Whats the Difference Between Consulting and Sales



It’s easy to get confused between consulting and sales. Both roles involve talking to potential customers about a product or service, and in many cases one individual may be involved in both activities. However, the difference between consulting and sales is based on the approach each activity requires.

Consulting requires an understanding of customer needs and expertise in order to provide solutions that meet those customer needs. Consultants must provide knowledge, support, and advice while implementing long-term strategies designed to create customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Sales, on the other hand, focuses on convincing potential customers to purchase a product or service. Salespeople need to understand their target customer’s needs but also have the ability to close deals quickly and efficiently by using persuasive methods aimed at creating a “win-win” situation for both customer and seller.

Definition of Consulting

Consulting is a profession that involves providing advice and expertise to a company or individual on a particular subject or area. Consultants apply knowledge and experience to help solve problems, create new and better opportunities, and enhance the decision-making process. A consultant helps their clients to develop strategies, make plans, and analyze options. Consulting can be a great way for businesses to stay competitive and innovative.

What is consulting?

Consulting is a professional service provided to organizations, businesses, and individuals. It involves giving advice, suggestions and recommendations that are designed to achieve specific goals or objectives. Consulting can come in many forms, ranging from strategic planning sessions to tactical advice on one particular issue.

When engaging a consultant, it’s important to know that they are not directly selling any products or services. Instead, they provide unbiased insights and recommendations based on knowledge and experience. The benefit of hiring a consultant is that they can help advise management on strategies that may help the business reach its goals or address particular problems without imposing a permanent change in structure or process.

For instance, if an organization is interested in improving customer service satisfaction levels but doesn’t want to hire additional employees or adopt new software systems, they can enlist the services of a consultant who specializes in customer service strategy. The consultant would gather information about existing processes and workflows, identify areas where improvements make sense and provide recommendations for how these changes might be implemented.

Using consultants for specific problems helps organizations receive targeted assistance without making more drastic changes than necessary—helping them get the most bang for their buck!

What types of consulting are there?

Consulting is the business of providing advice and offering expertise in specific areas of knowledge or methods of management. There are many different types of consulting services available, including operational consulting, business consulting, marketing consulting, IT consulting and financial consulting.

  • Operational consulting helps a company develop or improve its product delivery and customer service.
  • Business consultants focus on planning and strategy, covering topics such as organizational design, change management and process improvement.
  • Marketing consultants develop strategies for companies to reach their potential customers, both online and offline.
  • IT consultants provide technical advice on the selection or installation of hardware or software applications.
  • Financial consultants review a company’s finances to look for ways to increase profits through improved cost control or revenue growth.

The role of the consultant varies depending on the type of service they are providing; however there are some common characteristics shared among all types of consultants: a consultant must have an extensive knowledge base in their field which they can use to advise clients; they must also identify problems quickly; lead successful projects; communicate clearly with both clients and colleagues; be dexterous at negotiating contracts; understand interpersonal dynamics and possess excellent problem solving skills.

Definition of Sales

Sales is the process of engaging with potential customers to identify their needs and then offering them a product or service that meets those needs. According to the American Marketing Association, sales is “the activity of persuading a customer to purchase a product or service.” Salespeople are responsible for developing relationships with potential customers, understanding their needs and wants, and presenting a product or service that meets those needs.

The sales process typically involves:

  • Prospecting
  • Presenting
  • Negotiating
  • Closing

What is sales?

Sales is a process of identifying customers, building relationships with them and supplying products or services that help to solve their current and future problems. A successful salesperson works hard to understand the needs of their customers, build trust and loyalty and then provide solutions that fill those needs.

The main goal of sales is to find and win new customers by presenting the right product or service at the right price. Salespeople are expected to be knowledgeable about their offering, be enthusiastic about it, know how it helps out the customer, answer any questions they might have and close the sale when ready. To do this job successfully requires an understanding of the customer’s wants and needs, differentiating between them to give clued-up advice on what they should buy. It also requires a thorough knowledge of your own offerings so you can explain precise benefits in order to make your customer’s purchasing decision easier.

Sales involves many sensitive business transactions wherein professional sellers are expected to interact in an organized manner with prospective buyers with respect for their source material. Doing research before hand is essential for those looking to master communication techniques. Prioritizing customers’ best interests over personal gain should always be maintained during any type of sales interaction for maximum success in achieving objectives such as revenue growth or company expansion goals.

