Sometimes we can make things harder for ourselves without realising it. I prefer to take the easy path every time, especially when it comes to sales.

It took me a while to fully appreciate that there are some things that are easier to sell than others. But when I ‘got it’ I became really excited because in those days I hated selling and wanted to spend as many days as possible doing billable IT consulting work. I didn’t want to spend any more time on selling than was absolutely necessary. The more time I spent selling the less time I had to do billable work for myself and to support my consulting team.

So today I would like to share with you some insights that led to selling becoming a whole lot easier for me. And the easier it became, the more I began to enjoy it!

I was working as a principal consultant specialising in an area of technology called ‘business intelligence’ which effectively helps companies provide better management information. The company I was working for specialised in one particular technology and we decided to add a complemetary technology to our portfolio. We hired some technical specialists but it was up to me to find them work. As well as being experts in this new technology they could also do some very clever things which were in high demand but were new to us as a company.

People who are less experienced in sales would, no doubt, try and start capitalising on the high demand. Maybe they would hire a tele-marketing company to start opening doors. However, they would find it a challenge to win projects without a solid track record, especially in the current economic climate where there is plenty of competitors with a better track record.

How to make sales easy

As you can see from the matrix, the easiest sale to make is to sell similar services to the same clients. So I went to our existing clients and sold exactly the same services that we had previously successfully performed but with the complementary technology. They had no reason to doubt our capability as we had a proven track record with them in providing such services.

Once we had established a track record in this new technology with our existing clients then it became much easier to sell them the new high demand services. At that stage the sale effort was actually easier than going out and finding new clients for our existing technology. And before long it became much easier to find new clients in the high demand techology because we had now established a track record in providing those services.

So how do you use this matrix to simplify your sales effort? My advice is to maximise what you do with existing clients by extending your services rather than continually looking for new clients for one-off projects. When you do look for new clients, make sure you focus on areas where you have a proven track record and can get existing clients to vouch for you.

I am pleased to say that I did manage to win lots of IT consulting work for the new technology but it all started from working with existing clients and keeping it as close as possible to where we had a solid track record.