Friday, March 30, 2007

First, Ask Yourself

Have you ever been asked a question so powerful that it completely changed your view of the world? Have you ever asked one of those questions to someone else? What are the essential questions we must ask our clients, prospects, and colleagues?

What are the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves? Here are a few…

How do you build awareness of your professional services capabilities among those who need to know? First of all, who needs to know you? How can you identify the “right” group of prospective buyers and referral sources? How do you reach them with impact and consistency (without being a “stalker”)? Are you spending enough time with the “right” people who are most willing and able to help you right now? What can you ask those “who need to know you” that will help them quickly understand your value?

How do you demonstrate your professional difference to prospective clients and referral sources? Have you demonstrated your difference through thought leadership such as writing and speaking on unique areas of your expertise? In what way might you enable prospective clients to sample your services prior to a paid engagement?

How do you secure the engagement? Are you asking prospective clients questions that truly change the way they think about their current situation? Or, are you asking manipulative questions in order to guide them down the path to “closing” the business? Have you earned the right to ask the prospective client for business?

How do you expand existing client relationships? What are the top three strategic goals of your client’s senior executive team? If you don’t know the answer to this, how can you find out? What else can your firm to do help those client executives achieve their strategic goals?

How do you collaborate with others to succeed? Who else in your firm is the best possible marketing ally for you? What have you done recently to cultivate relationships with allied colleagues and to consistently demonstrate your value to them?

How do you keep your client development efforts going in the face of never-ending time conflicts? What is motivating you to market your practice? What resistance are you creating for yourself when it comes to client development? What would happen if you said “no” more often to activities you are otherwise just tolerating? How else could you approach a client development hurdle in order to overcome it? Who else can help you?

Please let me know the questions that have most helped you succeed.

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