BD tips and insights

By Linda Julian

Selling professional services is not a numbers game

July 10, 2013 | Posted in: Business Development Skills

“Get out there – make as many contacts as you can – follow them all up – don’t give up on any of them – network like crazy – the more contacts you make the better your chance of getting new business.”  This is not sage advice for selling more of your expert professional services.

If you are playing a numbers game, think again.  Refocus on more effective and more satisfying techniques for developing business.

Especially when you serve sophisticated business clients, more meet-and-greets, more phone follow-ups, and more pursuit of reluctant contacts are mostly traps.  It’s just a giant waste of time which could be spent much more productively.

Selling professional services by numbers is not a great plan: it’s a trap set by those who know no better.

Cold calling is not a cool way to sell professional services – it’s downright dispiriting.  Why squander business development time on an activity which is mostly unsuccessful?

Rather than indiscriminate attempts to sell, be selective where you pursue business.

Work out and target those opportunities which are most likely to be a great fit with you and your firm – and for which you are also a close and compatible long-term fit.

When you connect with prospective clients, be prepared.  You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression so make the right on  – you can’t depend on even getting a second chance!

Busy people are most of your best opportunities so never waste their time (because it is already in short supply).  Work out your key messages in advance.

Stop, think and evaluate – often.

When things go well, replay it, analyse, and ponder what you did which made the difference.  There is real learning value in reflection.  And when things don’t go to plan, work out what to change next time.  You can self-coach to improve.

When obstacles impede progress, first consider whether these are unintended by-products of your approach.

A real and significant objection – foreseeable or not – flags a need to rethink and replan.  Take the learnings you distil from each situation.

Spend your scarce time and precious professional passion where it is most likely to be fruitful.  Don’t treat selling your services as a numbers game, merely going through the motions.  That may be okay for some salespeople, but not for expert professionals.

We can help, please get in touch.

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