipment. This guy, I knew, brought he was a fit me perfectly for these clubs. And I, I told them that I bought them at this time. This is a couple of car payments, investment. Talking. Right? Yeah, I’m talking to they’re not serious. They’re not cheap. He brought value to the table in fitting them. And what he brought to that sale was worth a great deal.
Yeah, I believe that. And so that’s the difference between transactional and consultative. Because you end up with somebody who’s going to walk you through what it is you need, and help you understand what you’re buying. But more importantly, it’s, it’s your decisions, too, right? They didn’t, they didn’t say you need this now hit this club. Now let’s hit this club. Let’s see what your swing speed is. Let’s see how this is. Let’s be almost exactly that. And then all of a sudden, the next year like this one kind of fits your profile. Why do you try these, you’re like, Oh, these are fantastic. Right?
Bob Frare 07:56
Exactly what happened? Have you done this before you list of who you need this equipment for people? Like, you gotta keep up with us? Right? Yeah, I found a consultative salesperson in a transactional sale, and it made all the difference.
Is there something that has happened within the past X number of years, just in general that has caused this change and how sales needs to happen?
Bob Frare 08:20
Well, not only if you think we’ve just been through a pandemic, Lane, and that was pretty remarkable.
Lane didn’t even notice I didn’t even notice pandemic.
What are you talking about? Pandemic? What?
Bob Frare 08:31
You missed a pandemic! so late on…
I’m a hermit.
Bob Frare 08:35
So the, think about the pandemic effects on salespeople, it’s been the world is turned upside down. The future as it’s turning, we are facing enormous opportunities and all kinds of things where a salesperson understands their the value differentiate their, the they’re bringing value, and if they do, they’re gonna, that’s a high paying job. Now, the big thing about this is is Rob, you are another good example, to become an expert at something we have to put many, many hours into learning this often in these, how many hours you got Rob, thelearning about the video business?
I don’t even know, it’s been too long,
Bob Frare 09:20
Lane, in what you do for a living, how many hours you’ve got in learning?
It doesn’t. It doesn’t stop 10,000 hours,
Bob Frare 09:26
10,000 hours to become an expert. So the opportunity may require work that you may, for example, find a product that you need to learn about that you don’t currently know about any kind of software is a great example, right? Where you may have to look learn the product, and that’s part of what we’re talking about. Right? And that earns you high income if if it’s the right circumstances.
Lane, did you have another question?
What skills do you think are necessary for this transition?
Bob Frare 09:57
Well, if you think about it that many salespeople have that act it work independently, right? They’ve got to get up in the morning and they don’t have a clock or punch of figuratively or literally. So people that can do this and can take advantage of these coming jobs are going to have to manage their own time really, really well. Right? Yes, right. You wake up in the morning,
You could very easily as a salesperson, if you don’t manage your time, you could end up just, oh, I’m researching. I’m just doing this. I’m just all this garbage that doesn’t get you in front of people, right? I mean, how many times have I’m sure anybody that’s listening, how many times you realize, oh, it’s lunchtime already, and I haven’t made a single call that is bad,
Bob Frare 10:38
Or anything that would get you to a call. So time management, being able to be results oriented on your own, you have to you have to create your own initiative here, Rob, I think. And that’s, if you can’t do that you’re going to stay on the couch for a little while longer. You can’t do that you don’t get this opportunity, because you have to bring that to the table. You also have to know how to present well. So Rob, Lane, to answer your question, the future high paid salesperson are going to be good presenters, public speaking, group work, and now virtual, they’ve got to be able to come across in audio and on video, like this platform and others, lots of virtual selling going on everybody, lots of it. And if you can play in that on that field, that is a skill that you need to have, you also have to be an extremely good listener. And you have to be able to read people, and what some one of my clients says reading between the lines of people, you also have to, Rob, we were talking about, you have to confirm but you have to do it in a relationship. You can’t it’s not. It’s not a hatchet. It’s a it’s a velvet glove, right? It’s a, it’s a if this is good for you to move forward, then we have mutual win. Right? So those skills, and then obviously someone that can negotiate all of what I just said, is a high level skill. Yep. And Rob, you’re I mean, I’m looking at a perfect example. You’re a value added seller, right?
