Driving business growth in the face of a global recession is perhaps one of the most pressing issues facing business leaders and organisations today. It isn’t a matter of inventing new strategies, installing new software or even changing the metrics. It is a about establishing trusted, authentic and value based relationships with clients.
According to a Financial Times Effective Client-Adviser Relationships Study, 51% of consultants say they offer excellent value for money but only 2% of clients agree. “That’s a huge disparity, and food for through, and most certainly shows that a certain ‘reality check’ is needed for client engagement approaches,” says Vanessa Bluen MD of integrative training consultancy The Consultant Powerhouse.
Bluen says that global trends and movements indicate that a significant paradigm shift needs to happen in terms of how businesses relate to their clients. In an ever expanding and digitally connected economy, the intelligent and switched on clients of today will demand commercially savvy advice and long-term partnerships to assist them in achieving their business goals.
According to Bluen, smart business leaders know that building relationship capital will boost the bottom line, in a long-term and sustainable way. “Relationship management isn't a new concept, but it’s an idea that is still half-baked in most organisations,” says Bluen. “If businesses are to grow, they need to accept that change is necessary, and they have to change the way they engage with the client.”
By bringing out globally acclaimed author and founder of IOWEU (a next generation client engagement approach implemented in 26 countries,) Keith Dugdale - The Consultant Powerhouse has brought this global trend to a South African audience. Dugdale will be addressing a range of business professionals at a public workshop in Johannesburg on 16 September, in order to empower business leaders, key account managers and business development teams with global trends and techniques to gear up for smarter client engagement.
The reality is that SA businesses need to drive growth, but only by building trust-based relationships can they ensure their long-term survival. To this end, Dugdale explains that “we need to measure and reward employees who improve relationship capital, in equal measure to established metrics of measuring sales success, based on sales pipelines and other ‘hard’ figures.”
He concludes, “We have to be honest with ourselves, and ask: Does my client see me as a ‘necessary evil’, or a ‘trusted advisor’? It will mean the difference between survival and extinction.”