The accountant was a partner at a major accounting firm. She was clearly qualified as an expert in her field. She admitted to me that she was quite comfortable talking about her area of expertise to her clients. She was sincerely willing to help her clients.
The point where she ran into difficulty was selling her services to the client. She got anxious when discussing the price and detested “closing the deal”.
Accounting training had not prepared her for the angst of selling your value.
Every presentation is a sales presentation even if you don’t want to see yourself as a salesperson. Every time you speak you must convince people to listen to you, trust you and believe what you say. Most importantly you must convince them to act on what you say.
You are selling your credibility, ideas, services and team. When offering professional services you are also selling your experience, personality, character, strengths and flaws.
Yes, sell your flaws. Tell your audience what you don’t know. And tell them what you can do to get that information. Tell them what you won’t do. That’s more important that you might think. Clients need to you know your limits – and so do you.
I had a conference call with a prospect on a Friday who asked for a response from me for Monday. I told them that I don’t work on the weekend and would have their answer for Tuesday. After a pregnant pause, they agreed. They hired me to train their staff on presentation skills.
In the 1997 movie, The Devil’s Advocate, Keanu Reeves ask Al Pacino (The Devil) “Are we negotiating? The devil answers, “We’re always negotiating.”
When you speak – you are negotiating – you are selling – you are attempting to persuade your audience.
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