OUR BLOG

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Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?

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HOW PRO SERVICE FIRMS CAN FIX THE ‘DROP EVERYTHING — CHASE MONEY’ PROBLEM

HERE IS A MUCH BETTER WAY TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

Originally published on Forbes.com

Many professional service firms have an all-too-common problem. It’s hard to originate new business, which often leads to feast-or-famine cycles. So when a deal percolates up through the channels, senior people are ready to drop everything to win that business. I call this the “Drop Everything — Chase Money” (DECM) problem. This is usually the single biggest interruption to business operations I’ve witnessed over the last 25 years. It’s also an ineffective sales strategy.

You might say to me, “But isn’t that what we’re supposed to do? Isn’t this a good problem to have?” I don’t think so. Many organizations, especially those with complex B2B sales cycles, have become so acclimated to this way of doing business that they aren’t even aware that there are other options. Please allow me to explain why DECM is such a problem and how you can take a different and far better approach to originate and win new business.

Why DECM Is Such A Problem

There are four major problems I see with the DECM paradigm. First, it interrupts the schedules of some of your most valuable people. In nearly every pro service firm I’ve served over the last 25 years, the same experts who win business also deliver services to clients to some degree or another. They may not be involved in the details of every project, but they usually own the client relationship and take responsibility to ensure client satisfaction.

These valuable people are also likely working multiple deals, which sometimes get pushed to the back burner. Just as important, these people are often senior leaders with administrative and management responsibilities to existing staff (think conflict resolution and annual reviews). When a hot deal comes across their desk, all this important work gets pushed aside or postponed. These interruptions, if you ever actually calculate the financial impact, can be very expensive.

The second reason DECM is a problem is because of what it does to existing client relationships, schedules and delivery timelines. More than once, I have seen senior leaders request a postponement or reschedule with existing clients to chase a new deal. This runs the risk of delaying work-product delivery and client satisfaction. If a client ever finds out why you actually missed their meeting, they just might feel second-class. This is especially important to managed services relationships, where you hope the client will resign next cycle.

The third reason DECM is a problem is that it puts your people on a forced march, which they usually hate. They might understand why it’s important and why they need to help, but they won’t like it. What’s worse, if you ask them to miss their children’s birthday party, baseball game or latest school performance, you run this risk of them leaving. They’ll do it once or twice, but a habitual forced march will lead to talent flight.

The fourth and most important reason is that it sets the wrong tone for the client relationship. When you are willing to turn on a dime and bend over backward for a new client, they might think that’s how you do things. This sets inappropriate expectations that you will not likely be able to deliver against in the future. That sets you up for failure down the road. It also makes it look like you don’t value your own time or energy.

But more than that, you communicate your desperation, putting you in the weakest possible negotiating position. Make no mistake; deals require negotiation — give and take. Most service buyers with any experience know professional scopes of service require due diligence and time to craft a great approach. If you can do this quickly, you might think you’ve impressed the prospect. I disagree. What you’ve said is that you’ll do almost anything to win this deal. That smells desperate.

A Better Approach

If you want to avoid the problems inherent in DECM, here are four strategies I can, without hesitation, recommend.

First, develop an ideal client profile. This should include both the demographics and psychographics (goals, opportunities, challenges) of the type of clients your firm is uniquely qualified to serve. When a prospect reaches out, you can immediately filter out the bad ones who don’t fit your profile. You can also use this to find great prospects who do fit your profile so you address the feast-or-famine problem — the root cause of DECM.

An ideal client profile is one of the best tools we’ve discovered to originate new business. Most opportunities come to service firms through referrals. The problem with referrals is that you don’t control them. You don’t know when they’ll come in or how qualified they’ll be.

Second, listen for the five sales-ready characteristics. Great prospects exhibit a need for which your services are a fit and have an appropriate budget, a timeline in which they must act, a compelling business reason to act and a willingness to engage in dialogue. A great discovery questionnaire can help you uncover their buying motives and readiness to engage in good faith.

Third, develop a content marketing strategy that addresses your ideal clients’ goals, opportunities and challenges. When a prospect comes to you after having consumed your great ideas, they know how you think and what to expect. Referrals, on the other hand, are relying on secondhand information. This means you’ll have to spend a lot of time and energy educating them on why your approach is the best. A great content strategy filters out bad prospects and energizes great prospects who are ready to go now.

Fourth, deploy marketing automation. The best marketing automation platforms allow you to see and even score the behavior of prospects coming inbound toward your firm. If a prospect’s behavior profile indicates that they’ve spent a lot of time with your ideas and specific content assets, they’ve told you, in so many words, what they want to accomplish — before you meet with them. As long as your privacy policy makes this clear and you’re not creepy in follow-up, most prospects find this perfectly acceptable.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?
Most Leads Are Not Ready To Engage – But They Will Be

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Can Service Pros Over 40 Succeed In Digital?
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
A New Website Won’t Bring You New Clients
Do You “Get” Digital Marketing? – Part 2
Do You Get Digital Marketing?
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Lead Nurturing Versus Content Marketing
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Make Your Website A New Client Driver
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects
Quick Or Deep Content: Which Is Better For Professional Service Firms?