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This video is going to be about what I think is the most important trend I’ve seen in about 12 years of running Bunnell Idea Group. This video is about the rise of the seller-expert. The word “seller” or “sales” can bring about negative connotations for people. However, our version of it is very positive. It’s business development. It’s always looking for the right thing with your clients. It’s a discipline about growing your business, your practice, your service offering, and your clients, in a way that’s very strategic. There is a craft behind it. Here’s the deal. There’s a craft of your core expertise, and there’s a craft of business development. The future belongs to the seller-expert.
In the old days, a person who has deep expertise in their profession would just do their job. The phone would ring, and growth would happen with basically no effort on their part. I’m talking about people like a top litigator at one of the top law firms in the country, accountants, consultants, architects, engineers, and just about anybody in professional services, along with folks that are account managers at large healthcare companies. It might take these people six, eight, ten, twelve years before they develop enough expertise to lead top accounts. In the old days, they would focus on building their expertise and delivering services to their clients, and not doing anything but answering the phone to build growth.
Now these people with deep expertise, delivering services to their clients, have to be good at business development. They have to.
Here’s the other side. 100% salespeople. In the old days, they used to be able to take people to lunch, have drinks at five o’clock, and schedule golf for the next weekend. You’d smile and dial and slap people on the back. You were happy, you were nice, and the business would come in.
No more. People don’t have time for folks who aren’t adding value, so we’re seeing this come from both directions.
The expert has to get good at business development, because the buyer wants to talk to the person who’s going to do the work, and the business development process is in that expert’s control. Experts are moving closer to BD, closer to sales. Salespeople have got to find expertise. They have to have something to say. Salespeople are moving closer to experts. The world wants to talk to the person that’s going to do the work. That person has to be guiding the client through a buying process that works. Experts are becoming sellers. Sellers are becoming experts.
Here’s a question for you. If you’re a deep, technical expert that’s proud of how you’ve built your expertise, how can you develop your business development skills to pair with that so that clients want to talk to you? How can you shepherd them through a buying process they enjoy, that you own, and that you can be proactive about? If you’re 100% salesperson, what can you do to develop an expertise or enhance one you’ve already got? Where you can do research, write thought pieces, or lead strategy sessions? How can you be adding value in clients’ lives that they love to receive, and they can’t wait to bend their schedule to meet with you, as opposed to you bending your schedule to meet with them?
Here’s the deal. The future is going to be owned by seller-experts: the same human being that can add value in a client’s life and also guide them through a business development process that they enjoy, that they love, and that you can own and be proactive about. When the same human being can do both these things, they’re unstoppable.
As always, we hope these videos help you help your clients succeed.