The Strategy Sphere podcast — brought to you by Intapp — features interviews with leading experts in academia, innovation, and business. Our hosts are Lavinia Calvert, who leads the global marketing and business development solutions business at Intapp, and Deborah Farone, a marketing strategy consultant and author. In each episode, Calvert and Farone explore today’s world of professional services marketing, leadership, innovation, and education.

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In episode four of Season One, Calvert and Farone spoke with Tom McMakin and Jacob Parks of the Profitable Ideas Exchange (PIE). McMakin and Parks are also the authors of Never Say Sell, a new book that illustrates how firms can expand engagements with existing clients.

In their work, McMakin and Parks interviewed rainmakers across the world to study the techniques they use and the principles they apply when developing business and growing work from existing clients. During this podcast, McMakin and Parks discuss two very important factors in selling professional services: scaling trust and growing credibility. They point out differences in sales techniques, and reveal the unique undertaking of selling what they refer to as a “credence good.”

McMakin and Parks discuss how firms are moving away from the standard sales funnel model toward a practice of planting relationships that are nurtured over time. They provide great advice for growing relationships and adding value in an era of disruption, and reveal that they run their company by incorporating gamification and illuminating how you can market your own expertise.

As McMakin remarked, “I always say that business development is nothing more than making new friends.”

From the authors, we’ve taken away a number of ideas, including:

  • Look to offer something extra, a lagniappe, to add extra service or value to your clients.
  • Know that professional services marketing needs to operate in a fluid and seamless way. Sales and marketing cannot be broken down in the same way as they might be at a consumer product company.
  • Understand that although there’s a time for webinars and other traditional forms of marketing, right now it’s more important to connect with existing clients and build cohorts than it is to spend time on larger forms of marketing.

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