Hello. Are There Any Consultative Salespeople Out There?

average_consultative_selling_competencyI read a fantastic, albeit depressing article that was published yesterday by Dave Kurlan, founder of Objective Management Group (OMG).

Periodically, OMG mines the data on the thousands of salespeople that are assessed using their tools each year (now over 1 million salespeople in total). What they have learned is that the average consultative seller competency has not improved much over the last four years. Despite so much more information out there about sales effectiveness. And despite the hundreds of training and development companies that exist to try and improve sales skills of sales teams.

In 2011, the salespeople in the research group exhibited, on average, only 47% of the consultative seller skill set. Now, with the most recent data (on 350,000 salespeople) they exhibit, on average, 48% of the consultative seller skill set. Big whoop. A 1% increase.

Don’t misunderstand me. These are not representative of our experiences with the clients we help improve, nor is it consistent with what Kurlan has found for his clients who are “expertly trained and coached.” It’s the rest of the population.

More about the latest research:

  • Includes almost 350,000 salespeople who have used OMG’s sales assessment tools.
  • The salespeople represent over 200 different industries.
  • Half of the assessments were from new candidates/job applicants; half were from existing sales team members undergoing evaluation.
  • Most of the assessments were taken by experienced salespeople.
  • The assessment tools are separate from any training or coaching services (for which Kurlan found entirely different results; namely, a “spectacular rise” in competency).

Being a consultative seller is what will set a salesperson apart from the competition. And, in today’s world where so much information is available to buyers, the buyers are engaging with salespeople later in the sales process. When they do, the salesperson must be able to demonstrate a reason why the buyer should choose them. They must be able to demonstrate their value to the buyer. Consultative skill sets will enable this to occur.

Here are the attributes that combine to make a proficient consultative seller:

  • Asks Great Questions
  • Asks Enough Questions
  • Quickly Develops Relationships
  • Presenting at Appropriate Times
  • Uncovers Issues
  • Understands How Prospects Will Buy
  • Takes Nothing for Granted
  • Able to Ask Tough Questions
  • Able to Listen/Ask with Ease

*Per OMG’s Salesperson Assessment

The bad news is that it’s likely that you don’t have any truly proficient consultative salespeople on your team. And the typical salesperson has only 48% of the attributes of a consultative salesperson.

So what do you do?

  1. Use a more precise process to hire new salespeople who are consultative (we can help).
  2. Determine who on your team can become a consultative salesperson if they aren’t already (we can help with that too).
  3. Engage a sales improvement company to build those skills in those individuals on your team who are trainable. Preferably, find a company like Braveheart that will completely customize the experience to your needs (we obviously can help with that).

Learn more about how we measure competencies by downloading this sample of the OMG Salesperson Evaluation:


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