What is Transactional Selling and How Does it Work?

Written by Vanja Maganjic


Transactional selling is one of the most common sales tactics out there. It provides quick results and customers respond favourably to it. In this article, we’ll explain the importance of transactional selling. 

In order to do that successfully, we’ve included comparisons to other sales methods, like consultative and transitional selling. Although theoretically, transactional selling differs from these other methods, you’ll see that they have some touch-points and the influence market changes have on sales efforts. 

What is transactional selling and how does it work?

Transactional selling is a method of selling where the sales representative contacts the customer first and uses negotiating tactics in order to sell products or services. It can at times be a lengthy process, including prospecting, conducting sales meetings and such.

With that being said, transactional selling mostly has short sales cycles. This is because there is no relationship building between the customer and the salesperson, at least in theory. As soon as the sale is done, so is the relationship with the customer. 

Transactional sales are usually one-off sales that put a lot of focus on the price. Sales professionals will present the offer without talking too much about features and benefits because transactional sales are not focused on the value of the product or service. 

A lot of time, transactional selling leverages scarcity, meaning, sales agents are trying to move products quickly. Scarcity represents creating offers with time limits. For example, Black Friday deals last for 24 hours. 

black friday

It creates urgency in customers’ minds and can lead to FOMO (fear of missing out). If your customers are feeling like they will miss out if they decline your proposal, they will be more inclined to take you up on your offer. 

scarcity example
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In transactional selling, reps benefit greatly from a better understanding of their customers, which comes with more research and a lengthier sales cycle. Since customers want a personalized approach, they yearn to hear about the benefits your products and services can provide them. 

Transactional selling features
Sales cycleshort
Focuson the price and product
Type of salesone-off sales

Transactional vs. consultative selling

Compared to transactional selling, consultative selling focuses on the long haul. Consultative selling is a sales method that has an extended sales cycle and puts the main focus on improving the lives of the customers by solving their pain points. 

Consultative selling addresses long-term goals, instead of looking for a quick fix. Sales professionals who do consultative selling build long-lasting relationships with their customers. This leads to selling more products and services, but also to upselling. 

This is the method customers are more appreciative of. However, it doesn’t work for every industry, product, service or customer. 

Consultative selling is a great option for high-end products and services, as well as any brands that are up against stiff competition. 

methods of selling
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In transactional selling, the sales representative contacts the customer first. In consultative selling, it doesn’t matter who started the conversation. In this case, communication is a two-way street and the focus is put on building a relationship with the customer and earning their trust. 

Consultative selling involves a longer sales cycle that includes a lot of back and forth communication that leads up to the sale. 

Transactional and consultative selling have a few touchpoints. We’ve said previously that the difference between these two sales methods is whether the salesperson is building a relationship with the customer. 

In theory, transactional selling doesn’t include any type of relationship-building with the customers. However, these types of divisions aren’t realistic in today’s market. Whether you’re using trusted eCommerce platforms to sell or have your own website, you can’t go without building strong customer relationships.

With CRMs that help you shape your selling process and keep track of every lead in your sales funnel, it’s easy to automate large parts of your communication. That alone leads to creating a better relationship with customers. 

This has become an important part of sales, both in B2C and B2B. Customers have more power than ever to research their options, understand your place in the market and make an informed decision. 

Nowadays, clients aren’t looking only at your products and services, but also at the brand’s values, beliefs and goals. The more you personalize your approach, the better response you’ll receive from customers, which is why nurturing relationships with them is so important. 

Transactional vs. transitional selling

Transitional selling always begins with a customer reaching out to the brand. It may be that they want to find out more information about a certain product or service and the salesperson will recognize it as a possibility to make a sale. 

It’s not as proactive as other methods but can be just as effective. We often hear salespeople talking about how to sell without being too pushy. This is a great method for doing just that. 

Transitional selling works on the basis of listening to your customers and figuring out a way to move the direction of the conversation towards upselling them. That’s why it’s called transitional selling because you need to transition the conversation towards promoting a new product, a better package deal, a discount or something else. 

The difference between transactional and transitional sales is the length of the sales cycle. In transitional sales, salespeople are usually focused on building long-lasting relationships with customers, which take a long time.

That type of sales method bring in more repeat customers and upsells, while transactional sales focus more on selling to different customers.

Transactional sellingTransitional selling
Anyone can start the communicationThe customer starts the communication
ProactivePassive
Short sales cycleLong sales cycle

Top 4 tips to get better at transactional selling

Now that you understand the importance of transactional selling, it’s important to research different tactics that could help you become better at it. That’s why we’ve created an actionable guide that will help you sell more and increase your revenue. 

