Consultant As Salesperson

How skilled are you, not just as a consultant but as a salesperson?

You’ve probably spent a considerable amount of time honing your skills and keeping current on information relative to your niche market. But have you fully analyzed how you’re going to attract and book clients? Do you think/assume they are going to sell themselves on engaging you? You do know better than that, don’t you?

The classic image of the pushy salesman is, of course, far from reality for most businesses and certainly in the world of consulting. You recognize how important it is to maintain your professional demeanor.

But, you also must realize that making sales is at the heart of building your consultancy. And, to be effective, you need to “Pull” rather than “Push” people into your proposition. How do you do that?

Reverse selling pulls prospects into your solutions to their problems.

Your prospective client has one or more challenges, problems that need solving, pain that needs attention. Most likely there is a monetary cost attached to each issue. Your task is to have your credentials available in the places the business owner will look for solutions: on line, in the news, at professional associations and available to other professionals who might refer you.

Maintaining visibility in the niche you serve is a primary goal.

In other words you want to be “findable” in ways that connect you to solving problems or providing needed services. In some cases you will be the only person a prospect contacts, particularly if it is a personal referral. In other situations, you may be one of two, three or more consultants that get interviewed.

In either case, how you come across is at least 50% of the sale. Are you pushing or pulling? Are you practiced at using consultative selling techniques?

Consultative selling = Question-based selling

How do you impress the prospect with your knowledge and problem-solving ability? If you’ve done your homework (which should include some advance research on the company), you will win his or her confidence by asking intelligent, relevant questions that penetrate the prospect’s business.

You will also be able to respond to questions by relating appropriate problem-solving stories drawn from your Accomplishments Library.

Having identified the problem, and confirmed in the prospect’s eyes that you have the wherewithal to solve it, what next? Since our focus is on sales and marketing, we will be addressing this frequently in the future. Stay tuned.

P.S.  The expressions “Consultative Selling” and “Question Based Selling” have become so well known as to become standards in the industry.  If you aren’t familiar with the origins of the terms, you might want to review them here.


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