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Seven Phases for Selling Professional Services

When you buy a car, you want to know about its features, don’t you? Does it have electric windows? How big is the engine? What is the fuel consumption? Does it have all wheel drive? Automatic or manual stick shift? Even though the salesman may influence your purchase, if you like the car (and the price), you will buy it even if you don’t necessarily like the salesman.

However, when you sell your professional services, you are selling yourself first! If the client does not like you, they will not pay for your services. Think about the professionals that you use in your life. Your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant … do you like them? Would you do business with them if you did not like them (and had a choice)?

What if you are the professional trying to sell your services? Successful professionals are great at Personal Marketing. This applies to doctors, lawyers & accountants. But this applies particularly to consultants, as their services are far less tangible.

Here are Seven Phases of Selling Professional Services:

Phase 1. Create a Public Image. Getting involved in professional associations; civic, social & political organizations; church groups; school associations; writing articles, blogs; delivering talks to groups.
Malcolm Gladwell calls people who do this well “Connectors”. Connectors are people who involve themselves in diverse groups – in this way getting known by a broad cross-section of people.

Phase 2. Develop Contacts. Through the networking opportunities that these activities create, you will get to know of many people … and many people will get to know of you. Professional Networking tools will help you further develop these contacts.

Phase 3. Develop Relationships. Contacts are great … but do these people really know you well enough to help you sell your services, or to buy your services from you? Developing relationships with your contacts takes a lot of work. You need to understand their needs; offer assistance where possible. Use your contacts to help people connect with others that can help them – they will remember you for that. You need to interact socially with people … why do you think good sales people play a lot of golf?

Phase 4. Interest the buyer. Your contacts and your relationships will lead you to opportunities where you can demonstrate your capabilities enough to interest a buyer.

Phase 5. Sell. Just having someone interested in you will not get them to agree to pay for your services. You will need to do the due diligence of understanding and defining the need well enough where you can make a proposal to the potential client. This takes preparation, documentation, presentation and follow-up.

Phase 6. Deliver your Service. Some may say that at this point, the selling is complete. In selling professional services – this is when you have your opportunity to PROVE your capabilities and thus to develop additional business. So, in meeting (or exceeding) your clients’ expectations, you are in fact selling yourself and your services.

Phase 7. Retain your clients. Retaining an existing client is a lot easier than getting a new client. You retain your client (and thus sell more business) through delivering high quality, timely service. After delivering your service – maintain and develop your relationship. This is back to Phase 3, but this time around it is a lot easier if you have done a good job of delivering the service that was paid for. Becoming a “trusted advisor” makes sure that you have effectively locked out the competition.

If you sell professional services – review the above phases. How well do you do each of these? It is extremely difficult to be good at all of these. Your ability to perform different phases better than others depends so much on your personality and personal preferences. Some people are great networkers, but not good at closing deals. Others are good at closing sales deals, but not good at delivering solutions.

2 comments:

Carrol Spencer said...

you have really mentioned very good and important things in your blog and i am glad to be the part of it.
Carrol SPncr
knightsbridge business sales

Carrol Spencer said...

you have really mentioned very good and important things in your blog and i am glad to be the part of it.
Carrol SPncr
knightsbridge business sales