Select Professional Services Clients
Selling Professional Services to Grow Your Business
Sellers in professional services today often feel they are working twice as hard to earn half the sales. This challenge is the result of balancing the goals of maintaining existing clients while finding new opportunities. Meanwhile, each client, new or old, has a unique set of needs. Richardson believes a consultative approach solves them all.
Customers seek more nuanced, customized solutions due to the flexibility afforded by technology. In fact, 30% of professional service firms report “new innovative products” as a primary source of disruption. Simultaneously, technology has reduced barriers to entry allowing smaller, lower-cost competitors to enter the market. In fact, technological developments have progressed so fast that automated solutions threaten the large and small providers alike. Professions like accounting, programming and even legal services, once thought to be immune to automation, are becoming increasingly susceptible to digitization. Researched published by McKinsey projects that up to “140 million full-time knowledge workers could be replaced by algorithms.” Sellers must demonstrate how their solutions can compete.
These developments have pushed the seller further away from the customer. Today, many customers engage the seller much later in the buying process if at all. Sellers might be maintaining their existing clients, however, base retention doesn’t spark reinvention. The solution is a more proactive, consultative approach.
A Customized Program Builds the Right Skills
Sellers must deliver a concise and compelling message of value. Most importantly, the messaging must resonate with the specificity of the customer’s need. Reaching this end starts with effective questioning that uncovers the nuances of a customer’s challenge. This strategy illustrates to the customers that while an algorithmic approach might appeal to one’s sense of expediency, it rarely delivers the depth needed in solving complex, long-term problems.
This dialogue uncovers the detail behind the needs. This information is valuable because it gives the seller insight into the specific ways their solution connects to the customer’s core challenges. The ultimate result of the collaboration is trust. While data is omnipresent and free, it is also confusing and misleading. A dialogue approach solves this problem by helping the customer to sift out what’s germane and what is not.
Consultative selling works because it focuses on the element of the sale that’s here to stay: the customer.