I read a blog post on the site of a good friend and business associate Dave Kurlan, rebutting an article that suggests "consultative selling is dead". If you'd like to read the article here is the link:
Although Dave has had a sales training business for over twenty years, he is also the CEO and creator of the OMG (Objective Management Group) Sales Assessment. His primary business has been to help companies identify and select top sales talent. Selling Dynamics has used the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment (for prospective new hires) and OMG's Sales Force Evaluation tools (for existing sales staff members) for over 15 years. Our clients have made fewer hiring mistakes and have been able to get better production from their existing sales staff.
I read the article and posted a response on Dave's blog which I have included here. Unfortunately, I think there is a lot of misinformation about selling that tends to confuse and mislead people. New selling programs are a lot like diets...new name same basic principles. Losing weight takes discipline and hard work, just like being successful in sales! In both instances, people are "hoping" for the magic formula that will allow them to succeed without either.
I agree with you on this, Dave, and as you have stated I think the author takes liberty’s and “defines” consultative selling in a very narrow context. Similarly, the authors of “The Challenger Sale” do the same thing in the way they define relationships and “the relationship seller” along with some other successful seller attributes.
I would think most savvy sales executives can see through this “repositioning” as what it truly is. Sales training companies making somewhat outrageous statements that seem to defy commonly accepted ideas (beliefs) for the purpose of attracting attention and “differentiating their offer”. They are clever attempts that try to show that “the emperor has no clothes” for the purpose of selling sales training.
Sadly, they perpetuate the myth that there is some “secret formula” that will make what is a tough job (selecting, managing, training and coaching sales people) easy. We all know that developing a top performing sales team takes hard work and effort and that most of the people selected for the job are either unwilling and/or incapable of doing it. The panacea does not exist!
As a sales professional, you need to recognize that the formula for success is not a new program. The formula for success is having the discipline to consistently implement a program based on sound human behavior and sound communication principles. It must also include developing a supportive belief system, consistent activity and behavior management, guided by a selling model that can be learned and duplicated with consistency. We will continue to provide those components for success with our clients and their selling teams.