I’m a fan* of Michael McLaughlin‘s previous work (he’s co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants) so I was predisposed to like his new book Winning the Professional Services Sale. However, my heart sank at the long, jargon-y title and subtitle. What could he possibly tell us that hasn’t already been said about the sales process?

I quickly found the answer in the first few pages of this well-written and accessible book. Michael nails what’s new: we’ve moved to an age of collaboration.

Sound familiar? Yup, we’re living in the age of social media and Wikipedia and YouTube. We are all creators AND consumers of content and ideas and information. Buyers (the client) and sellers (consultants) now approach each other on an equal footing. And each expects a lot more from the other.

Michael sums this up in a great chart in his introduction: a THEN and NOW of selling professional services. Consultants used to be “sellers;” now we’re “idea merchants.” We used to “offer a service;” now we “coinvent a solution.” We used to emphasize our “qualifications;” now the emphasis is on “results.” And so on. The book lays all this out in a nicely organized way, so you can dip into and out of the sections that interest you. If you’re involved in selling professional services in this competitive and down economy, this book belongs on your shelf.

* Full disclosure, Michael included a sidebar I wrote for Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants. I forget what page it’s on.