Consultative selling – how to win more business with value-based propositions



Two days of practical advice and guidance on how to sell high-value or complex solutions to discerning and sophisticated customers, whether new or existing, more effectively.

Solution selling (also known as consultative or value selling) means selling the way your customer wants to buy, not how you want to sell. In practice, it is about creating compelling reasons to change.

In a transactional sale the customer knows the answer or solution without help from a salesperson, or is prepared to stay with what they have. Customer decision criteria are price and convenience and so customers resent time spent with (new) salespeople, because the salesperson adds little or nothing to what they have and steals time.

In a consultative or solution sale the customer doesn’t know the answer or solution (or cannot see the advantage of your solution) without help from a salesperson. The salesperson must take the role of an advisor, not just a ‘product promoter’. Customers demand expertise, advice and customisation during the sales process. Often customers insist on multiple meetings with salespeople and others to develop advantages that you can bring and reduce the perceived risk of changing. In this way the salesperson often adds significant extra value to the customer.

Training objectives

The overall objective of this course is to help improve your sales results, by increasing your sales professionalism and helping you adopt a more consultative and solution focused approach to developing both new and existing customers.

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Apply the higher-level skills and strategies needed to sell value-based and differentiated business solutions
  • Manage complex or high-value sales more proactively and accurately
  • Create and deliver persuasive sales messages based on value and agreed business improvements and solutions
  • Use advanced techniques to develop customer needs, value and decision-making criteria in depth
  • Make an impressive and compelling final proposal


All business development consultants and sales staff.


A highly interactive two-day course involving practical exercises, role play, case studies and, if possible, specific examples from your company. For maximum benefit, we recommend a one-day follow-up workshop to reinforce the learning, review the ‘Sales Playbook’ and keep the participants focused on using their newly-acquired skills.

Special features

The more advance access the trainer has to examples from your company, the more focused and beneficial will be the participants’ learning experience. This will also help in generating ideas for the ‘Sales Playbook’.

The expert trainer

Graham specialises in providing high-quality consultancy, coaching and training in sales, sales management, customer service and personal productivity. He has a long career in sales and was a top-performing IT and solutions sales professional and sales manager. His most recent full-time role was as Managing Director of Sales Productivity and Development for Thomson Financial, helping develop a large European sales force.

His work has taken him all over the world and involved him in working closely with hundreds of different organisations from all business sectors, his client list including such organisations as BT, Vodafone, AT&T, Orange, Pfizer, GSK, Boots, Unilever, American Express, Thomas Cook, Apple, Sony, Motorola, Cisco, MFI, Barclays Bank, LIFFE, Abbey National, Prison Service, Home Office, Law Society, BBC, Daimler-Chrysler, Citroen, Weetabix, Nikon, Shell and many, many others. In addition he has written over twenty books published in several different countries, including Companies don’t succeed – people do!, 90 Brain Teasers for Trainers, Customer Service Games for Training, Sales Training Games, Telephone Tacticsand Working Smarter.

Known internationally as both a trainer and a popular motivational speaker, he believes that effective learning has to be interactive and challenging. All his learning events are built around practical exercises, role play and case studies. His training style focuses not on just explaining new ideas or developing new skills, but also on motivating people to use them and to develop themselves as individuals. This approach gets results, as the following comments from course participants show:

‘Brilliant course, really interesting and very focused to my job role and day to day work.’

‘Took away some very good ideas that I can use every day… good examples too.’

‘Very confident in the subject, and amusing too. Made the course very interesting. A very clear sales model to use going forward.’

‘Full of useful hints and tips which I will apply to my job.’

‘Extremely well presented and structured’

‘A very intensive course and a lot of concrete tools provided.’

‘Useful data, tools and insights; engaging and interesting as always.’

‘Very good… contained everything we do on a regular basis and problems we have come across… the exercises made it very interesting too.’

Course outline

DAY ONE – Key principles, business planning and relationship management

1   Key principles
  • Introduction and review of pre-course work
  • Initial role play
  • The four principles of solution selling
  • How solution selling differs from ‘transactional’ or ‘relationship-based’ selling
  • The stages of the customer’s buying cycle
2   Relationships
  • How to build and manage key relationships within an account
  • Qualifying and managing key influencers accurately
  • Approaching and developing new contracts strategically
  • Utilising CRM tools and networking sites
3   Prospecting skills in a solution sale
  • Strategic prospecting
  • How to establish your competitive position within an account
  • How to set, monitor and track key objectives for accounts
  • Skills and processes for up-selling and cross-selling
  • Making new contacts and appointments
  • Selling against the competition
4   Teamwork and time management
  • Working with others within your organisation
  • Managing and working with a virtual team
  • Managing your time and accounts effectively

5   Action plan and learning summary

DAY TWO – The four key skills of consultative selling

1   Connecting
  • Key skills and approaches for this stage of the customer’s buying process
  • The first five minutes – ways to gain instant rapport and setting the foundation for a consultative approach in a first call
  • How to structure an effective consultative sales call
  • How best to differentiate your solutions and build credibility
  • Overcoming initial buying resistance
  • Opening the meeting
2   Consulting – influencing needs
  • Key skills and approaches for this stage of the customer’s buying process
  • Understanding the power of high-impact and third-level questions
  • The importance of body language and other personal communication dynamics
  • Creating a ‘disturb’ approach
  • Defining and agreeing comparative advantages
  • The six principles of unconscious influence
3   Convincing – helping the customer choose you
  • Key skills and approaches for this stage of the customer’s buying process
  • Mapping customer needs and preferences on to your solution
  • Using the alternatives assessment tool
  • ‘Decision making criteria’
  • Key communication skills for this stage
  • Creating and presenting a compelling proposition
4   Commitment – closing the sale
  • Key skills and approaches for this stage of the customer’s buying process
  • Isolate, prioritise and answer objections and concerns
  • Deal more effectively and profitably with price objections and reduce buyer’s remorse
  • Ways to ask for commitment professionally and pleasantly
  • Managing the transition from prospect to customer
5   Summary
  • Personal action plan and learning summary

DAY THREE – Optional follow-up workshop

This is typically held around four to six weeks after the initial course. It is structured around the following key points:

  • Review of progress in implementing key skills from training
  • Review of sales results from previous month (won/lost sales analysis)
  • (Both of the above require participants to complete some pre-work and give a short presentation, leading to group discussion)
  • Role-play and planning sessions based on elements arising from previous presentations and discussions
  • Presenting skills
Further content to be decided based on learning outcomes of initial course

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