Consultative Selling vs Transactional Selling

The best sales techniques have shifted from transactional selling to consultative selling. Today retail employees conducting simple sales transactions are being trained in consultative selling. Consultative selling takes a very different approach than transactional selling and has proven to be the foundation of the most effective sales strategy.

Consultative Selling Vs. Transactional Selling

While the desired result is the same, the equation is very different when it comes to transactional vs. consultative selling.

Transactional Selling

Transactional selling is a simple, short-term sale that focuses on the product and maybe the lowest price. The customer already knows what he needs, so the salesperson doesn’t need to know much about the product. When you go to the store to get toilet paper, you hand over the money and walk away. That is an example of a transactional sale.

Consultative Selling

On the other hand, Consultative selling is a more complex, long-term process that involves collaboration between the buyer and seller. The customer needs guidance to solve their problem, so the salesperson must know more about their product or services to offer solutions.  But, to offer the best solution, the salesperson must first develop an understanding of the customer’s business, industry, and needs. The interaction becomes more of a relationship than a transaction.

Consultative Selling offers the following:

  • Turns you and your team into professional problem solvers

  • Gives long-term solutions to your customers

  • Builds long-term relationships with your customers

  • Produces customized solutions vs. generic solutions

  • Builds trust in you and your brand

Consultative Sales Strategy

The best consultative sales techniques revolve around identifying the pain point and solving the customer’s problem. It is not about the product or service itself. Instead, it is about the benefits and value your product or service can add to the customer’s life.

Salesman vs. Sales Consultant

Do not think of yourself as a salesperson. Instead, consider yourself a consultant or problem-solver. It is not your job to sell your product or your service; it’s your job to help the customer find the right solution. If your goal is to help the customer instead of close a sale, you will build customer loyalty because they know they can trust your advice. Customer loyalty equals long-term sales.

Ask Questions

The best consultative selling technique is to ASK QUESTIONS to discover how you can best serve your client or prospective customer.  By doing so, you can personalize the solution based on your client’s needs. Even if the solution does not lead to a sale, you will gain a customer because they will likely return to you in the future.

Take the Pressure Off

Sometimes it’s best to come right out and say that you are not there to sell to them. As we learned in our previous article, How to Overcome 6 Common Objections from Customers, people have conditioned responses to turn salespeople away. It could help to sincerely say, “I am not here to sell you anything that you don’t need. All I’d like to do is ask you some questions and see if we can help you find a solution to your problem in a cost-effective way. If not, at least I can share some possible other alternatives or solutions. Does that sound okay?”

Listen Carefully (Active Listening)

In another of our articles, How Listening Builds Connections and Success, we highlight the importance of making a customer feel like they’ve been heard. Here active Listening is critical. When people feel and perceive from your words, nonverbal cues and your body language that you are truly interested in helping them solve their problem, they will be open to your suggestions and solutions.


According to Harvard and many other ivy league institutions applying consultative sales techniques will help you achieve your sales goals much more easily than transactional selling. Your clients will be happier, and you will have a sense of fulfillment because you will be serving your customer, not just yourself. And learning these sales strategies are easier than you think. With short-term business coaching, you can experience long-term results.

John English has been featured in Forbes, Cosmopolitan, and more. As a premier business coach, he can teach you how to become the best salesperson by mastering verbal and nonverbal communication. 

Contact John English today! It’ll only cost you a few minutes of your time but can lead to the solution you’ve been looking for.

What is the Difference Between Consultative Selling and Transactional Selling?

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