We've absorbed through osmosis more than we might think about how to sell even if we have never taken formal coursework in the subject. It's a part of American pop culture captured in numerous books, plays, and movies over the generations: Glengarry Glen Ross, Death of a Salesman, The Wolf of Wall Street, Margin Call, and others. And that's a problem.
The fourth obstacle all of us face in trying to figure out a better way to build a bridge between us and potential clients is how what we know about sales is often wrong when it comes to consulting and professional services. The biggest challenge in our path to becoming a rainmaker may be actually unlearning what we think we already know.
Traditional Sales Training
Sales representatives in product-centered companies learn that sales is like a funnel. At the wide end of the funnel are prospective customers who are believed to be primed to buy our product. Leads are vetted, one-by-one, either in person, by phone or email, etc. The uninterested are culled, and the rest are prequalified into opportunities. This prequalification narrows the number of leads, which are then pitched and hopefully closed over time.
This funnel has dozens, or hundreds, of variations. The gist is always the same, however: sales is a numbers game ...