Selling Your Services Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

As a specialist in risk management and business development, it can be difficult for outsiders to understand what I do. Clear communication is necessary to get clients. For many knowledge workers, this complexity makes it difficult to sell their services.

It doesn't have to be that way. With the right strategy, you can get clients to hire you (or your firm.) Whether you are an independent consultant or want to develop a career, your approach matters.

This challenge is familiar to knowledge workers, engineers, and seasoned project managers. How do you convey a lifetime of experience to stand out in a sea of resumes? For consultants who do proposals, how do you get past gatekeepers?

Justin Hitt just posted an excellent, albeit quick, post on the value of offering e-newsletter subscriptions in conspicuous places.
-- Dana VanDen Heuvel, Data Driven Growth Driver.

Top-earning professionals who want to compete in competitive markets must show up differently. Job boards, business networking, and recruiters aren't going to get you clients alone.

A Proven System for Selling My Complex Services in a Competitive Marketplace

Bob Bly's book Selling Your Services (1992) got me clients in the risk management world. When seeking a new opportunity, I sent hiring managers my self-published book to communicate my experience.

Risk management professionals write business processes, risk controls, and assessment reports. Knowledge of specific risks is essential, yet communication skills are critical. How can I communicate my ability before I even meet a decision-maker?

The book I wrote demonstrated a business process I used with business development clients. It was 500 pages. It walked the reader through designing such a process and insights for implementation. It was procedural yet did include narrative stories about other relevant experiences.

Bly's book has a five-step strategy for selling your services. I implemented them as a marketing campaign. My target clients were senior managers and executives who hired operational risk consultants.

Prospects are intelligent, very busy, and have a lot of pressure to hire top talent. They sometimes need to learn how to judge that talent inside of specializations. They have a lot to lose with the wrong person.

Due to job pressure and stress, they don't rely on cultural fit. It is essential to find individuals who can complete the job accurately. A decision-maker wants results that will help avoid billions of dollars in regulatory fines.

On the other hand, human resources screens on resume keywords, years of experience, and graduation dates. It was critical to bypass (or supplement) typical paths to hire.

Insightful Strategies To Go Direct To Qualified Prospects and Get Clients Worth Having

With a list of prospective clients, I wrote a letter and a series of follow-up notes. A few conversations later, I narrowed my list to a handful of managers who got a FedEx package.

Inside that package was a letter, resume, and my self-published book. It demonstrated that I could digest complex topics, analyze them, and finish deliverables. While business development is not risk management, many skills overlap.

Many of the 15 prospects who got this package complemented the unique approach when scheduling interviews. Some offered contract work. And one Fortune 100 Financial Services firm made an offer I couldn't refuse.

The typical interview can be 2-3 calls with as many as 12 contacts over several days. My package kept coming up as a reference in the conversation. One hiring manager read the book, passed it around, and asked questions about the process.

Once hired, I sold and led new projects, delivering services far beyond the original engagement. With a service-selling approach, you don't have to worry about where you'll find clients or that your role will stagnate.

Start Selling Your Services In A Way That Gets You More Clients

The foundation of my approach included specific insights from Bob Bly's Selling Your Services, leveraging evidence demonstrating my skill set. It provided a much-needed direction to build strong, mutually beneficial consulting relationships. Click here to get your copy of Selling Your Services from Amazon.

Could you do the same thing? See the book I wrote and used as a door opener; it's available at Amazon, titled How You Can Increase B2B Sales and Profits in 90 Days or Less (2012). I've since written hundreds of white papers and special reports, plus done significant technical writing for clients.

The approach described here isn't the only thing I learned, nor what I've done to get clients. Not many professional-level job seekers, contractors, or consultants would consider it.

Most troll LinkedIn, chasing shiny gimmicks, and still don't reach the success they desire. Stop chasing and start attracting by selling your services the right way.

Your ability to get clients transforms your career while opening the doors to exciting opportunities. If you don't have a strategy for getting clients, you'll be at the mercy of decision-makers not choosing you. What are you waiting for?

Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter specializing in business-to-business, digital, and direct marketing. He is the author of 100 books, including The Copywriter's Handbook, Secrets of a Freelance Writer, and Selling Your Services, and has appeared on CNBC and CBS's Hard Copy. He lives in Montville, NJ. For details visit

In the time I worked with Justin I was fortunate enough to oversee a few large projects that he was a part of. His attention to detail and creative thought process always made the difficult seem simple. A subject matter expert on many topics his depth and breadth of knowledge was an asset.
-- David Williams, Dominion Enterprises, Norfolk, VA
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Justin Hitt Business Analyst
Justin Hitt is an expert in business development and risk management. Clients range from Fortune 100 financial services firms to technical service providers and entrepreneurs. He is the publisher of many reports and book author.
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