Building networks and client relationships

This workshop focuses on the importance of building relationships as a way of developing repeat business for professional services organisations. It focuses on how to build long term relationships with key clients beyond a simple transactional relationship to one based on trust, where the client views the consultant as someone to engage with in many more situations and on many more broader, strategic issues. Ultimately this kind of relationship can lead to opportunities for winning additional, high value work.

The workshop design has two central themes and each session or exercise will look at one or both of these:

  1. Establishing professional credibility with clients
  2. Developing relationship management skills

The design is intended to find an appropriate balance between presentation of practical techniques and actual practice. The emphasis of the design is on ‘learning by doing’ with regular exercises focusing on behaviours.

Example learning objectives include:

  • Exploring how client relationships are currently managed, noting what helps and what gets in the way at a personal level as well as organisational level. This acknowledges the prevailing mindset and feeling towards relationship management and seeks to develop energy to learn and implement new ways of approaching and managing clients,
  • Developing awareness of what it takes to appear credible in the eyes of the client,
  • Developing awareness of how to present yourself and engage potential client contacts in conversation (where no relationship currently exists e.g. the cold approach), as well as working on practical tips and behaviours (what to say and how to say it) for creating an immediate personal impact,
  • To understand the process for managing a professional meeting – working with you own agenda and that of the client’s,
  • Developing awareness and ability to be flexible with own personal style (i.e. behaviours) when meeting different ‘types’ of client,
  • To practice the listening and questioning skills necessary to develop new and existing relationships, and to identify and explore the needs of clients – practicing the core skills underpinning any relationship,
  • Developing ability to understand and work with what is being said and not said by the client (i.e. active listening and reading body language).