What Is Consultative Selling?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Consultative selling is a type of selling technique that calls for an emphasis on the needs of the customer, whether those needs are immediately apparent or not. This is in contrast to other types of selling that tend to focus more on what the client asks for and seeking to meet request without seeking any additional information. The goal of consultative selling is to establish a level of rapport in which the customer sees the salesperson as an ally who is more interested in making the customer happy than in simply making a sale.

Among the various kinds of sales approaches, consultative selling is among some of the most personable. The technique calls for asking clarifying questions in a more or less conversational manner, allowing the salesperson to ascertain the reasons behind the purchase. Armed with that information, the salesperson is able to make more informed suggestions to the customer about products that may be of interest to the customer. In some instances, this approach not only helps a customer to meet the perceived need, but do so in a manner that exceed the customer’s expectations.


One of the easiest ways to understand how consultative selling works is to consider a gentleman who is in need of a new suit. Upon entering the retailer’s establishment, a salesperson greets the customer and is told what the customer wishes to buy. The salesperson leads the customer to the suits and begins to ask questions that will help narrow the focus of the search, such as if the suit is for a particular event, or if the idea is a good quality all-purpose suit that will serve well for many different occasions. From, there, the salesperson can make suggestions based on factors such as the height, building, and skin tone of the customer, effectively leading the client to suit styles and colors s that are more likely to enhance the client’s appearance while still being appropriate for the intended purpose.

Through the process of consultative selling, the salesperson is asking questions relevant to the intended purchase. This can often help the customer feel more relaxed and sense that the salesperson is not focused on making a quick sale but making sure the client purchases something that will be of value for some time. With this approach, the salesperson becomes a consultant or an ally who has the best interests of the customer in mind. Under the best of circumstances, consultative selling not only results in a customer who is very satisfied with this one purchase, but also a client who is more likely to come back in the future to ask for more ideas that eventually lead to more sales.



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