Our objective was to have our key sales people create more selling activity and close more business. The biggest impact KWC has made is clarity around authentic selling and flexing our styles to suit the context of the pitch and creating rapport.

Nancy Wilde, Director

£1.35m in 3 months

The Furniture Practice is an ambitious, highly successful, innovative furniture company which has excellent long-standing relationships with clients and manufacturers alike. For 20 years the company has offered a truly objective, design-led service from consultation to installation and aftercare.

After three months the data around both improvements in skills levels and contracts won was impressive: 29% group average improvement in their business development performance and £1.35million of additional sales (on a £20million turnover) were reported by the group as a direct result of having undertaken the Rainmaker development.

The Brief

The initial discussion with the principals of The Furniture Practice was around pitching skills. However, it became apparent during the meeting that there was a broader need for business development capabilities: to take talented, creative account managers and give them the skills and motivation to grow the business. This led to a targeted and intensive programme proposal for a smaller group of senior account managers.

To turn them into Rainmakers.

the big picture

With ambitious growth plans there would of course be a need eventually to be better in the more formal pitch, but more important was the ability to spot opportunities, generate more leads, go out and forge new relationships and effectively leverage off existing ones.

The Rainmaker programme delivers just that. It is all about business growth and eight account managers were signed up for the six-month journey, with an extensive pre-programme assessment, three day immersive event, post programme analysis and regular Business Growth Workshops.

the three day immersive event

This event is the starting point and kicks off the six -month journey, creating the momentum that is vital. Attitude and Approach is addressed first, followed by a focus on the value proposition though the emotional connection and finally advancing the relationship when in the room.

Delegate feedback from the event included:

"Superb" ... "A resounding success"
"My expectations were met... and they'd been set high"
"Really useful and relevant with clear application to our business model"
"Understanding what type of sales person and tailoring this to be more effective"
"Knowing the different types of pitch and what works best for you"
"Making it about the benefits not the features"
"If I me then you: Asking for an outcome, rather than conceding ground"
"Improved my attitude to BD" ... "That it's not always about detail"
"Having the chance to reflect on new ideas and increase my knowledge"
"Learning to use questions to steer a conversation"

 After the immediate ‘high’ and potential ‘quick wins’ from attending the Rainmaker Event, preventing application of the learning dropping off requires ongoing support to keep generating forward momentum. This is due to what psychologists call the ‘forgetting curve’ i.e. the fact that people forget what they’ve learned over a period of time and need both refreshers to aid memory and motivation to aid application.

A Six Month Journey: Business Growth Workshops

After 3 months, the data around both skills levels and contracts won was impressive.

To keep driving the momentum and results,  we worked closely with the client to tailor their Business Growth Workshops which were an essential component of the programme as they:

Keep the nascent rainmakers from slipping back into old ways
Provide evidence that they are doing the right things through increased sales
Embed the good stuff they have learnt
Respond in the moment to business needs and challenges
Address individuals specific learning needs at specific points in time

 Director Nancy Wilde sat in on the second business growth workshop and gained valuable insight into what the programme was delivering, as well as where the delegates were on their journey.

the results

At the end of the day sales solve everything and the expectation was that after the programme sales numbers would be demonstrably higher and so it has proved. This is Kirkpatrick Level Four; improving the bottom line.

Every delegate on the programme would recommend it to others as a way of enhancing their selling capabilities. Here are some hard numbers at the three-month stage of the journey.

Winning work: £1.35 million in sales reported as a direct result of Rainmaker Programme.
29% business development performance improvement.
80% of the knowledge and skills learned applied directly to their role.
20% improvement in spotting sales opportunities ... 20% efficiency improvement in BD
20% increase in ongoing client relationships ... 10% increase in closing sales and growing the business
20% increase in becoming a trusted advisor

Skills levels at Kirkpatrick level four, making a difference to the business, are measured across a range of qualitative metrics. The key areas where delegates indicated improvement were:

Talking more about benefits… keep asking questions rather then go in for the sell.
Asking direct questions. ... Seeing opportunities for the entire business not just myself.
Setting time in the diary for business development.
A better understanding of what type of salesperson I am.
Keeping in contact with our key strategic partners.
Flexing my style… being interested in topics I don’t typically read/talk about.

director, nancy wilde

Our objective in working with KWC was to have our key sales people create more selling activity and close more business.

The biggest impact KWC has made to our sales team is clarity around authentic selling – who we are as sales people, flexing our styles to suit the context of the pitch and creating rapport.

As a result of the training our attitude towards business development has become more proactive with a greater understanding of how to steer a business development meeting and improved confidence in questioning techniques, that shift the focus towards the value proposition.

The course has given us an opportunity to reflect on business development practice whilst reminding us of the importance of new business development activity and to more acutely identify potential opportunities.

and finally

This is an ongoing journey. We continue to enjoy working with The Furniture Practice and look forward to seeing the fruits of their continued efforts in making Rain in Clerkenwell.

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