Background

Back in 2009 the financial crisis hit PWC Advisory with full force. All of a sudden “the phone stopped ringing”,new RFP’s were nowhere to be seen, the pipeline dried up. Something had to be done. The subsequent analysis indicated that despite great reputation, tools and processes, something was missing: the ability to pro-actively approach the market to create projects, rather than to reactively respond to client requests. This included shaping the commercial mindset. Using a quote from a participant: “We, (accountants and lawyers) were not the first in line when God handed out the value selling mindset & capability”. 

Being pro-active, the new leadership identified the risk that this relatively complacent attitude towards sales could risk future growth and affect the retention of key talents. Quote “most of our Partners, Directors, Managers, would not sufficiently know what do to “if the phone stopped ringing” and new projects stopped coming in. We do not want to be taken off guard as we were in 2009. Now is the time to instill a strong Sales Culture in the entire firm, starting with the 150 Partners, so we are equipped if the economy goes south at any point in coming years.”

Solution

PwC has excellent sales tools and processes, Pursuit and Sales Force being the cornerstones. The program we conduct with PwC is the catalyst to get more out of those tools. Using a golf analogy: buying the best golf clubs will get you nowhere if you don’t also practice on a regular basis, both on the driving range and doing the full round. The program, which 150 Partners now attend, gives everyone the opportunity to experience those challenging client situations in a secure environment, an environment where each mistake offers the upside = a great learning experience, and not the downside = lost business, lost trust, lost relations. Yes, the exercises are very challenging, frequently revealing mindset and behavior that we intellectually know is wrong, such as not picking up buying signals, not knowing how to build trust, not being able to handle push-back and criticism, not making the best of challenging situations. As leaders we tend to judge ourselves by our good intentions (and others by their actions), so unless properly managed most partners would be full of good excuses when put on the spot. Our unique didactic method ensures that that tendency is minimized, and that a self-coaching capability is strengthened for each Partner.

Results

"I have won two new major customers in recent months. In fact, I do not think I would have landed these sales unless I had participated in sales training."

                                                                                                      Partner, PwC

"As partners we are extremely important in client and selling context. By being more professional in a client context and sales situation, this will increase our client footprint and we will win assignments we did not win before we attended this course."

                                                                                                                  Director, PwC

  “Our livelihood depends on us being able to build trust with clients and marked and sell our skills. It is especially important that partners are adept at selling and also have the right mindset and attitudes in order to train the next generation leaders and salesforce. This must be instituted as an ongoing program to stay top-of-mind, and not a one-time effort.” 

                                                                                                                   Partner, PwC

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