A professional service practice cannot survive without sales, and for many small-to-medium sized accounting or legal practices, sales typically do not appear out of thin air. There are measures and techniques that can be employed to turn your networking and sales efforts into profitable time spent. Below are some general business development tips that when utilized properly, will help you reach your goal of operating a growing practice.
1. Convincing someone to purchase your service means that you must believe in yourself.
Your confidence (or lack of) will shine through to potential clients. Any insincerity in your mannerisms or speech will usually come through loud and clear. Selling a practice or service you yourself see as useful and necessary will help your enthusiasm shine through.
2. Don’t barge into a pitch meeting rambling on about your practice, barely pausing to breathe.
Remember to listen to your potential client and get the feel of the room. You can gain a lot of valuable knowledge by paying attention to their initial reaction to your and what you are offering. Observing the client’s mood will pay off too. Are they rushed, agitated, or otherwise distracted? Then perhaps keeping the meeting brief or even rescheduling might be best.
3. Know your client and their company.
It helps to go in to a sales pitch having some common ground and topics to discuss. Framing your pitch around how your service fits the needs of a client will let them know you have done your homework. A little bit of research will go a long way here. Having conversations about their business and interests will make it seem more like a friendly conversation as opposed to a cold, hard sales pitch.
4. Prep, Prep, then Prep some more.
Bring your enthusiasm and professionalism to the table with a well prepared and exciting presentation. Nobody wants to sit through a boring lecture. Visual presentations and real-world examples and narratives will help keep the client an active listener and participant in the pitch.
5. Know your stuff and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t.
Not everybody can be an expert in every field. If you are a sole-practitioner, come in with a rolodex full of trusted referral sources. If you work at a firm, this is even easier. Making sure you know your strengths, but also work that you are not willing or unable to bring on can help you more accurately answer a question a client has asked; or be able to refer them to someone who does. Let the client know you are interested in finding the answer and follow through with a phone call or e-mail as soon as possible.
6. Finally, know when enough is enough and wrap it up.
Remember that their time is as valuable as yours is to you. Keep the information concise, the wording easy to follow, and leave the next course of action in their hands. If you have followed some of the other tips, then the hard push at the end of a meeting will not be necessary.
Following these business development tips would certainly make more professional and efficient in delivering your services to your clients without any hitches.
About the Author:
David Wolfskehl is an entrepreneur, author, and Founder of a niche marketing firm named the Micro-Niche Method. He has also authored a book by the same name that outlines strategies for professional services providers to identify and pursue profitable industry niches.