Current Event-Based Questions: Selling Services Organically

Accountants and lawyers often remark that they did not go into their fields to become sales people. Most successful rainmakers in professional services admit it took them a long time to establish significant business and that they were more comfortable when the process seemed organic instead of intentional. To sell in an organic fashion implies that deals come about naturally. It sounds like luck when in fact it is often based on the seller’s ability to seize upon events in a timely manner and engage buyers by asking good questions to gather important information.

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Building Client Loyalty: A Helpful Checklist

The ultimate goal in developing business is to create a mutually rewarding relationship with your clients. As you transform your working connection with a customer from one-­off transactions with limited scope to that of on­going trusted advisor and member of the client’s inner circle, both you and the client reap economic benefits, operational advantages and a rewarding sense of purpose. The client will always reach out to you for advice because you are knowledgeable, helpful, and available. Loyalty transcends pricing matters and logistics.

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The Road to Partnership Is Paved With Discipline

If you’re an associate attorney employed by a private partnership, you have two jobs instead of one. First, as a beginning lawyer, you need to gain knowledge and skills to effectively complete tasks to exceed the expectations of supervising partners as well as clients. Initially, you may believe this is the most important task-at-hand deserving all your time and energy. But if you’ve been working for a few years, you’ve probably noticed the ability to sell and acquire new business could be even more important to your long-term career trajectory.

Ten helpful ideas for young associates included in the article. For a reprint of this article as published in The Recorder, please email

Old School or Bold School: 5 Signs Your Firm’s Marketing Initiatives Need a Reboot

A popular definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Banking on this definition, many professional services firms can point to various marketing initiatives and call them crazy. Not only are clients and prospects changing their purchasing habits, their expectations about value and delivery of services are also transforming. So why is your marketing program clinging to old methods? Below are five signs your firm’s marketing campaigns are not keeping up with the times as well as suggestions on how to take bold steps toward rejuvenating the existing state of affairs.

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Embracing the Issue/Action/Impact Formula

These three little words, issue/action/impact, may be the most important words any professional services provider, sales executive, or marketing leader can champion. I first heard them used together by my mentor at one of the Big Four accounting firms in the mid-90s. My boss, the late, great Steve Doyle who led regional marketing and business development operations, impressed upon me the importance of utilizing this formula to define client issues and challenges, highlight appropriate service solutions to meet those challenges, and espouse the monetary or risk-mitigating benefits said solutions provide. Think about it. This is what selling boils down to and in today’s market where buyers are highly informed and have access to so much information, they’ll appreciate this kind of succinct, holistic approach.

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Marketing and Business Development: Same Thing, Only Very Different

There has been so much discussion of late in the professional services world about the virtues of business development and account-centric approaches, I’m surprised we still aren’t seeing a great deal of change in the status quo. The reasons for the cultural stall may differ between the accounting and legal worlds, but one truth remains constant: until firms distinguish the difference between marketing and business development, as well as the human resources that support each function and where the two converge, progress will be slow and clients will not benefit from thoughtful evaluations of business needs and imperatives.

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