In conversation with Nigel Clark, Professional Services Marketing Leader and Author.
ABOUT THE GUEST
In this episode, Gary speaks with Nigel Clark. Nigel leads Marketing globally for SLR Consulting – an international leader of environmental and advisory solutions. They help clients of all shapes and size achieve their sustainability goals. He is an experienced strategy, marketing, communications and client development leader.
Nigel has a wealth of experience and holds nothing back in this episode. He shares thoughts and ideas relevant to anyone in the professional services sector.
In Nigel’s world of consulting, it is common practice for most time and effort to be spent ahead of a bid for a job. It can be an extremely competitive process, even if you have a pre-existing relationship with the client.
SLR Consulting have a formal client programme. They think about specific clients they want to develop a relationship with and try to make this a two-way process. They then have set people in the team who are designated to client relationship management. This ensures they are confident and comfortable in what they are doing.
It can be useful in larger companies or bigger projects to have dedicated salespeople. These would still be people with a technical background as they need to have context and an understanding of the clients’ needs. This would mean other individuals would then focus on specialising on delivering different aspects of the project.
“The vast majority of our time and effort is ahead of bid not after the bid”
“You can’t expect somebody to sell and deliver that type of project”
“I’m very confident at saying I’m not the person you need to speak to and develop this. But I have a colleague that can”
In conversation with Amanda Geyman – Director of Strategic Growth for WSP UK – what it takes to make a good salesperson.
ABOUT THE GUEST
In this episode, Gary is joined by Amanda Geyman – Director of Strategic Growth for WSP UK. She has 20 years’ experience in business development, marketing and customer experience. Their conversation covers a lot of ground from lockdown challenges to Amanda’s take on best practice business development in the Engineering Consultancy industry.
An insightful episode that explores client management and the positive and negative impact of the pandemic. It covers how differentiating yourself and your business will creating lasting success and asks what it really takes to be a good salesperson and why you have to differentiate yourself.
When you are under pressure it is important that you are focused. Target your energy on things of particular importance to the business. This was no more prevalent than in Amanda’s workplace during the pandemic.
Empathy and understanding of clients is of key importance. Being able to check in and show some extra support and care through this time.
The pandemic drove technology and virtual capabilities forward. This meant that Amanda and her team focused heavily on building and supporting their virtual coaching platforms.
Businesses are working in a completely different way to how they were operating pre-pandemic. With the UK Covid restrictions being lifted, many companies are still being cautious.
Amanda believes that human connection is vital in business. That connection is extremely important to the human experience so it’s imperative we remember that.
Sometimes virtual meetings and calls can become very task focused. You can lose the time and mind space to be spontaneous and creative.
There are myths and misconceptions around what it takes to be a good sales person. Amanda believes you need to take an interest in your client. Truly listen, because asking the right questions and delivering on your promises is what actually makes you a good salesperson.
“You have to dial up your ability and your flexibility”
“It fast-tracked a lot of things for a lot of people in order to be able to do business”
“Spending time with people in person develops trust”
“There’s this misperception of what selling is. That it’s something done by extroverted people who loves going to networking events and talking to strangers”
“Most clients don’t want to be sold to, that want to talk to people who get what their situation is”
Want more information on what it really takes to be a good salesperson and why you have to differentiate yourself? Try these valuable resources below:
In this episode, Gary is joined by Alison J Coates, founder member of Re\vo. She is a GENOS certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner and Life Coach. She also holds an MA in Industrial Psychology. Alison has 25 years of experience in business change management consultancy and project management.
Throughout the episode, Gary and Alison explore the world of emotional intelligence. They focus on the impact it has on business development, sales and training.
Alison runs a suite of different programmes to help businesses and employees with emotional intelligence. After assessing clients & employees they then offer coaching, both one on one and in group settings and training.
The clients Gary works with generally have a skill based profession and mindset. As they have progressed in their careers they have then had to try and learn how to sell to work with clients. This can often be overwhelming and scary. Alison believes having the confidence to make intelligent emotional decisions can help with this.
Somebody who is good at selling is usually just someone who is good at listening. It doesn’t matter your background or skills, because if you can listen and build relationships, you can sell.
Listening is a skill that can be learnt. It can be improved and perfected. There are varying ways to do this. Alison’s favourite way is to recognise and own our own distractions. One way to do this is to try and to maintain eye contact when the other person is speaking.
