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Is consultative selling a bit out of date?

Is consultative selling a bit out of date?

That was the question a delegate recently asked me about consultative selling, it got me thinking and the more I thought about it the harder it was to come up with a decent argument to defend a pure consultative selling approach, I think like all sales methodologies when they are used too often or more commonly in the wrong situation they do become less effective but that doesn’t mean we should turn our back on a sales methodology that still has a part to play in the modern world of selling.

Fundamentally selling has never been and is never going to be a one size fits all scenario mainly down to the fact that selling involves one of the biggest variables known to us, people and they frequently change the rules!

I think the problems occur when we try to become too consultative, when we move too far from our main purpose which is to win the business and too much towards being an adviser, not every sale or buying situation lends itself to a consultative approach. One of the outcomes of the digital age is that more buyers now spend less time consulting with salespeople for their advice as they already have the information they need prior to engaging with a salesperson.

Over the years I have won a huge number of sales by taking a less direct approach and becoming what many might describe as a “trusted partner” but surely the fundamental of selling is to influence and persuade a client or a prospect that what we have to offer is the best solution? If we need to take a consultative approach to selling surely we need to align this approach with an ability to lead and control the sale to ensure that we win the business.

In short I don’t think consultative selling is finished or out of date, I just think we need to think about the context we are using this approach within and if it is the most suitable approach, if it needs a consultative approach then use it, but don’t overuse it when a more suitable method would work more effectivity.

Continue to think about how you sell in every situation . . .


Is consultative selling a bit out of date?

About the author

Paul Routley is an award-winning trainer and one of the country's leading authorities on modern sales techniques.

With over twenty years experience in sales and sales management, starting out in sales at the age of 17 and working his way up from trainee sales person to sales director, working for some of the worlds largest and most well-known companies along the way.

Paul has held a number of sales manager roles throughout his career and spent over 10 years as a sales director.

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