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Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas’ Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to “sell”.

Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and natural environment, helping them build client relationships and win more work.

Do sales meetings or networking petrify you?

If the idea of sales meetings, networking events and large-scale presentations terrify you, you are certainly not alone. For many technical experts in the surveying industry these activities are daunting, but nowadays, they are very much a requirement for a successful surveying career. So, it’s time to get prepared.

Move out of your comfort zone to grow

Imagine the good things that happen when technical experts overcome their fears and release their inner sales and networking abilities. It’s possible for anyone to do this, you just need to know how, and do it!

In this article we examine the benefits of leaving your comfort zone and take a look at how ‘unnatural salespeople’ can nurture their skills and develop confidence. Push past those self-imposed boundaries and you become better placed to contribute to the growth of the organisation you work for and increase your value – and employability – in the market…

Click to the RICS article to read more, and discover proven methods and easy to implement actions to help you with:

 

  1. Presentations/Public speaking
  2. Networking
  3. Sales meetings
  4. Cross-selling

Need real-life practice?

Learn techniques to feel confident in a room where you don’t know anyone

A half-day practical course

Inform, investigate and inpsire… yourself!

The 3i Model - inform, investigate and inspireWe have a model called the 3is – Inform, Investigate, Inspire; which is useful when preparing for a sales meeting. But you can use it equally when it comes to moving out of your own comfort zone. It’s time to take that disciplined approach to yourself. Start by identifying your own strengths and weaknesses first.

Online tools such as www.strengthsprofile.com enable you to build a profile that identifies your realised and unrealised strengths, learned behaviours and weaknesses. Once you have uncovered the areas you need to improve on, you can take a focused approach to training, coaching or mentoring, or just look for the right self-help books or online videos.

Start escaping from your comfort zone today with our e-learning course on Cross-Selling, which is free to access here. Good luck! 

Two experts engineers in protective helmets and fluorescent vests showing the construction site and building activities after the successful project phase.

Cross-Selling e-learning

Our free e-Learning module for Cross-Selling (no selling required) is an interactive introduction to best practice.

This informative and well-presented 30-minute course is certified for Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Start now

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors.

Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales and – quite probably – more content in yourself.

Now, more than ever, EQ is an essential ‘tool’ to have in the bag, espeically if you see yourself as an introverted, analytical and detailed person, like many surveyors and engineers.

Optimise your selling Opportunity

Creating a possitive impact at that first client meeting.
Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting

Get it now

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions

Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don’ts if you will, of creating the right first impression.

Respect – Treat everyone you meet from the organisation as you would treat the client themselves – you never know who is influential!

Don’t be late! – Always arrive a little earlier than the start time – this way you won’t be flustered and the client won’t be distracted by you being late.

Introduce Yourself – A receptionist’s life is usually a hectic one, so go out of your way to make their life easy. Introduce yourself and say your name clearly. You might want to present your business card so there is no misunderstanding. Explain who you are there to see.

Coffee? – If you are offered coffee at this point, politely refuse – it just gets in the way and you will probably get another chance once the meeting begins when you can join your host in a drink.

Take advantage of your surroundings – Reception areas are often full of client information. If you have time, take a look at any press clippings, annual statements, or in-house magazines. There might be some interesting things in any literature from your industry (from engineering and commerical to the public sector) that you can use as a conversation opener in the meeting.

It’s now time to meet and get to know your potential new client. Creating a bond and finding common ground is vital to create a positive first impression. Here’s how to get the conversation started.

Get Our Free Business Development Meetings Training

Learn tried and tested strategies to help you excel at sales meetings tailored to the professional and engineering services sector

A free and unique sales training guide

Chat checklist for a Sales or Business Development Meeting

The most common topics of discussion at this point (in British culture at least) are weather and transport. Time to break the norm!

Be ready with one or two more interesting conversation topics – potentially things you found out while waiting in reception.

Positive comments about the environment you’re in and the greeting you received when you arrived show that you are attentive and appreciative…two good human qualities.

Make a link to how the meeting came about – perhaps you met at an industry or networking event, or someone referred you.

When you’re ready to turn the discussion to business, say,“Before we get onto the agenda, can I just check how you are for time?”

Now you are fully prepared and ready to go, it’s time for the big meeting. Read our article ‘How To Have A Highly Effective Business Development Meeting’ to ensure your business’s impact and success with new clients.

Sales Skills Training Course

Are you aiming to make an excellent first impression for a sales meeting? Are you technically minded but would also like to improve your selling skills and win-rate? Questas provides selling skills training for technical industries such as engineering consultancies as well as property firms and professional services.

