Having worked for a number of firms in the commercial property sector we have seen many consultancies suffer through the recession. The fight for market share and the need to differentiate the service offering has become paramount as the number of transactions and projects has slowed.
Whilst survival strategies may have been effective in the short term, they have not necessarily prepared firms to differentiate or to grow profitable revenues. When projects are completed there is often little on the horizon to replace the work they generated and there follows the all too often regime of feast and famine as short-term decisions are made which are not necessarily conducive to sustainable growth.
Business Development Challenges
Both large and small firms face similar challenges, the difference being the big firms can attract clients through their brand. Niche players will appeal to local business and those seeking sector specific knowledge. In our experience commercial property consultancies suffer some or all of the following challenges:
There is an enormous amount of pressure on individuals to meeting targets as well manage teams and deal with reporting. As more people are being tasked with playing a part in BD the challenge to keep the multiple ‘plates spinning’ becomes more difficult.
Many of the people we work with are extremely confident when discussing their area of expertise either internally or with a client who shares that knowledge. Asking some of these people to sell can often take them way out of their comfort zones, the impact of which means that they will simply choose not to engage in this activity.
Quite often we come across organisations who are asking people to engage in sales activity who have had little or no development in this area. Many organisations believe selling is simply about doing a good job which will result in follow on work. We don’t disagree that this it is vital but it should be viewed as the thing that earns you the right to discuss more and different projects not the be all and end all of sales.
Property firms that have a good track record of organic growth have recognised that there a few, simple elements that need to be in place:
- A clear vision and strategy
- Market segmentation
- A team based, targeted approach to new business and account management
The organisational structure around sales and account management is essential otherwise you find that individuals, teams and offices can attack the market in a haphazard way potentially leading to clients being approached by different parts of the same company or work won that is not aligned to the strategic direction of the business.
How Questas Can Help
Imagine the power of significantly increasing the number of your staff able to be effective business developers as well as expert advisors.
Questas works with national and international companies to help them release the potential of their business developers and their ‘hidden sales force’ (see Consultative Selling Skills training). The best companies have realised that all client facing staff provide an untapped resource which is able to influence buying decisions, generate opportunities and develop key relationships. We equip your people with the skills and behaviours needed to strengthen relationships with current clients as well as the processes (see Key Account Management training) to identify new opportunities by understanding client’s ‘horizon issues’ without the need to resort to ‘old school selling’. Questas builds the confidence and ability of your fee earners and staff to enable them to become effective business developers making a significant contribution to revenue generation. We also help formulate a clear targeting strategy in order to win work with new clients (see Markets and Lead Generation training).