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QuickQuestion.jpegIn order to best describe Guided Selling, I am going to reminisce on a time in my life when I was paralyzed with indecision: 8 months pregnant and looking to purchase a car seat and stroller.  I did what every soon-to-be-parent does, and researched all of the different options.   The former consultant in me kicked into gear as I spent hours at night, crafting a spreadsheet with the different features, functions, ratings and prices.   In the end, all I did was overwhelm my already overly-emotional self.  Not wanting to bring my baby home in a laundry basket, my husband and I went to a local boutique which specialized in baby gear.   Over the next 2 hours, a salesperson asked us several questions regarding our lifestyle, our vehicles, our neighborhood, our home and then proceeded to discuss the pros/cons of each item as it related to our needs.  It was a great sales experience and we walked out having spent a great deal of money and, in the long-term, being very happy with our purchases.

Here’s the quick answer to “What is Guided Selling?”

Guided Selling automates the sales experience you might have at a brick and mortar store and applies it to an e-commerce website or kiosk.

Guided selling relies on an information system with a built-in knowledge base to support the decision-making process. It simulates a conversation similar to the one I had at the local boutique to better understand a consumer’s usage, needs, knowledge and experience, while guiding them towards a purchase.  Guided selling is not a series of filters based on features or functionality; nor is it a pure “recommended for you” -type algorithm based on past-purchases.  The purchase recommendations come from the consumer’s input alone, which in their eyes, could seem more impartial and valuable.   Typically, guided selling is utilized for new markets or products where the consumer has little information to go on, or in the case of complex purchases (such as, believe it or not, a baby stroller!)

Looking to learn more about guided selling?  Some good information is provided here, here and here.

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Lana Smith works in content marketing at SAP writing about sales, customer service and marketing topics.

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