Read more about our selling skills training.

We are a business development consultancy which is passionate about helping our clients develop processes, skills and behaviours that will result in increased sales and improved margins.

Optimise your selling opportunity

Creating a positive impact at that first client meeting.

Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting


Effective Business Development Meetings

Download this guide to maximise your time and effort to win more sales.

Get it now

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Cross-selling

Cross Selling There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you. Course overview By...

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Course overview This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It...

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome. Course overview The...

Sales Conversations For Non-Sales People

Sales Conversation Skills We help technical people feel comfortable with the idea of selling – demonstrating that it is not some sort of ‘dark art’ – which can make a radical change to the dialogue they have with existing and potential clients. Course overview Our...

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors. Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales...

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don'ts if you will, of creating the...

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at...

Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Attending a ‘World Leading’ Event can be very daunting. Don’t let being a little fish in a big pond overwhelm you –  Gary Williams shares how he addressed his concerns and went prepared to optimise the opportunity. I recently attended #MIPIM2018. It was my first time...

Make your business development planning more successful

Having worked with different professional services clients over the years, I’ve seen many try to transform their approach to sales (or business development, if you prefer), says Annabel Miller. Some of these organisations have put together a formal transformation...
Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at all.

So how can you ensure your all-important meeting goes swimmingly (or some other kind of wow statement? How do you maximise the effectiveness you have when face to face with a client? Like many things it is 70% in the preparation and 30% in the execution/delivery on the day. Follow our proven steps to success, and you’ll find yourself having more impact when it comes to the crunch.

Get Our Free Business Development Meetings Training

Learn tried and tested strategies to help you excel at sales meetings tailored to the professional and engineering services sector

A free and unique sales training guide

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Knowledge is power, and never more so than when you’re walking into a room full of strangers. That means research is vital.

  • What do you know about the client organisation and the person or people you are going to meet? Do some background research using their website, LinkedIn, and search engines. What can you learn about the individuals you’re trying to connect with?
  • Ensure you are up to speed with news in their world. Find out what the hot topics and key issues are in their industry at the moment. This applies to all industries including engineering, law and all professional services. What are the lastest technological innovations in the engineering industries? Are you up to date on the latest legal developments? What’s current in the commercial property sector? Keeping your knowledge current will be key in portraying yourself as an industry expert they’ll want to do business with.

PREPARE A POSITIONING STATEMENT

It’s now time to plan a short and snappy positioning statement for your meeting . This should be an extended introduction to you and your organisation – not a ‘pitch’, but more to ensure the client really understands what your business does. Ensure your Positioning Statement has the 3 following elements:

An overview of your business – where you operate, numbers of people, industry sectors
Your Department – Specific details about your area of the business, for example, the types of clients and projects your department has worked on

Your Areas of Interest – what have YOU been involved in? How have YOU helped clients?

MAKE CONTACT PRE MEETING

It’s always a good idea to send a short note in advance of the meeting to cover off things like:

  • Where and when the meeting is taking place
  • Ask who will be there from their side ( ideally find out their job roles/remit and why) – this is useful to ensure you match up the attendees from your side..
  • Outline the areas for discussion
  • Ask them if there are any specific areas they would like to cover – and make sure you include those in your meeting plan
  • Send relevant content in advance (ie slide deck, research paper) and explain why you think it might be useful. This demonstrates to the client that you are tuned in to their business and the potential challenges they may be facing.

Think about attendees

It’s important to give some thought to who will be going to the meeting so you are prepared in how to engage with them and create that all important great first impression. Here are some tips:

  • Broadly match numbers. For example, if you are meeting two people, send two or three people, not five.
  • Meetings are much easier with a colleague. It is difficult to conduct a business development meeting on your own, given that you will need to ask questions, actively listen and also take notes.
  • Consider the type of people you are meeting, and try to reflect the dynamic when it comes to age, seniority and gender.
Questas – Business development training

Running effective meetings is just one strategy to help develop a business. Questas provide business development training for industries such as engineering, law and property to help professionals from a technical mindset create significant results and sales performance.

Read more about our business development training.

We are a business development consultancy which is passionate about helping our clients develop processes, skills and behaviours that will result in increased sales and improved margins.

Optimise your selling opportunity

Creating a positive impact at that first client meeting.

Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting


Effective Business Development Meetings

Download this guide to maximise your time and effort to win more sales.

Get it now

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Cross-selling

Cross Selling There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you. Course overview By...

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Course overview This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It...

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome. Course overview The...

