Since an organization wants to continue focusing on its core business pro-
cesses while delegating noncore processes, it selects a service provider.
Expectation from the industry is that every organization should be innova-
tive in its core business processes to be the frontrunner in its industry.
In the IT services industry, a business that provides services is the service
provider organization and the receiver of such services is called the service
receiver organization. In such a case, personnel from the service receiver
organization become a customer to the service provider organization. A
person who sells his organization’s services (in this case, a person or group
from the service provider organization) is referred to as a sales executive
(or a consultant). Once there is an agreement between a service provider
and service receiver on the services to be performed by the service provider
organization, a contract is signed.
A sales executive is the one who delivers services per the contract that
As a sales executive, bringing value to your customer means improving
your customer’s business performance, reducing its costs, or improving
prots, over and above the contract you have signed. A consultative seller
is the one who brings value to the customer over and beyond the con-
tract he has signed; such an organization is referred to as an “innovative
organization.” Your organization will not be called innovative if you just
deliver what you have promised or even when you are delivering ser-
vices at low cost or before deadlines, exceeding your contractual terms.
Your organization will still be called a service provider because these are
the basic responsibilities expected by a customer from his or her service
xiv ◾ Introduction
A consultative seller is the one who
◾ goes beyond the contractual agreements, tries to understand customer
challenges, and brings ideas to manage those challenges;
◾ strives to incorporate organizational best practices and industry best
practices to improve customer business performance; and
◾ continually understands industry trends, analyzes them, adopts all of
those that are relevant, and tailors them to bring value to the customer.
Therefore, in summary, you will be called a consultative seller if your
customer’s successes and failures become your successes and failures. The
key difference between a sales executive and a consultative seller is that the
former focuses on delivering based only on the contract his customer has
signed with him (and his organization), whereas a consultative seller tries to
bring additional value to his customer beyond the contract.
There are some benets to being a consultative seller:
◾ You are working in an environment where there is minimal competition
from your peer organization because you generate your own opportuni-
ties by selling unique ideas, which are protable to your customer.
◾ With trust comes condence. Being a consultative seller to your cus-
tomer, you will be the rst to be consulted on any business challenge
faced by your customer, which means that you are your customer’s rst
choice to solve its business problem, which can generate new business
This goes hand in hand with the theme of the blue ocean strategy. Using
the blue ocean strategy, sales executives identify opportunities in areas
where there is no competition (i.e., the unknown market space, untainted
by competition). In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over.
Many opportunities for growth are both protable and rapid. In blue oceans,
competition is irrelevant because the rules of the game are waiting to be set.
Blue ocean is an analogy to describe the wider, deeper potential of market
space that is not yet explored.
Being a consultative seller, you create your own blue oceans.
It is quite easy to create your own blue oceans and several books in the
industry mention creating blue oceans. However, until today, no real guid-
ance existed in the industry to help a consultative seller create a blue ocean.