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PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRMS include law firms, accounting practices, insurance agencies, architectural firms and financial services companies. Old business development strategies — like relying solely on repeat business and passive referrals — have been turned completely upside-down in these fields. The old ways of growing business no longer result in sustainable growth for most firms, and competitive pressure is mounting. However, “sales” is still a dirty word among many professional service companies. These professionals don’t want to admit that selling is a part of their job. Networking means attending social events without necessarily telling people about their firms. Now many of these practices with this mindset are struggling to survive, let alone grow. Firms that are growing are adapting to the changing marketplace by applying a few basic tenets that anyone can use. First, you have to get over the stigma of sales. If you’re not comfortable selling, ask yourself these questions. Do you believe you are truly helping to improve your clients’ lives or the performance of their companies? Are you helping to take away their pain? If so, you’re doing prospects a disservice by not trying to help them. Create a consistent process. Just responding to inbound requests doesn’t position you to get the business you actually want and deserve. Get in the driver’s seat. Learn how many calls you need to make per week or month to grow your business. Systemize your calling efforts so others can easily replicate your successes. Share your passion about what you are selling. Today’s buyer is looking for a service provider with conviction, someone who can help him make smarter decisions, not just a yes-man looking to close a deal. Speak up, and be an agent of change. This will set you apart, and most prospects will respect you for it. Understand the nuances of trust-based selling. In the world of professional service sales, you are the product. There is a point in the decision-making process when prospects are assessing your trustworthiness. You can earn trust by demonstrating genuine concern for both the prospect and his company, and listening more than you’re talking. This is another reason why shooting straight is essential. If your prospect appreciates your candor, it builds trust, and the sale will likely close. If the prospect doesn’t respect your honesty, it probably wasn’t a good fit anyway. You must make the prospect understand the intangible. Selling a service can be challenging. Even without a product to hold, you have to help your prospects see the value of what you’re offering. You can share case studies about customers who faced similar challenges or provide industry best practices to demonstrate that your education and training can be of benefit. Lastly, let your prospect witness what a typical day is like inside your company, to help him understand what it means to work with your firm. If waiting for the phone to ring is no longer an effective selling strategy, it’s time to get yourself out of the office. Build your prospect list, prepare for your calls, and start making appointments. After all, you have some really good news to share.

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RedRover Sales & Marketing

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