How to Sell Consulting Services: 12 Methods You Can Start Using Today

When you first started selling consulting services, you probably had high expectations. After all, you already had industry knowledge, professional skills, and valuable contacts.

And, since the consulting market amounted to more than $350 billion in the US in 2023, getting a little slice of that lucrative pie should be easy, right?

But there was one variable you didn’t count on: Actually selling yourself as a consultant.

Sales don’t come naturally to most people, and being a "salesperson" for your consulting business may have been an unexpected addition to your job description.

Plus, as the consulting industry continues to grow, the competition is getting fierce: In one survey by Deltek, 55 percent of consulting firms listed "addressing the increasing competition" as a significant business priority.

You might be wondering: How can I sell myself as a consultant? How can I stand out when there is so much competition?

Thankfully, many pro sales methods play into the skills you’ve already developed as a consultant. On top of that, new methods for the digital age can take you one step ahead of your competitors.

Let’s dive into 12 expert methods you can start using today to boost your consulting sales:

1. Use the Skills You Already Have to Sell Consulting Services

With your experience as a consultant, you already have valuable skills that can be applied to selling.

For example, you’ve learned to ask questions to reveal their business needs.

Asking questions is a valuable skill that will help you sell professional services. Selling any service is based on clearly understanding what your prospects need, and you can use questions to accomplish that.

In fact, a study by Gong found that salespeople who ask between 11 and 14 questions during a call with prospects have an average success rate of 74 percent.


The same study found that the type of questions is also essential: Top sellers focus on questions related to the prospect’s business issues, goals, challenges, and concerns.

Here are some examples of questions you could ask when selling consulting services:

  • What are the top challenges your company is currently facing?
  • What problems would you like to solve, and what caused these problems?
  • What results are you looking to achieve, and why?
  • When do you want to achieve those results?
  • What motivated you to look for a solution now?
  • What will happen if you don’t address these problems now?
  • Who else is involved in the decision-making process?

Pro tip: Want to ask better questions? Download our free resource, 42 B2B Sales Questions, and learn the top questions you should be asking your prospects.

Also, use open-ended questions to get your prospects to explain their current situation better. For example, start your questions with phrases like:

  • Can you help me understand…
  • Can you walk me through…
  • Talk to me about…

Questions like these encourage your prospect to respond thoroughly, giving you a better idea of what’s happening.

Another skill you’ve learned as a consultant is to keep the client’s best interests in mind. By focusing on helping, not selling, you’ll naturally avoid sleazy or pushy sales tactics while selling your consulting services.

This helps build a better reputation for your consulting business and builds trust in your clients.

2. Set up a Transparent Sales Process

Whether you’re a solo business consultant or part of a consulting firm, you must have a clearly defined sales process.

This is the process you use to sell your consulting services, and it should guide you step-by-step from the moment you discover new prospects to the moment you get paid and deliver your services.

It’s easy to get caught up in carrying out the services you’ve been hired to do but having a transparent sales process in place will remind you to keep selling.

To succeed as a consultant, as much time must be devoted to acquiring new business as performing assigned tasks. I've found that the average time from initial contact to engagement can sit between six to 36 weeks, and close rates hover between 10 percent and 20 percent. Any downtime should be reinvested into business development.

So, how can you set up a sales process for your consulting business?

First, write down everything you do to close a sale. For example, where do you find new prospects? How do people become aware of your consulting business? What steps do you take from the first touch to closing a deal? On average, how many meetings or calls does it take to close a deal?

Once you understand your current process, look for ways to improve your sales metrics. Can you reduce the number of meetings it takes to close the deal? Can you overcome common objections earlier in the process? Can you simplify the negotiation stage?

Finally, optimize your sales process by defining your targets and goals. Start with your monthly revenue goal and work backward: How many sales do you need to meet that goal? How many prospects do you need to make that many sales?

By organizing the numbers ahead of time, you can set specific goals for your sales tasks per week or month. You’ll work smarter to reach your revenue goals by prioritizing those tasks.

3. Prioritize Leads That Fit the Right Profile

Knowing who you're selling to is an essential part of any sales process.

So, who are you trying to sell your consulting services to?

To define your ideal customer profile, look at your most successful customers. Take the top ten clients you’ve worked with successfully, and try to understand what they all have in common.

Ask questions like:

  • Are they all in a specific industry?
  • Did you solve one common problem for all of them?
  • Are they all similarly sized businesses?
  • What convinced them to work with you?
  • Do they share a common goal?
  • Did they all experience similar events or changes to their businesses, such as restructuring, hiring new employees, or acquiring another business?

Your ideal customer profile will also depend on the type of consulting services you offer. For example, if you specialize in leadership coaching for newly appointed directors, your ideal customer may be a young company with leaders who lack experience and need training to succeed.

Once you have a clear view of your ideal clients, you can set up lead scoring. This assigns a specific value to each new lead based on how well they fit the profile you’ve created. Lead scoring helps you prioritize your efforts by focusing on the leads that best suit your consultancy.

