A rigorous workshop practising client calls, meetings, and building relationships
Deloitte are the preeminent global professional services firm, delivering services in audit, tax, consulting, financial advisory and risk management services in over 150 countries around the globe. In this case we working with the UK tax team, crossing multiple disciplines: corporate, indirect, private clients, transfer pricing, etc.
The tax leadership team had launched ‘Project Brave’ – a multi-streamed initiative to develop business advisers of the future and help specialists work beyond their narrow technical expertise. We were asked to develop a two-day workshop for individuals typically about 4 years into their career at Deloitte, focusing on business development skills. On a spectrum of sales experience at one end were people who had done cold call sales, and at the other those who had barely spoken to a client.
Working alongside an L&D lead we were keen to create a workshop where different levels of experience could be shared and leveraged amongst the peer group to increase their confidence and enthusiasm for business development. Prior to attending the residential workshop the participants interviewed some business development heroes to dispel myths and get some stories about going to market. With the capacity for about 16 participants the workshops kicked off with lots of fun and energy with a marketplace activity, and this level of participation permeated the two days.
Plenty of practice, including with professional role players, gave everyone a chance to get stuck in and build their skills. Light touches of theory were interwoven with practical application to current and prospective clients, covering areas such as: being a trusted business adviser, walking in your client’s shoes, initial calls, pitching ideas, managing a tricky service moment.
Participants have loved the experience – in particular having the chance to realise that business development is neither a dark art nor deeply difficult, it’s just about chatting to and helping people. With a large population to cover the workshop ran many times in its first year and now runs as part of the standard curriculum.
Catseye initially provided all the workshop facilitators, but have now moved to developing an internal facilitator to work alongside them to increase leader-led learning. The long-term verdict of how many life-long client relationships have been spawned as a result of the workshop will be re-evaluated in the year 2057!