Conventional sales techniques are not appropriate for professionals who create solutions. They need to influence clients by retaining their trust while they introduce them to new possibilities.
How often does this happen? We sit down with a client. We discuss a problem. We suddenly see what the answer to the problem is and… we give the client the answer! The effect of doing this is for the client to take our solution for granted and focus on the time it will take to execute it instead of the value our solution will deliver.
Many people assume that ‘selling’ consists of telling the client about the benefits of your professional service. But getting the client to tell you the value of what you are offering before you disclose the details of your solution has three significant benefits.
When it comes to billing time, a surprising number of professionals such as lawyers and accountants understate the number of hours they have spent on the work in order to produce an invoice that matches client expectations. Discussing the value of the work to the client at the outset can put the billing into context and avoid the poor utilisation figures that result from under-billing.
Technical specialists usually want to be just that – not salespeople. But they can play a vital role in winning business if the motivation is consistent with their values and they have a clear and logical framework for influencing the client.