For most professionals, our biggest competitor is not the firm down the road, it’s actually a client’s inertia or belief that they can do what they need to do without your services. I.e. you and they both know you have a ‘need’, but not a ‘want’ for your services. So, what can you do about this? After all, your effectiveness at business development, particularly the ‘selling’ part of it, relies on your ability to change the need into an urgent ‘want’.

1. Tighten your marketplace

There will be people who want and need your services. However, this may not be the initial marketplace you defined. It will probably be a smaller sub-set of your marketplace. If you have a look back to see which clients did come on-board, what were the similarities between these clients? This will probably give you the clues you need to re-define who you target.

2. Identify their pain points

Very often we fail to turn a ‘need’ into a ‘want’ because we don’t have a clear enough understanding of our potential client’s real pain points. These Pain Points need to be strong enough and motivating enough for them to shell out money and take a risk on your services. ‘Because it is the right thing to do, just wouldn’t be a good enough reason’. Unless you truly understand the impact and threat to them of doing nothing, then you wouldn’t be able to move your client from a need to a want.

3. Package your services

When you have a good idea of your client’s pain points you can package your services so that they truly meet their needs. This is another reason to tighten your marketplace, as it makes it easy to truly put together a package that meets the needs of your target market. Very often it is this packaging of your services which can get you across the line with your prospective client.

4. Work out the risk of doing nothing

If there is absolutely no ‘pain’ to the client of doing nothing, then you will probably find there is no motivation to do what you think they need to do. Therefore, you need to educate your potential client about the negative impacts of doing nothing. You may find that this moves your work from a ‘need’ into a ‘want’.

5. Identify the benefits for your client of bringing in external help

I think everyone, whether in their personal or professional capacity, would prefer not to spend money. Well, unless it is a very nice pair of new shoes! Therefore, what are the risks of doing the work in-house? How will they get better results and better value by using your expertise?

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