Skill 4: Meta Thinking & Structuring

Meta Thinking & Structuring

In today’s article of our blog series on Consulting Skills, we will introduce you to the fourth level, Meta Thinking & Structuring. It is about questioning your own thinking and understanding existing relationships between categories in order to drive your business forward in the long term.

4. Meta Thinking & Structuring

In order to achieve the best possible result, as a consultant you should always question and analyse all situations. It is important to correctly assess topics and interrelationships that are “above the surface”. However, you should also know and understand what is going on “below the surface”.

What do we mean by Meta Thinking & Structuring?

Meta thinking means thinking about one’s own thinking and constantly questioning it. The aim is to understand existing structures within your company and to discover and visualise new structures. This procedure will help you to derive predictions on a sound basis and to initialise actions based on them.

How can Meta Thinking & Structuring be approached?

Meta thinking can be trained with the help of the following steps:

Establish connections & visualise:

It is important that you learn how to make connections and then visualise them.
Here is an example: You have different words and now you try to put them together in logical groupings. Brainstorm the different words with post-its and then put them in a logical order. This process is also called boxing.

Making predictions

After you have successfully grouped them, you can now make predictions about the individual groups by assigning them to a super category that you have previously defined.

Ask questions, summarise & clarify: 

Now ask the right questions so that a solution can be summarised and the result clarified. In this way you can get the greatest possible and most goal-oriented output.
Possible questions are:

  • Which category is the most profitable?
  • Which category has the highest customer loyalty?
  • What is our goal? Is the goal to gain more customers?
  • What are our main goals that can be derived from this?

Why is Meta Thinking & Structuring important, especially for consultants?

Meta Thinking & Structuring is essential, especially for agencies, in order to be able to tailor and communicate their own service offers clearly and in a structured way to the needs of their customers. The own approach should be constantly reviewed in order to identify and implement optimisation possibilities.

How can Meta Thinking & Structuring be trained?

In order to take your own thinking and structuring to the next level, you need to practice continuously. You will find out how to do this in the following:

A: Understanding

Assess your current strength of meta thinking
Define a training plan on how the skills are to be developed
Install a 1:1 Routine Senior-Junior to develop the “Meta Thinking Skills

B: Practice

Possess the ability of meta-thinking and structuring

  • Train the C & B level to be able to derive ontology relationships (recommended with a trainer / coach).
  • Learn to build ontology relationships with real cases

Development of meta thinking on a 1:1 basis

  • Development of meta thinking on a 1:1 basis with real cases
  • Give frequent feedback to get better
  • Reflect in group sessions on the personal ability of meta thinking development

If you want to get to know more about us or about what we do and what we offer or if you have any questions on this topic or on our insights, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Furthermore, you can watch the video from our Community Call here: Video of the call. Moreover we have provided the slides of the call for you here.
Next week we will continue with the fifth part of the Consulting Skills: Value Case & Conception.
Your Amaze Growth / Accelerate Coach Team

Consultative Selling for Agencies

What is Consultative Selling?

Covid-19 and social distancing has become the new normal. Hence, it is even more significant to focus on a trusted sales approach and consultative selling in B2B sales cycles. We see professional service firms overcoming these difficult times by applying a stringent trusted advisor approach within their four stages of their sales cycles.

How does a typical sales cycle look like?

Nowadays there are two approaches to address prospects and thus gain leads: either an inbound or outbound sales approach. Depending on the number of potential customers, either an outbound (many potential customers / e.g. toothpaste) or inbound (few potential customers / e.g. airplanes) approach is taken.

With an inbound focus the consultative selling approach is essential to convert leads into customers. The following basic principles must be followed when using the approach in order to create the basis for successful lead generation:

  • Doing research homework
  • Ask questions
  • Active listening
  • Stay authentic
  • Ask for feedback
  • Build confidence

How can a consultative selling approach be implemented in your salesforce?

We have worked with many different professional services firms both agencies as well as consulting firms. After many training and coachings, we finally have developed a simple sales clock that helps the salesforce to implement basic trusted advisor skills /the consultative selling approach.

  1. Phase – Understanding: In this phase it is important that the sales person collects essential information about the potential customer. This includes information about the decision-makers and their personality profiles as well as the company itself. We have listed our favorite research tools here: LinkedIn, Xing, Crystalknows,, Google or even the company’s website.
    On the basis of your research list the potential challenges and problems of your lead and map your previous experiences or services. This allows you to get a broader picture of how to support your potential lead.
  2. Phase – Building trust: Your goal is to expand the collected data through a personal contact with the company. We have found that asking specific questions about e.g. the business health, the competitive environment of the company, current challenges, etc can be a real door opener. Furthermore, we highly recommend you to structure the problems on a meta level. According to our experience, a structured understanding as well as a synthesis of the problems increases trust of the potential customer.
  3. Phase – Define your value: In this phase, you should clearly evaluate the costs of the problems and especially the long-term added value of your services. According to our research, it is very important to tailor your services to the customer’s problems.
    Based on the above mentioned insights, you can now create your tailored offer. A best practice is to proactively follow up after the offer has been placed.
  4. Phase – Realise Value: After you have successfully sold your services to your customers, it is important to become a trusted advisor for your customer.

How can you become a trusted advisor?

The Trust Quotient (according to Charles Green) can be very valuable for you to analyze and improve your current trust quotient.

To drive the individual elements of the formula forward, we have summarized our best practices for you below:

  • Credibility: Enhance your credibility through accuracy and reliability.
  • Reliability: Stand by your words and deliver what you promise.
  • Integrity: Strengthen your already gained trust through discretion.
  • Customer orientation: Put yourself in the position of your customers in order to better understand their problems / challenges.

Furthermore, the following 5 virtues can help you to build up the trust level between you and your customer:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Listen
  3. Be a partner
  4. Don’t fear the risk
  5. Maintain flexibility and improvise if necessary

And of course, last but not least when it comes to an offer you should have also a good price logic in mind. We wish you the best of luck with the successful conversions of your coming leads.

If you want to get to know more about us or about what we do and what we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Furthermore, we have provided the slides of the call four you here.

Below, you will find the video of the call.