Using the Seven Elements as a Diagnostic Tool


In How Clients Buy, Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher present seven elements that must be present before a prospect will be ready to buy a professional service. They must

  • be aware of you
  • understand what you do
  • be interested in your services
  • respect your work
  • deem you worthy of their trust
  • have the ability to make a decision, and
  • be ready—the timing must be right.

Like the essential ingredients for making bread, Tom asserts these Seven Elements represent a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive (“MECE”). Consequently, they constitute a list of essential ingredients for business development success. Using the Seven Elements, you can conduct a self-assessment at the firm, practice, or personal level to gauge your relative strengths and weaknesses.

The Seven Elements Assessment

Take this self-assessment to identify your relative strengths and weaknesses and benchmark your results against peer firms. Complete the survey, and we’ll send you two free copies of How Clients Buy.

There are no tricks to translating the results into remedial action. However, discipline is required.
  • Unlike the children of Lake Wobegon, not all professional services firms are above average across all Seven Elements. Be honest with yourself.
  • Focus on your weaknesses. I know, it’s hard—most of us would rather double-down on our demonstrated strengths.
Expertise and integrity don’t translate into business success unless there is sufficient awareness among those you wish to serve. Similarly, improving on already strong awareness will be for naught unless prospective clients understand how you can help.

Get the Transcript of Tom's Interview