Much of my first degree in psychology focused on issues that are fundamental to selling – whether this is the development of rapport and trust, non verbal communication or perception and persuasion. Many years ago, at the start of my career in the technology sector, we were not allowed to work in marketing until we had completed a number of residential sales courses and spent time closing deals with the sales force. I enjoyed my time in front line and sales support roles immensely.
I wrote my first book back in 1999 when selling first became an issue in the professions – it was based on a structured research project looking at the attitudes of senior lawyers, accountants and surveyors to selling. As such Dynamic practice development – Selling skills and techniques for the professions was one of the first books to tackle the subject.
So my assignments in this area are wide-ranging. For many firms I provide tailored training courses that introduce fee-earners to professional selling skills and processes and then help them develop attitudes, systems and procedures to embed these new practices into their day to day culture. For other firms I might work with a smaller group who have specific sales and selling aims and targets – and help them develop a plan, the skills, the process – and then help them implement the plans and win the business.
Whether or not I have provided the initial sales training or help to set up their marketing and sales plans, many firms ask me to provide ongoing sales coaching to groups and individual fee-earners to help them achieve the results they desire.
Increasingly, clients call on my help to provide intensive, short notice assistance to the teams who are tendering for large and/or complex pieces of work and who are relatively inexperienced in the formal sales process and need help to prepare a sales strategy, produce suitable documentation and deliver convincing presentations.