Historically we have delivered 80% of our courses face to face but, like many businesses, we’ve had to adapt to new ways of working since the pandemic began. Virtual training has not only been the only way to continue to deliver our courses, we’ve also discovered another positive outcome – a huge reduction in our (and our client’s) carbon footprint!
This month we were due to be delivering a large-scale training program to a Canadian organisation, to take place in offices in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. We were preparing for a two-week trip of intensive face to face training, but lockdown came and like many businesses, we had to adapt how we could deliver our training. So after much hard work (both by us and our wonderful client – WSP), we’ve been able to re-design our offering and are now able to provide a full training package for those same (in fact more) Canadian delegates, but all delivered virtually.
A by-product of this also meant we have been cutting back on ways we have impacted the environment. By simply moving our training online and negating the need for a number of flights, (both ourselves flying across the pond, plus client delegates flying internally), we have massively reduced our carbon footprint by 15.6 Tonnes! Then consider the many combined car and taxi journeys to get us all to our destinations, and the total carbon emissions is likely to be in excess of 20 tonnes (You can check your businesses own carbon footprint by looking at the free website https://www.carbonfootprint.com).
Save on Paper
We love a flip chart. It’s traditional, creative, visual and replaceable. But as we developed our Virtual Training, we realised we could still use highly engaging ways to train delegates, using digital whiteboards, animated slides, breakout rooms, and a number of other ways we can keep virtual training entertaining and effective. Instead of paper handouts, we can email PDFs, surveys and emails to keep in contact with delegates post training.
This move to virtual training helping us to go paper-less is important. Printing takes up an enormous amount of energy and carbon usage. For example, did you know that 500 printed sheets of the paper produce approx. 2.08kgs of CO2? According to Lexmark’s survey findings in Europe, someone who works in an office uses an average of 10,000 printed pages per year, of which nearly 2,000 are not actually needed. The CO2 created from these unnecessary pages weighs almost 7.2kgs. When you also take into account things like training folders, handouts and printed PDFs etc, you can see that by comparison, Virtual Training mitigates all of this.
Our training is bespoke to each client – see our approach and how we can help your business grow.
It just so happens that when we came to posting this blog we saw it was World Environment Day. As individuals, as well as in business, we believe we are all responsible for understanding how our actions impact on the environment and look to find ways to change, to do better.
This pandemic has shown that technology does works to bring people together with a far smaller carbon-footprint than planes, cars or trains can ever have. We must embrace this.
Are you tasked with managing important client relationships whilst working remotely?
We ran a live webinar on 24th April attended by over 70 people, which aimed at help professionals who have the new challenge of nurturing client relationships during lockdown and beyond.
Here are the key points that came out of the session, and that you should remember when managing those all important relationships in a world where we are now having to adapt to working virtually.
What is your Clients’ Experience?
“In times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on his or her sense of trust and loyalty” McKinsey
What we know is that how you react to the current crisis is crucial to your success. The Client experience (CX) in a crisis is vital part of this. McKinsey’s research tells that in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 – 2011 those companies who invested in CX:
Came out quicker
Grew quicker in the upturn
Make it Personal
Make your communications with clients more personal. You should aim to focus on the person you are liaising with:
Keep in touch
Make it easy to communicate
Take time to understand their world and what has changed
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou:
Think about rapport building questions in advance of the call (e.g. How are you doing? How is the lockdown going for you and your family? What are you enjoying about working from home?
Then use transition questions to move the conversation into business talk (e.g. How is your organisation facing up to the new reality? Where are you focusing your attention? What are your short/medium term objectives?)
Then really listen to their answers.
Focus on Understanding their Objectives and Challenges
Understanding what clients are looking for and their own objectives is vital. Take time to really listen! Watch out for words or phrases that you need to ‘funnel’ to further your understanding. Remember, showing genuine interest in your client is one of the pillars of a Trusted Adviser (Maister/Green). You can then use that information to be able to seek ways to help your client and their business, and the new challenges that they may be currently facing.
In summary, you need to ensure that you:
Understand their objectives
Seek ways to help
Reap the Rewards
If you focus on your clients needs in these ways, with an acknowledgement of how we are all facing unique challenges, your reward will be that your clients:
Will want to stay with you and your organisation
Will be motivated to use you for other services in the future
Will become advocates to other organisations in your market
Cross Selling: how to achieve growth by cross selling in professional services
‘Cross-Selling’ is the key to smart business growth but why is it so difficult? Questas CEO & Founder, Gary Williams reveals how to overcome the barriers and generate significant opportunities from existing clients.
