The trusted advisor who couldn’t sell
Lawyers, CPAs, top level business consultants and other knowledge workers for hire need revenues. But they share one common problem: They are not supposed to ”sell” their services. Selling is bad form, a bit embarrassing even.
Or, it used to be.
Today, more and more consultancy companies embrace the fact that buyers and sellers of qualified knowledge and services are actually on the same side. That they need one another, and that the seller is helping the buyer to meet his or her professional challenges.
Having said that, many expert companies still shy away from selling their services – even to their established clients. When asked to solve a specific legal, financial or business-related problem they do exactly that; but they don’t dare to inform the client about their other problem solving capabilities.
The client may have a trusted advisor for, say, contract law, not even knowing that the same legal firm also offers qualified expertise in mergers and acquisitions. That’s what more commercially oriented people call “cross-selling” (more on that in a minute...).
Seminars are fine, articles in a respected trade publication too, but telling a client that you can solve a number of other problems around their organization is, more often than not, considered a big no-no. What a waste of established relations!
As we indicated above, the root of the problem is probably that many people have a rather twisted idea of what sales people do.
Another challenge is that many knowledge companies are populated by highly specialized individuals and departments that rarely speak to one another about their clients’ challenges and opportunities.
Last, but not least, people with qualified expertise tend to make things very complicated. Even the most valuable, sophisticated content will remain unread (and therefore completely useless) unless it can be “sold” with simple, straightforward “reasons-to-read” it.
You have the expert knowledge – your clients need it... So how will you sell it? Or, if you still shy away from that word: How will you widen and deepen your role, becoming even more valuable to your clients as a trusted advisor?