As we have covered in the last two articles, when considering sales one of the first things to think about are routes to market. So far we have looked at “direct” and “indirect”. This week we will take a slightly different tack.
Let’s consider two extremes of activity for a moment. At one end of the spectrum there are assignments you are perfectly capable of winning and delivering on your own. If you can “fill your boots” using either the direct or indirect routes then fine – long may that continue! At the other end of the spectrum you may be able to act as an associate of a much bigger institution, securing work which may often be otherwise beyond you, as it requires a significant delivery team of which you are one member. Normally nice work from you can get it; you may have to operate at a lower rate than you could secure independently, but you have normally had no client acquisition cost – you just have to turn up and do the work.
If you find that these two extremes are not sufficient to fill your diary, then there are a couple more you can consider.
Firstly, you can try to identify people who do similar things to you and where, if you teamed up, you could win work none of you could win on your own. I teamed up with two other consultants and we ran a 6-module leadership development programme, delivering two modules each.
Secondly, you can try to identify other professional firms where you can develop the reciprocity approach we talked about under “indirect” routes. In addition to referring prospects to each other, you could run joint events/seminars/campaigns on linked or related topics. I have run a number of seminars with lawyers and accountants which have been well received. One which worked particularly well was a breakfast seminar which I ran with a firm of lawyers, where we looked, through a couple of case studies from our own experience, at real-life examples of board-room dilemmas, and challenged the group to consider what they would do if they were a Non-Exec director of the business. It was great fun (I have to confess we injected a little bit of “Gallows Humour” for dramatic effect!) but some good learning points were uncovered.
In conclusion, do broaden your thinking to consider alternative routes to market. Some will work better for you than others, but unless you explore them all you will never know which ones.
Next time we will start looking at Sales Qualification, and why this is a key component of the sales process. Until then, feel free to contact me should you have any questions or queries.