Sell Conviction

The candidate scored high on sociability and was clearly a people person, but she scored low on the expressive scale.  The CEO wanted to know, ‘how can that be?’ Aren’t extroverts naturally expressive?

Building client relationships and influencing the client to buy are two very different skills.  One is about connection and the other is about conviction.

Having a strong relationship with a client is great, but it won’t amount to much if you aren’t absolutely convinced that the client should do business with your firm and buy its products and services.  There is a key moment in the consultative and relationship-based sales process, right before the close, when the client must be reassured that doing business with your firm is absolutely the right thing to do.  That moment pivots solely on you. Be bold.


Selling work

…is so hard.

…and it’s not my responsibility.

Believe it or not, that’s the push back managing partners are getting from partners and directors regarding business development.

Resistance like this has more to do with attitude than it does capability.  The unwillingness to call on existing or prospective clients and engage in a discussion around their business needs and objectives usually has a lot to do with low sociability, low assertiveness or lack of client focus.

The partners who sell work best are those who are motivated and energized by helping their clients succeed.  Focusing on the client helps overcome debilitating self-consciousness.


Lopsided practices can’t grow

Too many professionals bifurcate their practice into serving and selling. Then they act surprised that there’s no growth.

Focus all your energy and resources on selling, and you risk business going out the back door.  You celebrate new clients, but the top line doesn’t change. Likewise, obsess over existing clients and use busyness to justify your neglect of sales, and you’ll soon struggle to keep your team busy.  The point is, both serving and selling are critical tasks for achieving growth.

I have observed that the higher performing partners and managing directors do both.  All the time. In their way of thinking, excellence in client service is seeing opportunities to expand services.  Likewise, business development is simply understanding the client’s business and proactively offering solutions to anticipated problems.

Engage your client often and he’ll tell you where his company needs your help.  Invite prospective clients to lunch or an event often, show interest in them and their business, and you gain the advantage on that future project or proposal.  As Woody Allen put it, “Seventy percent of success in life is showing up.”