Consultative Selling is a state of mind…and preparedness.

Consultative Selling is a state of mind…and preparedness.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

What’s the difference between a sales rep and a consultative approach to selling? Lots more sales for the consultant.

The consultative approach to selling is the 21st century approach to helping customers and prospects buy. But beware. You can’t just go out and change your title. The catch is, you must earn it. And it ain’t easy.

A consultant makes calls and sales just like any other salesperson. The difference is in their attitude, their approach and their commitment.

A consultant is willing to forego short-term gains to achieve greater long-term benefit to him or herself and the customers they serve.

A consultant builds relationships on a foundation of trust, respect and performance.

A consultant gains and builds credibility. In our profession, credibility comes from consistently demonstrating preparedness, knowledge, expertise and genuine concern for the customer’s success in a way that is perceived by the customer to be useful, needed and valuable. You must provide that credibility. You must transform yourself from a salesperson to a resource in the mind of the prospect.

Do you execute the selling process at it’s highest level? Look at the types of questions you ask. List them. Are they extraordinary? Do they make the prospect think in new patterns? If not, change them.

Here are some lead-ins to consultative types of questions:

  • What makes you think…
  • How do you select…
  • What’s most important to you about…
  • Where do you see…
  • How have you employed…
  • What has been your experience with…
  • If you could change one thing about…
  • How would you improve…
  • What plans have you made to…

Consultant is to sales rep what Mercedes is to Ford Escort. Both will get you to the dance, but the Mercedes sells itself. The Ford is a hard sell, especially if they’re side by side. (Which one would you rather be?)

Here’s is the difference between a consultant and a sales rep…

  • Consultants are specialists. Sales reps are selling something.
  • Consultants are respected as leaders in their field. Sales reps strive for recognition.
  • Consultants are confident. Sales reps often fight to gain a positive image.
  • Consultants are articulate. Sales reps are fast talkers.
  • Consultants are considered a valuable resource. Sales reps must prove themselves.
  • Consultants are problem-solvers. Sales Reps tell about their product.
  • Consultants are supposed to ask deep probing questions. Sales reps ask forced questions.
  • Consultants are friends, mentors and advisors. Sales reps have something to sell.
  • Consultants don’t sell. They make recommendations for the prospect to buy. Sales reps sell, sell, sell.
  • Consultants offer real-world solutions that make sense to the customer. Sales reps try to close the sale.
  • Consultants are high paid professionals. Sales reps just earn commissions.

Which are you – Consultant or sales rep?
“Consultant!” you yell, “I’m a consultant!” It’s easy to tell which one you if you take the “dropin test” offered free at the end of this article.

Becoming a consultative seller is not achieved overnight. It’s a dedicated self-discipline that must be practiced every day…Not just a dedication to changing the way you think about selling, but a dedication to changing and enhancing the way you think about yourself and you ability to serve the customer.

Thinking of yourself as a consultant is one thing.
Having the customer perceive you as one is quite another.



Which are you Consultant or sales rep? It’s easy to tell which one you if you take the “Dropin Test.” Just go to, click Access GitBit in the top right corner, register if you’re a first time user and enter the word CONSULTANT in the search box.