How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services

How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services

How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services

How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services


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The real-world guide to selling your services and bringing in business

How Clients Buy is the much-needed guide to selling your services. If you're one of the millions of people whose skills are the 'product,' you know that you cannot be successful unless you bring in clients. The problem is, you're trained to do your job—not sell it. No matter how great you may be at your actual role, you likely feel a bit lost, hesitant, or 'behind' when it comes to courting clients, an unfamiliar territory where you're never quite sure of the line between under- and over-selling. This book comes to the rescue with real, practical advice for selling what you do. You'll have to unlearn everything you know about sales, but then you'll learn new skills that will help you make connections, develop rapport, create interest, earn trust, and turn prospects into clients.

Business development is critical to your personal success, and your skills in this area will dictate the course of your career. This invaluable guide gives you a set of real-world best practices that can help you become the rainmaker you want to be.

  • Get the word out and make productive connections
  • Drop the fear of self-promotion and advertise your accomplishments
  • Earn potential clients' trust to build a lasting relationship
  • Scrap the sales pitch in favor of honesty, positivity, and value

Working in the consulting and professional services fields comes with difficulties not encountered by those who sell tangible products. Services are often under-valued, and become among the first things to go when budgets get tight. It is now harder than ever to sell professional services, so your game must be on-point if you hope to out-compete the field. How Clients Buy shows you how to level up and start winning the client list of your dreams.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119434702
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 458,362
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

TOM McMAKIN is CEO of Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE), a leading provider of business development services for consulting and professional services firms. Previously, he held leadership positions in private equity and served as the chief operating officer of Great Harvest Bread Co, a multi-unit operator of bread stores. Tom is the author of Bread and Butter, a critically- acclaimed book that describes his work at Great Harvest and how he and his team created a nationally recognized corporate learning community and culture of best practices using collaborative networks. He has appeared on the pages of Fast Company, Inc. magazine, Newsweek, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal and speaks widely. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and former Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon.

DOUG FLETCHER currently splits his time between speaking/writing/coaching on the topic of business development in consulting and professional services and teaching at the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Beacon Group, a growth strategy consulting firm headquartered in Portland, Maine. Prior to that, he was co-founder and CEO of North Star Consulting Group, a technology-enabled consulting firm that specialized in global web-survey projects. Earlier in his professional life, Doug served as a consultant with the management consultancy, A.T. Kearney, and was trained at General Electric in its leadership development program. He is a graduate of Clemson University and has an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business Administration.

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Table of Contents

The Problem

1 A Curious Problem 3

2 Finders, Minders, and Grinders: The Business Development Imperative 14


3 Beyond Pixels: Selling a Service Is Different from Selling Things (and Harder) 27

4 Obstacle #1-What They Didn't Teach You in B-School: If I Am Supposed to Be the Expert, Why Do I Feel So Stupid about Sales? 37

5 Obstacle #2-But I Don't Want to Sell: Moving Past Willy Loman 45

6 Obstacle #3-Things Aren't What They Once Were: It Is Harder Than Ever to Sell Expert Services 56

7 Obstacle #4-A Blizzard of Bad Advice: Everything You Know about Sales Is Wrong 67

How Clients Buy

8 The Secret to Selling: Never Say Sell 83

9 Element 1-I Am Aware of You: What Was the Name of Your Firm Again? 95

10 Element 2-I Understand What You Do: You Do What? 112

11 Element 3-I Am Interested: These Are My Goals 127

12 Element 4-I Respect Your Work: You Have the Right Stuff to Help Me 138

13 Element 5-I Trust You: You Have My Best Interests at Heart 154

14 Element 6-I Am Able: I've Got Budget and Buy-In 168

15 Element 7-I Am Ready: The Timing Is Right 181

Putting the Seven Elements to Work

16 A Chain Is as Strong as Its Weakest Link: Using the Seven Elements as a Diagnostic Tool 197

17 Getting to Work: Learning to Think and Act Like a Rainmaker 212

18 All Business Is Local: From the Silk Road to the Information Superhighway 223

19 Our Vision of the Future: A Roadmap for Change 229

Notes and References 241

Acknowledgments 248

About the Authors 251

Index 253

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