Sales Conversations For Non-Sales People

Sales Conversation Skills We help technical people feel comfortable with the idea of selling – demonstrating that it is not some sort of ‘dark art’ – which can make a radical change to the dialogue they have with existing and potential clients. Course overview Our...

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors. Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales...

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don'ts if you will, of creating the...

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at...

Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Attending a ‘World Leading’ Event can be very daunting. Don’t let being a little fish in a big pond overwhelm you –  Gary Williams shares how he addressed his concerns and went prepared to optimise the opportunity. I recently attended #MIPIM2018. It was my first time...

Make your business development planning more successful

Having worked with different professional services clients over the years, I’ve seen many try to transform their approach to sales (or business development, if you prefer), says Annabel Miller. Some of these organisations have put together a formal transformation...
Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Attending a ‘World Leading’ Event can be very daunting.

Don’t let being a little fish in a big pond overwhelm you –  Gary Williams shares how he addressed his concerns and went prepared to optimise the opportunity.

I recently attended #MIPIM2018. It was my first time and I thought I would share some experiences and pass on some tips to anyone venturing to something similar and next year’s newbies.

Held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes with over 24,000 visitors and more than 3000 exhibitors, Mipim (which I learnt stands for Le marché international des professionnels de l’immobilier) is the international property event of the year.

It is safe to say I felt some trepidation which only grew after booking…

‘Would it be worth it? (it’s expensive), a week away from work, would I meet the right people, how does a small business like mine find a ‘voice’?’ People were already teaming up – there was a whole contingency cycling down!!

Time to focus, follow my own Questas BD philosophy and prepare to address my concerns.

Preparation

Would I meet the right people? Well to meet them I had to tell them I was going. Using the database made available to registered visitors I created a realistic target list of people (around 50) I wanted to see and contacted them. I received several replies, some of which were “great, lets catch up when your there” plus a few who were happy to book a specific time.

Once I had a few meetings booked in advance, I looked at the list of speaker events and chose a couple that looked interesting leaving space in my diary to be flexible.  I was starting to feel better.

The Reality

The first meeting went very well which boosted my confidence and lead to an invite to an event later in the week!  I was off and running…. The realisation that everyone is there with similar objectives – to develop existing and to make new relationships was reassuring. Add to that the fact that most people I spoke to seemed to be interested in my ‘story’ it meant that my Imposter Syndrome was quickly quashed.

People were happy to introduce me to others and I was able to do the same for them.

Three days and a lot of coffee and croissants (plus the odd beer!) later I am very glad I made the decision to go.

My Event Takeaways

  • Reach out to people you want to see before the event. It settles nerves, gives you focus and even if they don’t connect beforehand there is a good chance they will have seen the request come in and will be primed if you do bump into them.
  • Don’t expect to stand still. The way I described it to someone was that you tend to ‘bounce’ from one event to the next and you have to be open to allowing things to develop that way.
  • Spend time with existing clients as well as looking for new. I was able to really develop relationships with some existing clients as I was getting to know them in a completely different environment.

Some practical tips for an event in Cannes

  • Stay within a 20min walk of the Palais if you can
  • Taking the train from Nice airport to Cannes saved about €100 each way!
  • The old town is lovely but restaurants are very busy and very expensive, better to try restaurants on the Quay-side.

What next?

You have returned from the event with a stash of business cards, it is time to follow up the good ones and managed to get a few meetings in the diary with some really interesting people from companies you’d like as clients… Make the most of these golden opportunities!

Download our free GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS

Optimise your selling Opportunity

Creating a possitive impact at that first client meeting.
Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting

Get it now

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Difficult Client Conversations

Difficult Client Conversations Productive communication is built upon rapport, not necessarily upon agreement.  By looking at the psychology behind difficult client conversations, we take a practical approach to helping you manage ‘disagreement without being...

Cross-selling

Cross Selling There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you. Course overview By...

Client Relationship Skills

Client Relationship Skills Delivering projects well is the first step in developing further opportunities, but it’s not enough. We need to be proactive in building relationships, understanding our clients and their objectives, and positioning ourselves as trusted...

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Course overview This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It...

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome. Course overview The...

Sales Conversations For Non-Sales People

Sales Conversation Skills We help technical people feel comfortable with the idea of selling – demonstrating that it is not some sort of ‘dark art’ – which can make a radical change to the dialogue they have with existing and potential clients. Course overview Our...

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors. Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales...

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don'ts if you will, of creating the...

