Developing positive client relationships for Siemens PSE Ltd
Supporting a team of Technical Consultants to move from purely transactional client relationships to achieving “Trusted Advisor” status.
SPSE (Siemens Process Systems Engineering), part of the Siemens group, is an industry leader in industrial digitalisation. They provide software and services to sectors including chemicals, oil and gas, life sciences, food products and energy.
The HR team at SPSE approached us to develop the client management skills of their Technical Consultants.
They were keen to support the team in cultivating stronger working relationships with their clients, including skills to:
- Take client relationships beyond a purely transactional level to become trusted advisors.
- Enhance follow up processes to identify future business opportunities.
- Be more proactive in managing clients, particularly when it comes to requests for a change of scope.
We developed a 5 month programme, Positive Client Relationships, aimed at giving the Technical Consultants the tools and confidence to move to a more positive relationship with their clients.
Before embarking on the programme we spent time at SPSE gathering background information about the business context and the participants.
To dovetail with our work, SPSE also introduced a new incentive scheme for their Technical Consultants, to further encourage these changes in approach.
The programme was designed to be delivered both in-person or online. Due to the pandemic, we delivered this online.
The learning was delivered over a series of events:
1) Insights Discovery
We kicked off the programme by enhancing the self-awareness of the members in the group through an Insights Discovery workshop.
This gave the participants an enhanced understanding of their own styles of working and a recognition of how this might differ from their colleagues and especially their clients.
2) Moving to trusted advisor
This module of work explained what a trusted advisor is and the benefits of achieving that status. We then delved into the capabilities needed, including building trust, listening, assertiveness and influencing skills. And, in light of the Insights Discovery work, we looked at how each Technical Consultant’s personal value proposition could help them make a positive impact with each of their clients.
This included time for the participants to discuss what their clients’ priorities were and how they should adapt their approach for each one. Each participant agreed a specific action plan to take forward.
The work was managed over two dates. First a workshop to explore the theories, skills and tools to use. Second, a month later, the group was split into two “learning sets” to embed the lessons and give each participant the “airtime” to update on progress and discuss successes, problems and what they’d like to do next.
3) Working WITH each client
In our next module we moved onto negotiating skills and how to reach a win-win outcome. We included meeting planning and communication skills, as well as refining the personal value proposition for each participant.
We also reviewed what the attendees had tried from the previous sessions “in the field” and how this had worked out. This led to some very constructive feedback and support from their peers as well as our facilitator.
We discussed ways of measuring results and progress moving forwards, as well as agreeing the next steps each participant would take to continue their self-development.
As before, this was presented over two sessions, an initial workshop then a learning set one month later.
4) Close event
This two hour event was held a month after the final learning set. The purpose was to allow participates to discuss their actions and the results – in a positive spirit of celebration and progress made.
We were delighted to receive resoundingly positive feedback from SPSE following the course. We’ve now run this Programme for SPSE for 3 cohorts of colleagues.
“I’ve gained awareness of how to develop better client relationships and more confidence in talking to clients about my work and challenges. I’ve also learned about negotiation and the win-win approach”
“I have learned to identify negative behaviours in myself and how to control them to improve relationships, as well as how to make others feel heard and understood.”
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