Using the Right Skill Set

Hi, Everyone!

Here’s another article I recently wrote as part of our MasterStream:Essentials outreach program:


Mission-Critical Issue #3

Using the Right Skill Set for the Job at Hand
The major reason why you’re not getting the clients you want.

Human development professionals are a wonderful group of people, dedicated to helping others achieve the outcomes they want most.

To prepare themselves for the work they do, they’ve devoted tremendous amounts of their time and money to completing their education and developing their skills, routinely investing hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars.

While those skills make them excellent providers of their services, they do NOT generally help them get the clients they need. In fact, many of the skills vital to the work of coaches and consultants actually undermine their success when it comes to the sales process.

Using coaching and consulting skills as substitutes for sales skills is as illogical
as using sales skills as substitutes for coaching and consulting skills.

Different roles require different skill sets — and human development professionals serve at least two roles — as a provider of services to the client and as a sales professional working on their own behalf.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the five “Phases of the Change Process” from the perspective of both you as a provider of services and a sales professional. While the phases may be the same, what you say and how you say it are very different indeed!

Phase 1: Connecting

In your role as a service provider, you begin as you naturally are — as a warm, approachable and friendly person, casual yet professional. Putting your client at ease and creating a safe and comfortable space for them is your focus.

In your role as a sales professional, the conversation begins with a bit more professional detachment. What you say must be more tightly controlled, focused on proving that you understand your prospect’s situation and that you’re capable of helping them.

Phase 2: Analyzing

As a service provider, you ask your clients a variety of question to describe their situations, provoke their thinking, express themselves, and explore options.

As a sales professional, you are on a very deliberate quest to determine whether or not your prospect has a genuine need and the wherewithal to make a decision.

Phase 3: Solving

As a service provider, you facilitate discussions leading to the development of the actual solution to their situation.

As a sales representative, you position yourself as the ideal professional for the prospect to hire, focusing on the solid reasons why your background, approach and personality are the exact match for what they are trying to accomplish. Resisting all temptation to give away what you are hoping to sell — to serve as an unpaid coach or consultant — is of paramount importance.

Phase 4: Committing

As a service provider, you seek a “Commitment in Principle” — an agreement to follow through on the recommendations and action plans developed during the Solving Phase.

As a sales professional, you seek a “Commitment in Fact” — a definitive action of engaging your services.

Phase 5: Relieving

As a service provider, you leave your client with a pleasant and soothing sense of accomplishment.

As a sales professional, you leave your client with an excited, enthusiastic and an eager anticipation of their first session.

Now, go back through the phases and read just the paragraphs describing the service provider. Is it any wonder that behaving as a service provider when selling your services is less likely to result in a new client?

On the other hand, read just the paragraphs for the sales professional and see why it’s a much more effective approach.

So, are YOU relying more on your coaching and consulting skills or your sales skills when converting inquiries into clients?



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