Anyone Could Do It

Consultants aren’t selected only because they CAN do the work, they are selected as much because the client wants THEM to do it. Unless your client is using a computer algorithm to select consultants, emotion plays a part in the decision, even if the client doesn’t realize it. To increase our success in business development we must look beyond our technical capabilities and ask ourselves, “Have we given the client reason enough to WANT us to do the work.”  Something we often overlook went getting tied up in the technical details.

Behind The Titles

I’ve received the comment, “Brian, I love the lesson titles, they certainly make me curious, but can you clarify the content for me a little more.”  Here you go, a little more information about the content behind the titles…

Module 1- Getting your Head in the Game
Defining Your Personal Ecology Simple process to help you determine BD is for you.
Disney Strategy Dreamer, Realist, Critic Compartmentalizing the creative process for quicker, better results
Excellence Modeling How to learn for those that do it well
Module 2 – Aligning Your Staff Resources and the Game Plan
The Right People in the Right Roles Getting people into the correct business development roles
Matching the Strategy to the Pursuit Tailoring the pursuit activities to the size of the potential outcome
Is It Sales, Marketing, or BD Why differentiate between sales, marketing, and BD activities
Module 3 – Developing Business Development Targets
Not All Clients Are Created Equal Tool to rank clients so you can focus your BD resources
Building the PIpeline Tool to identify where the work will come and how to use it
Personal Pursuit Plans Creating individual business development plans
Tomorrow’s Revenues Are Determined Today Getting out of the “feast or famine” revenue cycle
The Strategic Roadmap Matching up the right people with your long-term strategy
The Consultant Waggle Dance Sharing BD information creates multiple opportunities
Get Off Your Incumbency and Get Out There Why assuming you have a client for life is a recipe for failure
Module 4- Rapport, Rapport, Rapport
Building Rapport From the Ground Up Establishing a sincere connection with a client
Influencing Language Parts 1 and 2 Using language that in meaningful to the client
Metaphor and Analogy Creating a deeper meaning and understanding
Chunking Up, Chunking Down Identifying the clients real issues
Pacing and Leading Guiding, rather than pushing, a client
Perceptual Positions How to observe your own meeting and gain greater understanding
Module 5 – Winning the Crowd
Presentation Opportunities The importance of being seen as the “expert”
Credible and Approachable Voice Aligning your posture, breath, and, vice to deliver the correct message
VAK – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Speaking to client with language that is meaningful to them
Cat and Dog People Aligning behaviors and motivators
Breathing: Yours and Theirs How breathing can send and impact your message
Module 6 – Life Before the Pursuit
Project vs Pursuit  How a pursuit needs to be managed as a project
Anatomy of a Pursuit A breakdown of the structure and timeline of an ideal pursuit
Zombies and a Good Spaghetti Sauce Setting the stage for success and protecting against resource drains
Client Analysis Client profiling made easy
Developing a Strategy Developing a pursuit strategy
Xs and Os – Matching Up with the Client The importance of matching your staff to the client
Charting Your Course for Success How acting early provides greater pursuit flexibility and opportunity
Module 7 – In the Thick of the Pursuit
Right Questions for the Right Purpose Developing questions for the desired outcome.
Client Meeting Objective  Developing client meeting objectives to maximize everyone’s efforts
Listening for Unspoken Drivers Why it is important to know what really drives the client’s decisions
Sorting Out Multiple Agendas Shifting through the fact that your client is not of one mind
Pursuit Activity Tracking Tool for tracking where you have been with a client and where to go
What Does Your Organization Do for Them? Using the org chart to convey greater information
The Role of the GROUP in the Room Understanding the Group is not a collection of individuals
Calibrating Testing the client to make sure you are still on the same page
Module 8 – Interviews
Choreography Is Not Just For Broadway A new perspective on interview practice
Clarifying Your Point How to deliver a message the client will remember
Gesturing (No Not That One) With A Purpose How stop flailing and start gesturing to enhance your message
Using the Third Point Simple skill to attach to the “good” and separate from the “bad”
The Power of the Pause By learning to say less you can say more
Mental Rehearsal How to practice and get real results without getting out of your chair
Module 9 – When the Party’s Over
Internal Pursuit Debrief How to conduct and internal debrief after the fact
Post (Successful) Pursuit Debrief Why the best information comes after a win, not a loss

What’s Your BHAG?

If your goals don’t scare you a little they aren’t big enough.  That’s where your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) comes in and if you don’t have one, you need one.  Company BHAG, office BHAG, personal BHAG, they work at all levels and they are necessary at all levels because BHAGs create growth.  BHAGs are set along with common goals, not instead of them.

Goals are what we set to meet whatever is required and milestones are markers along the way that keep us from straying off course or falling behind schedule of our goals.  A BHAG makes others sit-up, take pause and say, “What?!?”  A BHAG requires not just attention, but nurturing, strategy, commitment, and desire.  Goals provide solid annual bonuses, BHAGs take you from a 30 person firm to a 100 person firm;  BHAGs take you from being a team member to leading pursuits. BHAGs change your future.

