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The 5-Step Sales Process for Closing Consultant Sales

By Sean McPheat

There are tons of tips, tricks and magic scripts on closing more sales. Just say those words and use those pat answers to objections and almost every prospective client interaction becomes a consulting contract, right? Selling is science not sorcery. Here is a basic 5-step sales process that will greatly increase your odds on closing every sales interaction. Accomplish the following objectives at each stage and convert more prospects to clients!

1. Strategic Small Talk, Warm-Up
Don’t just chitchat. Use this short feeling-out period to gather information by guiding the conversation. Ask questions that reveal goals, history, habits and problems. Turn questions and statements into probing tools while keeping the friendly, nonchalant atmosphere. “Oh yeah, that is a great painting, Sharon. So, do collect or invest in fine art?”

2. Trust and Credibility
Now you need to establish yourself as a credible professional. Remember that you persuade by “asking” not “telling.” Ask questions that demonstrate you know your stuff—show off a little. Then you can perform a bit of show-and-tell with literature, news, industry articles and endorsements.

3. Uncover, Define or Broaden the Problem
The only way you can provide a solution, is if there is a problem. Many potential clients do not believe they have a problem and that is where you must uncover the issue and help the client understand. This is where those questions in step 1 and 2 come in. Then, there are prospects that are aware something is wrong, yet do not know exactly what. You must clearly define the issue for the client.

Finally, some prospects come ready with defined problem in hand and believe they know how they want you to fix it. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you have a “lay-down.” Take that issue and broaden its scope and depth. If you truly are the expert, then you must have a more transparent view of the problem then the client does.

4. Show That YOU are the Solution to the Problem
It is not enough to show that you HAVE the solution; you must BE the solution. When the client feels you possess the answer as a tool or specific bit of information, then price becomes a major factor in the buying decision. The thought is that if you have the solution, then so must other consultants. Therefore, they should shop around for the lowest fees. The solution must be a combination of tools, expert knowledge and YOU.

5. Provide a Financial Reason To Act Now
Provide the client with monetary reasons to take action today. This can be in to form of the loss of income should they decide to go without your services; or immediate gain in cash flow should they use you. Also, be extremely careful on discounting your fees as an inducement. Instead, raise the value of your services and keep the fees the same.

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 “The 5-Step Sales Process for Closing Consultant Sales

  1. Ldunbar says:

    Great info, concise and value packed. Often salespeople will jump on the first problem they hear and discontinue deeper analysis because they ‘have’ a solution not realizing or having the patience to uncover a root problem. Effective probing often elevates the opportunity in sales potential and with a broader solution, a prospect converts to customer who has a great deal of loyalty and respect for you as a salesperson. Priceless, as they say!

    • Emerald says:

      I agree, once you have listened to your client carefully and you have allowed them to “vent” you will know how to approach the issue immediatelty. Sales people that I have seen can come off very short and not attentive to the client just for the sake of the sale. You want repeat customers. I believe that’s the goal.

  2. Bills01 says:

    I agree fully. I was in a three hour sharing session the other day with a now client and these items were all part of the discussion.

  3. aresewipe says:

    You vultures so stupid. ‘5 steps’ isn’t new – Sean mcfat isn’t a ‘leading authority’ but a wanabee who can just about manage to cut’n’paste straight from Wikipedia. This post is not ‘great info, concise and value packed’ – its actually something he has read and copied – just google ‘5 steps sales’ and see what you get!. Sad, slack, loser.

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