“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” —
In my work with financial firms, I often see two distinct camps when it comes to sales professionals: order-takers and consultative salespeople.
While order-takers tend to be pleasant people, they have trouble delivering results in a tougher production environment. The reality is, order-takers are better suited to customer service rather than selling because they lack the characteristics that above-average producers possess.
Order-takers lack self-reliance (a need to achieve) and the ability to form a relationship with the customer (empathy) – both of which are needed to move the consumer through the sales process. When the market is strong, order-takers’ lack of sales talent is masked but in a more difficult environment, the problem is all too evident.
In comparison, consultative salespeople tend to perform well regardless of market conditions. The reason? Consultative salespeople possess the right combination of social skills and a drive for achievement that pushes them to successfully complete the sales process. Furthermore, they do not depend on their companies for success or wait for their companies to provide them with help.
Simply put, top performers understand customers’ problems, issues and opportunities and are able to show them better solutions. Thus, if a company wants to be successful in a crowded marketplace, it must not only recruit individuals with the ability to create value and provide insight, but it must train current sales staff to sell consultatively.