Trond Frantzen, Managing Partner | The PowerStart Group
– Spanish Distiller
We all sell something: A product, a service, an idea, or ourselves. And whether you are a management consultant, a musician, a political candidate, an independent real estate agent, a software engineer, a photographer – or anyone else who is self-employed – these words by the Spanish Distiller are words that everyone should etch indelibly on the screen of their mind.
The fact is, we deserve a good life. No one said we should work ourselves into exhaustion, make just enough money to get along, and be thankful for what we have. And if anyone did say it, they were profoundly mistaken.
You’re a professional Consultant. Regardless of what you sell; whether it’s a product, a service, yourself, or an idea, you’re a professional Consultant. With a capital C.
You’re well educated. You’ve studied, learned, practiced, made mistakes, worked weird hours for clients, eaten too much fast food, and paid your dues. Many times over. You deserve the rewards.
The challenge, of course, is that rewards don’t show up just because we’ve paid the dues. Life doesn’t work that way. Rewards come from continual diligent work. We’ve got to put the nose to the grindstone and take the action necessary to cause the rewards to come our way.
And what kinds of rewards are we talking about?
Let’s face it; it’s all about selling our services and the rewards that results from it, whether psychic or financial. But, without the financial rewards, we can’t possibly benefit from the house, the car, the vacations, the travels, the better restaurants, the schools for our kids … or anything else that costs money. Nor can we build a vibrant business. It takes money.
So, how do we reap these rewards?
As a starting point, by selling more of our services. At a good rate.
The independent consultant’s classic dilemma is – when we’re working with a client, there’s no time to call new clients to offer our services. And when we’re calling clients to sell our services, we’re not producing billable time.
Therefore, unless we manage to secure interminably long contracts (and that’s not really consulting; that’s usually just being an available body to fill some missing project boots), our personal billable time could easily be as little as 50 percent of our actual potential.
That’s not good.
So, how do we fix this? How do we (a) find the time to find new clients; (b) find new clients; and, (c) convince them to buy from us instead of someone else; and (d) get a reasonable rate that’s complementary to our skills and experience?
To answer these questions, we have to go back to basics. Right back to the beginning. While we may know quite a bit about the technical side of providing our services, as professional consultants we probably don’t have a lot of knowledge about how to sell our services effectively. And why would we? We’ve never had that training. And, be assured, selling our professional services is as much a skill as is required by the services we deliver. Which didn’t come overnight.
So, let’s start at the beginning. Over the next several weeks I will introduce ways of improving sales, but without repeating the “sales techniques” everyone has known about for decades. I hope you’ll join me.
Trond Frantzen is Managing Partner with the PowerStart Group. He specializes in business development marketing and sales strategies. His newest book, “A Playbook for Success: A Guide to Sales Success for Consultants and the Rest of Us” can be found on Amazon.