Professional Services Firms are fighting when it comes to keeping and finding business. This along with the fact that many need to come to grips with the fact they need to sell. The market has certainly shifted. You can’t sit there aggressively waiting for the telephone to ring anymore.
In speaking with a single partner from a well-respected law firm vented his frustration in the lack of actions being taken in his firm by partners and their teams concerning driving the drive to find new business in new and current accounts. He said that some groups were sitting around with no work to do and no one knows what to do about it.
“It is so frustrating, they just don’t even understand how to get a phone and call prospects and clients. They are only sitting there saying they don’t have any work to do all the while our business is trying hard to meet revenue targets. While I understand some service areas are hit harder than others there’s still work to be done and when we can only just get talking to clients we would be ok. All I would like to do is to get out and have coffee with as many clients as I can and even though I have not been educated on how to market well am finding business. Although I would like to understand how to do it better for certain”.
Despite the more demanding marketplace, there are market opportunities that are on the market. There is cash to be made. There are customers to be obtained! However, many professional services firms aren’t denying their true potential.
Relying mostly on passive referrals for new business prospects and glossy marketing materials, many professional services companies aren’t securing their current and future revenue streams. They have left themselves vulnerable and weak. Oftentimes, they are not even accessing their current client databases to see what new business opportunities exist.
And do not even speak to them about cross-selling and up-selling other support lines – most remain trapped from the silo mentality.
During our work and observations in the services industry, it appears many managing partners and principals are wanting more from their partners, directors, supervisors, and associates when it comes to proactively building sustainable and profitable business relationships with their clientele. The issue is many of them do not know where to begin or how to do it. They have attempted to create a start by placing on a Business Development Manager but it’s actually the partners and supervisors themselves who should be out there selling within the job.
Our study proves that no more is it good enough for all these people to rely solely upon their technical competence i.e. being only a lawyer or accountant. Now and in the future, these folks also will need to effectively self encourage and potential for new business using professional and ethical revenue plans, demonstrating real value for the money.
But, the sales role does not come naturally to most people in these professions and frequently they do not have the relevant tools essential to make it work. They certainly were not taught this at university. In reality, many have been fed derogatory myths about selling and several still consider these to be true today. That is one of the reasons they’re in trouble.
We have found that many professional services staff have yet to be shown the ideal way to market or educated the behaviors and skills necessary to put them in a position to acquire the superior business. Frequently the earnings function’s significance is sabotaged, underestimated, or left to too few people, usually the most senior spouse or”rainmaker”, possibly leaving the business vulnerable to missed market opportunities, hidden revenue, and rival erosion. For more details, check Family Law to know more about Criminal Defense and Domestic Abuse.
Many firms lack the foundations to make a workable professional sales culture e.g.:
Inaccurate or bad perception of what great selling is and its significance to business
Very poor skills in the revenue area
Partners and directors lacking direct responsibility for brand new business and earnings growth
Mixed messages: “I’ve got to find more business but if I don’t do my 6 billable hours I will not meet my performance standards”. Partners are being captured in the hour performance trap and not utilizing putting the opportunity to get out and develop the business they could then pass on to their own teams to deliver.
No use of customer databases along with also a silo mentality limiting up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
No new business sales plan or plan
No customer retention strategy or strategy
No earnings model for people to learn, follow and apply
Revenue restricted to pull’ advertising approaches such as brochures, website, etc. at the expense of proactive advertising and real professional relationship sales approaches
No Key Performance Indicators and Key Result Areas connected to sales, new business growth, etc…
To name a few.
Given that professional services companies are operating in an increasingly competitive market place having more sophisticated clients expecting higher levels of value and service and some of their services are in danger of being commoditized:
– What are companies doing to distinguish themselves?
– Are they ensuring their potential viability and success?
– How are they making sure their earnings match?