I don't remember how I heard about Stu Rose, but everything I know about sales is due to his coaching and the technique he calls the Mandeville process. Stu has a consulting firm called Professional Development Resources, Inc. Its website is www.pdrinfo.com. I attended a couple of workshops and brought him to the firm for a day of training. It was worth every penny.
You can buy a DVD from PDR that is excellent for teaching yourself the Mandeville technique. I'm going to describe Mandeville here, with Dr. Rose's blessing. You really need to know this stuff if you ever find yourself in a sales situation - full time, occasionally or by accident. The beauty is that it is really easy for anyone to do, except maybe the egomaniac or narcissist.
In a nutshell the Mandeville technique is modeled after how other professionals treat their clients. First they ask about your issue(s); and, when they have enough information, they prescribe a course of action. These other professionals NEVER present credentials. By comparison most architects act like used car salesmen, going on and on about awards, recognition, and name-dropping client names and projects. The typical architect makes a first meeting with a potential client all about themselves and their firm. The typical client that is about to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of dollars would rather talk about their issues.
Whoever does the most talking feels the best about the meeting. Let the client do all the talking. Just guide him/her with the Mandeville questions to get the ball rolling. Oh, and you work from notes and MUST take notes. So you have your (limited speaking part) script in your hands the whole time.
Are you starting to believe me when I say ANYONE can do this?
Some other parts of the process are:
It may seem strange to regurgitate all this back to the client in a written follow-up summary. The reality is that they have never seen their needs written down before. The first time I sent a summary and called to follow up, the client said, "This is just fantastic. This is exactly what we need." I'm thinking to myself, "Why is he getting so excited about me writing down what he said to me?" It was as though he forgot where this information came from, and I was getting credit for being a genius. If you are the only one doing this, the chances are excellent that you have just become the obvious choice to design their project.
A great investment in your career would be to buy the set of Mandeville DVDs from PDR. The process and background is thoroughly explained, and several scenarios are played out so you can see exactly what it is like to go through the process. Sharing my knowledge of the Mandeville process is probably the best information I have ever shared. To repeat myself, you really need to know this stuff if you ever find yourself in a sales situation - either full time, occasionally or by accident;. The beauty of it is that it is really easy for anyone to do. Get the disks for yourself or for your firm.
By the way I am not an affiliate.
I got permission from Stu to share the Mandeville forms, which you can download here.
Other tools that might be helpful:
Trello-PM - project management system
FeeCalqs - fee estimating system
OFFPLAN - work load projecting system
MyCorbu - timekeeping and project bookkeeping system