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How to sell innovation consulting? (7/10)

Multiple thinking paths

The innovation listener needs to listen to the facts and needs to be sensitive to feelings. But, understanding how client make a decisions also means being sensitive to how his client thinks. That’s critical to know how to sell innovation consulting.

I/ People think in very different ways

Multiple thinking paths
Multiple thinking paths
Courtesy of Logotron

Now, again, this is a huge subject so I don’t pretend that I’ll cover the entire subject matter in this post. But I just want to share with you some of the ideas that have helped me decipher how people think and how understanding their thinking process helps understand and sometimes anticipate what decisions they’ll be making. Let me provide some elements pertaining to the different ways people think, including:

  • idea association
  • deduction
  • induction
  • action
  • intuition
  • feelings


II/ Deductive thinkers

Inductive and deductive thinking
Courtesy of ToKnow

Deduction thinking involves starting out with a clear definition of terms and a clear definition of a specific context. Deductive thinking aims at expressing the causal relationship there is between various elements in order to get to some kind of logical conclusion. Socrates is famous for having formalized the following deduction:

  • all men are mortal
  • Socrates is a man
  • Therefore Socrates is mortal

Very often, identifying a deductive thinker, just means identifying words expressing a logical connections in the client’s vocabulary. These words include: thus, therefore, as a consequence, the results, that’s why, this is the reason why, and so on. Deductive thinkers, like Socrates, start out a sales meetings with some kind of inaugural monologue in which they present their understanding of their context, and then they refer to theories which they will apply to their context.


III/ Inductive thinkers

Inductive thinkers in some way, works the other way around. They tend to identify very specific elements and try to reach some kind of universal conclusion. These people tend to focus on describing a context and its details. These people tend to use words that relate to observation such as: as you can see, I noticed that, I saw that, and so on. One of the most classic examples of inductive thinker is the following:

All of the swans we have seen are white.

Therefore, all swans are white.


Next week, I’ll talk about other kinds of thinkers, including the intuitive thinkers, action thinkers and feeling thinkers. How would you distinguish people based on their thinking?


Further readings on how to sell innovation consulting :


  • For another take on how to sell innovation, please refer to the TheCleverConsultant blog, and more specifically to this post
  • For practical approach to selling consulting, please refer to this YouTube video detailing 3 steps to selling consulting including : identifying a problem, suggesting a solution and accepting full responsibility
  • For another approach to selling consulting, please refer to this video of


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