Posts

Helping Clients Handle the Brexit and Other Dramatic Events 

Union Jack flag wrinkled“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
-Helen Keller

The Brexit for many is a daring event, one rife with stress either real or conjured. Living in a world where the global economy affects so many businesses, right now your clients and business partners may be at a point of panic.  What next? This is your time to demonstrate why they have you as a trusted adviser. Are you going to figure out the answer to the financial crisis? No. But the larger question is how will you allay clients fear, worry and trepidation when these type of events occur. Here are four actions to take right now:

Action #1: Listen

Similar to 9/11 or the 2008 market crash, people will need to vent their Brexit frustrations and fears. Let them. Listen without any bias. Just understand HOW they’re feeling. Don’t fix anything (like we could). The more clients feel you’re there for them the more they will share with you. The more they share their issues with you the clearer of thought they become. Once they’ve turned this corner you can then offer your context to the reactivating event that has rocked them.

Action #2: Over-communicate

Let your clients hear from you…often. Find out what they need. Keep them up to date on your actions. They need to know you are “on it” and that whatever they might be fearing as a result of a major event like the Brexit, you’ve got your stuff covered. That frees them to focus on other areas that are unstable.

Action #3: Be Available

I remember throughout my childhood how available my father was as a surgeon to his patients. Some nights after dinner he’d get dressed and be out the door on his way to a house call. This never went over well with my mother but, throughout the years, it showed me how deeply connected my father was to his patients. Many never forgot my father from his deep empathy and availability. Show that same level of connection with your clients. Answer their calls, respond to emails or texts at any time of day or night (for now…don’t get trapped in that habit). Let them know that you are there for them “in the fox hole” and are operating at the same level of heightened urgency as they are.

Action #4: Understand Their future

Know their future. It’s important to understand the future your clients see. Once they feel you’ve captured their future, they’re then in a position to action the initiatives you recommend to neutralize their upset.

As they say, this too shall pass. For now, you can remain calm and let your clients know that they’ve chosen wisely in you as their partner. They will remember that when they assess how the crisis was handled.

What’s the biggest issue facing your clients as a result of the Brexit? Let us know with a reply below. Thanks! -SG

Change the Conversation

two business men sitting and talkingOn a recent client assignment, I realized my client’s team could greatly increase their resonance with current and prospective clients by changing their conversations with them. Far too often business development consultants and leaders of teams have too many peripheral conversations, not intimate ones. It happens outside of normal business, too.

Here’s an example from my recent visit to the hospital for what turned out to an appendectomy. While I spent a good amount of time under the care of nurses, the doctor was almost a no-show…except the for the surgery of course. His visit was all of two minutes, during which he diagnosed the issue and said I needed surgery. Never saw him again. Imagine if you tried that with your clients! Sure, he discovered what was wrong but, in no way did he establish any kind of rapport or relationship. Now…his resume/experience kind of speaks for itself or he wouldn’t be a doctor. Yours, however, doesn’t. You need to work at it and you can start by changing your conversations.

Peripheral vs. Intimate Conversations

By peripheral I mean being at the edge of something with a client or direct report but NOT actually inside the issue. By intimate I mean being closely acquainted and familiar with the issue along side the client or direct report. I recommended to my client they forge two types of conversations; a discovery conversation then a solution conversation.

Discovery, Then Solution

The discovery conversation must be facilitated in a confident, wise, unflinching manner. This requires homework. It also requires a bit of curious assumption.

Asking questions that begin with “From my research I noticed that XYZ has occurred…how has this affected your business?” illustrate a good level of homework and courage.

You can also drive an intimate conversation with questions such as these:

  • What is mission critical to your business this year?
  • What are the challenges/headwinds that have prevented this from being achieved?
  • What have you and your team committed to this year?
  • What factors make up your top three challenges?
  • What’s the consequence if you’re not able to surmount these issues?
  • What must success look like this year?

Asking these questions requires a sincere desire to be intimate with your client. They also change the conversation by finding your client’s pain and remaining in it to drive the urgency to resolve it.

What kind of conversations are you having with clients? How is it working? Can you see the questions listed here helping? Let me know in the replies below. – SG

About Gratitude

I’ve just put up our Christmas Tree, placed the poinsettias around our home and have settled in to write my holiday blog.

Amidst so much that’s happened this year, personally and professionally, I’m left with a profound sense of gratitude for the difference I’ve been able to make with my clients, the trust and confidence they have shown in my coaching and the difference they’ve made in my life.

Practice  Conscious Gratitude

Throughout this year, I started each business day with gratitude. As I walk to the gym each morning, I list twenty people for whom I’m grateful in my life. It changes my energy, purges my worries and replaces them with gratitude.

Give it a try this week. Let me know if you notice any changes in your demeanor, outlook and approach to your interactions.

Each Year Presents Great Opportunities

From this discipline, as I look towards 2015 in my own business, I’m approaching next next year as if it is my first in business. I’ve got the same feeling of expectation and commitment to developing champions as I did almost thirty years ago when I began coaching. I am eager to learn what 2015 will bring to me as I continuously develop my skills so that I can help clients further their business goals.

No post next week so, I will take this opportunity to wish you, your employees and your family a very joyous, healthy and peaceful holiday.

Credentialing, Part Deux…Ask Killer Open-Ended Questions

In my book I talk about how important the voir dire process is to lawyers. In fact, a dear lawyer friend of mine has said, “a trial is won or lost in the voir dire process.” So, are you winning your clients over with your questions?

