Consultants work hard to hone their communication skills, their business skills and even their teaching skills.
But if you’re neglecting your sales skills, your business could start to suffer.
Earlier in my professional career, I spent over 40 hours a week cold calling existing clients and potential new clients to sell copiers. The company Sales Director spent most of her time supporting our efforts to close sales, and taught us valuable sales tips. We understood that no sales meant no money.
Looking back, I’m so thankful that I learned these skills. While consultants don’t often invest in developing their sales skills, a consultant’s ability to sell makes a huge impact in their success. Whether it’s securing a new contract or a project extension, being able to sell your consulting services, and yourself, is a must.
Here are 5 keys you need to help you sell your consulting services.
#1 Strengthen your Sales Skills
The first thing you should do is build up your sales skills. The saying “practice makes perfect” definitely fits in this situation. Your sales skills will get stronger the more you learn and practice it. Improve those skills by reading sales books, getting training, and joining professional networks.
Look for networking groups like your local Chamber of Commerce or online groups that will give you access to advice and insight from hundreds of marketing and sales professionals.
An additional perk? These groups can help you meet other consultants and build your network.
#2 Focus on Client’s Interests
When selling anything, it’s important to focus on your client’s interests. Avoid sounding like you are only interested in closing a sale, and instead focus in any insight you may have gathered based on discussions you have with your potential client. Put their needs first and show them that you genuinely care. Build up relationships by building trust and confidence.
And trust occurs through interactions between you and the client, and this client interaction is critical in selling professional services. Here are some tips to making the most of your client interaction:
- Use relevant questions and discussion during the client interview to build the relationship and gain power insight on the client’s problem and possible solutions.
- Master discovering the nuances of clients’ needs and helping them achieve success.
- Establish connections, uncover opportunities, and develop winning solutions.
#3 Determine Your Proposal Strategy
As a Consultant, does your proposal eliminate any issues or worries for your potential clients? Your proposal should do one of two things – provide advice or challenge the status quo.
When you’re offering advice, you should:
- Share your knowledge on industry best practices with potential clients
- Share insight on how they can possibly implement new ideas
- Provide and safe and collaborative environment for the client, while gaining a deeper understanding of what issues they are facing
- Challenge the limits of your collaboration
- Give your passionate clients actionable advice and take them to new heights
When challenging the status quo:
- Share how you can effectively reject current things and paradigms
- Teach clients how to avoid the temptations of staying within their comfort zone
- Encourage deep analysis and critical thinking
- Push your client to a new level
#4 Determine the right fit
Ultimately, both you and the client should feel comfortable with the relationship and know that it’s the right fit. While the client interview allows the client to evaluate you as a Consultant and your ability to guide their business, it also lets you evaluate the needs of the client so you can confidently say you can perform the tasks and properly serve them.
#5 Uncover the key issues of the client
If you can uncover the right questions to pinpoint key issues that are keeping your potential client up at night, you can uncover a wealth of information from your client. If you discover just one nuance about the client’s dilemma, you can create a differentiated proposal. The stronger your rapport with your potential client, the more they will open up and provide you with the information you need.
Why is this information important? It reduces the guesswork in your client proposal and allows you to create compelling solutions based on that client’s specific needs.
Sales is often an area that is overlooked by Consultants. But sales skills are a necessity for any Consultant, whether they need to sell their services or themselves as the right Consultant for the job. Go over these 5 key things that will help you easily sell your consulting services.