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at...
Make your business development planning more successful

Make your business development planning more successful

Having worked with different professional services clients over the years, I’ve seen many try to transform their approach to sales (or business development, if you prefer), says Annabel Miller. Some of these organisations have put together a formal transformation programme, whilst others have simply sought to make a positive shift in their sales efforts.

Whether you are considering a major change or a few tweaks to your approach, I’ve come up with the following key points that you should consider as part of your plans.

1. First, answer the question “Why are we doing this?” There must be a compelling reason for change, with a clearly articulated “what will happen if we do not make these changes” and why the current status is unacceptable.

2. Design your programme. Have a clear vision about what the newly transformed organisation will look like. For example, “In 3 years time we will be working in these sectors, we will have these key clients, we will be known for….”

The vision needs to be supported by 12 month objectives, Here’s an example of key objectives.  Our objectives over the next 12 months are: 

  • To have made our first sale in the Oil & Gas sector
  • To have doubled the number of business development meetings we are having as a business,
  • To have developed a Key Client programme for our top 10 accounts.

It’s then important to clear the KPI’s for those involved, so they can focus on these new objectives.

Business Development Planning

Learn tried and tested strategies to help you unlock more opportunities and win more – and better – work.

A half-day course for up to 12 people

3. Put together the right team to drive the programme. Your team make up will be somewhat dependent on the size of the programme, but to make it work you will need senior sponsorship. One of the firms I worked with had the CEO, CFO, Head of BD/Marketing, Head of HR and the four business unit leaders on the team.

4. Develop skills, process and behaviours. You will need to include training into your programme. Don’t make the mistake that many make and think that a one-off training course will develop sustained behavioural change. It doesn’t! Training works if: a) people know why they are doing it, b) how it will help them do their job better, c) they are given support following the event, and d) there are follow ups and refreshers.

5. Give your best and potential performers access to coaching. This demonstrates a real commitment to improving people through strong, challenging and empathetic coaching. It complements training and allows the recipients to really embed new habits. Coaching should be given to both individuals and teams. High-performing teams, whether they are leadership, key client, market/sector teams, can take the business to new places and turbo-boost business development.

6. Make sure you measure and monitor progress: Track the KPI’s, celebrate successes and make sure to involve, not dictate.

7. Lastly, be very clear about the behaviour you now expect and do not tolerate poor behaviour, regardless of seniority or past performance!

If you would like to know more about how I could help with your sales training and coaching, please get in touch.  This article borrows from research (McKinsey, Hinge Marketing) as well as my own experiences.

Optimise your selling Opportunity

Creating a possitive impact at that first client meeting.
Effective Business Development Meetings - free training guide from Questas Consulting

Get it now

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Cross-selling

Cross Selling There has to be added value for the client to buy additional services from you. If they already buy that second service from an alternative provider, you must clearly ’sell’ the benefit of them buying both services from you. Course overview By...

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation Skills Everything is negotiable. Whether or not the negotiation is easy is another matter, but the first step is always communication. Course overview This course is designed to take you through the theory and practice of ‘Principled Negotiation’. It...

Presentation and Pitching Skills

Presentation and Pitching Skills Presenting, especially a pitch, can be a very pressured situation and it is normal to feel anxious. Learning visualisation skills to cope with ‘what if’ scenarios leaves headspace to generate a successful outcome. Course overview The...

Sales Conversations For Non-Sales People

Sales Conversation Skills We help technical people feel comfortable with the idea of selling – demonstrating that it is not some sort of ‘dark art’ – which can make a radical change to the dialogue they have with existing and potential clients. Course overview Our...

Six ways to use EQ – or Emotional Intelligence – to win more work

In this RICS article, Gary Williams of Questas, discusses EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and how it can help you get the edge over your competitors. Embrace the human side of business relationships and you will be more confident with clients, more effective with sales...

First Impressions Count: Creating a positive impact at a first client meeting.

First impressions Whether your industry is engineering, law, property or the public sector, here are some ways you can prepare and optimise the opportunity at your first business development meeting with new clients. The Dos and Don'ts if you will, of creating the...

Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at...

Quash imposter syndrome and optimise the business opportunity

Attending a ‘World Leading’ Event can be very daunting. Don’t let being a little fish in a big pond overwhelm you –  Gary Williams shares how he addressed his concerns and went prepared to optimise the opportunity. I recently attended #MIPIM2018. It was my first time...

Make your business development planning more successful

Having worked with different professional services clients over the years, I’ve seen many try to transform their approach to sales (or business development, if you prefer), says Annabel Miller. Some of these organisations have put together a formal transformation...

Get in touch