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EXTERNAL RELATIONSHIPS

If there is one area where  professionals need to work together to deliver on strategy, then it's in how they manage external relationships!

Our coaching approach to managing external relationship means that we can help you access untapped insights to bring your stakeholder strategies to life!

Whether you be thinking about clients, prospective clients or other key stakeholders, we focus on the human elements that underpin the most valueable relationships your firm has.

 

From developing business development strategies and plans - be these for a specific sector, group, or for individual professionals - through to delivering on them, our approach focuses on how to become trusted.  We can help you manage relationships; through client listening, as part of a key account management programme or as a standalone exercise.  

Our business development offering is underpinned by:

  • Client listening - to understand what your clients really want

  • Coaching - to give professionals the confidence they need

  • Training - to give professionals the skills they need

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Relationships are fundamental to professional services firms. They matter internally; where strong relationships can power high-performing teams as well as create inclusive cultures. They also matter externally. People buy from people in professional services firms – and relationship building is the foundation of all good business development.

There are some technical skills that professionals need to be good at business development – these are things such as pitching, presentation skills, negotiation skills, relationship mapping, and planning.

There are also some key soft skills that professionals need. Skills such as active listening, empathy, trust, and influence. These skills are also fundamental to good leadership – which in turn creates strong teams. Strong teams deliver results for clients, so these skills, which are often overlooked, really should be seen as an engine for growth.

Our business development learning journeys have been developed to be wide ranging. Even our ready-made courses are created such that they resonate with your professionals - we speak to you to make sure that we are speaking in vocabularly that sits with your wider programme. ​

We deliver both the technical and the soft skills that your professionals need to excel at business development. Our research has found that firms where professionals are all engaged with business development outperform the market. Business development is good for your bottom line.

We understand that much of what sits behind a lack of engagement has nothing to do with understanding what it needed. More often than not limiting beliefs are what get in the way. Things like “ I am no good at presenting” or “I can’t sell”. As coaches, the way we facilitate means that we don’t shy away from these things – we challenge and provide a way forward.

ESSENTIAL SKILLS TRAINING

TRAINING FOR THE PROFESSIONAL JUST STARTING OUT

 

We offer training programmes targeted at those starting their career as a professional. Our skills training courses cover the basic skills that young professionals need to develop and master, these include:

  • Content and thought leadership

  • Networking 

  • Presentation skills 

  • Writing for the web

MAKING RAINMAKERS

TRAINING THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

 

We have training courses for your aspiring leaders who are managing the difficult transition from manager to leader. These workshops build on the skills that leaders will have picked up through their career and focus on the additional skills that will be needed to bring in clients and develop your professionals and organisation. These include: 

 

  • Active listening

  • Building your pipeline 

  • Influence training

  • Business development & sales training

  • Personal branding and impact

  • Presentation skills 

  • Understanding leadership 

IT'S TOUGH AT THE TOP

 EXECUTIVE LEVEL TRAINING

 

Being a partner or director at a professional services firm can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Our interactive tough at the top training workshops are intended to maximise performance and get the most from your firm's strategy. These executive-level workshops work best alongside executive coaching to truly help you play at your best. Workshops include:

 

  • Client management

  • Consultative selling 

  • How to conduct relationship reviews 

  • Growth mindsets 

  • Managing diverse teams

  • Personal branding and impact 

  • Thought leaderships - how to excel

RELATIONSHIP

RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT

We can:

  • Help with relationship mapping

  • Carry out annual reviews, or client listening at the end of a project, transaction or tender. 

  • Create client plans to help you grow or maintain your clients

Relationships are complex – and this is no different in business.  When you do business with another business you are often talking about a multitude of relationships.  There are the relationships between yourselves and individuals at the client. There are relationships internally that impact on the client relationship. There are relationships that are longstanding and relationships that are yet to be built.

We can help you manage relationships with your clients – be this as part of a key account management (KAM) programme or as part of a project focusing on a standalone client or target. 

Using their extensive experience in business development for professional services our consultants can help you develop or refine business development plans for professionals – whether that be on an individual basis or as part of a team or firm initiative. 

 

Gone are the days when firms can rely on one or two rainmakers to grow.  For a marketing and business development strategy to be successful, all the professionals in the firm need to understand the part they play in driving that success.  Getting buy-in at all levels will have a major impact.

Sometimes additional skills are needed to make sure that this plan is achievable – for example, individuals might need up-skilling on consultative selling or training on presentation skills.  Client Talk works with skilled coaches and trainers to work with you in the implementation of the plan so that you can see the plans deliver results.

WHAT IS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT?

Business development can mean be used differently in each organisation. For some it means sales, for others sales support. Some use it interchangeably with marketing, others use the term ‘practice development’. Client development overlaps – for others it means the same thing.  Little wonder then that confusion reigns supreme in this area!
 
At Client Talk we use the term ‘business development’ to mean everything from creating relationships, through to creating clients and looking after existing ones.

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KEY ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

How many times have you heard the saying that it is easier to keep existing clients than to go after new ones? 

 

Statistics are batted about and there is always widespread agreement in professional services firms of the importance of cross-selling. However, the trouble with holding something out as easy, is that it is harder to admit failure.  If it is so easy, why aren’t I getting all of client x’s work?  This can prevent people from trying.

Often existing clients are overlooked in the race to find new ones. Often cross-selling has been tried and failed.  Existing clients usually mean that there is a range of relationships at play and a deep understanding of what the client wants – this makes it harder to stand back.

We can help work with you to create key account management programmes.  We can work with you to help identify which clients should form part of this programme.  We can assist with stakeholder and relationship mapping and creating client plans. 

 

 What are the benefits of having a KAM programme?

  • Best practice - KAM programmes can help shine a light on what you are doing well as a firm.  They are a treasure trove of best practice that should be shared and replicated across the firm.

  • Known to others - Where a client is a member of a key account management programme they are no longer overlooked.  Whilst others in the firm might understand that they are a client, they might not understand the key role they play. By raising the profile internally, other professionals are bought into the success of that client in a way they weren’t before.

  • Client retention – Where a client is part of a Key Account Management programme you can make sure that they feel special.   This means that the client is more likely to continue on a journey with you.  You can make sure that the relationship is protected from foreseeable changes and nip problems in the bud. Client listening is central to our philosophy and we can support you by doing the listening for you or by training your professionals to get the most out of relationship meetings.

KAM
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Are we listening?

How good are professional services firms at listening to their clients?

We have been talking to in-house marketing teams, partners and clients to find out!  Download a free copy of our report to see what really drives growth in professional services firms.   

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