Posted On: Jan 12, 2016
Posted By: John Duff
transactional selling vs consultative selling

So all you slightly over-eager sales reps out there, here you go: I give you the definitive guide to differentiating transactional and consultative sales.

1. How They Buy

Transactional customers make up the vast majority of one-time purchases and a significant part of repeat buyers too. They’re looking at price points and ease of purchase and that’s why they often approach multiple sellers at a time in quest for the best deal possible.

Consultative customers are looking to make an investment into a product and that’s why they’d like the benefits explained to them as clearly as possible. To them, price points don’t matter as much as the quality and benefits that the product will bring.

2. How Much They Know (Or Want To)

Transactional customers know exactly what they want and that’s that. Attempts to draw them into a long discussion about your new promotions and packages will turn them off and if you push it they will end up inflamed and that means you wither have a dead customer or a sale that doesn’t cover the cost.

Consultative customers however, want to hear ALL about your discounted premium offerings and will listen with a keen ear. They’re the ones looking for a specific outcome and won’t necessarily know everything about a given product. If your offering will serve their need, they want to exactly how and why before making an investment.

3. The Kind Of Sale To Expect

Transactional customers represent the quickies of the sales world. They know what they want and they’ll get it real soon. Expect high volumes of small transactions and a much shorter sales cycle.

Handling consultative customers, on the other hand, is like making slow, languid love. They don’t entirely know what to expect, so they’ll listen to you actively and stick around for the whole ride. Expect high levels of investment at lower frequencies and a long, complex sales cycle.

4. What Medium To Use

Transactional customers are the kind that make purchases over the phone, on the internet and at the grocery store. Speed, efficiency and price points are what matter to them so it makes sense that they’d use the most convenient channels available. These customers simple dive into the funnel and wriggle out the other side as fast as they can.

Consultative customers prefer meeting in person or at least viewing several samples and experiencing the product first hand before making a commitment to purchase. They’re the kind that walks into the bank to enquire about the benefits of one savings plan vs. another. Even if you do sell to them over the phone, expect the negotiations to take a considerable amount of time, with email correspondence thrown in for good measure.

There you have it! The definitive guide to differentiating between transactional and consultative customers! Although on a final note, I should add that not every customer fits as neatly into these two brackets. There could be vastly different motivations and variables that affect buying habits and sometimes you’ll encounter a mix of the two. But for the most part, customers tend to be either transactional or consultative and by now, I hope you understand what the difference is!