The Challenge of Winning Work for Professional Firms

What’s the #1 Challenge Facing Professional Firms Today?

#1 is usually the need for more business coming through your doors. Few challenges can’t be solved by bringing in more of the right clients. With the capacity to win work, you drive growth, increase profits and have a say in your future. However, whether you call it selling, business development (BD) or rainmaking, winning new work is hard. Here’s why:

  1. Soft skills are intangible. Technical skills are relatively easy to spot, train and recruit for. Well qualified professionals are commonplace. So called soft-skills like leadership, selling and winning work are much trickier to identify and nurture.
  2. Most training is poor. Networking, building relationships and winning work are rarely taught at university or on the job. Online solutions are limited. Thus professionals often lack the required confidence and skills to create new business opportunities.
  3. Rainmaking is elitist. Outside a BD team, most firms rely on senior partners to bring in the big work. Many of these are protective of their portfolios and reluctant to share either rainmaking know-how nor leads. In reality. Fact: BD should be everyone’s job.
  4. Competition is increasing. While the pie is getting bigger, there are now more players in professional markets like accounting and legal. Good clients are courted by more firms with more marketing spend, meaning more competition for you and more choice for your intended clients.
  5. Increased client expectations. The bar has been raised for what constitutes value. The buyer has power to control negotiations and choose from many vendors. Winning their work often means giving up more for less.
  6. Blending of the market. With more players in your space, more niche offerings and more innovative solutions, it’s much harder to  stand out. Most firms look and sound the same so differentiation becomes ever harder.
  7. Tougher recruitment. It’s hard to get good people. The right people. The ones with the perfect blend of technical excellence,  attitude and soft skills like communicating and selling.

“Even when training is liked by participants, only 37% of it led to learned new skills, just 13% was relevant to the workplace and only 3% had an impact on the company.” (Association of Training & Development)

The Challenge of Winning Work for Professional Firms

If you’re not equipping and empowering your people with the experience and expertise they need to win work, you WILL struggle for growth. Long term, this undermines your succession planning. Some kind of corporate training is required. The trouble is, training vary rarely works, as the statistics prove time and time again.

“Companies who implement ongoing training see 20% more people hit targets than those who focus solely on annual or occasional training sessions.” (Aberdeen Research)

Networking, referrals and reputation building are the lifeblood of modern day business development. All of these business development strategies are coachable. Of course, you need the right scripts and strategies to go out there, raise your profile and have high level conversations. Beyond that you need the confidence and a BD approach that plays to your unique weapons, strengths and personality. You simply cannot deliver this in one workshop or seminar.

There are many different shapes and sizes of great rainmakers. No one size training program fits all, and no one style of business development fits all. There are actually a few different options to train your people in business development and winning work. Sadly, few of them are truly effective, as proved here...

Our inhouse one year Business Development Academy Program comes into your firm and works with a specifically recruited cohort for 12 months. We turns your people into confident, effective rainmakers and work winners. It’s the only way we’ve found over the years that truly works. The RI is minimum 10:1.

This program has already helped one top 40 accounting firm generate £1m of new business. The first legal firm is now signed up. This will be repeated every subsequent year because they now have the lifelong skills to confidently win work. Contact us on 0115 846 2127 or here to talk through whether this may be a fit for your firm.