Why Consultants Should Never Have to Sell

As an independent business consultant or coach, you’re tasked with not only doing what you’re already best at (coaching and consulting) but as a business owner you’re the CEO, CFO, CMO, maid service, trash disposal expert and…

Head of the SALES department!

The vast majority of consultant-coaches don’t possess the internal strengths needed to become a good traditional Salesperson. This creates a weakness in your attempts to acquire new prospects, leads and clients.

The key here is to build your consulting practice based on your strengths. The only way to do this is to replace the traditional sales role with one that aligns with your natural talents, skills and true strengths.

We call this role the Business Diagnostician.

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Business diagnostician is the term I use to remind me of my primary value in the sales process. It helps me remember that the most effective way to sell services to potential clients is to not try to sell to them at all.

While every other consultant out there is trying to sell to that prospect, imagine how different and unique you’ll be when you seek first to help them identify the actual cause of their problem—and for free.

I know that sounds like a sure fire way for your business to go belly-up fast. In reality, it differentiates and validates you as the definitive expert amongst the vast numbers of consultants who pretend to be a sales expert.

You may have heard the term “show up and throw up”? That’s an age old term sales people use when they try to convince a prospect by using long-winded conversations about how talented and skilled they are.

As a Business Diagnostician, you immediately put the spotlight on your prospect by diagnosing their problems FIRST.

We have a saying at Innermetrix – “The Person Who Identifies the Cause of the Problem Gets to Fix It”. The primary objective with any prospect shouldn’t be to “sell them”; rather, it should be to “solve them.”

By placing the spotlight on them and identifying the cause of the problem upfront, your prospect will put you at the top of her list as the expert, and the one most likely to win the contract.

You’ve now made your ability to acquire new business dependent on your expertise as a consultant, not a sales professional.

I know of no other single method of “selling” that holds more potential to increase the profitability of your practice than what I’ve just told you.

Once you change your legacy thinking from “I need to sell” to one of “I need to diagnose,” I guarantee you will be much more successful and much happier! It may seem like a subtle difference, but the impact of such a shift in thinking is immeasurable.

The moment you learn to seek out helping prospects (yes, prospects, not paying clients) and identify the cause of their problems instead of going out and selling them services, you will witness significant growth in your practice.

Making this your daily mantra will remind you of your true value proposition, keep you focused on the actions necessary to deliver that value, and steer you away from most distractions that will take you down the unsuccessful selling path.

It’s vital that you understand that there is a cause and effect relationship between identifying the problem and being the one to fix it. In this relationship, the goal you are after is being paid to solve the problem. The cause of that effect, however, is that you identify what is actually creating that problem in the first place—before they become your client.

There are many reasons why a salesperson can hope they get the sale. Here are some of the most common reasons why consultants hope a prospect will hire them:

  • Best price
  • Better marketing collateral
  • They related better with the prospect
  • Best credentials
  • Best references
  • They showed them the actual cause of their problem

While all the causes above can be good, it’s the last one that has the greatest effect on the prospect and will deliver you the most business. Being a Diagnostician and discovering their problem upfront is also the least likely to be replicated by your competition.

At Innermetrix, we call this methodology the Diagnostic Sales Process.

This process has been carefully learned and practiced by thousands of consultants over many years, and is the distillation of all the best practices I’ve seen used consistently by seven-figure consultants to greatly increase their business profits and growth.

About Jay Niblick