Business Development for Professionals . . . Art or Science?

Part II: Business Development a.k.a Selling

Don LinderNow, let's discuss what is needed to "sell" your services. "Selling" has, of course, a lot of negative connotations such as in the term "used car salesman." Selling though is critical, as it is the last vital step needed to secure the business that you want. So how do you get your professionals to "sell" their services?

 

4. Learn how to have a great business development meeting.

Many professionals equate selling with "telling" as in making a strong presentation about your unique strengths. A strong presentation is indeed worthwhile but is only applicable once you understand your client's problems and have gained agreement with the client on the value of solving their problem.

In its best form, "selling" is discovering problems and solving those problems which is what professionals do best. To properly sell services, you need to ask "Intelligent Questions" regarding the situation and the type of problem your client is having. Further questions will determine the seriousness of the problem and the importance of solving it.

Once you have agreement on these four steps (situation, problem definition, consequences of the problem, and the benefit of a solution), then you can start explaining your solution to a client who now understands both the seriousness of his problem and the value of a solution. A strong chain of structured "Intelligent Questions" is surprisingly easy to learn for many professionals. Following this "Intelligent Questioning" approach ensures that you are viewed as a competent problem solver and not a dreaded "sales rep".

 

5. Create a business development plan.

Start with the revenue and profit that you want and need. Work backward to plan the number of potential contracts you must pursue. Don't forget the inevitable delays. Then create your activity plan, the specific activities that you must perform each day, week, and month.

 

6. Execute your plan.

Given the inevitable pressures of urgent projects, you must force yourself to make time to sell additional business. Start by having a written plan from step 5 that you share with others in your company. Block out specific times each and every week that are completely reserved for these activities and then follow through. Find someone to be your coach and review your progress every week with them to be sure you're keeping up with your plan.

 

Don Linder, the founder of Major Client Selling, uses structured tools and creative strategies to solve the complex puzzle of selling to big customers. He's the author of "The Seven Deadly Mistakes that Cause You to Lose Large Sales." You can reach Don at don_linder@majorclients.com.

 

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