More than ever, value-added advice is essential for sales readiness. Given the advent of digital commerce, without this crucial consultancy aspect of the client relationship, a salesperson becomes irrelevant.

Think about it: It used to be that if a prospect needed a service or product, they had to work with a salesperson to learn about that service, determine if it was the right solution for their need, and find out how much it would cost them. Today, if you want to learn the ins and outs of just about anything, you can just type it into the Google search bar and learn more than you ever wanted to know. The internet has replaced the salesperson as information gatekeeper.

You may be thinking: Yikes — If sales professionals are being replaced by the internet, which can provide all of the facts and pricing on a product, what will I do for a living?

The fact is salespeople are not irrelevant because in some ways, the internet has also created a situation where we have too much information, some of which is not reliable. People feel overwhelmed with all of the options out there, so they are looking for guidance from a trustworthy source. As a result, the need for value-added advice is actually greater than ever.

As a sales professional, you must adapt to this new environment (and your client’s and prospect’s needs), which means taking on the role of trusted advisor to them and their business. In essence, you must act as a consultant to their business.

What is the job of a consultant?

We’ve all heard the term “consultant” for decades now, and you likely know the names of some of the big players offering “consulting services” — McKinsey, Deloitte, and so forth. But what exactly does a consultant do? The term is often used in a vague, nebulous sense.

The role of consultant is basically that of problem-solver. They use their experience and expertise to research and analyze a situation and then offer their opinions and recommendations on potential strategies and solutions.

Maybe a business needs an objective expert to provide guidance on cashflow process improvements. Perhaps a company is looking to expand their business and needs help analyzing the best way to go about achieving that growth. An experienced consultant can offer the insights a business needs in order to succeed — however they define that “success.”

Bringing in a consultant can be a savvy business decision, though it usually comes with a hefty price tag. Businesses must weigh the cost versus the long-term benefit that the consultant can provide to their company.

Become your client’s go-to, cost-effective consultant

Today’s effective sales professionals have figured out that businesses crave the sort of informed, unbiased guidance a consultant can offer. It’s incredibly valuable to a client or prospect if a salesperson can provide this type of “consultation” to them and their company, and even better if there is no additional charge for the advice!

But how can someone in sales — especially a person who works with a large client mix — possibly have time to learn about all of the different industries they call on to the point that they could tell a business owner (who may have been in business for decades) something they don’t already know? How can a sales generalist become a consultant to all of their different clients? Industry Intelligence is the secret to your consulting success.

By using Industry Intelligence to familiarize yourself with a client’s or prospect’s niche prior to each sales call, you arm yourself with the very insights that a consultant would bring to the table:

  • Incorporating the latest industry trends into your presentations and communications
  • Engaging in conversations about common pitfalls and strategies to avoid them
  • Sharing financial benchmarks to quantify how the client stacks up to their competitors
  • Passing along recent industry news articles along with your insights on how the client can apply the information to their unique business

You can even take your consulting services a step further by reviewing local economic data to identify potential growth opportunities or areas where trouble may be on the horizon.

With this knowledge, you can offer your clients and prospects custom solutions and the trusted guidance they need in order to thrive. It’s the very same service as a high-priced consultant, but the client gets it free of charge when they work with you.

An irreplaceable, value-added advisor

Worried that the internet will make your sales role obsolete? Fear not. There are some things a computer will never deliver. When you do your pre-call planning using Industry Intelligence, you transform your role from dime-a-dozen product-pusher to irreplaceable value-added business consultant.

And what’s more, clients will quickly recognize that the industry-focused insights you bring to the table are worth a premium, enabling you to compete on your merits instead of on pricing alone. A computer certainly can’t do that!

Let’s get started! Request a Vertical IQ demo today.


Image credit: The Coach Space, Pexels

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