We’ve all encountered the salesperson who offers to help, and then proceeds to push a product that’s completely unrelated to what we are needing. You might find yourself thinking, “Are they even listening to what I’m saying?”

Well, if the salesperson is taking a transactional approach to selling, chances are they’re more focused on their sales goals than your needs. And for some small, quick purchases in the retail market, this approach is perfectly fine. But if you want to build a long-term relationship with your customer, consultative selling is the way to go; particularly in business-to-business markets.

Consultative selling requires the sales representative to first take the time necessary to listen to the needs and goals of the customer. With this approach, it’s important to fully understand the customer’s problem before offering options and recommending relevant solutions to specifically address the problem. In this way, asking better questions and gathering more useful information provides a strong foundation for a customer relationship based on trust and respect.

Making the switch from the more traditional transactional approach to a consultative sales approach requires new skills and direct behavioral changes. In order to successfully apply consultative selling methods, the salesperson should have a good understanding of the psychological steps that buyers go through in the purchase process.

With the Fathom Consultative Sales Training program, participants are walked through a step-by-step consultative sales process, learning how to best interact with each customer and how to more effectively meet their needs. In this intensive, hands-on training program, sales representatives learn to focus on each client’s particular situation, challenges and vision to ultimately partner with them and build revenues.

Most importantly, solid consultative selling skills enable salespeople to determine how their company and products or services can provide meaningful value to a client — even in a highly competitive, saturated and commoditized market.

How can we help you build better relationships with your customers?

John Males is Founder and President of Fathom Corporate Training. With more than 20 years of experience in management, sales and negotiations, he helps clients increase employee satisfaction, lower turnover, increase revenue and raise profit margins.