WINNING NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES – 3 TOP TIPS
As many of you know helping businesses and individuals be even more successful is what matters to me. I know everyone says that; but for me it is an absolute key driver. I’ve learned a lot in my many years in selling and I’m passionate about sharing good practice so this blog offers my tips into winning new opportunities within the professional services arena.
Before I give you my top 3 tips though, here’s a reality check. There are no magic bullets; this is all about doing your homework, being curious, learning and developing your selling skills, and being honest about your chances.
Here are my top 3 tips to winning new business opportunities.
1. Do the hard segmentation analysis; you are not the best firm for everyone out there.
Work out what really makes you different – be tough on yourselves – differentiation is key. And what you do is seldom a differentiator (OK, once in blue moon it is) but how you do it and where you do it is much more likely to differentiate you. You need to decide what you want to be known for. Once you’ve worked that out, be ruthless in focusing on prospects and clients where your differentiators will get you noticed.
2. Invest time getting to really understand your prospects and clients; the individual and organisation.
Be curious - listen really, really carefully to them – find out what makes them tick. What truly matters to them? What are their pain points? What will happen if they do nothing? Never answer these questions yourself – it’s crucial to get the answer from the client directly. Too often we hear massive assumptions being made – so never assume anything! Listening carefully is a real skill; to do it well takes time – and lots of practice. Once you get good at it you’ll learn so much more about what the client REALLY wants.
3. When it comes to pitching/proposing be totally realistic about your win chances.
Unless you are an acknowledged expert (OK everyone thinks they are – are you really?) then do NOT pitch or propose without being able to get a deep understanding of the answers to the questions above. (An RFP seldom gives you enough depth.) My advice is pretty simple, only pitch/propose where you have a good chance of winning. If you cannot get that deep understanding because of some daft procurement process, then think really carefully about whether you should pitch/propose at all. If you do decide to go ahead, then make sure to show you clearly understand the situation the prospect/client might be in. Use your experience to shape your pitch/proposal around their needs and your key differentiators. Don’t be frightened to challenge the client – it demonstrates insight and added value.
At JA Consulting we help businesses and individuals take the theory of selling and put it into practice. We’re here to help you learn how to spot and grow business opportunities, how to develop strong and transferable selling skills and how to generate robust account management. To find out more, talk to us or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About John Moss - John’s extensive background in sales, marketing and general management has been followed by three decades in management consultancy. John is fiercely committed to helping individuals and businesses grow and succeed; his talent for spotting what needs to be done, his tenacity for making sure things then happen, his commitment to growing long-term business relationships and his ability to impart that knowledge to other people make him an inspirational consultant, leader and coach.