How Business Coaching Directly Impacts the Bottom LineJune 15, 2020 | By Wayne O'Neill
Competition can bring out the best and worst in a company. It can positively inspire your team to continue pressing forward finding new solutions to solve new problems for your client. Or, it can have a negative effect of creating complacency just doing what everyone else in your industry is doing.
Business profitability is usually a tell-tale sign that can indicate time for change. Many companies don’t realize they have actually plateaued when in actuality, there is no more room for growth doing things the same way they have always done them.
Markets continue to change; client expectations continue to change; competitors continue to enter and exit the game. So, shouldn’t your approach to client engagement also continue to change in order to grow revenue and become more profitable?
There often comes a time in the life cycle of your company that you need an outside perspective to help identify whether your company is forming a positive or negative response to competition and changing market conditions. That’s why utilizing business coaching can have a bottom line positive impact on your business to turn stagnant financial performance into more profitability and growth.
Business Coaching is Like a Reliable Mirror
I often use the analogy that people can’t see their golf swing. Therefore, they need a golf coach to look at what they are doing to help them improve their stance, hand positioning, back swing, or approach to striking the ball.
Similarly, your company may not be able to see the internal constraints that are preventing your company from growing. There could be too many bad habits or complacent behaviors that are hidden from sight because “this is just how we do things.”
You need a business coach to hold up a mirror to your company. This will help:
- Expose the bad habits … and work toward forming good habits.
- Expose the complacency … and work toward implementing better techniques.
- Expose the lackadaisical approach to engaging clients … to build authentic connection.
When your company receives business coaching, there is a greater opportunity to see things about how your teams have always done things to find areas for improvement. Then, once your teams build new muscle memory in the form of positive habits, behaviors, and actions engaging clients, there is a greater opportunity to grow your business.
Here’s a tip. When you change your approach, you will be best positioned to outpace your competition. Perhaps not right away, as change takes time to produce the desired results. But, over time, as your competitors continue to fall in line with what’s expected in your industry, you will start to outpace the competition before ultimately putting them in the rear view mirror.
What’s the starting point of this new race? It’s about identifying smart clients to engage.
Identify Smart Clients That Understand Your Impact
One of the classic bad habits I have seen in business coaching is taking a high-volume approach to responding to as many RFPs as possible. It’s a numbers game. The thinking is that if we respond to enough RFPs, we’re bound to win a percentage of the bids.
Let me break down this thinking: it is the sure-fire way for your business to plateau. There is no room for growth because you have locked your company into an endless race to the bottom just trying to get hired by winning bids on price and compromise.
Leave this old race to the competition. Engage in the new race of identifying smart clients to engage with that understand the value and impact of your company.
How do you identify smart clients to engage with? Let’s start by identifying the characteristics of clients that you do not want to engage with:
- Selections made based on price
- Pre-qualify puts you on a list with other competitors
- Not open to discussing the problem to be solved
- There are holes in the logic behind their decisions
Compare that to the characteristics of smart clients that you do want to engage with:
- Clearly looking for solutions and impact
- Open to diverse lessons learned
- Willing to discuss the problem behind the problem
- Open to diverse teams and collaboration to solve problems
This is where you need those new, good habits to kick in. Your team can no longer utilize the old, bad habits of complacent client engagement and thinking within the confines of the RFP.
Your team needs to embrace a new approach of thinking critically about how to engage clients, pursuing collaborative solutions as opposed to siloed thinking, and looking beyond the RFP to find hidden problems in the organization that can unlock a larger challenge that the client needs to solve.
As your team continues to build that muscle memory, your company will be empowered to quickly separate smart clients from clients that want to play the old game to be selective in the RFPs you respond to.
Then, once you engage with a smart client, the real work begins of gathering as much intel as possible to form a comprehensive solution that solves the larger problem for the organization.
Align with Political Issues and Build Multiple Paths to Connection
As a business coach, I often ask clients to answer these two questions:
- Did you identify the internal leaders or executives that have the most influence in the decision-making process?
- Did you talk to this other person, department, or company that could be brought into your solution to solve the larger challenge for your client?
In the old way of thinking, the answer to the questions is typically “no.” My goal as a business coach is to help clients turn the answer into “yes” by building positive habits that lead to more productive client engagement.
The specific application is aligning your solution with the business and political issues in the client organization and building multiple paths to connection to foster authentic connection with the client.
Why are these two elements important in the new race that your team has entered?
1. Aligning with business and political issues in the client organization allows you to discover what’s happening inside the client organization and their industry that impact the decision-making process.
In the old race, your team may have just responded to RFPs without even thinking about the larger internal or external issues that are in-play. But, these issues are critical to identify and address in your solution.
- Which department is influencing the decision-making process?
- Which executive has the loudest voice in the room?
- Is there an industry development that could materially alter how the client does business?
Want to start outpacing the competition? Dig into these issues and gather intelligence about what’s really happening in the organization and their industry that cannot be found on the surface of the RFP.
2. Developing multiple paths to connection allows you to gather more intelligence from additional sources. These sources could be within the client organization or from external vendors, customers, or project/scope delivery partners (P/SDPs).
– Internal sources: many clients I have worked with through the years get locked into one person or role they talk to. The bad habit of “this is how we do things” limits their ability to unlock additional perspectives and information from other departments or roles that could reveal the larger problem the organization needs to solve.
– External sources: the bad habit of siloed thinking leads to many organizations missing the opportunity to gather valuable intelligence from other companies that are currently engaged with the client organization. It’s about collaborative thinking. Through this collaborative approach, there could be an opportunity to bring in a vendor or P/SDP to help form a more comprehensive solution to solve the client’s actual problem.
Leverage Your Solution for Value and Impact
Your organization identified a smart client to engage with, ensured alignment with their business and political issues, and developed multiple paths to connection to gather as much information as possible.
Now, you’re ready to deliver the solution after putting in the work, time, and effort. This is where your team can create an informed narrative about how your solution will solve the larger problem that the client is facing. You also have the opportunity to connect your impact to the client’s business and political issues.
Because you identified a smart client to engage with, they will be receptive to your solution because they are looking for solutions and impact, they are willing to discuss how your solution solves the larger organizational problem beyond the confines of the RFP, and they will be open to collaborative problem-solving.
What does this add up to?
1. Differentiation from your competition.
2. Greater opportunity to create more project scope.
3. Greater opportunity to grab more pieces of scope or larger pieces of scope.
4. Clear path forward to grow revenue in a more collaborative and intelligent way.
5. Deeper connection with the client to position yourself for future revenue opportunities.
6. New reciprocal opportunities with vendors and P/SDPs to be brought into other projects.
Ultimately, this approach leads to a positive bottom line impact on your business by using resources effectively and intelligently to generate more revenue opportunities and increase profitability.
Consider Business Coaching to Achieve Bottom Line Growth
The new race or new approach to client engagement is supported by our methodology, The Connection Process.
We provide business coaching to clients in multiple industries such as health care, higher education, government, and other industries on how to create more project scope. Like a reliable mirror, we identify each organization’s challenges. And, like a good swing coach, we work to form good, new habits that lead to positive outcomes engaging with smart clients in your industry.
We work with clients to accelerate deal flow, and our proven methodology helps clients leverage connections to create faster, more sustainable revenue. Through this approach, businesses grow and achieve positive financial results in a more collaborative and intelligent way.
To find out more about how our business coaching can have a bottom line impact on your business, contact us today. We would appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation about how we can help your organization start the new race and outpace your competition.