John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
You have to sell work if you want to make the big bucks in valuation or lit support. That can’t be a secret to you. Making the shift from a doer to a doer-seller, though, is a challenge for nearly everyone. How do you start? What do you do?
If you can answer these three questions, you’ll give yourself the foundation you need to get started.
What kind of work do you want to sell? For starters, it’s probably work that you know well enough to be able to hold an intelligent conversation about. If you can’t at least explain it, the client isn’t likely to write a check for it. Moreover, it’s also probably work that your firm is already doing. There might be work you’d like to sell and for which there is a demand. However, if you stretch too far, you will lose the credibility that is important to establish yourself as a doer-seller.
Who buys that work? It sounds like such a simple question. Your list might be shorter than you think, however. Lengthen your list of buyers by thinking about sub-categories within categories. Sure you want to sell to owners of privately-held businesses. However, doing that means being known to the trusted advisors (the attorneys and accountants) that those business owners rely on.
Where will you find those buyers? Again, sounds like a simple question. It does you no good, though, to think only of generic networking groups and organizations. Look for specific professional or trade associations. Depending on the population size of your market, for example, there may be multiple estate tax councils you could join and attend. There might be a particular industry council or association that would be a good place to start.
No one is going to hold your hand and show you how to be a smarter business developer. You’ll have to take the initiative. Your answers to these questions will be the foundation—or plan—that will get you going.