Schools Training

Consultative Selling, Say What?

13 NOV 2012
Career Path : Business

Consultative selling is a seven-syllable way of conveying what is at heart a very simple concept.


You don’t have to be a graduate of sales leadership training to be able to grasp it.


Consultative selling is based on building a foundational relationship with your prospect before launching into a list of all the bells and whistles of your product and service.


Think of it this way: conventional selling is product-based. My product is great. You should buy it because… But consultative selling is prospect-based. Who are you? What are your needs? How can I best help you? It’s a subtle shift in perspective.


Sales coaching in this kind of selling teaches salespeople to take their time with the client, to view them as a relevant, even indispensable, source of information. A salesperson engaged in this kind of selling relationship is actually conducting an informal method of market research, by taking the time to find out what solutions their clients would need or wish existed.


Sales leadership training for this kind of selling teaches salespeople to view prospects as partners, with whom to work towards solutions. It does not assume that the salesperson knows the solution at the beginning of the process, or that the prospect does. The choice of product depends on the answers to the many questions that the salesperson puts to the client. In consultative selling, there is no marching in and saying, “This is what you need.” Nor can the salesperson meekly give the customer what they claim to need at first interaction. It is a more careful, thought-out process.


That said, consultative selling doesn’t work for all situations, for, of course, in some situations, the client does know exactly what they want, and would be annoyed by unnecessary questions. They might resent a salesperson trying to slow down the process, and stand in the way of a sale. That is why sales coaching sessions devoted to this style must also teach salespeople tips for deciding on how and when to use it. In what kind of situations is a relationship-based selling approach to be preferred? In what kind of situations should it be avoided? Many a sales leadership training session has been devoted to answering these difficult, but crucial questions.


So what might sales coaching in this style of selling look like? It might involve the following:


  • role playing
  • participants may be asked to clearly establish a goal, such as “Learn more,” or “Ask questions,” for each interaction with a client
  • learning how to let go of the pitch as a crutch
  • collaborative problem solving


To sum up, consultative selling will not be right for all situations, but for some situations, it will be the best approach possible. The right kind of sales coaching can teach a salesperson to recognize which situations are best suited to this customer-based selling style.



Visit Fusion Learning Inc. for more information on sales leadership training.