You’re in professional services and you want to sell more of your products.
That’s a space many people find themselves in, but actually one of the words in the title tends to really throw people – the word “sell”.
Lots of individuals involved in professional services, so Accountants, Solicitors, Consultants – they get very nervous about the word “sell”. And rightly so. I’m going to be really honest here. If we ever ask a group of people what their opinion is of the word “sales” or “selling” and compare it with other words like “service” or “customer delivery” – whatever it might be, “sales” always has a real negative connotation. So we get words like “pushy”, “double glazing”, “aggressive”, “target driven”, “money grabbing”, “self serving” – all those words tend to come out when we talk about selling.
Because that’s our past experience of selling which, in some cases, has been really quite poor
So what do we need to do? Well, if we want to get good at selling professional services, we need to accept and recognise the fact that we have this negative emotional baggage when it comes to selling and this sits in our head and affects our opinions about what we should be doing. And what’s really great is, when you recognise that, you’re able to do something about it.
We ran a course recently for a number of business owners and it was actually an Accountant who we shared this point with. And we said ‘Listen, you’re carrying lots of emotional baggage about selling and sales in professional services before you even, kind of, open your mouth or do anything.’ That was at the start of the course.
He said ‘You know what, if I get nothing else from today’s course, then that’s a ground breaker for me. That’s a complete game changer in terms of how I look at myself and how I look at selling.’
What’s fascinating is lots of us carry this emotional baggage around. So we like to think of ourselves as professional and ethical. And if our relationship to sales is that actually, sales doesn’t feel or hasn’t, in the past, felt as professional and ethical and as moral as it should be, well there’s the issue. It creates almost a break in our mind that doesn’t allow us to do some of the things that we need to do.
So if you want to go out and sell – yes, I’m going to use that word again, sell, sell, sell, sell more of your professional services, get more contacts, get more people involved in your business, find new appointments, find new contacts, you’ve got to go out and do that. But you need to appreciate that you’re not going to be the stereotypical salesperson. You’re not going to go back to what you’ve done previously and you’re not going to engage customers in some of those ‘old world’ pushy sales techniques. Because in professional services that simply doesn’t work.
What you are going to do, if you want to be successful, is you’re going to look at engaging people in a conversation. Most of the professional services people I’ve met tend to be able to hold a conversation with other human beings. And if you can hold a conversation and focus on other people and understand what they want to achieve and why they want to achieve it, then explain a little bit about how you can help, that’s a brilliant sales conversation. It’s not pushy, it’s engaging, it’s consultative, it’s focussing on your customer and focussing less on you.
If you do that piece and if you want to find out more about things like building trust, we have a series of videos here, take a look at those. Using trust to become the trusted business advisor in professional services allows you to get beyond that selling point, but certainly allows you to engage new customers, new opportunities, new contacts, to help you, as an individual, grow and help your professional services organisation grow in the most effective ways.
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