What are the most appropriate selling frameworks or models for professional firms?

Posted on: July 21, 2008

The book I wrote several years ago – Dynamic practice development – Selling skills and techniques for the professions provides a comprehensive introduction to a number of well known, tried and tested sales frameworks and models suitable for professional service firms. This would be a good starting point if you are new to selling – it describes the difference between the old-style classical models of selling and the more recent consultative models (I will post material shortly in the blog section relating to insight selling). However, I have yet to write in more detail about my latest methodology which is shown in the diagram below – but let me know if you want more information on this.

stars-framework

© Copyright Kim Tasso 2007

I have reviewed many recent sales books in articles and in blogs recently. However, here is a summary of some of those that I have found most interesting and useful:

Smarter selling – Next generation sales strategies to meet your buyer’s needs – every time

(Keith Dugdale and David Lambert)

Don’t be put off just because this was on the best seller list – the principles do apply to professional services. There’s a lot of stuff that is grounded in psychology (e.g. Octogon Behavioural Assessment), NLP and basics on non verbal communication (NVC). The methodology is SHAPE – Surface Hunt Adjust Paint Engage.

Hope is not a strategy – The 6 ways to winning the complex sale

(Rick Page)

The emphasis is on competitive positioning, politics, power and team selling situations. The methodology is RADAR (standing for Reading Accounts and Deploying Appropriate Resources) and the six keys are 1. Link solutions to pain (or gain) 2. Qualify the prospect 3. Build a competitive preference 4. Determine the decision making process 5. Sell to power and 6. Communicate the strategic plan

Let’s get real or let’s not play – The demise of dysfunctional selling and the advent of helping clients succeed

(Mahan Khalsa)

A gentle and enjoyable read with lots of dialogue examples that ensure you deliver value by helping the client overcome a genuine issue. It promotes the use of EQ over IQ to ask hard questions in a soft way. The methodology is ORDER which stands for Opportunity, Resources, Decision process, exact solution and Relationship. And there is a great section on “Proposals don’t sell – people do”.

And then there are a couple of old favourites – within my original list of useful sales books in Dynamic Practice Development – that have really stood the test of time:

The new strategic selling – the unique sales system proven successful by the world’s best companies

(Stephen E Heiman, Diane Sanchez)

Strategic Selling is a leading sales framework focusing on the decision making unit. Although the “blue sheet” approach was found to be a little cumbersome by many professional firms the ideas on the sales funnel, buying influences, mode and dumb bells are really good.

SPIN-selling

(Neil Rackman)

Neil Rackman, a research psychologist at Huthwaite Research, analysed more than 35,000 sales calls over a period of 12 years. The focus of the research was the use of open and closed questions in complex sales situations. The result was the SPIN approach which provides a consultative and diagnostic approach to complex selling situations. SPIN describes the types and order of questions (Situation, Problem, Implication and Need payoff) to be asked during the investigating stage to convert implied needs into explicit needs. There’s a good source of information here: http://www.huthwaite.co.uk/training-solutions/sales-training/spin-selling/

Creating New Clients

(Kevin Walker, Cliff Ferguson, Paul Denvir)

Whilst Cliff remains a friend, he is no longer with the Pace partnership but the work on the pipeline model – Prospecting, Promoting, Projecting, Protecting and Pruning – was a great foundation for sales in many professional firms.

Take a look in the blogs section and search “Book reviews” for other references.

I do not restrict access to the FAQs but I politely request that you let me know by email and acknowledge the source (www.kimtasso.com) if you wish to use the material anywhere.

As always, if there are particular topics you would like me to address in the future, please let me know. You will also find a source of more and up to date information on a broad range of management and marketing issues in the professions by checking out the blog where I also post regular reviews of books that might be helpful.

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