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.
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
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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