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Winning work

#1 Winning work
04/04/2007 15:46


OK, what tips can you guys share to help a newbie manager win work/proposals (and this includes identifying the opportunities in the first place)?

Many thanks

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#2 RE: Winning work
04/04/2007 16:02

anon to Jimbo (#1)

Get on the phone to anyone and everyone that you know and do your pitch

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#3 RE: Winning work
04/04/2007 16:45

Jimbo to anon (#2)

I thought about that, but - it's a quick way to lose friends, right?

Notting p1$$e$ me off as much as unsolicited sales calls or people trying to shove stuff down my throat...

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#4 RE: Winning work
04/04/2007 17:49

Anon to Jimbo (#3)

Sure, but unless you have a contact network that will be open to you making approaches, I see no other way of generating new business.

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#5 RE: Winning work
04/04/2007 18:06

The Top Consultant to Anon (#4)

Are you serious?

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#6 RE: Winning work
04/04/2007 21:08

Village Idiot to Jimbo (#1)

Jimbo, congratulations on your new role. The great thing about consulting is that, in most organisations, you rarely have to do cold selling. At your level, I would expect you to be getting involved in bids, looking for opportunities within your existing clients, and preparing marketing materials that attract new customers.

Selling professional services is not the same as flogging TVs down at Dixons, and the investment criteria for organisations (and the stakeholders they involve) are different.

Find a good mentor you can accompany on sales calls to learn how the game is played -- I learned more about selling by accompanying my partners on sales calls that I did in all the courses I've ever taken.

There are a number of good books about professional selling out there -- they might be a good investment. Try these:

SPIN-selling by Neil Rackham - a good methodology for selling professional services

Rain Making: Professional's Guide to Attracting New Clients by Ford Harding - a good guide to building a personal brand and drawing clients towards you (instead of you chasing them)

Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: The Demise of 20th Century Selling & the Advent of Helping Clients Succeed by Mahan Khalsa - not dissimilar to SPIN, this book is about understanding client needs rather than selling packaged solutions, learning their buying criteria, etc.

The three books above will be a good start and are reasonably light reading -- all can be digested in a good afternoon. The next step is to get out there and see it in action, learning from those in your organisation who do it best.

Good luck.

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#7 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 00:19

new start to Village Idiot (#6)

I think you've got to be prepared to do cold calling. I asked - how do you get business? - at my ACN interview and was told - sometimes it's just calling people. Nobody, myself included, likes doing it. But I did do it for a few years as a business mag ad salesman. Let's hope with a reputable consulting house you've got some cachet to fall back on. Try selling a page in a mag nobody's heard of.

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#8 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 02:17

HIP to new start (#7)

You have to be a magnet and attract your customers to you.

Like attracts like. Like thoughts create like thoughts.

Think sincerely and with 'heart' about your customer; their business problem and requirements, and you as the solution to their problem.

Your thoughts will be the same as those of your customer. Your customer will find you! Remember, like attracts like.

With this attitude make efforts to seek those that need a solution, and create opportunities. Apply instinct, and above all 'love'.

You will soon find yourself creating your own 'luck', and you will then win!

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#9 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 08:25

Anon to Village Idiot (#6)

“Selling professional services is not the same as flogging TVs down at Dixons” –VI

I’m afraid they’re called TV’s at Dixons. There’s a 20 foot banner outside my local branch professing the fact.

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#10 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 09:02

mw to Anon (#9)

But there's a 20 ft banner selling Accenture careers hanging of a DLR bridge at Canary Wharf so maybe they are the same things.

And can we stop with the poor practise of picking up on people's spelling and grammer. This is a chat forum, not a deliverable.

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#11 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 09:59

Anon from Earlier to mw (#10)

Top-Consultant / Village Idiot / HIP,

Firstly let me state my credentials. I am the top salesman (and have been for the last 4 years) at a tier 1 outsourcing/consulting orgainisation. I absolutley hate the way many of my peers concentrate too much on the "strategic" side of selling.... they produce endless documents on their prospects, suspects, leads, targets, opportunities (all of which are different in their minds) whilst I tend to to just get on the phone / get in front of as many people as I can - I can tell instantly if they are intrested.

