Don't Hard Sell Your Client For Follow-on Work

When working with a current client, don't make the mistake of "hard selling" the next project when you have not completed the current one. What you should do is stop and think strategically - to decide when and where to bring up the next possible project you have identified.

A good rule of thumb is, clients are more open to discussing future consulting work when you have clearly demonstrated that you can deliver what you have promised, and that you are professional and can be trusted. Be certain that you have met these criteria before pitching the next service.

The best way to do this, is to casually mention an area that might be a problem to the client. State that you have noticed a problem that may be caused by an area you've seen in the past. Float it by, like a trial balloon. Then allow the client to grab or let it go. You may find that your client has no knowledge of the problem or that he has a plan in place to remedy it. Either way, you have not pushed the issue, and you have identified where it stands.

No one ever wants to be sold - they want to buy. This is usually the mistake of people who don't understand the finesse of selling. It's better to indirect, than direct with clients, when selling large or strategic consulting engagements.

Good Luck!

Joe Murphy

Get To Know The Client's Business

Learn about your client's business as much as possible. Learn what is important to the client's business. Know how each the business units operate and how they contribute to the overall goals of the company. Know the company's growth businesses - that is - where the company sees it's revenues coming from over the next 5 years is critical to your getting aligned to the right business units and the right people.

Knowing how the client's business operates, how the decisions get made, and who makes certain decisions is critical. Understand the politics of the organization. Who is getting the funding? What are they getting funding for? While you may have a copy of an organizations chart, you need to understand the invisible organization chart. The invisible organization chart is who goes to whom - outside of the boxes - to gain approval and agreement.

The best way for you to be successful is for you to meet and get to know as many people as possible inside the company. Really listen and look for other consulting service opportunities within the client's enterprise. The best thing for you to hear is that there is a problem and it is costing the company business and/or costs.

Show You Care To Get Repeat Business

Successful consultants, professionals and advisors operate from this credo: "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

This is best demonstrated through your current clients.

Even after you have established a relationship with your client, it is important that you continually reinforce to that client that you do care about them personally and professionally.

The best way to do this, is to look for ways to help them and remind them that you are thinking of them. Call them when you don't need the business. Cut out an article and mail it to them on a subject that they talked about when you last met with them. And of course send them information of value and use, that you created. If you want repeat business, you have to remind them that you are there, willing to help, without stating such.

Asking for business makes you look needy. Offering up help, is subtly different and indirect and yet, far more effective.

You must continually remind previous clients (subtly, of course) that the benefits of using you and your services outweigh the risks and the costs. You can do this, by staying in touch and demonstrating that you care.

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