Consulting Skills Workshop
Have you ever seen?
Have you ever seen a project’s scope expand yet when it comes to collecting additional fees for the additional work, you find there is no paperwork to reflect the change and no client agreement to pay for more? Have you ever heard a consultant or support professional talk to a client or partner on a project in a manner that was unprofessional or just too candid? Have you ever watched someone on your team engage in a conversation with a client about another problem that the client is having and which your company could solve, and yet never ask the client directly if they could propose an engagement to resolve the issue? These are common problems for most software or professional services firms who are engaged in technical or technology projects. These are the problems that a Consulting Skills Workshop will resolve.
What is a Consulting Skills Workshop?
The CSW is a customizable classroom training session for your technical, consulting, implementation or customer service professionals. It can vary in length, but is commonly delivered in either a ½ day or full day classroom format as part of a quarterly or annual training program. The CSW consists of lectures, group discussions, and group exercises focused around a tailored agenda that has been matched to your most common or largest problem areas. The material focuses on improving your teams’ communication, selling and general business acumen skills, as it specifically apply to their roles in supporting or implementing technology solutions for your clients.
What is Different about the CSW?
Three Words: Relevance, Experience and Practicality. While many organizations offer soft skills training courses for technical professionals, very few have themselves ever been technical professionals or run customer service or consulting organization. Each CSW is tailored to your organization, uses relevant examples of the day to day situations that your team members face and is lead by an experienced senior executive who has led both small and large consulting and support organizations. Each CSW is designed to give your consultants the tools and techniques they can start applying the next day when they return to their projects.
While a great deal of the CSW material and structure is already developed and tested on audiences, we don’t just “show up and throw up”. Our project starts with understanding the specific issues and behaviors you are trying to resolve and correct. Our next step is to prioritize the content and develop a relevant and time feasible agenda for either classroom or web delivery. Once we have agreed upon an agenda and time, we prepare and tailor the content using your language, jargon, and examples of real life scenarios that occur in your business. We build our agenda to be engaging, interactive and participatory.
Your CSW agenda will be uniquely tailored to meet the goals of your management team, based on a subset of the topics listed below:Services Introduction: This introduction discusses the software sales process. By developing a better understanding of the complexity of software sales, your consultants and service professionals will understand and accept the necessity to be able to further define project scope, manage and reset client expectations, and have the necessary soft skills to manage client interactions. As with everything else, solving a problem starts with the awareness and understanding of the challenge being faced.
Managing Client Expectations and Satisfaction: This module presents relevant tailored examples of everyday client interactions and teaches techniques to manage project scope, manage client expectations, improve satisfaction and improve profitability.
The Role of a Consultant: This module explores the role of the consultant within a software company and the many “hats” that they are called upon to wear in order to represent the company. Consultants are taught techniques to respond to this complex role and manage client and internal politics.
Understanding People’s Styles: This module uses relevant examples and exercises to help the consulting team understand how people think differently and interact with each other. Through this module, consultants learn strategies to improve their interactions with clients.
Negotiating Better Project Outcomes: This module uses relevant examples and exercises to train consultants to apply traditional negotiation techniques in day to day project issues and interactions. Role playing exercises are used to improve their skills in influencing others to follow their recommended course of action.
Becoming a Trusted Advisor: This module discusses techniques to change your relationship with your clients to develop a deeper and more “trusted advisor” relationship. Topics explore the role of a trusted advisor, how to build trust and how to give advice.
Presentation and Communication Skills: This module provides relevant examples and exercises to address many of the shortcomings of technical professionals in terms of their personal communications styles and interactions with clients.
Implementation Project Case Study: This case study focuses on a 48 hour period as an implementation project unravels. The case study examines the events through a series of emails that were sent between the Client Executives and the Project Manager and discusses actions and communication styles that could have averted the issue.
Understand Your Customer Better: This module increases consultants’ or service reps’ awareness of customer problems and teaches them to analyze the situation from the customer’s viewpoint. This module includes how to do “discovery” to collect information required for developing a proposal or value proposition.
Selling Skills: This module emphasizes the role consultants and service reps play in selling additional opportunities for your company and provides techniques to assist them in recognizing new opportunities and basic selling skills. It teaches how to create and sell your value proposition and techniques to up-sell and cross-sell new services to your client.
Leadership Skills: This module emphasizes the importance of leadership skills for consultants and service reps. Discussions include key leadership attributes that team members must develop as well as techniques to apply to improve execution excellence.