4. Be prepared to Turn Down Work That Doesn’t Fit

It’s exciting when people come to you looking for help. But sometimes, while talking to a prospect, you realize they’re not a good fit for your business. Maybe they’re not your ideal customer, showing signs of being a bad client, or maybe they’re just not ready to buy right now.

Don’t waste your valuable time trying to sell to a prospect who won’t buy or doesn’t fit what you offer.

Here’s what sales behaviorist and business coach Liston Witherill says:

For instance, I do sales training and coaching for consultants and one of the problems people come to me with that I could solve but it’s not core to my business is lead generation and marketing. For those cases, I have people I can refer my clients to. The same goes for other areas because there are many other people who could work with my clients that solve problems that I don’t solve and those are the type of referral partners that I want. If they have a problem that you don’t solve, just refer them to someone else.

By having a few referral partners established, you can refer these leads to the people who can solve their problems. This is another way to focus on helping your clients: Even though it won’t get you any revenue right now, your helpful attitude could win a sale.

In fact, at Close, when we talk with a prospect and discover that our CRM is not the right solution for their needs, we recommend alternative solutions—we're sending business to our competitors.

This might seem foolish, but it's the right thing to do in the long run. We aim to help everyone we engage with, even if they're not a good fit. This often leaves such an impression on people that they later refer others to us who are a good fit, or they might become a good fit a few years later and then become a happy, successful customer of Close.

5. Learn How to Find the Decision-Maker

When you find a lead that’s a perfect fit for your business, it’s not enough to contact "someone" at the company: You need to know how to find the person who makes the decisions.

Start by looking at the buying process of your current clients. Who was the person who championed your services within the company? Who else had to sign off on the purchase? Who benefited most from your services?

By looking historically at the decision-makers you’ve dealt with, you’ll have a better view of the decision-maker at your new lead’s company.

For example, does the decision-maker commonly hold a specific role in the company? Are they the director of a particular team?

When you know who you’re looking for, you can do more effective prospecting. For example, you can use LinkedIn in your sales process to search for people with a specific job title in a particular industry and add those people to your lead list.


6. Add a Digital Touch to Your Sales Path

Even if you sell your consulting services locally, adding a digital touch can boost your sales process and make it even easier for clients to contact or purchase your consulting services.

Just as someone selling a product over the web needs to make a seamless transition between their sales copy and their order form, you need to make a seamless transition between your sales copy and the point of contact.

For example, you can use a tool like Calendly to make it easier for people to set up a meeting with you. Add your Calendly link to your website, or even include it in your cold emails to prospects:

Then, instead of back-and-forth emails to schedule an appointment, your new leads can select the time in your schedule that works best for them.


You can even integrate Calendly with your CRM so that new leads are added when someone schedules a meeting.

Another way to add a digital touch to your sales path is to use video sales calls. This can open you up to new opportunities during this crisis and broaden your horizons beyond the clients near your physical location.

Pro tip: Did you know Close CRM integrates natively with Zoom? This means you can run your video meetings directly from your CRM, and save those video recordings right to the lead. Try your free 14-day trial of Close to see how this dynamic integration can boost your sales process.
Why limit yourself to your immediate area? With the right solution, you can hold online conferences and pitches to broaden your consumer base across the country. Video tools enable face-to-face and personal touch without the expense of driving out to see prospects and customers. You can even let your customers and prospects know, this is a way to reduce the cost of services.

Want to master video sales calls? Download our free resource and get our best tips for selling via video.

7. Base Your Pricing on the Value They’ll Receive

Your consulting services will cost your clients some severe cash. If they’re not convinced of the value of your consulting services before you talk price, you’ll be at a severe disadvantage when closing the deal.

So, as you discuss their problems and the challenges they want to solve, help them see the value of working with you. For example, ask questions like:

  • What would be the consequences of not dealing with these issues?
  • How much would it cost you NOT to fix these problems?

When you understand the project, what kind of consulting services you’ll be providing, and how much real ROI your prospects will get from working with you, you can base your price on value rather than pricing by the hour.

Price by the hour and you'll be viewed as a commodity. Instead, keep clients laser-focused on the lasting value you create, and bill based on the scope of work and end results. Never discuss whether your firm will be used, but rather how, and provide a range of possible cost scenarios and value-adds, starting with your baseline requirements.

If you’re not billing by the hour, consider value-based pricing—where you’re deciding your overall rate including what you think your services are worth and how it competes with others. Many consultants provide three ranges of prices to enable more client control over what works for them. Also, it’s good marketing—a low, medium, and higher-priced option enables choice.

8. Use Cold Email Templates to Maximize the Time You Spend Selling Consulting Services

Writing each email can take a lot of time and energy if you’re reaching out to new leads with cold emails.

If you want to boost productivity, try using cold email templates that you can personalize and send to each lead you find.

In Close, it’s easy to set up new templates and add personalization features that automatically introduce details such as the lead’s name, company, industry, and more.


As you use your cold email templates, run through each one and add details showing you’ve done your homework. Explain why you think they’d be a good fit for your consulting services and briefly describe how you could benefit them.

