Selling Facilitation Services

Schmoozing on the Lawn Before
the Business Excellence Awards Dinner
I have not posted about selling facilitation services until now.  This is a tricky area.  I am prompted to write by a question posted by Dana at the Professional Facilitators Network group on LinkedIn (

Dana says that she is not motivated to sell her facilitation services, and she needs a sales person.  I have posted a slightly modified version of my reply to Dana here:

I would suggest that most facilitators struggle with the sales and marketing side of the business.  I am unsure whether 'motivation' is the right word.  If you really want the work, you probably need to motivate yourself.  If you meant that you do not know how to do this, get down to your public library and borrow some books on selling services (or even better, there are some great motivational tapes about selling).

A salesperson typically works on a retainer and commission basis.  You could find a salesperson, but unless your business ramps up swiftly, you are not going to be able to pay them their retainer.

If you start small, you may not need a salesperson.  I believe that 'soft sell' is the only way to sell facilitation.  Sales people are often not great at doing this, as they see their commission at risk if they do not sell.  Also, when sales is separated from operations (you), people can over or under promise, or even fail to recognise the service solution.

I think you need to get out there: you need to find people in your area that could benefit from your services, and you need to talk to them about what you do.  You need to do this constantly.

Some things you could do include:

  • Offer your services to government at all levels (especially those closest to home).
  • Offer your services to not-for-profits.
  • Offer your services particularly to organisations in industries with which you are intimately familiar.
  • Ask people to recommend you, and to recommend who might benefit from your services.
  • Join a services organisation (Rotary or other).
  • Blog about facilitation.
  • Put a video about you up on YouTube and link to it in your email footer.
  • Offer presentation skills training.
  • Become a conference speaker.
  • Join the [afn-l] mailing list and keep up with it.
  • Find your local open university or adult learning college and offer classes.
  • Join the local chamber of commerce (or similar) and become involved.

If this is going to work, I believe that you are your best advertisement, and you are best able to communicate your service offering to prospective clients.

I am not doing all of these things, but I am doing many of them.  I am sure you can too.