Having an awareness of self is the first building block to emotional intelligence and growth.
There is a common myth that to be a good salesperson you need to be an extrovert. But this is simply not the case. Often introverts have a high level of authenticity and emotional intelligence. These are great skills for selling.
“When we understand that our emotions drive our decisions and in our performance we can reverse engineer them. So we can then really start to appreciate how important emotions are in any decision-making process”
“Asking a good question demonstrates your level of credibility”
Ed initially joined Expedition Engineering in 2002 where he has been the Project Director for many projects including the multi award winning Infinity Bridge and the Olympic 2012 Velodrome. Ed was instrumental in the growth and development of Expedition from a “back bedroom start-up” to Building Magazine’s Engineering Consultant of the Year in 2012.
In 2009, Ed co-founded the Useful Simple Trust and gifted his shareholding in Expedition to the Trust for the benefit of the employees. In this episode, Gary and Ed discuss Ed’s take on client management, the impact of lockdowns (not all negative!) and his view of the industry.
The pandemic has created many challenges for many people and businesses alike. Ed and his company thankfully found it quite simple and easy to switch everything on the client management side online. In a lot of instances, it was easier to arrange ongoing client relationships. They could touch bases more frequently and more meaningfully.
Technology means that having a physical office for a business is optional. This has been the case for a few years but one the big impacts of the pandemic is that it has sped this process up a lot; many people are happy and comfortable working remotely now. Ed and his teams have been able to problem solve many of challenges with working remotely and are in no rush to get back to the office. There are certainly a lot of positives to working in this way!
Ed and his company focus on staying small. This is because they value the level of service they can give to clients as a small operation. They don’t want to lose any of this speciality by growing too big.
The industries that Ed is in can sometimes have a bit of a regressive view in terms of client management, especially in regards to how business is conducted outside of the office. This can have an impact on gender diversity for those working in the industries. However, Ed has found that the clients he works with couldn’t be further from this, they aren’t interested in ‘boozy nights’ etc and it’s this that allows a lot more gender diversity in his team; the women he works with feel respected and valued.
“90+% of your activities are about maintaining client relationships not about new relationships”
The new Questas podcast with Gary Williams and guests is for engineering and professional services organisations with the aim of providing strategies and tactics to unlock your people’s hidden ‘selling’ potential. Professional selling and client relationship management skills to win more of the right work from the right clients.
In this first episode, Gary is joined by Terence Ritchie, a Partner at EMW Law. Terence is a real estate lawyer who knows that relationships and delivering a great client experience are the keys to winning and keeping clients in a very busy market. Their conversation covers a number of areas including;
The impact of the pandemic on client relationships and business development
What it takes for (very) reluctant sellers to get motivated
How Terence sees the future of client selling
Listen here for a genuine episode where Gary and Terence talk openly about their unique perspectives, ideas and challenges.
The multiple lockdowns and restrictions the pandemic imposed created a unique set of challenges for each sector and each business. Terence found he and his company had to adapt how they dealt with clients and especially in regards to sales and communication. It resulted in them learning to support clients in new ways by building stronger client relationships. This was achieved through bespoke support and ultimately more value for their clients.
It can be such an eye opener to clients to see the people working for them, especially in a sector such as law, as someone other than what they ‘do’ for them formally. By creating a different dynamic with clients, Terence was able to gain trust and rapport in new ways. The feedback he and the company received from their clients was extremely positive because clients started to see them as individuals and people not just as their lawyers.
Lockdowns have suited some people, particularly those who enjoy working from home or have an introverted personality. However many extroverts will have struggled with energy levels as they haven’t been able to interact with people in the usual ways. Lockdowns have also meant you do not get the same ‘water cooler moments’ which are not just a way for employees to build relationships with clients but are also often a unique way problems get solved and ideas get created.
Mental health in the workplace is still a difficult thing to get right. The important thing is often looking out for signs that someone might need a bit of help, support or simply just a chat. One of the overlooked challenges with the pandemic is not having the opportunity to see and notice when others are struggling.
“When you are in a client facing role, you assume you are going to have the ability to see clients”
“That’s humanised a lot of what we do and that’s a good thing”
“You almost have to manufacture a reason to talk to a colleague”