Do You Have a Sales Problem or a Marketing Problem?

If you want to grow revenue, do you need to improve your sales capabilities?  Not necessarily.  In fact, of the nearly two-dozen professional services firms I've had the privilege of getting to know over the past few years, only one of them had a sales problem.  For the rest, the real challenge was that their otherwise qualified business developers - whether they were partners or dedicated salespeople - didn't have enough qualified opportunities to sell [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00November 7th, 2016|Relationships|

Can Doers Sell?

Most of us didn't become consultants, lawyers, coaches, marketers, or accountants, only to become sales people. We went into the field because we enjoy the work, the problems we get to solve, and the relationships we form with clients.  And yet at most firms, business development is squarely the responsibility of senior level practitioners.  There's a disconnect which leads to an obvious question: can we really expect doers to sell? Doers Must Sell To a [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00August 19th, 2016|Relationships|

The Three Mindset Barriers to Business Development

In my work coaching professionals around business development, I've found that there are usually three reasons people turn to a coach: 1. Skills When you make partner, your job fundamentally changes: you're expected to bring in business, not just work on it. But most firms do a poor job preparing associates or managers to become partners, and as such, they enter the role without a clear idea about how to develop business. There's a skill [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00August 9th, 2016|Relationships|

To Bid or Not To Bid? Four Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Prepare a Proposal

The days when clients would engage you to conduct an assessment as part of a 'paid selling opportunity' are long over. Instead, clients want you to spend your own time to understand their problem and propose how to solve it. Further, preparing a competitive RFP response requires senior practitioners to spend hours gathering information, responding to questions, and checking for referrals and conflicts. As one client put it: You do a third of the work [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00July 28th, 2016|Relationships|

What Tenzi Taught Me About Business Development

Earlier this week, my seven year old niece taught me how to play Tenzi, a simple dice game. In Tenzi, each player gets ten six-sided dice and has to get all of them to show the same number by rolling as fast as you can. It might be the simplest game I've ever played. So what did Tenzi teach me about business development? Picking a direction fast is more important than picking the right direction [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00July 27th, 2016|Relationships|

Just Keep Swimming: Business Development Lessons from Finding Dory

Warning: There might be some spoilers ahead…but it's for a Pixar movie, and they all follow the same basic story rules. The key message in Finding Dory, Pixar's sequel to the 2003 hit Finding Nemo, is a contrast between two approaches to life. On the one hand, careful cautious clownfish Marlon wants to rationally analyze every situation, think through the options, and make a calculated thoughtful decision about what to do next. For Dory, a blue tang [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:07-05:00June 30th, 2016|Relationships|

Five Tips For Turning Your Relationships Into New Business

One of the most common pieces of advice given to professionals who want to develop business is to network: attend industry events, get involved in professional associations, and become a member of non-profit or community boards. Yet I frequently hear from professionals that despite the time they spend meeting new people and cultivating relationships, it rarely turns into new business. What explains the disconnect between the proven advice and these professionals' real world experience? The [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:09-05:00July 17th, 2015|Relationships|

Five Professional Services Marketing Ideas You Can Use Today

One of the hardest parts about marketing and business development in professional services is actually finding the time to do the ground work required to execute a marketing plan.  It's too easy for immediate client needs or firm management to get in the way.  Unfortunately, marketing activities build on each other, so neglecting them will have compounding effects that you often don't see until it's too late. Not only is it easy to push marketing [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:10-05:00June 3rd, 2015|Relationships|

If Don Draper Can Sell Anything, Why Can’t He Sell Himself?

I’m catching up on Mad Men, AMC’s period piece about advertising executives in the 1960s.  As I round the midpoint of season 5, I can’t help but notice that somehow, despite Don Draper’s brilliance as an advertiser, Sterling Cooper Draper Price is perpetually struggling to find clients.  Is this some sort of leap of faith the writers, who are otherwise so diligent, have added for dramatic effect?  Are we really supposed to believe that they [...]

By |2016-11-10T10:20:12-05:00April 10th, 2013|Relationships|