Investigate Before Proceeding

During the voir dire stage of a trial, lawyers get their one chance to interact with a juror to observe how they think and what their values are to determine how to present/shape the facts of their case. It is this investigation where they will discover new ways to present information that is likely to resonate with the jury. Critical!!

Lead the Witness

Fast forward to us. I recently wrote about credentialing yourself with your clients. It is the act of demonstrating your knowledge by how you engage with them.  One key element is about asking smart, researched, killer open-ended questions that illustrate your diligence performed prior to a client interaction, whether you are persuading or informing them. It’s also a way to “lead the witness” towards the solution you have for their issues!

Case in Point

Here’s a relevant case in point that illustrates this skill:

A client laments they need to put a plan in place for their team to succeed. An easy yet ineffective question to ask is “How will you format the plan?”

A smart question to ask is: “Why is this mission critical now?” Here you will understand what’s essential to your client versus what they’ve been planning. You will know why, not just what, they are planning.

Your client then may say, “We need better team compliance with our process,” to which you might ask, “Any challenges to this?” I would suggest a stronger approach, such as asking, “How has this lack of compliance hurt you organization? For how long?”

I trust you are tracking the progression of establishing public testimony to then synthesize to segue to your idea.

That’s great credentialing!

By the way, since I referenced my book above, you can take a look at it on Amazon.com. Though I wrote it a few years ago, the lessons in it are as relevant today as they were then.  Hope you enjoy it.

Credentialing Yourself

There are so many places through the course of daily life where we have to prove who we are. Just think of the numerous times you are asked to show your credentials before boarding an airplane. Have you ever considered how much you have to show your business credentials throughout your client/customer work? A very successful client often speaks about this for his team of advisers. Throughout his career he’s honed the skill of credentialing himself.

Let Them Know Who You Are…Again and Again

Showing, even proving, who you are to your client takes the discipline, and humility, to know that it must be done in the first place. My client reasons that if he doesn’t do it… it won’t get done. Credentialing oneself means illustrating through your adviser-like behavior a level of professionalism and focus your competitive set doesn’t present. It means being consummately prepared before a client meting and understanding how to carry yourself inside every meeting at all times.

That’s the “why” of credentialing yourself, the “how” of it requires homework.

The Process of Credentialing

As I often put forth, being prepared before a client meeting is step #1 of the process.

Step #2 is framing questions to a client in such a way that they realize how prepared you have come to the meeting and you have a solid understanding of their issues.

This requires us to have:

  • deep knowledge of their business
  • the desire to capture their precise objective
  • an ability to frame what is at stake for them
  • the expertise to link how their issues affects their organization
  • the skills to craft a solution with a critical path for them to follow

Keeping those skills fresh and present for your clients will keep reminding them of why they engaged you in the first place and that you are developing knowledge specific to their business. Try this process out this month and let me know how it works for you.

Handling Difficult Clients: Act Like Your Teacher

Throughout my work in executive development, I often recommend that clients think of one of their favorite teachers to get beyond a challenge they currently have. It’s an amazing process. You get in touch with the characteristics/behaviors you still remember even up to today and then see how your own behaviors match up. Read more

Effective and Efficient Deal Closing

Securing new business is always a constant challenge but, during this economic storm, retaining and expanding existing business is even more difficult. Steve Giglio’s sales training programs ensure that your teams are constantly learning about your current clients, anticipating their needs and delivering solutions. After working with Steve, your sales people will be seen as trusted advisors with the ability to close deals more effectively.

Case Study

Vanity Fair Asks the Right Questions

The situation:

Vanity Fair’s advertising sales department is regularly called on for services normally reserved for advertising agencies. Clients demand full marketing campaigns, from creative design direction to online banners to interactive marketing campaigns. This new paradigm means a new language for the sales team, something they needed to master quickly.  “In order to the get the right answers, we had to be asking the right questions.  We brought in Steve and he made that happen,” said Edward Menicheschi, Publisher.  Steve’s goal was to alter how the sales team was vieved, moving from product vendors to trusted business consultants.

The Result:

Vanity Fair’s team now finds news sales opportunities beyond its traditional channel of ad space. Team members consistently ask 20 to 30 questions when addressing a new client or handling a request from an existing one, uncovering new revenue generating sources. They excel at understanding clients marketing goals and can tailor programs that meet those needs. “Steve has provided new language that has allowed our teams to find sales opportunities and grow our services to increase our relevancy, which is so important today. Our teams communicate our value better and it has lead to many more closed deals.

ALSO SEE:
Consistent Sales Approach
Improved Sales
More Effective Sales Teams

Vanity Fair Sales Training Case Study

Case Study

Vanity Fair Asks the Right Questions

The situation:

Vanity Fair’s advertising sales department is regularly called on for services normally reserved for advertising agencies. Clients demand full marketing campaigns, from creative design direction to online banners to interactive marketing campaigns. This new paradigm means a new language for the sales team, something they needed to master quickly.  “In order to the get the right answers, we had to be asking the right questions.  We brought in Steve and he made that happen,” said Edward Menicheschi, Publisher.  Steve’s goal was to alter how the sales team was vieved, moving from product vendors to trusted business consultants.

The Result:

Vanity Fair’s team now finds news sales opportunities beyond its traditional channel of ad space. Team members consistently ask 20 to 30 questions when addressing a new client or handling a request from an existing one, uncovering new revenue generating sources. They excel at understanding clients marketing goals and can tailor programs that meet those needs. “Steve has provided new language that has allowed our teams to find sales opportunities and grow our services to increase our relevancy, which is so important today. Our teams communicate our value better and it has lead to many more closed deals.

ALSO SEE:
Consistent Sales Approach
Improved Sales
More Effective Sales Teams