Today, more and more professional service firms that weren’t traditionally sales-driven are seeking to build more of a sales culture inside their firms. This need is driven by increased competition, fewer call-ins, the commoditization of their products and services, and aging rainmakers who are looking at retirement. The management at these firms understands the need to be more proactive about bringing in new business, cross-selling and up-selling. Whether a firm can pull it off depends on the insight provided by our Business Development Evaluation and whether the firm has the commitment to stay-the-course while building this culture.
Our Business Development Evaluation is always our first step in the process of building a sales culture because it answers several critical questions:
- Who can make the transition?
- What will it take?
- What will the challenges be?
- What if the existing members of the firm don’t want to change?
- What if the firm doesn’t have the right people for more proactive client development?
If the firm must bring new people on board, what should the client development criteria for hiring be?
Nothing kills morale quicker than asking people who are unsuitable or disinterested in client development to participate in a program designed to improve business development. Our business development evaluation will show you who should be asked to participate, along with their specific strengths and weaknesses and the challenges they are likely to face. It helps to establish realistic expectations and determine the type of training the group will need.
Although the challenges of building a sales culture are different at every firm we work with, there are some things that we know for certain:
- A firm’s culture won’t change on its own
- The culture won’t change without someone in management driving that change.
- The culture won’t change without identifying the people who are capable of being successful at business development.
- The culture won’t change without establishing simple, basic expectations.
- The culture won’t change without showing members how to do what they need to do to meet these expectations.
- The culture won’t change without providing training so that the members of the firm can develop new skills and gain the confidence to use these skills.
- The culture won’t change without ongoing coaching.
- The culture won’t change without getting outside expert advice.
- The culture won’t change unless there is an early emphasis on low-risk concepts like cross-selling, up-selling, calling inactive customers/clients, and seeking referrals.
- The culture won’t change unless management commits to holding people accountable.