When in Doubt...

... remember the wisdom of Socrates:

 I know that I know nothing. 

Y-O-U!

Let's get one thing perfectly clear:  There’s no secret to ‘hack’ your way to success in the professional services arena. You can't nor should you attempt to manipulate your way into long-lasting, profitable relationships.  This goes double for when you’re working in the arena of business-to-business marketing and selling.  After all, this is the ‘service’ industry.

It can be brutal sometimes. I get it.  It’s an ongoing, demanding process.

As a professional, you are in the business of serving your clients. You may be wondering how you can outsource that. If that’s on your mind, then professional services might not be for you. You're working in the arena of professional services and this isn’t the same thing as selling a product like supplements online from some remote location overseas. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You can’t work really hard setting up your practice for 3 years to reach the pinnacle of success and then decide you will outsource the hard stuff so that you can drop off the map halfway around the world.

This One Time, It Really Is All About You!

This isn’t about selling gizmos or gadgets. You’re marketing and selling something else. You are selling ‘YOU!’ That’s right, Y-O-U. You are your product. You are your brand. You are the promise. What you have to offer might not be traditionally tangible. Your offering is based on the results you promise your clients.

Your product is your knowledge, your experience, your wisdom, your judgment, your commitment, your follow up and your desire to improve things for your client. 

Time and time again, I have seen professional women and men who achieve success in their firm, only to flush it down the metaphorical toilet by allowing distractions to take hold. These distractions might appear in the form of longer vacations, later arrivals to work, three-hour lunches or personal drama that creeps in.

There may come a time, if you do things right, where stepping away from your business and returning repeatedly, without seeing major disruption in the systems and processes you’ve established could be a possibility. However, you're not there yet. 

There is no shortcut to get to the peak you wish to climb. More than one professional organization has imploded when the founder or founders stepped away prematurely to explore other business opportunities, retire or just ‘find themselves.’

Recommit

Commit yourself seriously to the reality of your situation for now.  If you’re going to do this, commit to it.  I mean really, really commit. If you commit, it means you’re going to be involved.

Your desire to make things better for your clients should override your own comfort most of the time and it should be something you are conscientious about on a frequent and regular basis.

If you are committed to the simultaneous cause of building your business while helping those clients who seek your help, you will wonder where the hours and the days went.

You could even lose track of time.  I know I have.

Uncle_Sam_(pointing_finger).jpg

Forget about Closing the Sale

How many times have you said one of the following phrases?

  • I need to close the deal.

  • I want to close the sale.

  • We gotta get a close on this client.

  • Close the deal or you're fired.

  • Just get the close.

If you've worked in selling professional services six months or six years, it is likely you've referred to the final step in the sales process as a close.  For over a decade and a half in my work and study of the sales process, I've come to resent the word 'close' when it comes to the sales process.  I think your use of the word might be what's hurting your firm or company as well.

Coming to An End?

To close something implies that things between you and your client are coming to an end.  Once you close this deal, it's on to other things.  If you're a business development manager for a professional services company, that may be partially true.  You will be moving on to other things, but what if the managers and other operations personnel in your firm also take the word 'close' a little too seriously?

What I mean by that, is what if these administrators hear the words 'I closed the deal' and it causes them to relax just a little too much?  Maybe they lean back a little bit and think that the client relationship is now secure and that since there's ink on the page, no one has anything to prove.  

The above example might seem extreme, but I personally witnessed time and time again the immediate slacking off of performance once a deal is closed and it frightens me.  No business development representative goes out to win new business just to watch it slip through the firm's metaphorical fingers six months later.  

There's got to be a better way.

A Better Way

Really, there never is such a thing as a ‘close’ in professional services.  It's always in your best interest to remember that.  Instead of ‘closing’ anything, let’s work to get commitments.  The entire sales process is a series of attempts to get commitments from the prospective client while promising to keep commitments in return.  

You've got to get commitments from your prospective clients to consider using your services and that leads to getting the commitment from them to pay to use your services.  All along the way, you are making commitments to them to make sure the connection is there and it is real.  Getting commitments is what all of this is about and hopefully you will make it into a regular habit.

Brush Up on Getting Commitments

So, how do we work to get commitments?  You're probably pretty good at it now.  If you do feel as though you need to brush up your skills, I go into the process deeper in my soon-to-be-published book: Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!  

Check it out on Amazon soon!

Meeting Picture.jpg