The challenges with selling human services
(Part 1)

By:  | Published: January 15, 2021

Has the time come for smaller organisations operating within human services to take a leaf from the pages of the private sector’s strategic approach to business survival and growth in a highly competitive market? Is it time to consider the benefits of strategic alliances, mergers, and engaging marketing and sales professionals to attract desperately needed financial support, clients, and volunteers? The growth in the need for human services is on the rise and many small organisations appear to be struggling to address not only their current challenges but those that lie ahead. The dedicated staff I've had the pleasure of working with are becoming increasingly anxious about the competition for and scarcity of resources to meet ever increasing demands and the potential impact of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) on their operations. There’s a growing awareness that the need for aged care services for our ageing Baby Boomers will significantly increase in the coming years. Depression is on the rise; the expected growth in the availability of volunteers drawn from retiring Baby Boomers will most likely be reduced, and competition for and the need for share of wallet for corporate sponsorship and private donations are even greater. Through my discussions with those human services staff in smaller organisations who are responsible for promoting their services and attracting the support they desperately need, I've discovered that few of them have the necessary skills to effectively “sell” their organisation and its services. These skills would be especially useful when seeking support from corporate sponsors and local businesses, and would ultimately result in the creation of strong, long-term, mutually beneficial business partnerships. For human services, the challenges of moving towards a sales-focused approach in their efforts to attract greater support may be similar to those experienced by private sector organisations when introducing their service and support staff to a sales model. This is brought about by increased competition and the realisation that they could tap into existing internal resources to grow their business. Rather than “compete” with each other, is it time for smaller organisations to amalgamate their expertise and efforts and follow the trend of “one stop shops” where clients and their families have access to a diverse range of services for multiple needs? I suspect there may be huge potential to achieve some economies of scale and employ any savings gained into providing superior services to their clients. Today we've taken a look at the challenges many organisations face in selling human services. In my next blog post, I'll delve into the strategies available to overcome such challenges in the workplace so stay tuned!

About the Author:

Trish Dobe  

Trish has over 20 years of experience in organisational development, change management, and corporate learning & development both within Australia and overseas. As one of New Horizons' Professional Development trainers, Trish’s main focus is the delivery of solutions which enable organisations to measurably improve their performance. Trish specialises in the delivery of training programs in the areas of performance management, leadership, process improvement, sales and customer service. From a practical standpoint, she has held a number of roles varying from front-line through to senior management within a variety of commercial environments. With this, Trish brings her practical experience into the classroom and gives her the ability to engage professionals from junior to senior levels.

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