There’s a lot to be said here, the velvet glove comment is probably dead on. Right? It’s, it’s a very fine touch that it takes for people to feel comfortable opening up to talk about their problems. Right. And, and once you get past that point, now it’s all right. Well, let’s see what our possible options are here. And let’s talk through that just like the golf guy did, right? Or golf person. Same idea, right? You have to walk people through that allow them to make some decisions. And you know, my favorite, I hate to say this, but my favorite thing to do is when somebody asks you a question, don’t answer them. Like just literally, what what do you want? You don’t have to answer every question. Oh, yeah. Just like, wait, what? Why are you asking that question right now? Because you know, and all of a sudden you find out, Oh, well, they’re, they’re trying to make a decision before tomorrow, because this is going to cost this much more because you’re waiting another day, or if they have no timeline whatsoever, and you could be wasting your time for three, four or five, six months, who knows?
I’m gonna stop this conversation right now. If you’re finding value in any one of our episodes, we want you to share it with somebody else. Just tell somebody, Hey, go listen to these cases. Second, give us a review. Tell us what you think. And the third thing, hit that subscribe button so that you always get updated every time we release an episode.
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Bob Frare 13:35
So yesterday, I knew I was buying a new set of clubs, because of the questions that Mike asked me. He asked me about the way I play golf. And he said to me, I don’t want you to buy these clubs today. What I want you to do is go get your seven iron and bring it in next time, we’ll put you in the software and we’ll measure you know you know the drill, right rob you that built building these clubs for me and I when he when he got there, and he was advising me of what to do so that this purchase is correct for he he said, I’m not making any more money on this, but I really want you to have the right clubs. That’s and I got he said I will fit you perfectly. I knew when he was talking like that Rob, I was buying club
…and you had no choice and there was nothing you were gonna do about it.
Bob Frare 14:26
I sold myself he didn’t close me. I closed myself I gave off. I went from procrastinating making this decision to it’s happened. And it was because of him. I put this decision off. I see you got clubs in those clubs in the background over there. So I this is why I need this stuff. Because, you know, I got to compete. Yeah. And I told him I embarrassed him a little bit. It was just him and I said I’m buying these clubs because of your extra value.
I said Yeah, I think that’s That is exactly what ends up happening. And you know, there’s other scenarios like that too. Let me think about it. If you walk into a doctor’s office, you don’t feel quite right. You walk into a doctor’s office, and the doctor says, oh, let’s just do an x ray. And let’s check this and runs check. And they don’t make any decisions. And all of a sudden, it’s like, Alright, your X ray doesn’t look so good. We think we need to do this. And, you know, it’s gonna be seven hours. Yeah, it’s gonna be $7,000. Do you do us? You say, no, no, you’re gonna do it. Because you go, Okay, this is the problem. He’s diagnosed me. And this is what we’re going to do. And you make the same Yeah, same idea. You
Bob Frare 15:36
So Rob, what are their video needs? What are their video needs? What do they want to accomplish with a new video? With that? Look, yeah, it
will totally help me. It’s totally the same thing. Right? So like, where are you using it? Why are you using it? What do you hope happens when they get to the end? You have this in hand? What is it going to do for you? And what you end up finding out a simple things like, Listen, I’m looking to put this on my website, so that people understand what we’re doing. And then make the phone call. And every phone call I get when I get seven phone calls by the seventh one. I’ve got a good solid lead, they understand who I am. And then when they I find all this stuff out, right? And you work them right on through to the point of every sale as a as a $15,000. Sale. Well, okay, so so if you spent $10,000 on a video, not a big deal, right? So whatever the case might be, that’s really what ends up happening is, the more you learn about
Bob Frare 16:26
Rob’s the sales whisperer, you can see it in motion. The You’re a model of what we’re talking about, right and your your product, your product that you have lends itself to a value add from you and Jenn and company as a whole.
