Consultative Selling Definition: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

Consulting selling, defined.

Consultative selling is quite simply selling with a focus on consultation.

It helps to look at the definition of each word individually.

According to the built-in Apple dictionary, consulting is:

the business of giving expert advice to other professionals

And the definition of selling is:

give or hand over something in exchange for money

No matter what you’re selling in a consultative sales process, you’ll be emphasizing the “expert advice” you can provide to someone who needs both guidance and solutions to their problems.

The Definition of Consultative Selling

Given the combination of “consulting” and “selling,” the definition of a consultative sale is:

giving expert advice to someone who may exchange money with you.

In the process of a consultative sale, you’ll need to:

  1. Carefully listen and ask questions to understand and clarify your potential client’s problems

  2. Uncover their past attempts to solve those problems

  3. Elucidate the business value of the problems and their solutions

  4. Propose solutions based upon the stated problems, with an explanation as to why the solution is perfect for their situation

When most people think about traditional selling, they associate it with words like manipulation, persuasion, and negotiation. They think of “closing techniques” whereby salespeople create high pressure situations that can only resolve by getting their way, or rudely walking away from the situation.

This is the exact opposite of the definition of consultative selling.

In consultative selling, we politely tell prospects we can’t help them if we can’t.

In consultative selling, we inspire with our experience and expertise.

In consultative selling, we persist when we know we can measurably improve our clients’ situation.