The unsell vs. consultative selling

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A previous post discussed consultative selling vs. what I called “the unsell” (e.g. not pushing a solution on customers at all). It’s worth a separate blog thread here to compare and contrast both.

First, the unsell is not a broad philosophy of how to sell, while consultative selling is. In consultative selling, which I advocate strongly, you and the client work together to develop the best possible solution for the client. It involves asking lots of questions, collaborating, and negotiating. You are an advisor who sits on the same side of the table as the client, working with him/her/them to help them get results. This process can take a while, but is well worth the effort. In my line of consulting, it is a mandatory process, and really the only way to close business.

The “unsell” referenced in the blog comes from a similar philosophy. In the “unsell,” you basically step back and let the client decide what to do. You don’t push, at least not hard. You do ask great questions about what the client needs, and present information to help them make a decision. Then you step back and let them decide. Funny thing — stepping back like that is more likely to pull clients in, especially compared to more pushy techniques.

Both are not passive approaches. They both require great questioning, listening, and solution-building skills.

The “unsell” was really just a term coined after a particularly good experience with a computer technician. He asked lots of questions, helped me get the right system, and then stepped back so I felt no pressure deciding. To him, not selling is part of his consultative philosophy, although he probably doesn’t use any of that language.

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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