Any business is dependent, to a degree, on its ability to sell. But due to the project nature of consulting, that dependency is especially acute.
This interactive networking and learning session focused on the pitching aspect of selling. It’s relevant to all consultancies, whatever their stage of maturity, because even through friendly introductions, you’re still pitching. The quality of what you say, how you articulate your proposition, and how you get people engaged in the value you are going to deliver, really matters.
SBR Consulting have codified and systemised the things that really matter in consulting selling, and in this session, Alan Morton, Managing Director, shared his ideas and concepts, tools and frameworks to give consulting owners clarity and structure around their pitch processes.
The pitching methodology
According to Forrester, only 22% of buyers believe that those selling to them understand their issues and where they can help.
And a mighty 89% of buyers feel that sales meetings are a waste of time.
So SBR Consulting have developed a sales pathway for consultancies to follow that is structured around their unique methodology. It includes the 10 stages of a great sales interaction and four key techniques that sit over the top of those stages. Alan was kind enough to talk our members through their methodology and also give them the chance to assess their performance at the end of the event to identify potential areas of improvement in their pitch process.
To pitch or not to pitch
A fundamental aspect of a pitch process is deciding whether or not to pitch at all. During our event we asked our members whether they have a documented list of qualifying criteria that is consistently applied within their consulting business. Almost two-thirds of consultancies do not.
To help reduce that number, in groups, our members discussed what they need to know about the client to be effective in a pitch. Questions such as ‘Does the problem the client is trying to solve match with our sweetspot of what we can do?’ and ‘And are we strong enough to walk away if we don’t fit?’ were shared. Alan talked through SBR’s framework for identifying whether to enter into a pitch process, and also put them into context amongst some others:
Go back to go forward
Here is Alan explaining how to manage a sales conversation so that, at the point you’re pitching, your prospect is all ears:
The pitch conversation
According to Alan, being fully aware of your objectives during the pitch process, distinguishing between knowledge and action objectives, and understanding the need for a combination of the two, will improve your pitch performance.
He also shared his insight on how to have effective conversations during a pitch process. “Unfortunately, all too often, a pitch is a monologue,” explained Alan. “It’s not the dialogue, and the opportunity to co-create and get engagement, that it should be.” Alan also explained how to establish a buying atmosphere at the start of a meeting (one of the most powerful tools in selling), and described how to get a conceptual agreement for the work ahead of time by agreeing early the thing that you’re going to be asking for at the end of the interaction.
A good opener enables a good close
With over 20 years’ experience in selling, Alan understands how to create the right environment for decisions to be made. He shared his experience of navigating the pitch conversation so that it ends in commitment, whatever form that might take:
Our attendees finished the event by completing a short self assessment of their performance during a pitch process. The participants received a copy of their results and were able to use it to put some of Alan’s recommendations into practice.
Article | Sales and marketing
Ali El Moghraby
Head of Marketing
The Consultancy Growth Network