I think the other thing to always remember as a salesperson is your job is not to take people’s money, unless it’s going to help them I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned work down where they’ve come to me. In fact, I’ve got an email today. It’s a crazy email I’m looking to create, I’m looking to do this, I’m looking to this. And I read the email, I replied back. I’m sorry, I’m confused as to what you’re asking me, Can we chat real quick. And when the other guy, right, I get on the phone with the guy, he’s explaining something that makes no sense. You’re gonna put money into this, that’s gonna make you no money, you’re doing this.
Bob Frare 17:16
And you goes out Stop, stop, stop, slow down, slow down. That’s The Slow Pitch, Lane. It’s, we use the expression and to describe this as it’s a NASCAR expression where you need to slow down and NASCAR slow it down purposefully. So you can speed up and the straightaways right. So it’s counterintuitive, what you’re talking about, Rob, what you’re perfectly describing, salespeople want to go, go go, but what you’re doing is slowing it down, slow down, get control of it, and manage the sales process. And so to summarize what we’re talking about if people develop those skills, and I believe those skills are not born in someone, it helps if it is. Learned, learned learned process, and 2023 and beyond there are big opportunities for people in sales roles that see themselves as their clients advocates.
Totally agree. Yep. Here’s a question for you. How important is it for a salesperson who’s maybe a little newer or has been around for a while? How important is it to know all the technical details of that product? If it’s… if it’s a manufacturer, let’s say how important is that?
Bob Frare 18:40
Well, the answer is that it depends on the what the customer needs, or to your question that the salesperson has to have a working knowledge of what’s going on? How does this product help the client? That’s what the salesperson needs to know.
Yeah, I think you’re dead on and what you’re saying. And that, you know, what it really comes down to for a salesperson is they get to know enough so that they can answer the question. And if it comes to that, right, but when somebody says, well, the specs need to be this to this. So these particular measurements, numbers, whatever they are, and if that’s truly what they need to have. And the salesperson can say, well, yeah, that that is within, but you wouldn’t need to go any larger or smaller or wider or whatever. Like you need to know that question, right as a salesperson. But do you need to know that? You know, it’s kind of like when Jenn talks to me sometimes and I’m giving her here’s some information, and she says, You know, I just asked what time it is, I don’t need to know how the watch is made. Right? That’s it. That’s really what it comes down to. For a salesperson. It’s the same idea. It’s asking a lot of questions back and understanding and then getting to that point where they’re like, Okay, we’re close enough. Let’s get a little specs together. If you need to bring out somebody you can.
Bob Frare 19:50
Yeah, what’s the message this person this salesperson in front of the client is bringing enough value right what is but it’s also true Mike Mike, the guy who sold me those golf clubs, it was in the questions he asked me, I knew it when he was asking me about my golf swing and was interested in my answer. I said, I’m gonna, we’re gonna build this for you. And he was,
Right. I’ll bet he was genuine.
Bob Frare 20:17
I bought I thought it was and I still do. And it wasn’t, he was genuinely interested in getting me the very best product. And I knew he was going to because I was going to help you, to me to
Listen to what Bob just said to, he said, I felt like he was genuine. To this day, I still feel like he’s genuine. So even even if as soon as Bob left, he went to the backroom and high five someone they got another sucker, right? Yep, that could have happened. But Bob doesn’t need all that I highly doubt it because he cares. And
Bob Frare 20:52
in some ways, it’s none of my business. If I’m not evaluating him as a person, I’m just telling you about this as a customer, that’s the key, that value add piece is very compelling. And, again, if people could bring this to this high value, they should get paid more for it. That’s That’s what commissions for where it’s very common. And we’ll be we’ll be in the future jobs where, because of the motivation problem that we have with our post pandemic blues, that people have lane, that to put more incentive, and to motivate people, we’re going to see more spins are vagues, as my Italian uncle calls it, oh, extra juice. And they’re called commission. It’s called Commission where you get a little piece, piece of piece of the field. Right, and you should make more, but those should be the highest paying jobs when you think about.
I agree. I agree.
So let me ask you a question. So the younger generation that’s coming up now that they’re just staring at their phones all the time, how does this really apply to them, I feel like this generation is more into going to a website reading about something rather than being sold.
