Many small architecture or engineering firms can’t afford the number of full-time sales people necessary to build the long-term, trusting relationships essential to success. Thus, principals at these firms are encouraged to look to their project and operations teams for help.
Many of these professionals can bring business to your firm. These are the “seller-doers” on your staff. Some employees may do excellent project work but do not bring in new business. These are the “doers.”
Your first desire may be to transform everyone into “seller-doers,” but some employees will never make the switch. Focus your efforts on those “doers” who have a bent toward selling.
Recognize fear and ignorance. When questioning those who are not successful in bringing in new work, you are likely to receive answers such as “It’s not my job,” or “I don’t know what to say,” or “I don’t like to do it.” If you probe further, you will find that it boils down to two real reasons: fear and “not knowing how.”
Showing ignorance and losing the aura of being the “expert
Bringing in a colleague who might not measure up (risking the loss of my client)
Bringing in a colleague who will do a better job (causing me to lose control of my client)
The “not knowing how” attitude stems from the assumption that people instinctively know what to do and how to do it. Sometimes this is true, but for most of us, selling is a learned skill.
What can you do? You can provide an empowering environment and sales training to your “doers” with a bent toward selling. But first, you must answer their question, “Why should I also be responsible for selling? I’m already doing my job.” Make sure team members understand that the selling function is an important part of every assignment for every employee.
Your staff should know what the firm’s marketing objectives are and make client contacts aware of other valuable services. Remind employees that telephone calls are wonderful opportunities to obtain high-quality referrals to potential clients and to others in the client’s organization.
Additionally, provide training in the following areas:
With support from you and the “seller-doers” of your firm, employees who would like to sell but just don’t know how can become significant assets as you strive to build your business.
This article is an excerpt from PSMJ's recently released Turning Your Doers into Sellers. In this free ebook, we help you navigate through some of the thornier parts of getting started as well as implementing a realistic and successful Seller-Doer program.
Selling A/E/C services can be a scary concept for many architects and engineers never exposed to step-by-step instructions PROVEN to work. PSMJ’s new A/E/C Seller-Doer Success Bootcamp is the essential training program for turning creative and technically skilled staff into enthusiastic sales engines for your firm. Over two intensive and interactive days, acquire techniques and confidence to radically shift thinking and embrace a new and valuable role that can dramatically improve your balance sheet.