Getting bought is better than selling. Although our business culture promotes closing as the most vital element of selling, it is far more important for professional service providers to concentrate on opening a relationship in the right way and keeping it open for the long run, according to Andrew Dietz in his book The Opening Playbook: A Professional’s Guide to Building Relationships that Grow Results.
Using a fictional story about a young lawyer trying to win new business to earn his way to partnership in his firm, the book demonstrates tactics that do not succeed and tactics that do succeed in attracting new clients for the long term. Rather than focusing all efforts on closing a sale, the author advocates focusing on opening the conversation and keeping it open using the right connections, the right conversations and the right context.
What does this mean in practical terms for professional service firm marketing? It seems as if the “traditional” marketing tactics of giving people brochures proclaiming the firm’s “leading” status, grabbing business cards at networking conferences, and asking strangers to give you business, are no longer very effective, if they ever were. Instead, you need to start off by locating potential clients who are particularly likely to need your services, cultivate relationships with them, engage in conversations with them that pique their curiosity, and at the right time demonstrate your skills.
In my view this book contains some excellent advice for lawyers and other professionals seeking to grow their businesses, and is well worth reading.