Build Customer Engagement

WHAT  TWO THINGS DO BUSINESS PEOPLE FEAR MOST? GIVING A SPEECH AND COLD CALLING. Contacting senior  executives to get a meeting.

If you ask around, the success rate of getting on a senior  executive's calendar is also remarkably low. In fact, I often hear the statistic of around 5%, answering the question  why people spend so much time searching for introductions. Or worse, they  target low in an organization, hoping to move up the ladder later. Forget it; that doesn't happen. The introduction that you spend so much time  getting is usually the wrong person and certainly not at a C-level. 

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: This  is a skill that can be learned with the right preparation and good coaching. 

Take it from someone  who is very, very good at this and has trained and coached many teams to  improve their success rate. Most people do not know how to get  meetings with potential customer executives or how to engage in a conversation  that solicits useful input and feedback that will increase the chances of  success and capture first customers. These are skills that can be learned.

I LEAD, TEST, COACH, TRAIN, and DELIVER: I work with  founders and CEOs to arrange key customer development meetings and for most,  this is a very new experience. I lead the conversation to actively explore  customer problems that require a new or better solution, assess the need,  surface priorities, understand impact and the resulting value of the solution,  and learn how and why a customer will buy. 

I often hold these meetings  on my own but for key interviews, I bring in the founder or CEO to hear what  customers say first-hand. We prepare,  practice and debrief each encounter, getting better each time. We become a good team, adept at hand-offs.

FOR LARGER ORGANIZATIONS, BUSINESS SCHOOLS,  ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAMS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES: I facilitate  group workshops "Engaging  Customers From The Top" ™. In this workshop, participants learn how to  research problems and articulate issues that capture the attention of a senior  executive, causing him to want a meeting. Certain questions are conversation-starters that position us as peers  with value to offer, encouraging the executive to answer and collaborate, not  protect the critical information that we need to move ahead. 

Participants learn how to  question effectively, how to understand the response, and how to move the exploration  forward. We work on group assignments  and practice with role plays. I often model behavior and demonstrate; I am  happy to be the 'first victim in" and share my own stories that encourage  participants that they, too, can get better at this critical skill.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Assignments  to get meetings with potential customer executives allow participants to  practice in the real world and build their skills. They learn how to identify potential  customers, to solicit market feedback and validate their business models.

"Good Leaders Innovate" is an allied program, addressing the need and the power of leaders to reach out to customers themselves and to create an organization that engages with customers early and often.


 


Testimonials

Great Results, Personable, Expert, High Integrity, Creative

Delivers results   "Your contribution to the company has been tremendous. You have helped us  to form an enterprise program, scope a market and open doors to key players in  the market. Your professionalism and integrity are unsurpassed in  my experience."

Leads Effectively  "The praise really goes to you -- for choosing us, organizing us, and keeping us on task  those many months." 

Inspires innovation  "Gail ran a two day workshop with our executive team to assist with some strategic product development initiatives. Gail was an excellent facilitator and we were thrilled with the ideas that were developed over the two days."

Easy to work with "Gail has been great to work with. She is very focused towards getting the results. I would highly recommend her."

Flexible roles  "Gail is as comfortable stepping into a company as an external advisor or mentor, as she is in taking the role of chief executive; leading business development and sales; handling corporate communications; spear-heading investor relations and making investor presentations."

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