When it comes to professional services, Tom McMakin believes trust is everything. That’s because information asymmetries are inherent in professional services. The service provider diagnoses the disease and provides the cure, the effects of which may take a long time to ascertain. Consequently, there is a very real risk of exploitation of the buyer by the seller. So, competence isn’t enough. A higher standard of trust is required.
Which is more important to professional service providers: marketing or selling skills? The answer is both, contrary to common assumptions about the value of division of labor. Solutions providers conduct research and product development (marketing functions) in the same instant they present and pitch (selling functions). The need for versatility makes professional services challenging and rewarding. Above all—according to Don Scales, the CEO of Investis—we must think.
The two most dangerous words in the world of professional services are, “No problem.” The attractiveness of an expert services practice goes up in direct proportion to the power of its niche. Tom McMakin recommends a whitepaper authored by Lee Frederiksen at The Hinge Group titled, “Differentiation Guide for Professional Services Firms.”
Doug Fletcher is one of the most likable people you’ll meet. His easy-going manner puts one at ease. So, it’s a bit jarring to hear Doug advise, “Forget about being likable.” Instead, Doug encourages us to do great work and take really good care of our clients. In his estimation, respect and trust trump likability.
The current uncertainty in our political environment compounded by disruption throughout industry is creating a climate ripe for consulting services. Traditionally, risk and opportunity have driven the need for companies to invest in consulting services and 2018 is offering a plethora of both.
When it comes to content marketing, if you hold back your “good stuff,” your efforts will be less effective. Your good stuff is, by definition, the most interesting stuff. If you hold back and offer up only your not-so-good-stuff, your offering will be less compelling.
Playing golf at the country club used to be an effective way to cultivate business relationships. That’s no longer true. Globalization and specialization have made selling professional services more difficult. That’s because trust may be more important than ever, and building trust across distance is hard.
Even if the primary purpose of your practice isn’t to make money, making money is a requirement for sustaining your practice. By definition, a sale is the exchange of a service for money. So why isn’t selling featured in the curricula of business schools—or any other professional schools?
In this second in a series of interviews, Andi Baldwin of Profitable Ideas Exchange interviews “How Clients Buy” co-authors, Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher, about the framework they call, “The Seven Elements” of business development for professional services.
There is a sales stigma among professional service providers. In “Why We Hate Salespeople,” Tom McMakin encourages us to address this aversion head-on. Cultivate relationships, add value prior to the sale, and demonstrate trustworthiness.
In this first of a series of interviews, Andi Baldwin of Profitable Ideas Exchange asked “How Clients Buy” co-authors Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher to explain the premise of the book and why they were compelled to write it.
Authenticity is critical to successfully engaging potential clients, but you can’t game it. You are who you are. That means authenticity comes at a cost. Nate Bennett explains why the benefits of authenticity far outweigh the costs.
Advertising professional services can help, but it’s a relatively poor investment. With the help of Walt Shill, Global Managing Partner for Client Services at ERM, Tom McMakin explains how it’s better to develop strategies and processes that can deliver real impact for your clients.
Tom McMakin spoke with Bert Martinez, host of the “Money for Lunch” podcast on why many professional services providers are allergic to sales and selling.
Tom McMakin spoke with Richard Henderson and Sherilyn Colleen, co-hosts of Home Business Radio about building an expert services practice.
In consulting and professional services trust is the coin of the realm. Your job is to not only present potential clients with compelling solutions to their problems, but also to buttress their efforts to trust you: that you can get the job done and have their best interests at heart.
It’s better to demonstrate expertise than to claim it. Paul Quigley explains how organizing and moderating well-crafted panel discussions can help you sell from “the front of the room.”
I sat down with Cavin Segil and asked him to narrate a typical introductory call with a potential client. He says they always include a handful of key components. Call them the ABCs of an introductory call: a) learn who they are, b) whare what you do with an example, and c) schedule a follow-up call.
At the end of the introductory call, most prospects will ask for a “short piece” describing what you do and what you’ve done for others. Carlie Auger describes the four elements of a strong deck.
If you could ask a question of one of your peers, what would it be? We naturally seek assistance from those who are fellow travelers. Andi Baldwin seeks to find out what you would ask one of your peers in order to help you.