What’s better, consultative or transactional selling? It depends on the situation and the company’s goals. The problem comes when you need one approach and miss sales because you have the other. As an example, a seller can sell one item to one decision maker OR sell an enterprise-wide solution with ongoing service.
The first approach gets a closed sale faster but the second is a larger, higher profit, ongoing opportunity.
Transactional sellers sell a product’s or service’s features, benefits, price and ease of purchase. The prospects they target already know what they want and they are shopping for the best deal. There is little time spent on customizing the offering for specific needs. They experience shorter sales cycles and higher deal volume but the deals are smaller and lower profit. They constantly need to bring in new customers to meet goals.
Conversely, consultative sellers are problem solvers. They ask thoughtful questions to understand prospect challenges. They collaborate with prospects to offer customized, innovative solutions. Selling value takes time. The consultative seller opens relationships, builds trust, and nurtures relationships over the long-term. They face longer sales cycles and lower deal volume, but their deals are higher profit, larger and longer term. They have a higher rate of repeat business and are referred to other prospects often. They are considered an important resource.
In my experience it is VERY difficult (sometimes impossible), to change a transactional seller to a consultative seller. If you have one kind of seller and need the other, do you have to fire? Not necessarily. Training specifically geared to this change sometimes works but only when coupled with strong management oversight. Set a date for deciding if the change is working and, if not, change to a different seller.