Want even more tips on effective cold emails? Download our free resource, Cold Email Hacks 2.0.

Have you seen our cool AI tool for writing cold email templates? It's a game-changer for anyone looking to streamline their outreach process!

9. Boost Your Consulting Sales with Social Proof

Selling consulting services is based on trust. There’s nothing tangible to show your prospects, so how can they trust you’ll deliver on what you promise?

Two words: Social proof.

When prospects can hear from or read about other companies who have seen success with your consulting services, they’ll be more willing to trust you.

How can you get this social proof for your consulting business?

For example, if you’re a solo consultant, you can ask happy customers to add a recommendation to your LinkedIn profile. These recommendations add weight to your claims and boost your professional profile.

Case studies are a great way for solo consultants and consulting agencies to add social proof to their websites. They bring the power of storytelling to their sales process and let them dig deeper into the results their clients have seen.

Reviews and testimonials are another powerful tool for your consultancy. For example, why not ask happy customers to add a review to your Google My Business profile? Or ask for a quick testimonial from your happy customers and add it to your website, include it in cold emails, and mention it in your sales conversations.

Since we don’t sell actual products, we have to work hard to put our customers at ease. On our website, we have testimonials from previous customers who have used our services. This shows our prospects that we can deliver on our promises.

10. Have a Great Sales Script

If you have a powerful sales script that sparks interest in your prospects, you can hit the phones and start closing deals right away.

I know this works because I've done it before.

Before launching Close, we started ElasticSales, an on-demand sales company. We hit the phones before we even had a brand or a reputation and started cold-calling startups in the area.

With an effective cold call script, we landed seven paying customers in just 14 days.

How can you implement this for your consultancy?

Include these essential elements of a sales call script:

  • Raise curiosity: Tell them who you are and who you help, and give them a reason to care with your opening lines.
  • Give context: Add a one-sentence elevator pitch that is clear and brief.
  • Ask for permission to continue: Giving your prospect the ability to say no can actually help keep them engaged and open the way to continue the conversation.
  • Qualify: Ask questions to learn about their needs and define if they fit your consultancy.
  • Test close: Discover their decision timeline, general purchase process, and any price sensitivity.
  • Schedule next steps: Know beforehand how to continue the process, and set a specific time to follow up before you end the call.

Also, ensure your sales script includes ways to handle common objections on your calls.

With a powerful script, you can cold-call potential clients confidently and close more deals.

Want to get a head start on creating your script? Download your free sales script template.

11. Build Relationships Now to Sell Consulting Services Later

While it’s important to prioritize sales tasks that will get you new consulting clients now, don’t forget to build the foundation for future sales.

Since consulting is such a trust-based business, the relationships you develop now will be essential to your success in the future. Especially for a new consulting business, it’s essential to network with companies that could become clients, even if they’re not ready to purchase.

For example, you can keep your consultancy at the forefront of your mind by attending meetups and networking events (in-person or virtually) and sharing your expertise with the people you meet.

By purposely not selling, you’ll build a more stable network of potential clients who will no longer be cold leads when you reach out to them.

If you intend to be a consultant forever, the only implication that makes sense is to play a long-term game knowing that even if someone doesn’t buy from you now, they might do it in the future.

12. Always, Always Ask for Referrals

Leads that come to you on the recommendation of a trusted friend will be much more valuable than cold leads you’ve found yourself.


For two reasons:

  1. Referrals already start with a higher level of trust in you since someone they trust recommended you
  2. Referrals will be more likely to fit your ideal customer profile since the person who recommended them knows both their situation and what you offer

But to get referral sales, you must first be ready to ask for referrals.

After all, your happy customers are probably willing to refer new customers to you, but they’re unlikely to do so unless you ask them.

So, whenever you close a deal, ask for a referral.

Here’s how to ask:

I’m so happy that we’ve been able to accomplish XYZ together. Can you think of anyone else you know that’s facing [problem] and could benefit from working with our consultancy?

Try to push for at least one name from every client, and you’ll see a significant boost to your consulting sales.

Keep Selling Consulting Services Using These Proven Methods

While it may be a bit harder to get a slice of the pie than you initially thought, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In the end, to keep selling your consulting services successfully, especially in the competitive landscape of marketing consultant firms, you’ll need to put sales tasks in their proper place.

The methods we’ve discussed above have been proven to work for consultants like you. Sharpening your sales skills can also help set you apart from the growing competition.

So, keep selling. Build a process that works, and fine-tune it until your consultancy is a selling machine.

Got a tip or question about selling consulting services? Let me know on LinkedIn, I'd love to hear from you!

Need help keeping your sales efforts organized? Want to get one step ahead of the competition? Start your free 14-day trial of Close today and see how a CRM can simplify your process, save time, and maximize your consulting sales.

Jeff KahnChanging our CRM to Close is one of the best decisions we made. The platform receives new updates all the time and really shines compared to every other CRM.

Mike Corradini, CEO & Cofounder of IdeaPros

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