How Clients Buy

How Clients Buy book cover

Professional services firms understand the motivators of why people buy their products and services. Depending on the services you provide, there are different ways, times, and messages to engage the marketplace and connect with them when they are most ready to buy. This book is supplemental and aligns with our approach to engagement by providing some marketing intelligence into the selling process.

Publisher Summary: If you’re one of the millions of people whose skills are the ‘product,’ you know that you cannot be successful unless you bring in clients. The problem is, you’re trained to do your job—not sell it. No matter how great you may be at your actual role, you likely feel a bit lost, hesitant, or ‘behind’ when it comes to courting clients, an unfamiliar territory where you’re never quite sure of the line between under- and over-selling. This book comes to the rescue with real, practical advice for selling what you do. You’ll have to unlearn everything you know about sales, but then you’ll learn new skills that will help you make connections, develop rapport, create interest, earn trust, and turn prospects into clients.

Key takeaways from How Clients Buy by Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher:

  • “Do good work, be honest in all your relations, be civically active, write for publication, and never turn down a chance to speak in public.”  George Wythe’s advice to Thomas Jefferson
  • If selling means causing others to do what they might not do if left to their own devices, and professionalism is doing what is best for the client at all times, then there is an inherent conflict between selling and being a professional.
  • Look at a lead as a relationship to be cultivated over a lifetime.
  • The referral effect – doing good work for clients, staying in touch with them over time, having dinner and talking shop when you are in town, being helpful even when you are not under contract. These are the sorts of actions that deepen and maintain relationships.
  • There is no one too high or too low to speak with if your goal is to build a network over a lifetime.

Tom McMakin is the CEO of Profitable Ideas Exchange, a consultancy focused on helping professional-services firms with business development. 

Doug Fletcher teaches at Montana State University’s Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship and serves on the board of The Beacon Group, a growth-strategy consulting firm.

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