More importantly, have you given them good reason to?
One of the many barriers to building a great career can be your relationship with your boss, or perhaps those even higher up. Perhaps you never really get to mingle with your boss’s boss. If your boss says it’s better if they take care of this relationship, then there’s the first clue, they most likely don’t see you as a trusted partner. Because if they did they would share all their relationships with you.
So there are two important questions here: How do you know if your boss actually trusts you? What can you do to start building a trusted relationship if they don’t?
Tasks not conversations?
by Ben Paul
One of the most common issues I hear from clients and others organisations is how they can talk to their contacts once the work has been completed. It is almost as if they have only had one sole reason to speak and that is to deliver the service for which they can send their invoice for. Then once that final invoice is sent, well what do you talk about?
Why your client doesn’t respond to your messages outside of the project
I’ve even had some people tell me that it is their client who either doesn’t want a relationship with their suppliers or that they are just simply extremely introverted or rude! There is of course a slim chance that this could be true but in my experience it is highly unlikely. So why aren’t they responding?
- The only value you give is in the work you do. Which is great, it is important for any business to deliver their service or product well. However, assuming you have compet [...]
by Ben Paul
To be successful in your career, you will need to develop and build new relationships with people. However, does the mere thought of this start to make you feel anxious?
When you’re looking to change how you do things in any way, even if it is just a small adjustment it can be very difficult. In challenging or highly complex markets, that fear of doing something different can really hold you back. In fact, if you tend to see risks rather than the opportunity in a new situation, this behavioural preference can prevent you from building new relationships. (If you are unsure of your behavioural preferences you can discover what they are by taking our free octagon behavioural assessment here)
I often ask people, if you were given the choice, “Would you rather go back to your desk and get on with your day job, or go out and talk to a total stranger?”
To be truly great at sales, you have to be able to hand over control to the buyer.
Whether it’s control of the topic of conversation, control of what and when they want to hear certain stories or information from you, or control of the next steps. Unfortunately, giving up this control can feel counterintuitive to many sales people. The irony is that the more you give away control, the more the client wants to work with you and often the bigger and sooner the sale comes in. But it’s not easy – if it was,everyone would be doing it.
I was recently chatting to a client of mine who told me about a meeting she’d had with a prospective client that she thought went really well. At some point during the meeting, she got wind that there was a project in the offering – so when she thought the meeting was drawing to a close, she pounced.
“Can I send you a proposal for that project?” she said.
She beamed when she told me this story – “I’ve got [...]
by Ben Paul
Taking your clients or prospects to the rugby or theatre? Buying them plenty of drinks and having great conversations about sport, the weather, their kids or dare I say it, the Bachelor? You’re getting on great but this relationship is unlikely to lead into profitable work for you or your organisation. In fact, it may even have got to that critical stage where it is now almost awkward to actually ask for the work. There is a real danger that your client has put you firmly in the “friend zone”. As the Bachelor would no doubt tell you, this isn’t a profitable place to find yourself.
Why it hurts in the “Friend Zone?”
Businesses have been investing in client hospitality for many years now, with little real tangible return on investment. In the last couple of decades, it is likely that this return has diminished even further. It turns out that having a good social relationship with your client may not actuall [...]
According to Brent Thomas, it’s trust based relationships that matter most in business. And he should know – having just beaten an impressive field of candidates to win the national Client Choice Awards Most-Client Focused Engineer of the Year award for 2016.
“After every meeting, the client needs to leave with a feeling that you are easy to deal with, that you truly have their interests at heart, and you’re providing value out of the interaction,” Brent says. Unfortunately, he sees a lot of people in engineering, and business, that still h [...]
by Ben Paul
So you’ve got that big meeting. You’ve researched the client and you’re ready to meet them. All you need now is a nice big credential or capability statement telling them all about what you do and how great you are, right? No, wrong.
While it is tempting to have something up your sleeve for when the conversation dries up, and it may also act as a nice comfort blanket for you, the impact it may have is at best minimal. Realistically, no great meeting has ever concluded with the client saying “That’s great, now what I really need is something generic, and all about your company, so I can make my decision”
So why should you stop producing credential or capability statements?
- Too self-focused. They are inevitably all about you and your company. What you do, how great you are, how many employees you have, how many offices or even better, how you are global – wow! There is danger that you can come across as arrog [...]
by Ben Paul
Most firms I’ve worked with or for, tend to have one or two people whom others look to with amazement and respect, as those who can ‘build relationships and win work’. Typically called rainmakers, these individuals seem to have an innate gift to be able to develop and win work for themselves and the firms they work in. Often, others look to them for help and advice, but in many cases it is not always that helpful. I’ve heard phrases like “just do what I do” or “all you need to do is be proactive, go out and meet people and the work will come.”
This lack of useful or practical advice isn’t necessarily due to the rainmaker not caring, or trying to be difficult or protect the secrets of their success. It is most likely because this has become second nature to them, it is almost impossible for them to point to what it is they do, that can be taught and learnt. In many ways they are what we would term as “unconsciously competent” – that i [...]
An interview with Doug Johnson, Managing Director New Zealand, Tonkin + Taylor , by Ben Paul
Each year, professional services firms across Australia and New Zealand battle it out for the Beaton Client Choice Awards. These awards, as nominated by their clients, name the best of the best when it comes to client service. And each year, after the awards are announced, and while the winners are still sipping champagne, the rest of us are left wondering ……how did they do it?
I decided to find out more about that client service secret sauce by interviewing Doug Johnson, Man [...]
By Ben Paul
Man v Machine.
There’s no doubt technology does some pretty cool things. In fact, it is a great enabler. Indeed, it has managed to speed up a lot of business processes and lead to efficiencies which have driven growth and economic prosperity. The effects on blue collar workers have been felt as lean manufacturing, and increasingly machines and robots, have replaced manual workers on production lines over the last 30 or so years. For many years most white collar professionals have felt secure that their skills and expertise will always be needed, and cannot be replaced. However, the landscape is changing rapidly and the rise of the machines is not bad news simply for the lower skilled workers. Indeed, a recent McKinsey report (read report here) found that 20 percent of a CEO’s working time could be automated using current techn [...]