Sales consultants work in every field in which products or services are sold. The sales consultant is the conduit between the manufacturer and the consumer. Sales consultants can work with private, individual customers, or large client companies. In general, sales consultants are experts in the field of selling goods and services. They are hired by companies that ask them to represent and sell their lines to potential customers.
Learning the Product
Sales consultants may or may not have an area of expertise or a type of product or service with which they are intimately familiar. When you begin working with a specific company, however, you must first learn all the ins and outs of the products or services you’ll be selling, including the terms of sales, return and warranty policies, special deals, benefits and features and how to use the items. As a sales consultant, you have a responsibility to two parties. First, you have an obligation to accurately represent the company and its products and speak on behalf of the company. Second, you are obligated to customers and need to give them all of the relevant information they need to make an informed decision to buy.
Some companies will provide you with leads, but normally this responsibility falls to the sales consultant. This means that you need to use whatever resources are available to compile a database of people or organizations that might potentially be interested in your offering. You can use a variety of prospecting tools ranging from phone books to previous sales records. You can purchase databases assembled by professional and trade associations. Your company may provide you with advertising that brings customers to you as well. A successful sales consultant takes advantage of every avenue to generate business and reach potential clients.
The sales consultant uses the leads to make appointments with customers. It’s up to you to arrange a time and place to meet, usually accommodating the needs of the customer. Appointments may take place at your store or office too. During an appointment, it’s your job as a consultant to demonstrate the product and provide any information that the customer asks for regarding the product. If the customer agrees to purchase your product, then you must explain the terms of the sale and make any necessary arrangements, such as collecting a check, cash or credit card, getting a signature on a contract or filling out a credit application for a payment plan.
The effective sales consultant's obligation to customer satisfaction continues after the sale is made. Many sales consultants explicitly make themselves available for any further questions a customer might have regarding the product. For example, if your customer is having a hard time assembling the product, you should be available to them for troubleshooting. Any complaints or grievances, including returns, should be handled by you or forwarded to the appropriate party, after which you can follow up to ensure the customer is satisfied. You most likely will want to maintain continued contact with satisfied customers to build and maintain relationships because the best customers are those who have bought from you in the past.
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