There’s an important rule that plays out in the commercial space: the closer you are to your customer’s business, the more the customer needs you to understand it and all the stakeholders involved. It is no longer good enough to sell your product and disappear.
Whether you are selling products or services to these commercial businesses, helping their staff feel:
• The depth of your understanding of the business they do,
• The unique challenges that they face,
• The unique strengths that they have,
• The opportunities that they either know or don’t yet know about, and
• The threats that are present to them,
make the difference between winning and keeping the business or losing it.
A simulation in this context needs to embrace enough of the complexity of the business to feel realistic, but not so much that self-awareness and relational skills are eclipsed. It must “nail” the emotional tone that is experienced by staff in the business.
Our client, a multi-line, financial services business, consulted us because they knew that their customer-facing staff were good at analysing business opportunities, but not so good at responding to the emotional cues that customers were sending. Many of their staff weren’t picking up these emotional cues, much less responding to them. Our client needed an experience that would open staff up to their customers in a new way . . . and open staff up to themselves in the process.
We were retained to partner in building a capstone experience to a 4-day program, where customer-facing staff learned to:
• Self-manage through the prospecting process,
• Understand the significance of being present to their customers,
• Seek the customers’ stories on a business level and a human level, as each customer is comfortable in sharing, and
• Present their customer and their financial services employer with a holistic solution, placing the supplier in the center.
The simulation stories allowed participants to try, learn, succeed & fail in due measure and try again.
• Gaining a level of confidence with the skills through trial-and-error leading to mastery,
• Appreciating that commercial customers, whether owner-operator or otherwise, come to their work with personal commitment that needs to be seen and acknowledged,
• Experiencing the personal values that can sometimes block staff from truly opening themselves to their customers, and
• Committing to tangible action, which was followed up and built upon in future coaching meetings with each participant’s coach.