Sales consultants are expensive – I know, I am one of them.
Are we worth it? Well, that depends a lot on who exactly we are talking about. All sales consultants are not created equal. Some are better than others, and so – by extension – some are more “worth it” than others.
The value of a sales consultant may also depend on what you expect to get as a result of engaging them. If you think that a half-day training session will transform your sales organization, you will probably be disappointed no matter how much you spend or who you engage.
So what can I tell you about working with a sales consultant that is useful? Let’s start with this:
You should not work with a sales consultant for too long.
Sounds crazy coming from a sales consultant – doesn’t it? Maybe so, but it is true nonetheless.
A sales consultant doing their job properly should be engaged in an activity best described as “knowledge transfer”. If at the end of six or twelve months the sales consultant is still needed, then one has to ask:
Was knowledge adequately transferred in such a way that it has been incorporated into the daily practices of the organization that hired the consultant?
If not, what did happen? If the sales consultant is to be there for several years, why not just hire someone to do the work? Doing your work and leaving is a job; a contractor might make sense for tax reasons, but a consultant should do more for you than just work.
I used to sell a third party sales assessment test as a part of my consulting practice, and each year, a few hundred sales consultants who used this test got together for a conference. Many of the consultants spoke of retainer fee models that went on for years with their clients.
A part of me always wondered about this. It does seem appealing to get a client, then keep them paying you for years, but I could never accept that intellectually. I always believed that my job was knowledge transfer. If I need to be in your company for several years, it is certain that I will make a lot of money, and I will probably provide a lot of value as well, but it should be clear that no knowledge transfer has taken place.
I speak only for myself here, but that’s not who I want to be as a sales consultant. When I’m done, I want the company that engages me to better understand how to optimize sales through the best practices we developed together. Upon seeing this kind of real knowledge transfer into the companies that I work for, I can sleep well knowing that I provided the kind of value that feels right to me and which benefits the client far beyond the engagement period.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!