What types of sales are there?

Sales is a broad field, comprising many different types of activities related to transferring products or services from suppliers to customers. Different types of sales vary greatly in terms of complexity, skill level and the size and nature of the sales organization. The main categories of sales include: retail, commercial and industrial.

  • Retail is the most commonly recognized form of sales, which involves consumers making direct purchases from stores or shopping centers. Retail sales representatives often work in retail stores on the front lines with customers, promoting and selling products directly to them.
  • Commercial sales are all transactions between businesses that involve some kind of product or service exchange. In commercial sales, representatives typically make visits to business customers, often offering suggestions on how their products could benefit their operations. They may also manage customer accounts after a sale is completed.
  • Industrial sales are those in which industrial products are sold for use in the manufacturing industry by manufacturers themselves or suppliers acting as intermediaries between manufacturers and business customers who need such products for their production duties. Industrial representatives often help potential buyers evaluate solutions for their needs based on such factors as cost-efficiency and quality assurance standards.

Differences between Consulting and Sales

Consulting and sales share some similarities and differences. Sales focuses on persuading customers to purchase and use a product or service, while consulting focuses on providing advice and guidance to customers when they are faced with a problem or challenge. While both require an understanding of customer needs, staffing strategies and tactics, each have their own distinct roles.

Let’s dive further into the differences between consulting and sales:

Goals and objectives

When considering the difference between consulting and sales, it is important to understand the goals and objectives of each role. They move business customers from point A to point B, but their specific journey is quite different.

The ultimate aim of a consultant is to provide value to their clients by helping them identify areas for improvement and develop strategies that will lead to long-term success. To do this, consultants collect data, explore options, analyze information and make recommendations accordingly—all while maintaining an objective stance.

The ultimate goal of a sales representative is to complete successful transactions that benefit both the company and customer. This is accomplished by delivering an informed presentation about available products or services geared toward promoting customer interest in making a purchase. Sales representatives usually strive for shorter timelines compared with consultants as they must move quickly through product features, customer relationships and closing deals swiftly.

Types of activities

In general, consulting involves giving advice about a particular issue or problem, while sales is about persuading customers to buy a product. The two professions require different skill sets, but they can co-exist and can even overlap in some cases.

When it comes to their day-to-day activities, consultants typically research the issue at hand and come up with an action plan that addresses the client’s needs; they then present this data in a professional manner. Their main goal is to provide an unbiased standpoint on the subject that helps their clients make sound decisions. They might also assist clients with project management and implementation of solutions.

Salespeople, on the other hand, work to understand their customers’ wants and needs before recommending them appropriate products or services. Their focus is on building relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction through exemplary service. They are expected to have knowledge of their product lines and persuade customers to commit to purchase. Salespeople have detailed understanding of the entire sales process, from making initial contact with potential buyers all the way through closing deals with existing customers.

Overall, both consultants and salespeople strive for customer satisfaction by offering guidance and expertise in different ways; however it’s important for everyone involved to understand exactly what type of work each profession entails.


When it comes to compensation, there are many differences between consulting and sales.

Consultants have the potential to earn more with bonuses and in some cases, unrestricted compensation for their work. Bonuses and other incentives vary by consulting industry and role. Consulting typically pays based on an hourly rate or a fixed rate for completing a project or providing services.

Sales professionals receive compensation packages which generally include:

  • A base salary
  • Commissions on each sale
  • Bonus opportunities based on sales goals
  • Performance-related incentives
  • Additional perks such as car allowances, gym memberships and stock options.

Sales reps must reach predetermined goals in order to receive bonus payouts, which means that their income can be inconsistent if they fail to make their monthly quota. There is often no limit on what a top-performing salesperson can make if they exceed the expected targets each month or quarter.

While new consultants might start off at lower salaries than experienced representatives in sales roles, their longterm earning potential is usually higher since consultants who build successful practices can receive higher rates over time.


In conclusion, consulting and sales have different roles in businesses of all sizes. Consulting offers expert advice on matters such as strategy, operations, customers and technology. Sales is a process of developing relationships with potential customers and turning those prospects into buyers.

Understanding the differences between consulting and sales gives you the tools to make an educated decision when considering your job options. A consultant provides expertise while a salesperson is focused on revenue generation, although they can sometimes overlap. Depending on your career goals and previous experience, you can work as either a consultant or a sales professional to achieve success in your chosen field.