Relationship Vs. Consultative Selling

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picture stonemen fire

Working in channel sales or indirect sales, I have the chance spending a lot of time with various sales teams.  A good part of the time is spent coaching and training the sales teams on sales techniques, but also listening & sharing of ideas on what methods for given situation works best.

It is an interesting journey! Observing sales forces transition on products, sales methodologies, or even personal sales styles. One particular transition that I have remarked and find noteworthy, is the shift from the steroetypical classic or ‘relationship selling’ to complex, solution or ‘consultative selling’.

Relationship Selling – The Classics!

Selling is one of the oldest ‘jobs’ – not the oldest job in the world of course, urban legend reserving this to another ‘sales & leisure’ category.
The first recorded sales transactions can be traced back to approximately 200 B.C with the introduction  of coin / currency, at a time when the Roman Empire started its expansion outside of its natural Italian birth-place.  And this selling method has pervaded through time and still constitutes the majority of selling activity today.

This sort of selling is simple.  Well relatively, but more importantly: the Products are Simpler!  They carry out a particular function (e.g. knife) or fulfil a basic human need (e.g. food).    No necessary need to customize anything – life as the sales person or even as the buying customer, is relatively straight forward. I need, I have, I buy, I sell!

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