How Clients BuyA Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services
The real-world guide to selling your services and bringing in business How Clients Buy is the much-needed guide to selling your services. If you're one of the millions of people whose skills are the 'product,' you know that you cannot be successful unless you bring in clients. The problem is, you're trained to do your job—not sell it. No matter how great you may be at your actual role, you likely feel a bit lost, hesitant, or 'behind' when it comes to courting clients, an unfamiliar territory where you're never quite sure of the line between under- and over-selling. This book comes to the rescue with real, practical advice for selling what you do. You'll have to unlearn everything you know about sales, but then you'll learn new skills that will help you make connections, develop rapport, create interest, earn trust, and turn prospects into clients. Business development is critical to your personal success, and your skills in this area will dictate the course of your career. This invaluable guide gives you a set of real-world best practices that can help you become the rainmaker you want to be. Get the word out and make productive connections Drop the fear of self-promotion and advertise your accomplishments Earn potential clients' trust to build a lasting relationship Scrap the sales pitch in favor of honesty, positivity, and value Working in the consulting and professional services fields comes with difficulties not encountered by those who sell tangible products. Services are often under-valued, and become among the first things to go when budgets get tight. It is now harder than ever to sell professional services, so your game must be on-point if you hope to out-compete the field. How Clients Buy shows you how to level up and start winning the client list of your dreams.
TOM McMAKIN is CEO of Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE), a leading provider of business development services for consulting and professional services firms. Previously, he held leadership positions in private equity and served as the chief operating officer of Great Harvest Bread Co, a multi-unit operator of bread stores. Tom is the author of Bread and Butter, a critically- acclaimed book that describes his work at Great Harvest and how he and his team created a nationally recognized corporate learning community and culture of best practices using collaborative networks. He has appeared on the pages of Fast Company, Inc. magazine, Newsweek, BusinessWeek and The Wall Street Journal and speaks widely. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and former Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. DOUG FLETCHER currently splits his time between speaking/writing/coaching on the topic of business development in consulting and professional services and teaching at the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Beacon Group, a growth strategy consulting firm headquartered in Portland, Maine. Prior to that, he was co-founder and CEO of North Star Consulting Group, a technology-enabled consulting firm that specialized in global web-survey projects. Earlier in his professional life, Doug served as a consultant with the management consultancy, A.T. Kearney, and was trained at General Electric in its leadership development program. He is a graduate of Clemson University and has an MBA from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business Administration. www.howclientsbuy.net
If you're among the millions, worldwide, whose livelihoods depend on sharing their skills and expertise with those who need them, you know that working as a consultant or professional service provider brings with it challenges unknown to those who sell tangible products like eyewear or farming equipment. Services are often misunderstood and under-valued, and, regrettably, they're among the first items to be cut from tightening budgets. And with today's staggering 11% global growth rate in the consulting and professional services industries, the competition for clients is now fiercer than it's ever been. But if you're like the vast majority of consulting and services professionals, all of your specialized training and education, not to mention your years of experience, count for little without a deep understanding of how clients buy. A survival guide for every services professional, this book helps you up your game by schooling you in the secrets of finding, connecting with, and building lasting professional relationships with the clients you want and deserve. And you won't have to become a pitchman, social media expert, road warrior, or marketing whiz to do it. Brimming with sage advice, priceless insights, and practical guidance, this book is for services of every stripe, whether you're a bankruptcy attorney working in a large firm or a home-based graphic artist, a web designer, or a financial advisor, a strategy consultant or marketing consultant. Written by a uniquely well qualified author team, and based on interviews with dozens of senior professionals working in a wide range of consulting and professional services, ranging from law, accounting, investment banking, and commercial real estate, to management consulting, advertising, and HR, How Clients Buy reveals proven strategies and techniques for building communities of interest, adding value to those communities, and scoping business off of what you learn. A key insight you'll take away from this book is that the most successful consulting and professional services practices don't sell at all. Instead, those world-class rainmakers leverage their deep knowledge in the ways of how clients buy, and they deploy a set of sophisticated strategies and techniques for propelling the buying journey. The most important investment you'll make in your business development, How Clients Buy arms you with that knowledge and those techniques for getting the word out, connecting with high-quality clients, and building the practice of your dreams.
Praise for HOW CLIENTS BUY "A terrific resource for anyone looking to build a successful client service business. McMakin and Fletcher are spot on citing quality and trust as cornerstones." —Lynne Doughtie, U.S. Chairman and CEO, KPMG "How Clients Buy provides essential advice to professionals who have to step up from delivering services to selling them." —Ford Harding, author of Rain Making and Creating Rainmakers " Tom and Doug offer well grounded, practical advice on how to enhance business building, the most important skill any business, large or small, must tackle to grow and prosper. They take an 'outside in' (client perspective) view and offer important personal guidance on how to be an effective 'grinder, minder and a finder.' Their book is fun, easy to read and well worth the time invested." —Gary Singer, CMO, A.T. Kearney "The best written book on the subject. If you're a lawyer, accountant, or management consultant, read it on a plane ride home and change the trajectory of your career." —Jeffery Fox, author of How to Become a Rainmaker "Selling expertise is hard. If your goal is to build your practice, Tom and Doug's book is a master class in how it's done." —Jeff Shore, author of The Buyer's Experience and Host of The Buyer's Mind podcast
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