Professional Services Firms are struggling when it comes to maintaining and finding business. This on top of how many need to come to grips with the truth that they need to sell. The market has certainly changed. You cannot sit aggressively waiting for the telephone to ring anymore.
According to a single partner from a well-respected law firm, he vented his frustration in the lack of actions being taken in his own firm by partners and their teams in terms of driving the drive to find new business in new and current accounts. He stated that some groups were sitting around with no work to do and no one knows what to do about it.
“It’s so frustrating, they just don’t even know how to get a phone and call clients and prospects. They are just sitting there saying they don’t have any work to do all the while our business is struggling to meet sales targets. While I understand some support areas are hit harder than many others there’s still work to be performed and when we can only just get talking to customers we would be fine. All I would like to do is to get out and have coffee with as many clients as I can and even though I haven’t been educated on how to sell well finding business. Although I want to know how to get it done for certain”.
Regardless of the tougher market, you’ll find market opportunities that are on the market. There is cash to be made. There are customers to be obtained! But several professional services companies aren’t denying their true potential.
Relying mainly on passive referrals for new business leads and glossy marketing stuff, most professional services companies are not securing their current and future revenue streams. They’ve left themselves vulnerable and weak. In many cases, they are not even obtaining their existing customer 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.
Through our observations and work from the professional services industry, it appears many managing partners and principals are wanting more from their spouses, directors, managers, and partners when it comes to proactively building sustainable and profitable business relationships with their clientele. The problem is many of them don’t know where to begin or how to get it done. They have attempted to make a start by placing on a Business Development Manager but it’s really the partners and supervisors themselves who should be out there promoting as part of the job.
Our research shows that no longer can it be good enough for all these people to rely solely on their technical competence i.e. being a lawyer or accountant. Now and in the long run, these people also need to efficiently self encourage and prospect for new business using professional and ethical revenue plans, demonstrating real value for money.
However, the sales role does not come naturally to most people in their own professions and frequently they do not have the relevant tools necessary to make it work. They certainly weren’t taught this at university. In fact, many have been fed derogatory myths about selling and many still consider these to be true now. That is just one reason they are in trouble.
We have found that many professional services team have not been shown the right way to market or taught the behaviors and skills required to put them in a position to acquire the superior business. Frequently the sales function’s importance is undermined, underestimated, or left to too few people, generally the most senior partner or”rainmaker”, possibly leaving the business vulnerable to missed market opportunities, concealed earnings, and competitor erosion.
Many companies lack the bases to make a workable professional sales culture e.g.:
Inaccurate or bad perception of what good selling really is and its importance to business
Very poor skills in the revenue area
Partners and directors lacking immediate responsibility for brand new business and earnings growth
Mixed messages: “I have to find more business but if I don’t do my 6 billable hours that I will not meet my performance standards”. Partners are being caught in the hour operation trap and not using placing the opportunity to get outside and grow business they could then pass on to their teams to provide. Check Family Law Baton Rouge to know more about Baton Rouge Lawyer and Criminal Defense Baton Rouge.
No use of client databases and a silo mentality limiting up-sell and cross-sell opportunities
No new business sales strategy or strategy
No customer retention plan or plan
No earnings model for individuals to learn, follow and apply
Sales limited to pull’ advertising approaches such as brochures, website, etc. at the expense of proactive prospecting and actual professional relationship sales approaches
No Key Performance Indicators and Key Result Areas connected to sales, new business development, etc.
To name a few.
Given that professional services companies are operating in an increasingly competitive market place having much more sophisticated clients anticipating higher levels of service and value and some of their solutions are at risk of being commoditized:
- What are companies doing to differentiate themselves?
- Are they ensuring their future viability and success?
- Are they making certain their earnings match?