How To Sell Professional Services
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Research shows that fear of selling is one of the greatest barriers to business success and, often, professionals are the worst of all. But whether you are a film technician or an accountant you still have to sell to keep the business coming in.
There are techniques which will help you to become successful at selling yourself. You don’t have to turn into some sort of sharp-suited Arthur Daley – just do some preparation and think about your services from the customer’s point of view.
Before you go into a business meeting spend some time:
- Listing the main features of your services – speed of delivery, quality, price, etc.
- Clarifying what makes you different from your competitors.
- Identifying the benefits your service will bring to the client’s business.
- Finding out as much as possible about the sort of person and organisation you will be meeting.
- Identifying reasons why they might not want your product and how you might respond to them.
Most importantly, think in terms of what the client needs and wants rather than what you are trying to sell them.
Once you get into the meeting you need to establish your credentials and the particular benefits of your services as quickly as possible. Your credentials will include you and your team – the people who will deliver the product or service; their expertise skills, experience, etc.; what differentiates you from your competition; examples of other people who use your product or service, and in doing so endorse it.
Remember to explain how the client’s business will benefit from using your services. Will it make them more efficient, save money or get more customers? Finally, and most importantly, look at how it will improve their bottom line.
Watch out if the client asks you more about competitors and their products. Don’t rubbish the opposition; it doesn’t look very professional. Just concentrate on the differences that will be of particular benefit to the client’s business.