In my opinion it is simple - You have a product that you think people will want to buy. The best way of maximising your chances of getting a new customer is to present it to as many relevant people as you can, as quickly as you can do it. If they are intrested, they will buy.

PS - It is actually very similar to selling a TV at Dixons. Product - Salesman - Customer

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#12 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 10:03

Tony Restell ( to Jimbo (#1)

Jimbo - I was fortunate enough to be at John Niland's seminar <a href=><i>A steady stream of warm client leads – guaranteed!</i></a> and one of the key things he coached consultants on was the subject of how to make leads come to you, rather than having to cold call for them.

The reason for wanting to achieve this nirvana was not so much to avoid cold-calling (though obviously most people liked that as a spin-off benefit!!) but rather to avoid the feast-famine cycle of consulting. Namely you need to ensure that leads are still being generated even when you are out of the country on assignment, away on holiday - or just simply too frantically busy with a client deadline to be able to devote any time to business development.

As I remember, the two key steps John shared were firstly to work on how to describe to others what your ideal client / prospect would look like. Often we focus on what our "elevator pitch" should be, but that is aimed at being delivered to someone that is a prospective buyer. Far more powerful is to ensure that every business contact you have knows the profile of person that it would be useful for you to be put in contact with.

So spend less time on the pitch about "we're a global consultancy and my practice area works to transform the business processes of.... blah.. blah.. blah". Instead figure out in a sentence or two who typically buys from you: "the businesspeople I'm most likely to be able to help are those who work in organisations undergoing major change or restructuring".

At the seminar we did an exercise with a "guinea pig" consultant and after hearing their elevator pitch most delegates in the room didn't know exactly what they did (so couldn't convey it to others) and more importantly couldn't be sure if anyone they knew would benefit from being put in touch with the consultant.

Then with that same consultant we worked through "what types of people are you most able to help" (ie. who would you want as a client) and once that message had been defined and refined, almost every delegate in the room felt they knew people that would benefit from having a discussion with the consultant.

This was Part I of the challenge - making it easy for those you know to self-identify people that could benefit from dealing with you. Part II was then figuring out what kind of report / podcast / industry briefing / breakfast event / etc. you could create or host that would be low-cost but that would give those you know an excuse to put you in contact with those potential prospects - and deliver great insights to those prospects in the process.

This second step ensures that those potential referrals in the networks of all those you know actually become real referrals (rather then referral contacts that people sit on and don't do anything with).

There is a world of difference between asking your contacts to give you the contact details of potential prospects (cringe!) vs. sending them through a valuable report that they can forward on to anyone in their network that they think might benefit from it.

Hope this helps Jimbo - and good luck with building that pipeline.

Rgds, Tony Restell

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#13 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 12:19

anon to Tony Restell ( (#12)


luv ya baby:

"This is a chat forum, not a deliverable."

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#14 RE: Winning work
05/04/2007 13:39

Jammy B*st*rd to anon (#13)


I recommend you read this book:

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#15 RE: Winning work
09/04/2007 21:48

Village Idiot to Jammy B*st*rd (#14)

Where to start, where to start?

mw: "And can we stop with the poor practise of picking up on people's spelling and grammer(sic)" I think that Anon was trying to poke fun at the kids at Dixons, not at me. He know's where the apostrophe go's, I'm sure.

'Anon from Earlier', I'm sure you're a cracking salesman. But I sell advisory services, not products, although I have spent time selling both. Your 'getting in front of people' approach may work well for product-focused sales, but when you're asking someone to invest upwards of a million pounds for advice, you need to have built a more substantial relationship and genuinely understood your clients' needs.

'Jammy B*st*rd', agree with your recommendation, and you took the words right out of my mouth. Literally. See the sixth response on this thread. ;-)

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#16 RE: Winning work
10/04/2007 18:45

Jimbo to Village Idiot (#15)

What would you say is the best way of raising awareness amongst my contacts of what services I'm able to provide? It needs to be effective and low-cost.

Trying to get my contacts to send me referrals is like trying to get blood out of a stone. It happens sometimes, but not enough to generate a consistent stream of work.

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