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How Clients Buy: A Practical Guide to Business Development for Consulting and Professional Services Hardcover – March 13, 2018
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From the Author
Doug and I invite you to dig in and learn more about how pros in the world of professional services think about business development. From the start of our investigation, we were convinced that services are sold differently than products. But how? What we found surprised us and will you as well. --Tom McMakin
From the Inside Flap
If you're among the millions, worldwide, whose livelihoods depend on sharing their skills and expertise with those who need them, you know that working as a consultant or professional service provider brings with it challenges unknown to those who sell tangible products like eyewear or farming equipment. Services are often misunderstood and under-valued, and, regrettably, they're among the first items to be cut from tightening budgets. And with today's staggering 11% global growth rate in the consulting and professional services industries, the competition for clients is now fiercer than it's ever been. But if you're like the vast majority of consulting and services professionals, all of your specialized training and education, not to mention your years of experience, count for little without a deep understanding of how clients buy.
A survival guide for every services professional, this book helps you up your game by schooling you in the secrets of finding, connecting with, and building lasting professional relationships with the clients you want and deserve. And you won't have to become a pitchman, social media expert, road warrior, or marketing whiz to do it.
Brimming with sage advice, priceless insights, and practical guidance, this book is for services of every stripe, whether you're a bankruptcy attorney working in a large firm or a home-based graphic artist, a web designer, or a financial advisor, a strategy consultant or marketing consultant. Written by a uniquely well qualified author team, and based on interviews with dozens of senior professionals working in a wide range of consulting and professional services, ranging from law, accounting, investment banking, and commercial real estate, to management consulting, advertising, and HR, How Clients Buy reveals proven strategies and techniques for building communities of interest, adding value to those communities, and scoping business off of what you learn.
A key insight you'll take away from this book is that the most successful consulting and professional services practices don't sell at all. Instead, those world-class rainmakers leverage their deep knowledge in the ways of how clients buy, and they deploy a set of sophisticated strategies and techniques for propelling the buying journey.
The most important investment you'll make in your business development, How Clients Buy arms you with that knowledge and those techniques for getting the word out, connecting with high-quality clients, and building the practice of your dreams.
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The authors note that there is often a feeling among consultants that selling conflicts with professional ethics which puts them at a disadvantage. They debunk the myth that you need to have a sales personality to be successful in this domain and they help you focus your efforts in a way that will improve your chances of success and keep the time invested in business development a manageable part of your business.
The book is a pretty easy read, well written, well laid out, and they often make their case with interesting stories of people they interviewed or from history. What I like best about the book is that it is logically organized in a way that makes it easy for you to refer back to points or steps that they have explained. If you are the rainmaker for your firm or aspire to be one, this book is worth your time. My own experience is that even if you are good at promoting services and securing clients, you know that you can always improve and this book offers a systematic approach to do just that.
Consequently, I was pleasantly surprised with “How Clients Buy”- a book that I found just by a search on Amazon. It’s a manageable size, which can be read quickly, and most of the text is germane and illustrative of the points being made. The tone that the writers use is (a bit too) friendly, but their information and insights are to-the-point and effective.
I’ve been providing professional architectural services for over 30 years, and over that time, I’ve accrued a fair bit of knowledge about how to find and retain clients. But even with that experience, I’ve found that one can get too casual with some of the fundamentals and not be as diligent as one should be in pursuing new clients (or maintaining old ones). This book is a very good reminder of what really matters and what works.
I like the fact that the book is geared towards the professional services industries, and that it offers a well-organized approach with a very good set of guidelines and to-do’s for how to focus one’s efforts and be more effective. I found that it’s a very useful read for anyone, like me, who’s trying to build relationships and pursue new business - more so than many other books of its kind that I’ve read to date.