You may not achieve the BHAG but by striving to get there you will achieve more by failing than you could by achieving lesser, safe goals.  Look for opportunities to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone because that is where growth occurs.

What’s you BHAG?


There Shouldn’t Be Any Surprises

As a rule, I’m a big proponent of client debriefs following a win, and not in favor of dedicating time to debrief a client following a loss.  This position has certainly met with some contention and on the surface it may seem counter-intuitive.   I have been asked very pointedly and challenged as to why I would recommend such a thing?

I discuss the difference in more detail in the program, but simply put, when you debrief following a win you find out what TO DO the next time, saving you time and resources and leading to greater success.  When you debrief following a loss you discover what NOT to do the next time, leaving you in trial and error mode the next time.

What I want to address here is a specific opposing view from a conversation the other day supporting the Post Loss Debrief.  The claim of the supporter was that there was a wealth of information to be uncovered from the client after a loss such as:

1.  How did the team interact?

2.  How was the team’s interview?

3.  Did we have a firm understanding of the project and communicate it in the proposal?

4.  Was the assigned PM right for the project?

5.  Were the team members appropriately assigned?

The truth of the matter is that if you are pursuing projects with the appropriate lead time and client communication you know, in your heart, the answers to all of these questions before you ever get in front of the client.  If you don’t, then the ball has been dropped somewhere in the pursuit process.  So, if you have conducted a proper pursuit, you have identified issues that the client could use to deselect your firm, and fixed them in course, then there isn’t anything new you should be hearing from the client.  If there are unaddressed issues that the team moved ahead with anyway then the last thing you should pursue is a meeting with the client, reviewing your failures and where you didn’t match up with the competition.

I’m always looking for input so if someone can provide an example of why, in general, a post loss client debrief is a good idea I am all ears.  My objective isn’t to sway you to what I believe, it is to provide for you the practices that work for long-term success.

If you are a steadfast supporter of post loss debriefs then move ahead, but try adding in some post win debriefs and you’ll start to see hear, and feel the difference.

One Year Anniversary!

This month marks the one-year anniversary of The Pursuit Coach.  Our first year has been a tremendous success and new members continuing joining every week.  By the time we reach the end of our birthday month The Pursuit Coach will surpass the 1,ooo member mark!

Thank you to all our members and supporters for spreading the word.

Friend In Need or Vulnerable Prey – What’s Your Unspoken Message?

We all visit clients.  We have to if we expect to build and expand business. Throughout the Pursuit Coach program I talk about having a purpose for visiting clients and during each visit giving something, and looking for something in return, to move further down the client-consultant relationship path.  There is, however, a message we deliver without stepping into the client’s office that can determine the outcome of everything that comes after it.  It is a message that can poison the project well or open new doors.

When you make that call to a client two things form the client’s opinion.  The first is what follows, “Hello.”  Is it, “We haven’t talked in a while and I wanted to get together and catch up.” Or, is it, “I see you have a new project advertised and I was hoping we could sit down and talk about it.” The second, is what interactions took place between the phone call and the previous pursuit?

With that information, regardless of how charming you might think you are, the client sizes you up as, “Friend in a time of need,” or “Predator on the hunt.” Which do you think they are inclined to choose to work with?  So, what do you have to do?  Well, if you want to be a Predator, absolutely nothing. If you want to be a Friend, be present.

I believe clients when they say, “Really, any of the firms could do the work.”  Knowingly, or unknowingly, clients are making selections based on with whom they WANT to work. Given the choice, any of us would choose to work with someone we know rather than someone we don’t know.  So, when a consultant only appears when a project is at stake motives come into question and credibility suffers.  Being categorized as Friend or Predator depends on what we do between projects, when there is no work.  After all, a friend is around when there is no immediate benefit to them. A predator only expends energy when their is the potential for immediate self gratification.

Show up sniffing around only when you have the scent of work and you will repeatedly find yourself outside the fence looking in. Be there between projects and you can quickly find yourself welcomed as a friend, confidant, and the next selected consultant.

SMPS Pacific Region Conference

This week The Pursuit Coach will be showing and meeting with clients at the 2014 SMPS Pacific Region Conference in Huntington Beach, CA.  If you are attending the conference stop by and say hello.

Still Looking for Onsite Training?

Still looking for traditional onsite training? The Pursuit Coach can meet your needs. The entire Pursuit Coach program, or a program modified to meet your specific needs, can be brought to your location. As a bonus, following onsite training, all attendees can register for the online content for a full 12 months at a reduced cost for reference and a refresher.

Are You Using All Your Tools

Throughout the Pursuit Coach Program I stress the importance of observing what is really happening rather than running with your interpretation of events.  The video from asapSCIENCE is a fun explanation of how our brains process information in two different ways.  Being aware of this difference enables you to pause and uncover the real client story.  Take a look, its only a couple of minutes long.  Here is also a link to the book Thinking Fast and Slow by David Kahneman referred to in the video.



It’s All Connected

Here is a thought for the week that I have adapted from a poem by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)

Modified thoughts, become words.
Modified words, create new actions.
Practiced actions, become habits.
Implemented  habits, reveal character.
Expressed character, becomes destiny.