Bob Frare 22:03
Well, if you’re under if you’re under 40 years old, are under 45 years old, for that matter, you grew up in a digital world you grew up, you were born into a digital world, Lane. So every generation that I’ve ever known in my life had been suspected the next generation. So I wouldn’t worry too much about it. I’ve met some really smart Gen Xers. And when you teach them the skills we’re talking about, they already have the technical part, when you add when somebody is good at what we’re talking about, and they can be adept digitally, you’ve got a higher earner on your hands.
No, I think I’m thinking more along the lines of the younger generation that they’re the buyers. How does how does this process work better for the poor selling to them?
Bob Frare 22:50
Yeah, if the sale is transactional, its transaction, there’s nothing you can do about it. Because people are researching their own information and coming up and picking what they want. And in that instance, the salesperson is gone. They they they took the salesperson out, they’re not paying a salesperson, right. So those are those are not opportunities for people who have sales skills. Right? What they need, what we need to find is opportunities that are not transactional is kind of what I’m saying. There’s a big world out there. I think I pay attention everywhere you go. And you’ll see what I’m doing.
And I think it’s definitely I think what you’re asking too is like if you’re a younger person who’s always on the phone just wants to grab a transaction, but they encounter somebody who wants to have a consultative sale process. There’s a conflict there. And that’s true. I’ve had that where I’ve had a younger person today, email me and they’re like asking me to answer and I’m like, Okay, give me an answer. I could try. Here’s here’s the number for you. It’s between $1,500 and $25,000… Which one do you want? I don’t know.
Bob Frare 23:52
It’s a premature price question. And late, it’s possible you might not have a buyer there. Rob, you might not have a buyer that more than likely, right. And so if you beat your head up against the wall, trying to sell that person and they want to, they’re controlling the way it’s bought, you could get poor doing that. So you have to think differently. And it’s difficult for people under 40 that were born into a digital world right we being a little older can see a contrast. I’m old enough to I was there when this happened and many many people I have a client right now the average age of the people that work for this client is about 30 years old. They’re all they don’t have the skills they don’t have the soft skills that we’re talking about. They have to learn them and they can is the one of the points I would like to make this is literally all of it. We all have to learn these weird you’ll learn the soft skills. Many people there’s a lot we can talk a lot about this but soft skills or our have been learned in the family late sitting around a dinner table yakking away with your family and soft skills I have learned to negotiate With my family because I was a middle child, and I found out how to act if I to get what I wanted. And in those family unit, I don’t want to get too deep or gone, they’re not there anymore. And so we’re people get their soft skills, and I get them in high school, they’re not getting in college. And so they were they have to get on the companies now have to teach people these skills. That’s the work that I do with companies. And it’s really a cool conversation lane. It’s not a dead end, it’s an opportunity. And we can learn those things that we need in a world that values greater contribution by a salesperson. Really good question, Lane. Really good question.
That’s first time this year. It’s December. All right, so. So first of all, I just want to say thank you again, for coming on. I really appreciate you being on the information you gave us was really good. I think we you know, we talked about transactional versus consultative and then some of the skills that you need. And you know, Lena asked some good questions. To me. I think anybody listening would find this to be valuable. If somebody wanted to get a hold of you. What’s the best way for somebody to get a hold of you?
Bob Frare 26:09
Yeah, my email address very, very simple. Bob@BobFrare.com, real easy, F-R-A-R-E. And happy to talk to anybody that wants to talk about this. It’s all good.
No, no worries. And so I, I will also put your email and your contact information into the show notes. So if somebody you know, has their phone, and they can click that they can email you directly right from their phone. Just know that if you call or email Bob, you reach out to Bob, Bob’s probably going to slow things down a little bit. Before he before he gets you to say yes, he’s going to ask you if you golf, right and get you into the clubs, right? We try to help everybody we can. Right. All right. So with that, just you know, as we close it down, I again, I appreciate it for for coming on. It’s I’m glad Lane was able to make it back on the show this time. So I appreciate that. And until the next time they’ll just remember slow down because you will close more.
Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW. That’s (608) 708-7569. Or you can email them to Questions@TheSlowPitch.com. Slow Down and Close More.
Thanks as always for listening today. If you’d like this podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at The Slow Pitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis and we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on TheSlowPitch.com and we’ll be back with another episode soon.