Articles

Anne Scarlett has authored over 60 published articles. They are organized by topic in the sidebar to the right. Often, Anne expands upon these topics, presenting to audiences in intimate training sessions as well as at highly-attended conferences. In addition, her insights are frequently quoted in A/E/C industry publications. Representative articles include those below.

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Marketing and business development tactics

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MAKE NETWORKING WORK FOR YOU

A robust and focused networking strategy is one of the oldest and most effective ways to demonstrate your value to potential clients.

Who doesn’t love a good referral?

After all, when someone has referred your services to a prospect, it means you’ve been vetted—there’s a predetermined trust attached to that referral. And let’s face it, in comparison to the traditional business development process, referred business takes less time, costs less money and requires less pre-work. And to sweeten the deal, referred business often results in more—more scope, more connection, more trust. So, less effort for more reward.

Sounds good, yes? But now you may be asking: How do we go about getting referrals? Becoming a truly “referable” professional is another conversation altogether. (For details, ...

Modern Steel Construction

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BEST PRACTICES FOR PREPARING AEP FEE PROPOSALS

Finally, you receive a long-anticipated RFP. Don’t let all your prep work go to waste by submitting a lackluster fee proposal!

Let’s rewind. In the architecture/engineering/planning (AEP) space, the selling cycle is often years in the making. Years! During the process, you touch the prospective client in myriad ways—through networking events, meetings, project tours, conferences, award dinners, ball games, golf outings, and so forth. You’ll also touch them via written communication: letters, emails, promotional materials, custom reports specifically relevant to their project, holiday greetings, and more. It’s extensive, expensive, and exhaustive.

And then finally, you receive the RFP. At this very moment you can maximize—or ...

IMPROVE YOUR WRITING; IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS.

Your colleague sends you a mediocre email correspondence about a co-selling opportunity. It contains minor grammatical and spelling errors, and most of the piece is written in passive voice.

You open a sub-consultant’s fee proposal to incorporate into your full-service package, and wince at its haphazard organization.

You review a highly anticipated written proposal from an IT firm to integrate your company’s core technology systems only to discover the proposed ideas are virtually impossible to decipher amidst the lengthy marketing babble.

When receiving less-than-adequate written materials, the reader has two choices: 1) Take the extra effort to tease out their message or 2) ...

I’M SORRY…YOU WERE SAYING?

Recently, my firm received a query from a ‘hot prospect’ through our website. Based upon a series of initial conversations, I deduced that the prospect had a notably short attention span. It is possible – but certainly not my business – that she may have adult attention deficit disorder (ADD). Interestingly, 4.4% of working adults have been formally diagnosed with ADD (Kessler). This accounts for an estimated 10-12 million professionals in the workplace (WebMD).

In crafting my sales strategy, it made sense to adjust my approach in order to best accommodate this prospect.  I decided to research adult ADD-like symptoms. My ...

Rain Today; Modern Steel Construction

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DELIVERING—AND RECEIVING—BAD NEWS IN BUSINESS

In the professional services realm—regardless of your industry—you will repeatedly experience disappointments, setbacks, unwanted surprises, conflicts, and even devastations. Let’s call it “bad news.” Maybe the bad news comes from the client. Maybe it’s internal. Maybe you have to tell a client something negative. Maybe you are partially responsible. Maybe it’s an act of nature, beyond anyone’s control. Whatever the cause or context, bad news in business is inevitable. As a seasoned business developer, you must manage the situation, cope with the challenge, resolve the issue, and move forward. Here are a few things you can do to make the process easier, ...

RainToday; Modern Steel Construction

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SPEAK YOUR PROSPECTS’ LANGUAGE; DON’T GET LOST IN TRANSLATION!

Have you ever been in a situation where you were surrounded by people who didn’t speak your “language?”

Perhaps it was overt, such as when traveling abroad and realizing that crucial information was being shared rapid-fire, but it was all going over your head. Or perhaps it was closer to home, such as meeting with a sales person who floods the conversation with unfamiliar specialized jargon, or attending a business conference where the content is beyond your expertise.

What did you feel—and think—in these moments? Perhaps you were overcome with feelings of impatience, frustration, even dread. Or perhaps you thought, “I’m stupid,” ...

Modern Steel Construction; RainToday

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RESPECTING BOUNDARIES IN NETWORKING

Sometimes the line between effective networking and ‘gone-too-far’ gets crossed. Where do you draw this line? Consider these three scenarios below. Do any of them sound familiar?

-Scenario I: You’re approached by a business contact (or even a personal friend) of whom you have not yet had firsthand experience with their competencies, performance, or work ethic. Even so, this contact requests that you make a recommendation on their behalf—vouching for their abilities and character—to one of your valued, precious contacts.

-Scenario II: You receive a LinkedIn invitation (without a thoughtfully composed note of introduction or explanation) from someone you’ve never met personally. ...

PSMJ; Modern Steel Construction; RainToday

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‘HOW PROSPECTS LEARN’ IS A CRITICAL PART OF THE SELLING PROCESS.

Modify your approach to best fit your prospects' learning preferences.

As service providers, there’s a plethora of things to think about when selling. We strive to create rapport, build trust, offer value, overcome objections and barriers, create a client-for-life relationship, and more.

In addition, we try to adjust our approach to best connect with each prospect’s buying persona. And woven within those personas we may encounter layers of different decision-making styles, different leadership approaches, and different critical thinking methods.

Yikes! It’s a lot to consider.

And yet when preparing a prospective client strategy, there is another worthy element that often gets lost: learning preferences.

Why Do Learning Preferences Matter In Sales?

The answer is simple. ...

TIPS TO CONVERT SMALL TALK INTO BUSINESS CONVERSATION.

Tips on elevating small talk (and maybe easing into business!)

Many technical (and non!) folks in the AEC industry are not keen on ‘small talk’. We find ourselves feeling inauthentic, facing dead-end conversations, or wasting our time. As a result, given the choice, most—but certainly not all—of us prefer to quickly move away from ‘small talk’ and towards more meaningful topics that challenge our intellect or feed our soul. That said, it’s not a requirement for small talk to be shallow!

Why does good conversation (yes, even small talk) really matter?

Perhaps you’re thinking:“I need to focus on skills that will truly affect the bottom line: selling.” No question, sales skills are ...

RainToday; PSMJ; Modern Steel Construction

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AN EXPLORATION OF THE THREE E’S IN EMAIL

Effectiveness; Etiquette; Ease.

At 6:50am, I wrote: “Rats! Kevin must have misunderstood our main point that we presented in last week’s meeting. Now we’ll need to revisit the topic yet again. This might set us back by a week or longer.” Then I hit send, at 6.51am.

Uh oh. Wait a minute. Did I just send that note to my internal colleague as intended? Or, did I send it to the person that I was referencing within the note? As I clicked my cursor onto the Sent Items folder, I discovered what I already feared: I had sent the email to the wrong person. ...

Modern Steel Construction

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