me up, Judy!” was the trademark expression of
the evil, money-grubbing merchant, Mr. Smallweed, in
the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak
expression popped into my head when I read Charles Green’s
book, Trust-based Selling®.
It’s rare for a business book to shake up our
ideas, especially one on sales. But Green’s book
does just that. He calls his ideas gently provocative,
while challenging almost every aspect of conventional
selling. If you want a jolt, read his interview, and
this month’s issue, you’ll also learn what
it takes to build a trustworthy consulting practice,
why executives leave their jobs, and why measuring the
ROI of technology investments is becoming a hot topic
in the boardroom. Plus we’ve got reviews of a
handful of new books, and more.
the issue. And send me an email
if you have comments.
Editor, Management Consulting News
What two words rarely appear in the same sentence? Trust
and sales. Charles Green, author of Trust-based
Selling®, thinks we can change
that—and he will show you how. He also tells us
why selling shouldn’t be viewed as a business
process, why pricing should be discussed early in the
consulting sales cycle, and why elevator speeches should
be sent to the basement.
Company Trust: Nix the Talking Heads?
In this month’s interview, Charles Green gives
us his view on the essential role of trust in selling
professional services. Before you even have an opportunity
to meet a prospective client, though, it’s likely
that the client has asked and answered the question,
“Can we trust this consultant’s company?”
what factors contribute to passing that initial trust
to the 2006
Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey of 750
opinion leaders, trust begins with a strong reputation
for delivering top-notch products and services and for
treating customers fairly. A rep for those two attributes
is the foundation for trust.
so many channels of information, prospective clients
are left to sort truth from fiction as they decide which
companies are trustworthy. To make those decisions,
they rely far more heavily on the opinions of friends,
family, and articles in business magazines than they
do on declarations made by company executives.
in most cases, for prospective clients the credibility
of information from friends and family exceeds that
of independent industry analysts. In fact, the Edelman
Barometer points to the steady increase in the credibility
of the “average person.”
talking heads of any type, whether it’s company
CEO’s or industry pundits, may not be the most
reliable way to build trust in a company.
study also notes that the least credible source of information
about a company is its blog, even though blogs are a
good way to help people learn about a business and its
| Memo to HR Consultants: Why Execs Split
an executive decides to look for greener pastures at
another company, it’s common to tempt the individual
back to the fold with money and new responsibilities.
You may think that throwing money at people is an effective
retention tool, but research suggests otherwise.
at executive search firm Korn/Ferry
found that only 5 percent of executives desert their
employers because of money. According to execs, what’s
more important is a professional challenge, a clear
career path, and the behavior of the company’s
some executives ignore a company’s shortcomings
when a new pay package is dangled in front of them.
But this tactic may doom the executive to running in
place on the career treadmill, which usually ends badly
for all concerned.
often, an executive’s career is left to chance.
When an opportunity arises, a promising executive is
tapped to meet a new challenge. Why and how a specific
person was chosen to take on the new role is often shrouded
in corporate mystery.
design and HR consultants can help clients think past
the short-term mindset that money solves retention problems.
As companies fight the “war for talent,”
the most potent weapon is a professionally challenging
work environment that offers a clear view of what’s
possible for an individual’s career.
many clients, an overhaul of career management and leadership
development strategies is the only way to keep their
best people off the treadmill to nowhere.
| Measuring the ROI of IT
years, executives have searched for cost-effective ways
to measure the return on investment (ROI) for information
technology (IT) programs. The results have been mixed.
With an emerging tug-of-war over IT spending in businesses,
look for the ROI of IT debate to surface again.
of a recent Accenture
study of 300 general managers show that IT spending
is expected to grow over the next few years. Only 13
percent of respondents believe IT spending will drop,
and 32 percent believe that recent increases in IT spending
have been too small to meet corporate needs.
the money going? New business initiatives, upgrading
legacy systems, and adopting new technologies are the
top priorities. Investment requests for IT support of
new business initiatives will likely sail through the
boardroom, leaving the crumbs for creaky, legacy systems.
challenge for IT executives will be to create a business-driven
case for legacy system investments, which is always
an uphill battle. Consultants who can help their clients
create an approach to understanding and measuring the
ROI of IT investments should find a receptive audience.
| Four Books for Your Wish List
Knowledge-Based Client Relationships (2nd edition),
by Ross Dawson
years ago, Ross Dawson published a ground-breaking book
on the future of professional services. Since then,
he’s expanded his thinking on how professional
service firms create high value relationships with clients,
and this second edition of his book is the result.
suggests that with a relationship “everything
is possible,” which sounds obvious. But Dawson
goes on to lay out a relationship management strategy
based on knowledge. The book is full of ideas to help
any consultant build stronger, more profitable relationships
101: Bestselling Book Proposals, by
Rick Frishman and Robyn Freedman Spizman
you’ve ever thought about writing a book, you
should know that the process starts with a book proposal.
It’s easy for consultants to minimize the complexity
of that process given that proposals are a tool of the
no mistake—a book proposal is different from a
consulting proposal and this book shows you how to craft
a winning book proposal.
Politics, and Turf Wars, by Patrick
his latest fable, Lencioni’s protagonist is a
management consultant struggling with the kind of turf
wars that plague many organizations. Throughout the
book, Lencioni develops the concept of the thematic
goal as the antidote to corporate infighting.
interviewed Lencioni for Management Consulting
the interview with Patrick Lencioni.
Giant of Sales, by Tom Sant
can we learn about selling from people like John Patterson
and Elmer Wheeler? Just about everything, it turns out.
In this entertaining walk through the history of selling,
Sant gets to the core of what works—and what fails—in
selling. He does that by examining how the best salespeople
in history practiced their craft.
impressive is how Sant relates the lessons of history
to the challenges facing anyone selling products or
services today. Apply Sant’s advice and become
a giant of sales.
interviewed Sant for Management Consulting
the interview with Tom Sant.
| The American Inventor
last thing we need is another reality TV show. I sighed
when I recently saw a promotion for American
Inventor, which is sort of like American
Idol for entrepreneurs. But looking more closely,
I noticed that consultant and author Doug
Hall is on the panel of judges for the show, so
maybe it’s worth a look.
is an entrepreneur himself, and he knows a thing or
two about what it takes to launch a successful venture.
And I’ve always gotten a kick out of the image
of Hall on the cover of his book with a light bulb in
interviewed Doug Hall for Management Consulting
News. If you want to read the advice Hall
gave consultants, you can read
business cycle is one of the single most important determinants
of corporate profitability and stock performance.”
– Peter Navarro
Navarro is the author of the bestselling investment
It’s Raining in Brazil, Buy Starbucks,
Well-Timed Strategy: Managing the Business Cycle for
Competitive Advantage. He is also
a business professor at the University of California-Irvine
and an expert on the application of understandable macroeconomics.
in next month when we ask Navarro why so many savvy
consultants and other business people ignore the business
cycle in the strategic planning process.
for the next issue of Management Consulting
News on May 2, 2006.