Winning the Professional Services SaleUnconventional Strategies to Reach More Clients, Land Profitable Work, and Maintain Your Sanity
An innovative approach to winning more profitable sales in the growing professional services industry In recent years, professional services providers have had to rethink their sales methods and adapt to profound changes in the way clients buy services. In response, Winning the Professional Services Sale argues for fundamental changes in the seller's mindset and sales strategies. Rather than pressing the sale, salespeople must help clients buy--the way that works best for each client. This new approach gives buyers what they now want in a services seller: a consultative problem solver, change agent, and solution integrator, all rolled into one. Author Michael McLaughlin presents a strategy for winning new business with a holistic approach to each client relationship. Only by fully understanding a sale from every angle, including its impact on the client's business and career, can salespeople thrive in the new era of the service economy.
Acknowledgments ix Introduction xi PART ONE CONNECT 1 CHAPTER 1 Seven Realities of Selling Services 3 CHAPTER 2 Before You Call (or Meet) Any Client 13 CHAPTER 3 Master the Client Interview 23 CHAPTER 4 Uncover the Real Problem 35 PART TWO COLLABORATE 45 CHAPTER 5 When It Pays to Walk Away 47 CHAPTER 6 Five Elements of a Winning Sales Strategy 59 CHAPTER 7 Who Cares about This Sale . . . and Why? 75 CHAPTER 8 Shift Happens: Predicting Surprises 85 CHAPTER 9 The Perfect Sales Proposal 95 PART THREE COMMIT 111 CHAPTER 10 The Art of the Sales Presentation 113 CHAPTER 11 Seal the Deal: Negotiating to Close the Sale 127 CHAPTER 12 What to Do When You Win . . . and When You Don’t 139 CHAPTER 13 Making the Second Sale and Beyond 149 PART FOUR CHALLENGES 159 CHAPTER 14 The Seven by Seven Seller 161 CHAPTER 15 Putting It All Together 173 Notes 183 Seller’s Resource Guide 187 About the Author 191 Index 193 Also by Michael W. McLaughlin 201
Michael W. McLaughlin is a management consultant and speaker with more than twenty years in the professional services industry. He is the founder and a principal of MindShare Consulting, LLC, which helps professional services organizations design winning approaches for sales, marketing, and service delivery. For more information, please visit www.MindShareConsulting.com.
In recent years, professional services providers have had to rethink their sales strategies because so many of their tried-and-true approaches no longer work. Clients ask tougher questions and demand better answers. They expect to guide the sales process, and they insist that services providers customize proposals and presentations down to the last detail. They won't tolerate false sincerity, artificial deadlines, and preprogrammed sales strategies. Instead, clients want more certainty about potential results before they commit their resources. Being a good salesperson is no longer enough. You must draw clients to you with your ideas, rather than chase them with outdated sales tactics. You must also identify clients' real problems, persuasively advocate for change, and effectively manage complex sales. Whether your company sells business services or legal advice, outsourcing solutions, or management consulting, Winning the Professional Services Sale is the ideal guide for anyone who wants to close more profitable sales on a consistent basis. It presents a flexible, dynamic sales framework that suits the needs of the most demanding clients. It's an effective way to organize a client-specific strategy that leads to the sales you want—no matter what services you sell or who you sell them to. Once you master Michael McLaughlin's innovative sales strategies, you'll learn to connect with clients, collaborate on fulfilling their needs, and commit to getting the job done. Rather than a salesperson, you'll become a business partner. Because of the strength of your ideas and the depth of your relationships, you'll be the first one who comes to mind when your clients need help. In today's professional services sales, your interests and those of your clients are inseparable. Now more than ever, your clients are the ones calling the shots. With Winning the Professional Services Sale, you'll learn to give them exactly what they want—and take your business to profitable new heights.
"Attention rainmakers: this is the book you've been looking for. And if you're not a rainmaker, today is a great day to start." —Seth Godin, author of Tribes "The economy calls for bigger, smarter, more realistic, and more effective ways of selling professional services. This book is filled with bigger, smarter, more realistic, and more effective ways. It's just the ticket for the times." —Jay Conrad Levinson, the "father of guerrilla marketing" "Michael McLaughlin is a gifted rainmaker who has given us the final word on how to win complex sales. This immensely practical book is rich in the detailed how-to that will enable readers to connect with clients and consistently gain their commitment to mission-critical programs and projects." —Andrew Sobel, author of All for One and Clients for Life "Whether you sell services or manage a team that sells, Winning the Professional Services Sale is a must-read book. Read it from start to finish, or just open to any chapter, and you're sure to find insights that will tip the scales toward your offering in any sales effort." —Jeffrey Fox, bestselling author of Rain: What a Paperboy Learned About Business "This book clears away decades of confusion and sales mumbo jumbo, simplifying the process into three logical steps: connect, collaborate, and commit. For accountants, lawyers, engineers, scientists, and a whole range of professionals who don't necessarily see themselves as salespeople, this is an elegant, logical way to understand and master the process." —Tom Sant, founder of Hyde Park Partners and author of Persuasive Business Proposals "With this book, McLaughlin continues his insightful contribution¿to the under-standing of how to market and sell professional services. It is a practical guide to face-to-face selling for professionals." —Ford Harding, author of Rain Making and Creating Rainmakers "This is a timely book that makes a compelling case for taking a much more systematic approach to selling professional services, especially in the current economic climate." —Fiona Czerniawska, coauthor of Business Consulting and cofounder of sourceforconsulting.com
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