Keith is the Managing Director of The Business of Trust
Selling and sales has changed a lot in the years I’ve been in business. Where once you could get away with preparing your pitch and selling your ‘thing’, these days those tactics don’t differentiate you, position your services as a commodity, and make it harder and harder to get in the door. Now you have to focus on building trust, and building it quickly.
To make it harder, many of my clients are not traditional sales organisations. As a result, the majority of their people are not comfortable in selling or in many cases even being on the front foot with client relationships.
As an author, business coach and international speaker, my career focus has been on helping people to build trusted relationships in business, primarily in a sales environment. After 25 years with PwC in Europe, Asia and Australia, I learned to ‘decode’ what it is that the best-of-the-best sellers, rainmakers and relationship builders do.
Together with David Lambert, we co-created our Smarter Selling methods to teach others these exact techniques through our ENGAGE training program, and in our book ‘Smarter Selling: How to grow sales by building trusted relationships’ now in it’s second edition published by Financial Times Prentice Hall, and translated into five languages including Chinese and Russian.
By focusing on trust and not selling I help individuals and organisations understand how to:
- raise the profitability of their work. Partly by focusing on having the relationship with the economic buyer, and partly through removing proposal processes out of the sales cycle as much as possible.
- shorten the sales cycle by getting to the stage very quickly where clients want to buy a service because they want to work with the provider.
- have the confidence of people to have broad and deep conversations, build relationships and ultimately win work.
- build a client centric sales culture.
Alongside international speaking and consultancy engagements, I deliver the ENGAGE sales training program. The two-day program has now been delivered to more than 10,000 people worldwide, directly resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. I am also a certified trainer of Think on Your Feet.
Who I work with:
Whilst I primarily work with people in professional services and other B2B organisations all over the world, increasingly I find myself working with more traditional product-based organisations as well, as they strive to become more service oriented in order to reduce the danger of commoditisation. Similarly whilst many of my clients are multinational, many are also single office, small operations. Some of my current and past clients include VWR, Deloitte, Aurecon, ARUP, Minter Ellison, PwC, AECOM, Calibre Consulting, Allens, Adidas, Cooper Grace Ward and VideoPro.
The outcomes of my work:
The work I do never sits in isolation, and is usually part of a broader sales culture change program. In recent years, I have worked with a number of engineering firms who have increased their profitability by up to 200%, law firms who have increased their market share by up to 30% in 12 months, and an accounting firm who managed to increase their bid success rate from 21% to 69%. My work has been credited for significantly contributing to these successes.
Often the feedback I get from clients refers to inspiring individuals and making them feel empowered to get on the front foot with clients and prospects. I help increase both their skill and confidence to have conversations with senior executives that are beyond their technical expertise.
At a team level I have helped teams align strategically around both market segments and specific clients through planning and aligning their team to the best fit for the segment or client.
At an organisational level I have helped leaders align their client strategy with their business strategy, often by helping them decide which clients they should focus on to maximise revenue and profit growth.
My happy clients:
Here are some quotes from a selection of my clients about the experience of working with me.
I had known Keith for a while in a previous role and had seen how his work really helped engineers have better conversations with clients. So when I was involved in changing and growing Aurecon in Christchurch I had no hesitation in bringing Keith into the change program. The work that Keith did was a key element of the change and building the ability of our team to have more commercial conversations with our clients outside their normal technical areas of expertise. The ultimate measure of success for us, as well as the significant growth we experienced, was the feedback from the business community. “We are not quite sure what Aurecon are doing – but it is different and we like it.
We have been working with Keith for close to three years now as part of our drive as a business to become closer and more valuable to our clients. In order to do this, it is critical that our team build the skills and confidence to have broad business conversations at all levels of the organisation. This not only gets us away from a price war, but helps us to better pinpoint the problem that the client is trying to solve, and subsequently position ourselves to provide the best outcome. Keith has really helped us work out which of our team are capable of getting to this level and in developing the skills of those who are. In addition, Keith has managed to introduce us to a cross-section of business leaders who have similar thinking and many of whom are now our clients. Finally, and most importantly, our thinking has evolved from working with Keith – our approach to people, both internally and externally, as well as how we position our value proposition.