‘We are all salesmen every day of our lives’
Charles M. Schwab
In the past, there has been a strong feeling that professionals do not sell. They ‘carry out client contact’, they ‘nurture personal relationships’ and the business ‘just sort of arrives’. So said the conventional wisdom, and truth to tell, very few, if any, people selected a profession as a career because they had a burning desire to sell things. Quite the reverse, perhaps.
However, times change.
As we have seen, attitudes to the whole ‘business-getting’ process have been changing, and attitudes to selling have been very much part of this. It needs to be done, and done professionally. A thorough approach is needed. The precise manner in which we deal with clients becomes paramount. Small differences in approach can make the difference between success and failure.
It is no good being brilliantly persuasive one-to-one across the desk if you are unable to conduct business as persuasively on the telephone, in writing or in a competitive presentation.
Effective marketing should pervade all aspects of the organisation. Attitudes to what services are offered (and not offered), what fees are charged and so on are inherent to the marketing process. But the promotional techniques are the most visible, and are certainly a major element of marketing. No matter how well executed and how creative, they will, if successful, not produce any new clients themselves. What they will produce, if successful, is prospects – those sufficiently interested to say ‘Tell me more’. The only thing that can convert that interest into agreement that will produce fees, is personal persuasive skills. This cannot be limited to the most senior in the organisation, still less to only a few of them; it must be spread reasonably widely throughout the organisation. Potentially everyone has a role to play.