Consulting businesses need to approach sales in a slightly different way than other businesses do. That’s because, in many ways, you’re not just selling a product or a service; you’re also selling yourself.
We’ve put together six sales strategies to help consulting businesses increase their reach and their revenue. In this post, we’ll talk mainly about how to develop your sales presentation after you’ve already made initial contact with an organisation.
Most consultants don’t see themselves as salespeople. They are most comfortable consulting and discussing their area of expertise. In fact, in many cases, until consultants reach senior level management, they don’t consider sales or marketing at all.
Your consulting business can become a sales powerhouse when each consultant views himself or herself as a salesperson as well as a consultant. When consultants are proactive salespeople, there are more people taking ownership of sales in the business, and your business development culture thrives. Consultants also gain confidence for their sales pitches and feel more comfortable approaching prospects about a future business relationship.
Identify Clients’ Decision Makers
You may have a contact at an organisation you’d like to provide consulting services for, but if you fail to identify the decision maker, you could waste months courting the wrong people.
Sometimes, the decision maker sends someone else to listen to your pitch. If this happens to you, tailor your pitch to the decision maker’s interests, even if that person isn’t actually there. The person sent to the meeting will take notes and report back, so you need to remember that it’s the decision maker you’re trying to convince, not the friendly person who’s actually sitting in front of you.
Set a Deadline
It’s all too easy for people to listen politely to your sales pitches and then say, “We’ll be in touch.” Improve your sales by creating a sense of urgency. You can do this by setting a deadline to the deal or giving them an incentive to commit as soon as possible.
For example, you could offer a discount that has an expiration date, or you could offer something for free. Do something to make your prospective customer feel that they have the upper hand, but don’t allow them to put you off indefinitely. A deadline is in order.
Learn About Your Competition
Consulting is a competitive business, so the more you know about your competition, the better off you’ll be in the sales realm. Do your research to find out what your competition is offering, and then try to improve what you offer.
When you offer services or features that your competition doesn’t have, people take notice. They’re comparison shopping, and you want to give them a tangible reason to choose you over everyone else.
Practice Overcoming Objections
Practice makes perfect, even when it comes to sales presentations. One of the best things you can do to prepare for sales presentations is to learn to overcome objections. Brainstorm all the possible objections that prospects could come up with and then practice overcoming them.
Sit your entire consulting team down and practice overcoming objections. Have everyone contribute objections they’ve heard in the past or anticipate they might hear in the future. You can even role play sales presentations and have consultants take turns overcoming each of the objections you think might be an issue.
When you’re actually at your sales presentations, stay focused and concise. If you’re long-winded, unprofessional, or careless with your words, people will worry that you’ll waste their time in the future.
Be personable and genuine, but stay on topic. Their time is as precious as yours, so keep your presentation to a minimum, follow their cues, and be respectful.
Remember that your job as a consultant is to solve people’s problems. This mindset should be present from your very first meeting with a potential client. If you come across as helpful, interested, and competent, you’ll have a very good chance at gaining their business.
Involve all of your consultants in discussions about sales strategies, and help them to become competent salespeople themselves. By practicing your sales presentations, anticipating objections, learning about your competition, setting deadlines, and identifying decision makers, you can improve your sales strategy and gain new clients.