What is cross selling?
Cross-selling is best described as ‘collaborating with other specialists within your company, working in partnership on behalf of the client’s best interest.’ It is a proactive, ongoing process designed to provide your existing customers with a range of your company’s services that will help them achieve their objectives.
Having worked with many professional services firms operating in the built and natural environment, we see many companies who are not optimising their cross-selling opportunities, missing obvious areas of growth in their organisation. Many of them have key client management programmes, with one of the measures of success being the number of services their clients buy from them. On average, supplier firms provide only 20% of their services to clients. There’s nothing worse than a client who tells you, “I didn’t know you provided that service, if I had I wouldn’t have given the project to your biggest competitor…”
On average supplier firms provide just 20% of their services to clients.
A client who buys multiple services is harder to lose to a competitor.
Cross selling from the supplier’s perspective
Existing customers are easier to sell to, by a long shot. You’re 60-70% likely to sell to an existing customer, compared to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect (according to book of Marketing Metrics). So concentrating efforts on cross-selling makes sense. A client who buys multiple services is harder to lose to a competitor than a single service client.
A professional services company can also forge better relationships, moving up the ‘Trusted Advisor’ curve and ultimately being seen as a partner organisation who helps the client achieve their long-term objectives as opposed to a provider of commodity services who can be substituted at very short notice.
Cross selling from the client’s perspective
Managing the supply chain can be an onerous task. Keeping on top of providers, ensuring deliverables are met, not to mention procurement and tendering, this can be extremely time consuming and costly.
Our clients are human beings (in the main!) and one thing I know to be universal is that we live in ever more complicated, busy and often challenging worlds. We all strive for an easy life and if a client can trust a supplier to deliver more than one service, confident that “they know how we work and what our expectations are…” that is one less thing to worry about.
There are potential economic benefits as well. Clients can achieve their objectives in the most economic way. They can potentially reduce the cost of managing multiple suppliers and, hopefully, they can speed up projects by having fewer ‘players’ in the supply chain.
Clients can achieve their objectives in the most economic way.
Introducing our contacts to our colleagues creates strong, collaborative networks.
Cross selling from the individual’s perspective
Today’s consultant has to be the ‘rounded professional’, seen to be creating opportunities for other areas of the firm beyond their own. Our personal brand and value grows when we are able to refer a client to a colleague who’s expertise would benefit them. So being generous with our time and sharing our contacts should be something we feel compelled and motivated to do.
So if Cross-Selling is seen as one of the Keys to Growth, why is it so hard for professional services firms to be successful at it?
These are the most common reasons
A lack of understanding of everything the firm can offer
Inability to explore the client’s world broadly enough to uncover opportunities outside of technical disciplines
Poor internal communication
An unwillingness to introduce colleagues to our clients or share valuable relationships
Measuring things that disincentivize cross-selling and drive the wrong behaviours
Even the most ‘non-sales’ people are able to learn how to explore clients’ worlds.
Five ways to encourage a cross selling culture
The good news is that there is plenty that can be done to counter these barriers. Here are some steps that we have found to be valuable to businesses.
Encourage internal marketing programmes and things like:
Lunch and learn sessions delivered by different departments
Attend different service line client and BD meetings
Use your Key Client Management programme to bring representatives of all relevant parties to the table (including those who are not currently working with the client).
Even the most ‘non-sales’ minded people are able to learn how to explore clients worlds. They can:
Increase the number of ‘non-project’ client meetings.
Encourage people to understand how to look for opportunities for ‘adjacent’ services.
Many firms suffer poor internal communication
The first thing to understand is that the mindset of people is the key to better internal comms – one that is open and sharing for the benefit of the client.
Systems and software – too many firms are still relying on spreadsheets. Investing in CRM (client relationship management) systems is a critical success factor. There is a health warning here… if the first step above is not in place, CRM systems become nothing more than an expensive address book!
So it’s obvious that not developing a cross-selling program in your organisation really is wasting a serious opportunity for growth.
Remember, it’s critically important that everyone in the organisation buys into the philosophy in order to collaboratively support the efforts of all. That includes leaders and senior managers too!
Companies that fail to implement an effective cross-selling programme do a disservice to their customers and leave the backdoor open to their competitors. Not being proactive about encouraging a culture of cross-selling is a missed opportunity for smart business growth. Check out our Cross-Selling Skills Training here, or individuals can:
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:
Need real-life practice?
Learn techniques to feel confident in a room where you don’t know anyone
We 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.