I have just written a review of this book on marketing and selling architecture and construction professional services by Basil Sawczuk (an architect turned business development director) which will appear in a forthcoming issue of Professional Marketing magazine. The book provides a really good basic introduction with lots of examples, checklists and sample scripts to provide a real hand-holding guide to those who are new to the world of selling professional services.

There is an elegant seven stage model around which the 240 page book is based:

1. Selecting the clients you want to work for (starting with an analysis of which of the current clients are profitable and your exposure to different market sectors)
2. Identifying the needs of the client (including the right people to approach and listening skills)
3. Shaping the service to suit the needs of your target client (modelling a bespoke service and the need to adopt the client’s point of view)
4. Communicating your availability and capability to the target client (building rapport and noticing when the client switches to buying mode)
5. Proposals and tenders (pre-qualification, method statements, framework agreements etc)
6. Delivering added value and obtaining repeat business (including service touches and account management)
7. Building credibility (which is happening through all the stages by demonstrating credentials such as capability, compatibility, credibility and reliability).

There are some interesting statistics, for example:

* In 2005 global construction output was approximately US$4.6 trillion. UK output ranked within the top 10 with annual output in 2006 of £113.5 billion.
* UK professional services firms earned £13.9b pa with 27,950 professional service firms in UK employing 270,000 people
* Of the total earnings engineering firms accounted for £3.9b (28%), architectural services £3.3b (24%), surveying services £2.3b (17%) and management services £1.7b (12%).
* In 2004/2005 SMEs secured 22% of central government contracts and the majority (59%) of local authority contracts.
* Research shows that somewhere in the order of 68% of clients change their suppliers because they perceive that their suppliers become indifferent to their needs.

And some helpful rules of thumb:

* The least profitable 20% of your clients will probably take up 80% of your spare management time.
* Make sure that no one client contributes more than 25% of your turnover, preferably no more than 15%
* Probability of leads being converted into jobs – OJEC probability starts at 2% unless known, potential clients who don’t know you 10% and known to client max probability at 20%

Whilst most marketers and experienced salesfolk will be familiar with the content (and perhaps a little alarmed at the lack of mention of the need for a marketing plan or the use of social media) it is a recommended read for those fee-earning professionals in the construction industry who want a basic, jargon-free and pragmatic step-by-step introductory guide to selling.

I have written some books on this topic myself: 



 And these are relevant books from others: