Guided selling is a sales methodology that can be applied across nearly every type and category of selling within both B2B and B2C environments. This includes inside sales models, outside sales, brick-and-mortar, retail sales, and eCommerce.
In the guided selling sales process, salespeople work hand-in-hand with potential buyers to bring them the products and/or services that best suit their needs. Naturally, this means that sales teams utilizing the guided selling method must have the ability to uncover how purchasers intend to use their products so that they can best advise them. Furthermore, since no use case is the same, guided selling is a highly individualized process that requires significant time and resources to be successful.
To utilize and be successful with guided selling, sales teams must first understand exactly what it is, then learn how to use it, and finally adopt the tactics, techniques, and technology required to remain successful in it.
In today’s completely saturated markets full of similar and competing products, combined with the mass amount of information freely available, buyers are easily and quickly overwhelmed with data. This huge amount of information, which can be both honest and dishonest, may lead a buyer down a path towards a product that is not the best for them.
Guided selling remedies this by connecting the buyer with a genuine consultant that delivers to them the products and services that are the best possible fit for their needs.
To provide the purchaser with the most accurate recommendations as possible, the salesperson acting as the consultant must have a thorough line of questioning prepared that they can use to find the buyer’s true needs and pains that they seek to solve.
Just because you or your sales reps work for a particular company, does not mean you cannot act as a valued consultant when practicing guided selling. There are two levels to which reps can be consultive sellers. The first is within your own organization hierarchy. Especially when working at large enterprises with many products that have multiple versions and uses, reps need to be their own subject matter experts. These sales reps should be able to guide buyers to the product within their own organization that best fits their needs, and not seek to oversell just for the increase in revenue.
The second level of guided selling is when reps become experts on the entire market of products that are available, including competitors. They are also unafraid to present a competing product as a purchase option, meaning they are confident enough in their own offering to secure the win. These sales reps position themselves as valued advisors rather than sellers, and earn the trust of the buyers that they work with.
These consultative are masters of guided selling because they have their prospect’s best interest in mind. If they need a simpler, less complex product, or one that offers a feature set more gear for a specific use case, a recommendation for another product earns massive trust. Typically, these reps also get calls back once they prospect outgrows the service that was recommended to them, and now wants the rep’s advice on their best next step.
For the purposes of this explanation, guided selling will be broken down into brick-and-mortar and eCommerce experiences.
In retail stores or other shops, guided selling happens person-to-person. The salespeople should be knowledgeable and confident enough to speak about products face to face, and be able to give recommendations and advice the customer in their purchase process.
In an eCommerce situation, the virtual nature of shopping, combined with the sheer number of visitors creates the need for another approach. Digital sellers use AI, chatbots, and shopping experiences to sort through customer needs and bring them the best product.
The guided selling process begins with an assessment and understanding of the buyer’s needs. This can be a formal process that takes place through an evaluation or an informal one done via a simple conversation. Regardless of the method used once complete, the seller should have a complete picture of how the buyer intends to use their new product or service, what complementary products they are already using, how it fits into their existing stack, what it is replacing or adding, what integrations are required, and what their requirements goals are for it.
Based on this information, the sales reps will gather a select group of products that best fit the buyer’s needs. They then present their prospect with the options and go through each offering in detail. Acting as a subject matter expert, the seller help the prospect make an informed decision of the best-fit based on the information that the purchaser provided.