Posted 8th October 2009.
Back in September 2009 I published an edition of my newsletter focused on Lead Nurturing: how you progress an initial client relationship over time to a point where you're actually doing business together.
Lead nurturing is critical for professionals: at the point at which we initially meet clients very few of them need our services right now. But almost all of them will need our type of service in the next few years. To be the one they remember and choose at that point, we need to nurture our relationships with those potential clients over time.
The article gives a number of hints and tips to enable you to do that relationship-building better, and with more clients.
The newsletter also includes a short article on the importance of doing and learning from “win reviews” rather than the traditional “loss reviews”.
You can read the articles in the archive by clicking here.
Posted 31st August 2009.
Back in August 2009 I published an edition of my newsletter focused on how to sell professional services in head-to-head competition with other providers.
Most advice and training on selling professional services focuses on how to get more clients by understanding and exploring their needs to develop solutions and proposals that “hit the spot”.
And that's as it should be. Not only does a needs-based approach allow you to develop better solutions for your client, it also allows you to build better relationships (by really understanding their business) and better persuade clients of the need to take action (by exploring the impact of their problems or challenges).
But there are other important elements to selling that professionals must master to increase their success rate in winning new business. In particular, they must learn how to sell when faced with direct competition. Or as one participant at a recent training course I ran on consultative selling put it: “how do I prove that I'm the best option?”
The newsletter also features a short article on using a focus strategy to get more referrals and features a website for accountants that holds many lessons for business development across the professions.
You can read the newsletter in the archives here.
Posted 28th July 2009.
Let's face it: professionals hate selling.
Consultants like me hate selling. Architects and surveyors hate selling. Accountants hate selling. And lawyers: lawyers really hate selling.
And we don't just hate the act of selling. Many of us hate the entire concept of selling. We feel it's beneath us. It's demeaning. We're experts in our field – we shouldn't need to sell.
Most professional firms can't even bring themselves to call it selling. It's business development or client relations. Not selling.
If you, or others in your firm ever get these feelings, then this article from my old Outside In Newsletter is for you:
Are You Sales Averse
The lead article focus in-depth on Sales Aversion – the peculiar dislike we professionals have of selling. We look at it's cause and most importantly, how it can be cured.
There's also a Quick Tip on LinkedIn Profiles (a really powerful, yet simple to implement change to your profile that has a huge impact on how you're percieved).
Posted 26th June 2009.
Back in 2009 I did a monthly email newsletter wih hints and tips on marketing and business development for professional service firms.
The first month's feature was and still is highly topical: What To Do When You Need Sales Fast.
In the current economic climate, many professional firms are facing the challenge of bringing in new business in a very short space of time – for example, to replace the lost revenue of a major client who has stopped buying, or to “fill the gap” when engagements are delayed. In some cases it's a “do or die” situation – they need to chalk up new sales in a month or two or face layoffs or worse.
Unfortunately, for professional service firms, accelerating sales is not simply a matter of running a campaign or pushing the partners and business developers harder. The lead time for a sale is usually much more dependent on the client's timetable than the professional's – and pushing too hard, too fast can very often backfire.
However, there are ways of generating sales in short timeframes – if you have a strong understanding of the key sales drivers. Not all the strategies will work for every profession or for every client – but each is worthy of strong consideration.
Firstly, you must focus on clients who already trust you and believe in your capabilities.
Secondly, you must package and position your services to make them easy to buy.
Finally, you must reduce “friction” in the buying process.
To read the full article you can read the archived copy of Outside In Newsletter Issue 1 here.