In his book, “Secrets of Great Rainmakers”, Jeffrey J. Fox quotes a sales manager of the beer company, Grupo Modelo, makers of Corona, who used to say this to his salespeople, “You can’t sell beer sitting at your desk”. What he means is, that unless you are out there engaging with your clients or potential clients about your products and services, you won’t be able to generate revenue (a.k.a. sales). Sure our revenue can increase for a number of reasons. Think about life before the GFC, growing revenue was easy. The booming economies of the world meant that business activity was high and the opportunities from clients flowed in. We still needed to have an awareness around client service, but finding the work just wasn’t a problem. In fact we didn’t need to go looking for it, it just reactively came along. During and since the GFC, this all changed. Competition for the work has increased. Whilst a professional service firm can still expect to reactively receive work from clients as a result of their relationships, we must now get out from behind our desks and PROACTIVELY “sell beer”. Mind you, we should have been doing this regardless of the economic times, good or bad.
By focussing on just charging hours we are chaining ourselves to our desks to hit a billable hours targets. But this doesn’t sell beer. Before we can do the work (charging hours) there are 3 steps we need go through. To proactively improve revenue in your professional service firm your must have a clear and interwoven strategy around:
- Your service/product offering: what is that you are going to PROACTIVELY provide to you clients and prospects?
- Your marketing plan: how are you going to PROACTIVELY educate and engage with your clients and prospects about your service/product offering?
- Your sales plan: how are you going to PROACTIVELY get your clients and prospects to purchase your service/product offering?
The answer is to stop doing what you are doing, work out what you are going to sell, plan how you are going to sell it, and then get out from behind your desk and sell some beer.