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”