Over Christmas I was researching Santa Claus. And in doing so, I realised that he's mastered the art of the consultative sell. He doesn't force his products on you. He sits you on his knee (if allowed these days!), gets to know you and asks you questions. What would you like for Christmas? Have you been a good boy/girl this year?
His curiosity about what others want is unprecedented in the world of childhood icons. The Tooth Fairy brings you money whether you want it or not. The Easter Bunny leaves chocolate eggs, even if you wanted some other type of gift.
But Santa Claus - like all good consultants and sales people - asks questions, probes, listens and develops relationships, before deciding on the best solution.