Donna had a problem, and she had come to me for help.
Her firm offers a complex service to organisations. They help employees deal with workplace changes.
Donna and her partner teach employees (in client organisations) new communication skills, coach them on how to handle change, and mentor managers to help them cope with the demands of staff during the period of change.
Her clients are CEO’s, senior executives, and Board members of large companies and public sector organisations. The problem was that her clients saw her (her firm) simply as a “trainer” providing one-off training programs.
You see, in the past Donna had trouble getting clients to think past the “training” component of what she offered. They didn’t seem to grasp what she wanted them to see.
What they perceived was a relatively low-value short-term service
To them, Donna was just like all the other “trainers” that they had seen.
What Donna actually offered was a longer-term solution to help the organisation avoid the pitfalls of change that include low productivity, low morale, and high staff turnover.
Creating a service delivery model
As part my work with Donna to improve her sales process, I recommended she prepare a “picture” of how she helps her clients. Sort of like a time-line. In effect this was a service delivery model, showing how the various services she offered fitted together as a complete package.
Donna’s picture (you could call it a diagram, schematic, or flow chart) clearly shows where her “training” events fit into the bigger picture of the process she implements with clients.
What happened next?
Now Donna didn’t really know what to expect. She had never used this approach before. And she had her doubts about how helpful her “picture” would be.
Her very next meeting was with a senior executive from a large potential client. Donna had met this fellow before but had never been able to make progress. This time she used her picture.
Donna carefully explained the process her firm uses, highlighted the training events and the other services offered, and discussed why each step in the process was necessary.
She was delighted to hear her client say:
“Ahh … now I see why you are different to the rest.”
Finally, she was able to differentiate her services. At last Donna could get her client focused on the overall picture of what they can do. As a result she was asked to present her solution to the Board. A fantastic outcome.
All this from a picture – and a pretty simple one at that!