Focus on the price

The best way to make a quick sale is to have a great price. Sometimes all it takes is being cheaper than some of your competitors. However, in order to do this, you need to understand your place in the market. 

Do your competitors charge more because they offer more value, or are they overcharging? If your offer is similar to your competitors, but your prices are noticeably lower, you need to focus on that point in your sales and marketing efforts. 

There are two easy ways to do that:

  • Explain that you bring the same amount of value for a lower price
  • Market your brand as a budget-friendly option

Everybody loves saving money, no matter how big their budget is. Make sure that all your marketing and brand messaging focuses on your amazing prices. 

However, if you can’t afford to bring your prices down permanently, think about creating short-term discounts. 

They are great for increasing the number of your sales. The important thing is to know how to limit your discount. Our advice is to create a launch campaign that will promote your discount before it becomes live. 

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Create excitement with an email campaign and social media posts and ads so that when your discount drops, people will react. Make sure to put a time limit on the discount. We suggest a week max. Don’t go overboard, because you want to create a sense of urgency. 

Once you know the time frame of your discount, spotlight it with time tickers in your email campaign and in the header of your site. Also, make sure to avoid any distractions that may deter your clients from completing their purchases. 

Keep the design clean and the navigation easy. 

Build a relationship with your customers

Nurturing relationships with your clients and personalizing your message based on their placement in the sales funnel helps you achieve more conversions as well as repeat business. 

Once you know your client’s needs and how they use your products and services, you can market yourself better and provide a solution fit for their exact needs. A personalized approach is the better way of going about your sales, as well as the preferred method for clients. 

They feel seen and heard and enjoy talking to people who already come prepared, instead of starting from scratch every time they communicate with your company. It’s not realistic to think you’ll be able to speak at length with all your clients. Among other things, the trick is to automate your messages via a reliable CRM. 

Find the best tool for you and create messages for chatbots to start conversations with. Next, craft emails for different stages of your sales funnel, which will help you engage your leads. 

Solution selling
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When it comes to your existing clients, try engaging them as well. The more they grow, the better your chances are at upselling them. Don’t let your competitors steal them over with a better nurture strategy. 

Make sure your marketing team is reaching out to them with any news about your product or service. Whenever you launch a new feature, notify them with a short email and make sure they’re the first ones to know about any upcoming discounts. 

Other ways you can engage your existing customers: 

  • Share case studies you know will inspire them
  • Share educational material like white papers and e-books
  • Create online courses that explain how to use your service or product for maximum gains
  • Ask them to write reviews on Google or Yelp and similar platforms

Engage in active listening

The less salesy your approach is, the more customers will want to talk to you. In order to achieve that, you need to conduct active listening. It means paying close attention to the customer’s tone of voice, choice of words and body language.  

active listening chart
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It’s important for your clients to feel heard so try not to interrupt them while they’re speaking and make sure they know that you’re focused on them, instead of securing the purchase. They will tell you the issues they’re facing and what they expect from your solution, so all you have to do is listen to them and answer their questions. 

Don’t go into sales meetings with a script and expect all your clients to react positively to it. You need to personalize your approach and address their specific needs. 

Some techniques you can use are: 

  • Mimicking their body language
  • Asking open-ended questions
  • Repeating customers’ ideas to let them know they’re understood

Know when to talk about your brand

For the most part, salespeople will agree that customers are more interested in the benefits your solution can provide, rather than hearing about how you got started in the business. There is a time and a place for everything and finding the perfect time to talk about your accomplishments and visions should not be your focus. 

Talk to your customers about how you can help them achieve their goals and elevate their business. Have them share their expectations and short and long-term goals and focus the conversation on that. 

Make sure they leave your sales meeting feeling confident that you’re the right pick for them. It may sound counterintuitive not to talk about your company, but if you want to stand out and leave a good impression, you need to focus on the benefits of your solution, rather than the features and components. 

Help them see that if they choose you, their future is bright, instead of taking them on a walk down memory lane. 

Conclusion

Now that you understand the difference between transactional, consultative and transitional selling, you know which approach will work for your brand. However, as we’ve mentioned before, all these sales methods have touch-points and often the thing that works best is a combination of sales tactics. 

Doing research and understanding your client base will always show results so don’t shy away from putting in the work. It will not only help you in individual cases but also in your overall marketing and sales strategy. Once you understand your buyer persona, you can craft effective brand messaging. 

If you’re interested in selling more and automating your sales process, sign up for our free trial and find out how easy it is to create and send professional business proposals. 

About Vanja Maganjic

Vanja Maganjić is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.
Categories: Sales Tips