Monday, December 23, 2013

Business Development Strategies For Professional Services

Many Erie Sales Club members provide services to businesses and/or individuals, so when asked at our Nov. 13 sales workshop, the attendees were happy to provide insights on selling services. Here's some of the advice they offered:
  • One of the biggest struggles with selling services is that they tend to be complex, intangible, and do not have evident urgency. For example, if your car is totaled in an accident, it's clear the buyer needs a new vehicle ASAP. But that urgency does not apply to life insurance, advertising, or consulting services.
  • Follow the law of reciprocity. Give, give, give, give, give, and eventually it will come back to you.
  • You need to define your services in a way that is attractive and enticing to the buyer. Talk in terms of outcomes that will benefit them, not just activities you perform.
  • Create testimonial letters about what you were able to accomplish for your customers. Be sure to highlight the problems you solved for them. That will speak loudest to your prospects.
  • Specialize by selling your services to vertical markets. This will help you learn that market better and create tailored solutions for those customers. Market yourself as "the leading ___ provider for the ____ industry."
  • Don't just ask for referrals; have a referral strategy. Determine the key companies you want to sell to and then develop a plan to get into those companies.
  • Thoroughly research companies before you call on them. This way, you can match your solutions to their problems on the first call which will be more enticing to them and increase your chances for a second call (and a sale). 
  • Sources for key contact information include LinkedIn, Sales Genie,, Hoovers, and Inside View.
  • Read the book The Challenger Sale, which provides great insights and direction on the concept of Commercial Teaching.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.