RAIN Group Sales Blog

Your source for sales advice, tips, research, and insights to unleash sales potential.

A seller’s job is to drive change. The best sellers lead sales conversations down the right path by asking strong questions, setting the agenda, sharing ideas, summarizing and communicating the impact of taking action, involving the buyer in creating a solution, and inspiring action.

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Emotions are powerful motivators of buying. Consider that, in 2019, total U.S. spending in the weight loss category was $72.7 billion according to marketresearch.com. That's a lot of money spent on products and services that help people eat well and exercise more.

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At their core, top-performing salespeople are change agents. They recommend, advise, and assist buyers (what is typically known as consultative selling), and they aren't afraid to push when it's in the best interest of their buyers. Indeed, top sellers are Insight Sellers. These people make five cases to ensure the value proposition for each buyer is as strong as it can be. They inspire buyers with new ideas and perspectives, and influence how buyers tackle their priority initiatives. They question the status quo and don't let buyers accept it, thus redefining reality.

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Selling virtually is a challenge for even the best sellers. You have to change the way you sell and use different technologies to maximize your success. While many of the principles of consultative selling remain the same (i.e., you have to build rapport, uncover needs, inspire with new ideas, build an impact case, etc.), how you go about doing these in a virtual environment is drastically different.

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"Can you send me a proposal?" Sellers love to hear these six words from buyers. Once you submit a proposal, you can move forward to the win. While a good proposal summarizes what you've already discussed and agreed to, a proposal is, at its core, a persuasive document that communicates to buyers why they should buy, and why they should buy from you.

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Show them the impact. Make a strong ROI case. Sell the value. Sales pros tout the benefits of making a strong ROI (return on investment) case all the time. Yet we see sellers time and again who don't know how to calculate and communicate the impact of their solutions. They focus on features in their conversations and highlight the benefits, but don't convey what it means for each individual buyer and the difference it can make for them—financially, personally, and emotionally.

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Written by: Mike Schultz and Gord Smith When it comes to selling financial services, professionals are usually faced with three common challenges: Creating new conversations with potential clients Leading conversations and winning business against stiff competition Maximizing business with current clients The good news is that you can overcome these hurdles. There are specific things you can do in each of these areas to be more successful. 

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There are a lot of opinions on what to do to drive sales success. I Googled the topic and found over 60 distinct pieces of advice for what to do and not to do, but most of the advice was, indeed, just opinions. Any references to research or proven success was tangential at best. You deserve better! Based on our work with B2B sales teams around the globe, as well as data from the RAIN Group Center for Sales Research, where we relentlessly study what the top sellers do and what buyers are looking for, we have gleaned 9 keys to achieving success in today's B2B sales environment.

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Selling like it's 1987 (or even 2007) doesn't work like it used to. The way buyers and sellers interact—and will interact—is changing significantly.

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Since Mack Hanan coined the term in 1970, consultative selling has been the most widely accepted—and most pursued—sales approach. The approach is characterized as understanding buyer needs and positioning offerings as solutions to problems. While this has been the go-to approach for many sellers, massive changes in buying technology and the vast amount of information on the internet is significantly changing how buyers buy at an unprecedented pace.

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For the last 50 or so years, consultative selling has been the go-to approach for most sellers. In traditional consultative selling, the buyer states a need and the seller positions their offerings as solutions to problems. This used to be enough to win the sale. But today’s buyers often perceive sellers and their capabilities to be somewhat interchangeable.1 This leaves sellers stuck in a capabilities battle, fighting price pressure.

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Since the term was coined in 1970, consultative selling has been the most widely accepted—and pursued—sales approach. For the following forty years, advice for how to sell had mostly been a variation on the consultative selling theme.

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Selling. What images come to mind when you see this word? Close your eyes and say the word out loud. How does it make you feel?

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When it comes to business development for professional services, one of the biggest challenges professionals face is finding time to do it all. After all, you don't sell full-time. Your work, whether it's consulting, accounting, IT, financial services, or engineering, is what you do full-time. And that makes it very difficult to find time to create and develop the relationships necessary to bring in new business. There simply are not enough hours in the day to do it all.

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Call it what you like: solution sales, consultative sales, consultative selling—at the core of each of these concepts is diagnosing and connecting the "pain" of the buyer with the products, services, and overall capabilities of the seller as "solutions." Pain + Diagnosis + Offerings as "Solution" = WIN!

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Having spent two decades in the sales training and consulting world, I get asked all the time what I think about this or that sales approach or book. When I do, it tends to make for productive discussion and learning. Importantly, it helps people decide what’s right for them when it comes to selling.

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