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?
What is the main skill that helps people build great rapport within minutes in any given situation, and particularly in a new business meeting? What is it that the best business leaders, salespeople or even rainmakers do that enables them to get what seems like instant engagement? It goes beyond their mere physical appearance or a sharp dress sense. While clothes may give you confidence they do not “maketh the man or woman”. What they all do is have a natural curiosity, and an ability with their questions so they don’t just learn and understand more about the other person, they actually start to develop and build trust.
Think about an occasion when you have first met someone and it’s gone really well, and you’ve genuinely wanted to see them again. In short you have clicked. The chances are they asked you questions which showed they were interested in you, your thoughts, and what you do. So are these people blessed with an intrinsic magic gift of great questioning sk [...]
By Ben Paul.
Now that January is fully upon us, it is that time of year again when many businesses and departments within businesses start to look at their plans and strategies for the year ahead. But what does this actually entail? Will you simply review and tweak last year’s plan or follow the same format or structure that you’ve carried out every year? If you do you won’t be expecting radically different results.
I was thinking about this after I’d come out of the movie theatre having thoroughly enjoyed Disney’s latest instalment of the Star Wars Universe, Rogue One. Clearly the investment in Star Wars from Disney was around tapping into our childhood memories and producing as many films as close to the originals as possible to help the dollars come pouring in. Clearly Star Wars is one cash cow that can be almost endlessly milked, as sequels and side stories all have box-office and merchandise spin-off success.
However, how can you find a way to gr [...]
By Ben Paul
The main aim of many salespeople and those tasked with bringing work into their organisations, is to make contact and then get meetings with the senior decision makers. This, for many, is one of the biggest challenges they face, and even if they get that meeting, they soon find that they have been passed down the prospective client organisation to someone less senior.
So what is it that means the Senior decision maker – often at the C-Suite (CEO, CFO etc) level, doesn’t want to give up their time to you? It could just be the box that you have put yourself in. Do you genuinely think:
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 [...]
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 [...]