Winning Consultancy


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Calvert Markham, writer and acknowledged expert on the consultancy profession, talks to the Institute of Consulting about the challenges the consulting industry is facing.

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Winning Consultancy

  1. 1. FACE THE FUTURE – GROWTHROUGH THE CHALLENGES Winning consultancy Calvert Markham
  2. 2. Elevation Learning• Formed in 1989• Training for knowledge based businesses: thousands of consultants and hundreds of practices• Faculty are experienced management consultants• Working in UK and rest of world• Approved CMI centre• Won “Most outstanding centre” for the last two years
  3. 3. Today’s big questions• Is there any business out there?• How do I get it?
  4. 4. Which translates to• Who am I and what am I selling?• How can I sell my services better?
  5. 5. Observation 1• Who am I and what am I selling?• How can I sell my services better? If you are not clear about what you are selling, it’s difficult for people to buy it!
  6. 6. FAB languageThe language we use in describing our propositionwhen orientated to.....Our services The generic needs The specific needs and wants of and wants of a client clients (defined by (defined by buyer) seller) Features Advantages Benefits
  7. 7. Observation 2• Who am I and what am I selling?• How can I sell my services better? In consulting, the value of the proposition is related to the client’s perception of the consultant
  8. 8. Creating your own brand“Your brand is what people say about you when you arenot in the room.” Jeff Bezos, quoted in: Brand you“…tomorrow’s worker is going to operate more like anindependent small company than a traditional employee.This is whether or not they are an employee. So selfknowledge is going to be important.” William Bridges: Redefining work
  9. 9. People as brands
  10. 10. Core story1. We are a large, well established, specialist training company – Supporting facts – What this means – Illustration2. We design and deliver high quality development programmes3. We work internationally across all sectors4. We are highly regarded by our clients5. Our consultants are first rate trainers and developers6. We have a significant impact on individual and corporate performance
  11. 11. Which translates to• Who am I and what am I selling?• How can I sell my services better?
  12. 12. Observation 3The average consultant is areluctant sales personBUT"The service firms represented bytrue professionals (i.e. those whocan do the work) are far morevaluable to their clients than thoserepresented by professionalsalesmen"From: How to Buy/Sell Professional Services Warren Wittreich - Harvard Business Review
  13. 13. Fear of rejection Will she say “no”?Will you dance with me?
  14. 14. Observation 4• The more time you spend selling, the more you sell• But it is easy to be a busy fool!
  15. 15. Key activities• Conversion: the skill and success involved in moving to the next stage of the processand• Qualification: Choosing which opportunities to follow up at each stage of the selling process
  16. 16. The need for extrinsic sellingI dont know you. I dont knowyour company. I dont knowyour product or services orhow they can help me. I dontknow your track record orwho your other customers are.Now, what did you want tosell me?
  17. 17. Different types of selling Intrinsic selling Extrinsic selling TimeExtrinsic selling: Do I want to do business with this person?Intrinsic selling: Is this a piece of business I want to do?
  18. 18. Observation 5• Not all salespeople are heroes
  19. 19. Customer situations Complexity of purchasing decision Hi Sale requires an involved effort over an extended period of time Experience and expertise of customer Lo HiCustomer needs a lot of help Customer familiar with productfrom salespeople and can competently buy it and use it Sale can be made in one or two contacts with customer Lo Based on “Selling the wheel”, Cox & Stevens
  20. 20. Customers Complexity of purchasing decision HiAre buying state of the art Are making a complex purchaseAre first time buyers Are knowledgeable Experience and Lo Hi expertise of customerWant to be first Want a standard productHave no experience Are buying what everyone else buys Based on “Selling the wheel”, Cox & Stevens Lo Based on “Selling the wheel”, Cox & Stevens
  21. 21. Sales people Complexity of purchasing decision HiThe Wizard The FixerEnjoys creating solutions Hard working in building andEnjoys the technical aspects maintaining relationshipsand their application Experience and Lo Hi expertise of customerThe Closer The Store ManagerHigh Easy-goingenergy, extroverted, charming Good team managerBig-time need to succeed Based on “Selling the wheel”, Cox & Stevens Lo
  22. 22. Selling style Complexity of purchasing decision HiKnowledge is your most Be your client’s strongest allyimportant asset Experience and Lo Hi expertise of customerBuild the dream Make it easy for the client to buy Based on “Selling the wheel”, Cox & Stevens Lo
  23. 23. The sales like a leaky pipeline. Opportunities can arise Tender Suspect Prospect Proposal invited …and disappear at any stage Sale or turn-down • Performance: better qualification and conversion at each stage • Value: using this to gather intelligence and build relationships at each stage
  24. 24. Where business comes from Sell-on businessMost business isrepeat business New sales Referrals
  25. 25. Typical dragons of selling• Promotion: – The dragon of call reluctance• Prospection: – The dragon of self doubt• Proposition design: – The dragon of falling in love with your solution• Pitching: – The dragon of self obsession
  26. 26. And finally...• Selling consultancy is about making it easy for people to buy• When you’re not talking, you’re not screwing up
  27. 27. Contact details Calvert Markham • • • +44 (0) 20 8642 9568 • Twitter: • Blog:
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