The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012 - (Page 55)

WORKERS’ COMP SALES & MARKETING Transactional vs. Consultative Selling BY WILLIAM WALKER ‘W hat do you teach people in sales training, how to pick up the check at dinner?” I’m never surprised by this question. Over the course of a career as a sales trainer, I’ve grown accustomed to hearing it and others like it. Critics believe success in sales is largely a function of the right personality. They believe sa les cannot be taught or learned, and certainly does not require serious study or careful analysis by real professionals. Ask the critics and most cannot recall a single book they’ve read on how to increase sales effectiveness. Of ten, even t he best sa les people a nd sa les managers have a difficult time identifying what it takes to be successful in sales. When asked, most would attribute sales success to natural talent or hard work. But when asked to describe those natural talents or pinpoint which activities sales people need to work hard on, even the best are stumped. Let’s shine a little light on the profession of selling. It may help to know there are two primary types or modes of selling: transactional selling and consultative selling. A transactional sale is one in which the customer’s decision to buy is limited to three issues: FEATURES, PRICE, AVAILABILITY Some clear examples of transactional selling are found in the world of retail. As consumers, most of the purchases we make — such as gas, groceries or personal items — are done so transactionally. In fact, in many of these examples there isn’t a salesperson at all, but rather a clerk or a cashier who simply conducts a transaction. Think back to the last time you went to a mall. You enter the store purposely avoiding eye contact with the sales associate, but within a few moments you are trapped. “Can I help you with anything?” And, of course, without a moment’s thought, you put up your defense. “No thanks, I’m just looking.” God bless retail salespeople. I bet they hear “I’m just looking” a hundred times a day. Why is that? Are customers simply being rude? I don’t think so. The reason customers blow off retail salespeople is because the sale is transactional — that is, the customer’s decision to buy has little to do with the salesperson and much more to do with the product, its price and its availability. In the world of retail, salespeople have little influence over these considerations and everyone knows it. As a result, retail salespeople have little capacity to bring value to the relationship outside of the product itself. From the customer’s perspective, there is little need to warm up to the salesperson when the decision to buy is based solely upon the product, its features, its price and its availability. In this situation, as in most transactional sales, the salesperson is actually more of an irritant than a positive influence. As a consumer, you are thinking, “I could buy this product for a lot less if I didn’t have to pay for the salesperson.” This is not to say all retail sales are transactional. Occasionally, when I go to a Home Depot or Radio Shack, I may actually be eager to talk to a salesperson. But generally speaking, retail sales people offer very little advice on selecting the best products or how best to use them. The relationship is transactional. Why are we talking about transactional selling? Because transactional selling is not limited to retail sales. Chances are you have a sales force filled with grandmasters of transactional selling: experts on the product, how much it costs and when it can be delivered. With so much focus on the product, the salesperson shrinks to insignificance and the profitability is sucked out of the deal. The MHEDA Journal | Second Quar ter 2 012 55

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012

President's Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Ask Your Board
Meet The MBOA
Mackinnon Equipment & Services
Member Profile
Bode Equipment Company's Office Supervisor Meredith Fowler is a jack of all trades
Customer Service Automation
Continued Growth Expected in 2012
The Off-Season
Convention Program - Re-Imagine Your Business
Convention Program
Exhibitor's Showcase Guide
Out of the Classroom, Into the Shop
The Link between Sales and Absorption: To sell more, service more!
Social Media and the C-Level: Objections Discussed
Sucession Planning and the Emerging Generations: Five Trends You Need to Know
Sucession Planning
Sucession Planning and the Emerging Generations: Five Trends You Need to Know
Work-Life Balance: It's All Up To You !
Controlling Your Workers Compensation Costs
Transactional vs. Consultative Selling
The Traits of Great Salespeople
Who's to Say What Is Sexy
Spotlight on MHEDA News
MHEDA University Calendar
New Members
MHEDA Milestones
New Products
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Second Quarter, 2012