Background to the Programme
The behaviours exhibited by leaders of professional services firms define the entire organisation – they exemplify the firm’s brand, embody its culture and epitomise its values.
Within the firm, the link between leadership behaviours and the firm’s performance cannot be overstated. When modelled effectively, behaviours cascade down the firm’s hierarchy to its people and impact everything, from the calibre of people hired, to the professionalism with which services are delivered, down to the quality of presentations.
But it is when representing the firm as ‘ambassadors’ – particularly when undertaking business development activities with existing or prospective clients – that the behaviours exhibited by the firm’s leaders have the greatest impact on the overall performance of the firm.
Why? Because whether prospective clients choose to work – or not – with a professional services firm, comes down to the perceived value that will be created by the firm and whether this aligns with the value they are seeking.
Crucially, ‘value’ is not a function of the firm’s technical knowledge or service methodologies but is instead created in the mind of the client based on the behaviours they encounter during every interaction with the firm’s people. What’s more, ‘value’ is a highly subjective and personal construct, different for each client.
As a result, the behaviours leaders exhibit to best represent their firm’s brand in business development situations should be based on a deep understanding of the mind of the professional services buyer.
Once individuals have a deeper understanding of the psychology behind the client’s buying decision, they can refine the behaviours that will best represent their firm and differentiate themselves from the competition.
In the top performing professional services firms, these behaviours will typically include: offering points of view around the client’s business objectives, demonstrating credibility and status, building trust in every interaction and using stories to exemplify and distinguish their firm’s brand.
This highly interactive programme, designed specifically for leaders of professional services firms, will enable participants to define the core behaviours that set their firm apart from the rest and to develop and refine these behaviours so that when they return to their respective firms, they can model these behaviours to their own people, who will in turn use them in every interaction with the firm’s clients.
Participants will begin by exploring the many issues prospective clients consider when determining whether to buy or not to buy from a particular firm and identify the critical – but often hidden – factors that motivate their final purchasing decision.
Having gained a deeper understanding of the psychology behind the client’s buying decision, delegates will then examine the implications on their own behaviour during ‘critical client conversations’ and ‘moments of truth’ and determine the behavioural changes that could significantly improve their new client acquisition.
Participants will learn and practise the behaviours that will enable them to communicate more effectively, form relevant, challenging points of view, offer insight, create impact, generate status and above all, illustrate significant value in every single contact with their firm’s prospective and current clients.
In short, participants will define how to ‘live their firm’s brand’ in every interaction with prospective clients.
The programme will also provide an introduction to storytelling and outline the key role that it can play to uniquely position a firm in the mind of the client. A professional services firm’s ‘brand’ is a shortcut for people to know what to expect from that firm. It is “the stories that people tell each other about the firm” or “the way people think about the promise the firm makes” or “the things they say about your firm when you’re not there.” In an industry in which every firm can look very similar, and in which technical competence is now a prerequisite not a differentiator, being able to tell your firm’s story effectively is more critical than ever.
For this reason, ‘storytelling’ now plays a significant role in the business development strategy of professional services firms.
Based on their own firm’s unique ‘DNA’ – their brand, values, heritage and culture – participants will have the opportunity to develop, refine and practise the stories they will tell to validate and reinforce their firm’s position in the minds of their prospective clients.
Finally, participants will establish a plan to ensure that the behaviours and stories they have defined throughout the programme will be exemplified and reinforced across their own firms when they return to the workplace.
Key Elements of the Programme
- Understanding the mind of the professional services buyer and the implications on behaviour
- Key phases in Senior Executive conversations
- Developing a ‘Point of View’
- Principles behind personal impact, status and presence
- Differentiating your firm: using behaviours to demonstrate your values, and reinforce the firm’s brand
- An introduction to Storytelling
Telling your firm’s story