The First Step To Sell Consulting

Don't move forward without this conversation.

If you think of sales as a series of conversations, where does it start for consultants? What is the very first one that you should have with clients and prospects?

It's what we call the probative conversation.

The goal of the probative conversation is to prove your expertise to the client and move in their mind from a vendor to a specialized advisor.

The Probative Conversation

We've all been there before. The prospect has an exigent face in front of you, and says "here's what we want, and here's what we need to know about you." They are often self-diagnosed, and looking for a list of deliverables and prices to compare you with someone else.

But then, at some point, you begin to ask intelligent questions. You share insights and question the status quo. The people you are speaking to look at each other, drop the formality, and start to take notes and reflect on what you're discussing.

When this flip happens, you know your probative conversation is over.

Can You Skip It?

If you want to create value while making yourself uniquely distinct, you can't proceed if the clients see you as an order-taker. Sometimes, however, the probing conversation can happen without you present.

When someone refers you to a potential prospect, they might convince them to look at you as a trusted advisor. Or a prospect has been following your work for a while, through your public writing or speaking, and already sees you as an expert practitioner. If this is happening, congrats - you're doing things right.

If you need to prove you are more than a pair of hands to every prospect you speak to, it's time to review and ramp up your marketing initiatives.

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