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Most Powerful Sales Approach for Consultants Ever

By Sean McPheat

The following is the most effective and powerful sales approach of all. However, it is not a bunch of fancy words, a slick set-up trick or a crafty confidence building scheme. In fact, the most powerful sales approach ever, is not technically an approach at all: it is a philosophy; a way of thinking and communicating with today’s educated and sophisticated buyer.

This concept works well in any profession selling most any product or service. However, in the consultant business, it is all the more powerful.

The Concept
The concept of this selling paradigm rests in two factors:
A. To sell a solution, there must first be a problem.
B. To be and true consultant and advisor, people must seek your advice

So let us examine the approach by first defining the two factors above: a solution and consultancy.

A. Solution
Everyone talks about solutions selling and providing their clients with solutions. Well, do you know the actual definition of a solution?

Encarta Dictionary:

  1. A way of resolving difficulty: A method of successfully dealing with a problem or difficulty


  1. An action or process of solving a problem
  2. An answer to a problem

How can you present a solution without a clearly defined problem?

B. Consultant

Encarta Dictionary:

  1. An expert who charges a fee for advice


  1. One who gives professional advice, an expert

How can you be a consultant if people do not seek your advice because you have expert knowledge?

The Approach
This sales approach addresses both issues of the solution and the legitimacy of your consultancy.

Simply begin asking questions with the goal in mind of asking a question that
the potential client cannot answer.

Some prospects will come to you with questions for which they need answers, while others do not know the questions either. In any case, you must quickly find a question or two that the client has not yet thought of, concerning their business.

Once you “stump” the client, it first solidifies that you do indeed know more—you are an expert. Second, the natural next step is for the client to ask your opinion on the matter, or seek your advice!


“Well, Mr. Prospect, I believe I understand the situation with your I.T. firm. Let me ask you though, have you considered what the impact will be to your business when Microsoft releases their new software next fall?”

“Ahhhh… well…, not exactly. What do you mean?”


The faster you can uncover a question relating to a problem that the prospect is unaware of or cannot answer, the faster you become a consultant who can offer a solution.

Sean McPheat is regarded as a leading authority on modern day selling. Sean has appeared on CNN, ITV, BBC and has over 250 other media credits to his name. Sean founded MTD Sales Training in 2001 and since then they have helped over 50,000 staff. Please visit Sean’s Sales Blog for his latest musings and tips. Sean also offers free audios, videos and sales tips.

4 thoughts on “Most Powerful Sales Approach for Consultants Ever

  1. Interesting idea…will have to test this out!

  2. Simple, but true! The object however is not to intimidate the client, but to earn some credibility- I suppose

  3. I’d definitely back up what Sean says – with a small caveat.

    In times when clients are doing much more of their own research up front, and when many believe they know what their problems and the solutions are, your risk is that you become a commodity. The client says we need X, Y and Z – can you do it? You say yes. Just like every other person they ask.

    But if, in the process of the discussion, a light bulb goes off for them triggered by a smart question you ask – things are different. If you can show them aspects of their problem they hadn’t thought of, or better solutions they hadn’t considered – they you’re elevated to expert trusted advisor status.

    The caveat: you mustn’t let this become a game. This isn’t about you trying to outwit or stump the client. It’s about opening their eyes and helping them see a better way.

    If they already know the best way already, that’s fair enough. They really are buying a commodity and you’re best off talking to others who need your expertise more.


  4. This is a very good selling technique for a consulting company. However, I wonder, whether you are creating an unnecessary problem. In your example, Microsoft did not release the new upgrade yet, therefore this problem does not exist yet. Certainly, this company may have an existing problem, which a consultant must uncover, a real problem, for instance, having an inadequate contingency planning.

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