When you purchase a service, you make the buying decision before what you buy is “fabricated” and delivered. Some people liken this to buying a bucket of steam…and they’re not far off the mark. So, what is it that people really purchase when they buy a service from your firm via you? They buy you! And why would they do that? Because they trust you. Professional selling, then, is really a matter of building trust with client and prospective client representatives. How do you do this?

Don’t sell! Instead, try to be the representatives’ trusted professional advisor. Start by becoming intimately familiar with their industry, industry sector, and company. Use the Internet and review annual reports, financial reports (from companies like eTrade), and so forth. What are the challenges being faced? Figure it out, and then speak with your client and prospective client representatives. “I see that you guys are looking down the barrel of ——,” you might say. “Am I right?” The representative may be somewhat taken aback by your knowledge, and might respond, “Not only that, but ——.”

The question then becomes, How can you help? And the answer is, By contributing ideas. And here’s the key issue: They do not have to be ideas about services you can fulfill. You simply want to help by contributing as many good ideas as you can. Being part of a marketing circle can help in this respect.

A marketing circle is a group of colleagues who regularly work together to share market information. As a geoprofessional, you may participate with an architect, civil engineer, structural engineer, CPA, advertising account manager, attorney or two, and a financial advisor, among others.

These folks would typically meet once a month for breakfast, and share what they’ve learned. You could propose that they all provide ideas on how to help your client or prospective client rep. Note that the ideas can come from their connections and life experiences. The same approach could be used with a group of your colleagues in your firm, although the diversity of ideas will be less robust.

No matter what, you want to develop a basketful of concepts to pick and choose from, and you could share the best with the representative involved. Your goal: To be of help, thus to demonstrate that you want your client rep to succeed, which is a fundamental basis for trust.

“You don’t do any of this stuff, though,” the client rep might say about some of your best suggestions. “I know,” you could respond. “I just want to help. So when you do need my services, you’ll give me the first call.” “I will,” you hope representatives respond enthusiastically. Because they trust you.