Changing hats: the instant consultant

Have you ever reached the end of the line with a prospect – and had no idea what to do to move forward? Your strategy was sound. You techniques were flawless. But your prospect still continually stalled the process. In those situations, when you know that you have something of value to offer based on the information you’ve gleaned from you prospect, stop being a salesperson and become a consultant.

What is a consultant?

A consultant has been defined as someone who gets paid a lot of money to tell the client something he either already knows…or he doesn’t want to hear. In other words, the objective, hard-hitting advice a consultant is hired to give will sometimes validate the client’s suspicions or existing perceptions. And, at other times, it will root out and bring to the fore issues or problems of which the client wasn’t fully aware or, perhaps, unwilling to face.

Change Hats

What would it sound like to take off your salesperson hat and put on your consultant hat? First, you must ask for permission from your prospect to do so. Then, propose to the prospect a picture of what will happen if he doesn’t buy your product or service.

You: Tim, can I stop being a salesperson for just a moment and become a consultant?

Prospect: I suppose.

You: Are you sure Tim?

Prospect: Yes, go ahead.

You: Tim, as you know consultants are hired to tell most decision makers what they are doing wrong vs. right, fair to say?

Prospect: yes, that’s a fair statement.

You: Okay, so Tim, with your permission, can we pretend you hired me to be your consultant?

Prospect: Sure.

You: Are you sure you’re sure?

Prospect; yes, go ahead.

You: Then as your consultant right now, are you okay that I have to advise you that by not moving forward with this project right now, you’re not only hurting production numbers – which you admit are not where they need to be – but also hurting your bottom line numbers that, I’m sure, shareholders will be scrutinizing with a magnifying glass. Continuing to drag your feet on this project could be the single biggest mistake you make this year. As your consultant right now, that you gave me permission to be, does this make sense Tim that you’re not moving forward?

Delivering your consultant’s “advice” won’t guarantee that the prospect will grant you the sale, but it will get the real issue – the consequences of his inaction – on the table and highlight the need to take action…now. If the prospect heeds your advice, you can get on with the sale. If he rejects it, you can close the file and not waste any more of your time and move on. Remember, “some will, some won’t, so what, so move on.”
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Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners and is the recipient of the David H. Sandler Award, awarded to the top Sandler trainer in the world. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the World. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or .


Categories: Company Perspectives, Sales & Marketing