I was on a consulting call today (shout-out to Dallas, TX) and wanted to share some advice that I gave him, as I seem to be saying it a lot lately.

For those of you in charge of selling, marketing or developing services, I'm talking to you. Actually, even if you are out slinging tangible products, this may have some benefit to you. You can boil what clients want down to 2 simple ingredients.

1. Clients want to work with people THEY LIKE. 2. Clients want to work with people who BRING VALUE.

Yep, that's it. Easy right? Not so fast. And literally, not so fast, as in neither one happens quickly.

In a world of expected, immediate satisfaction, let me give you my two cents on these two pieces (2's theme completely unplanned).

The average service sales cycle takes anywhere from 12 months - 2 years. So when you hire a BD professional, be ready to invest the time and money it will take to see your return on investment (ROI).

My clients are easily frustrated because they attend events, exchange emails and then hear nothing back when they contact these prospects. I've said it once and I'll say it again --a trusted relationship takes time, dedication and most importantly support from your leadership team.

We've all heard "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Turns out, so is frustration. In other words, have you put yourself in the shoes of your prospects lately? I have. So let me give you their perspective of "us;" the annoying salesperson.

Let's start with the first criteria: Clients want to work with people they like.

Decision makers are busy. So I am sorry to tell you that your email blasts and newsletters (let alone your texts and voice mails) are most likely not getting any attention. Why? They do not have time!

Listen, these decision makers barely have time for the people they like, let alone someone they do not even know or who annoys the heck out of them. There's a reason they are not returning your call and it is most likely because they don't like you or they don't have time (maybe both).

Second criteria: Clients want to work with people who bring value.

As mentioned already, these people are busy. They have a lot on their plate. If you can provide something that will make their job easier, you may have a shot (even a better shot if they somewhat like you).

Did you know you have a 300% better chance of selling to someone who knows you and likes you over someone who doesn't know you and like you? 300%! That's huge!

If you haven't already figured this out, let me help you. You should be concentrating your marketing efforts on two things: being likeable and, you guessed it, bringing value!

By the way, please don't assume your prospects or clients like you OR that you are bringing value. This is a huge mistake and on top of being unlikable and undervalued, you will also be sifted into the clueless category. Ask them by surveying them or another indirect route (they will most likely not tell you to your face).

If you want to implement the most effective yet simplest marketing strategy for 2017, there you go. Start with these two variables and make a plan accordingly to increase them both.

Ready? Set. Go!

Lisa Shackelford is the President of DASH Marketing LLC, headquartered in Lee’s Summit, MO. and the Advertising Director for MetroWIre Media LLC. You may contact her at

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