Consultative Selling Approach for 2024 [+ Free Template]

min read
April 8, 2024

Traditional consultative selling can feel slow and product-centric for today's well-informed buyers. Learn how to adapt this approach for faster deals by focusing on immediate value and building stronger connections. 

A Fresh (and New) Take on Consultative Selling Approach

The consultative selling approach means understanding and addressing your customer’s unique needs. While the core principles of this approach remain sound, here’s a tried-and-tested, slightly revamped approach to the process:

Phase 1: Master Pre-Call Preparation Like a Pro

Traditional: Mostly sales-driven, prioritizing product demos and features over understanding the prospect's needs. 

These one-sided calls lack meaningful dialogue and miss the opportunity for deeper engagement.

New Approach:

  • Deep dive research: To craft winning sales strategies, begin with thorough research. Use LinkedIn for background, industry reports for trends, and tools like Crunchbase for competitor insights. This can make your conversations more relevant and insightful, directly targeting the prospect's unique needs.
  • Interactive demos ahead of time: Share an interactive demo with a prospect before the discovery call. This saves you valuable call time. No more basic feature explanations – just targeted discussions that address individual challenges and unlock the full potential of your offering.
Create an interactive demo in less than 10 minutes with Storylane. Start free!

Phase 2: Discovery Done Right

Traditional: Discovery calls often use broad, untargeted questions such as "What does your company do?" or "Are you looking for a solution to improve efficiency?" 

These questions miss the chance to dive deep into the prospect's unique challenges and goals, keeping the conversation at a surface level and not tailored to the prospect's specific situation.

New Approach:

  • Begin with why: Initiate with a thought-provoking question like, "What prompted your search for this solution?" It opens up a conversation to identify their immediate needs and goals.
  • Embrace active listening: Demonstrate engagement by reflecting on their comments and asking for specifics, e.g., "Could you expand on the workflow issues?" 
  • Challenge the surface: Delve deeper with questions such as, "How would enhancing efficiency affect your daily operations?" It prompts them to consider the wider effects and deeper motivations, offering a clearer view of their needs and how your solution aligns.
Category Initial Question Probing Follow-Up Next Steps for Salespeople
Business Goals What are your top business priorities? How will achieving these goals impact your overall vision? Map their goals to your solutions. Show how your product can be a catalyst for their growth.
Current Challenges What are the biggest obstacles hindering your progress?" Can you elaborate on the specific costs or inefficiencies these challenges create? Highlight how your product can overcome these obstacles. Provide clear, tangible examples.
Existing Solutions Are you currently using any solutions to address these challenges? What limitations are you facing with your current approach, and what do you hope to improve? Identify gaps in their current solutions and demonstrate how your product fills these effectively.
Customer Experience How do you currently gather customer feedback? How has customer feedback shaped your product or service offerings? Show how your product adapts to customer needs and feedback, enhancing their customer satisfaction.
Future Vision What does success look like for your business in the ideal scenario? How would realizing this vision benefit your customers and employees? Link their vision of success to the outcomes your product can help achieve. Make it real for them.
Must Read: 3 Best Discovery Call Scripts & How to Prepare One

Phase 3: Tailored Presentations That Address Core Challenges

Traditional: Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all sales pitches, where the focus was on bombarding the prospect with a laundry list of product features and generic success stories. 

New Approach:

  • Value co-creation: Collaborate with your prospects to tailor solutions that meet and exceed their expectations. For example, use a discovery call insight like "We're aiming to boost quarterly sales by 20%" as a springboard for how your solution can specifically make that happen.
  • Data-driven storytelling: Use compelling statistics and real-world success stories to illustrate your solution's impact. For example, "Companies similar to yours saw a 30% increase in leads within the first three months of using our solution.”
  • Focus on outcomes, not features: Emphasize the tangible benefits your product offers. Shift from saying, "Our software features real-time analytics," to "With our real-time analytics, you could identify high-value leads instantly, increasing conversion rates by X%.”
Create personalized demos with Storylane:
Quickly personalize demo content at scale before sharing it with each prospect. Use lead forms and tokens to dynamically personalize demo content. Click this link to learn more.

Phase 4: Building Lasting Bonds Beyond the Sale

Traditional: Previously, sales were about overcoming objections with canned responses and moving on post-sale, treating the sales process as a one-and-done deal.

New Approach: 

  • Objection anticipation: Use insights from the discovery phase to preemptively address potential concerns. For instance, during a discovery call, a marketing manager expressed hesitation about shifting to a new marketing automation platform. Later, when the objection of "We're comfortable with our current email marketing tool" arises, the salesperson can address it with:

"I understand that familiarity is important. However, during our conversation, you mentioned struggling to segment your audience effectively and track campaign performance in detail with your current tool. Our platform offers advanced segmentation features and in-depth reporting, allowing you to personalize campaigns and measure ROI more accurately.

  • Forge long-term bonds: Treat the deal's closure as the beginning of an ongoing partnership. Keep engaging, support consistently, and show your commitment goes beyond the initial sale. 
Must Read: 5 Different Strategies for Effective Lead Nurturing in 2024

Consultative Selling: Is it Right for You?

The consultative selling approach can be highly effective, but it's not a one-size-fits-all strategy. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons to help you decide:


  • Higher Close Rates: By understanding customer needs and tailoring your pitch, you present a more relevant solution, increasing the chance of a sale.
  • Stronger Relationships: Building trust through active listening and problem-solving creates long-term customer loyalty.
  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value: By focusing on the customer's success, you become a trusted advisor, potentially leading to repeat business and upsells.


  • Longer Sales Cycle: Discovery and customization take time, potentially lengthening the sales cycle compared to high-volume, transactional sales.
  • Requires Skilled Salespeople: Consultative selling demands strong communication, questioning, and needs assessment skills.
  • Not Ideal for All Products: Simple, commoditized products might not benefit as much from in-depth consultations.

Consider This Approach If:

  • You sell complex B2B solutions.
  • Building long-term customer relationships is important.
  • Your product offers a high degree of customization.

BONUS: Free Consultative Selling Template

Here’s a ready-to-use consultative selling template to help you get started. 

Expect to find a detailed checklist that guides you through:

  • Pre-call preparation: Tailor your approach with insights that matter.
  • Discovery: Dive deep into understanding customer needs with strategic questioning.
  • Solution presentation: Shift the focus from features to benefits, making every conversation impactful.
  • Building partnerships: Cement long-term relationships with continuous value delivery.
👉 Download the Consultative Selling Template

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an example of consultative selling?

A salesperson delves into a client's challenges before recommending solutions, like identifying workflow inefficiencies and suggesting a customized software suite.

2. Which best describes consultative selling?

It involves listening deeply to customers, understanding their needs through dialogue, and offering solutions that precisely meet those needs, prioritizing relationships over transactions.

3. What is the difference between consultative and solution selling?

Consultative selling focuses on building relationships and understanding customer needs, while solution selling aligns products or services directly with identified problems.

4. What is the difference between consultative and transactional selling?

Consultative selling aims to develop long-term relationships and solve complex customer problems, whereas transactional selling focuses on quick, one-time sales without in-depth customer understanding.

5. What is the consultative selling process?

It includes research, contact initiation, needs discovery through questioning, solution presentation, objection handling, sale closing, and relationship maintenance for future sales.

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."
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"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."

"Previously, there was scope for error and we’ve gone from a process that could be time consuming and painful to a process that’s super quick."


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