Insphere helps clients improve communication, increase their influence and identify new business opportunities.
A Senior Operations Manager at an outsourcing firm needed to increase her influence with a key client. The client often seemed to resist her proposals.
Sarah introduced the manager to the psychology of decision-making and helped her put herself in her client’s shoes. The manager realised her previous suggestions may have sounded too directive. She decided to change her approach.
Sarah introduced four common communication styles. This led to a ‘light bulb’ moment as she discovered why her client responded to her proposals as she did. Sarah helped the manager choose a style of communication that would suit the client better.
At their next monthly coaching meeting, the manager reported success. Using her new communication techniques made discussions feel “easy”. “Now she waves my proposals through straight away”, the manager enthused.
Senior Operations Manager, outsourcing company
The manager of a large customer services team wanted her voice to be heard in management meetings. Previously, when she had raised concerns with senior management about an IT project, she had received a very negative reaction and felt that her concerns weren’t taken seriously. She feared that her relationships with senior management had suffered as a result.
Sarah helped her develop a plan of action to strengthen her relationships with senior management and voice her opinion positively and persuasively. She gave her practical advice on how to deal with tough conversations, and built her confidence. The manager realised she had sounded negative before. During the session she chose a new approach, which she went on to apply with confidence.
“I feel strong and empowered after coaching”, the manager said. “My opinion is worth listening to, and I can take responses for what they are.” She has now opened a positive dialogue with senior management, confident that her voice is heard and her opinions valued.
Customer Services Manager, Financial Services firm
Mark Goodchild, Managing Director of Challenge Partners, a network of schools who champion excellence, works with educational leaders and political advisors. He attended a coaching workshop on how to pitch ideas persuasively.
Sarah offered him practical tips on how to present an idea really persuasively, whether to an MP, a Head Teacher or a CEO. Then they discussed how he could apply those strategies to actual situations.
He quickly noticed that:
- Giving pitches forms a continual part of his working day, rather than being isolated to occasional meetings.
- A clear, concise pitch is key to how he persuades and motivates people he meets.
- By restructuring his pitch, he could hook his listeners’ attention and make a clear call to action.
“The session was excellently facilitated,” he said. “It gave me some very useful tips, and frameworks grounded in actual examples. These have better prepared me to approach my own situations.”
Mark Goodchild, Managing Director, Challenge Partners
“I met with Sarah 5 times over a three month period. We explored my sales relationships and sales approach using general examples, real-life anecdotes from my own experience, and current opportunities. Our conversations revealed the impact that assumptions had on my thoughts and decisions, and provided some practical advice and techniques.
I was asked by a client to do some analysis and audit work on a large but basic spreadsheet system that I thought was unnecessary, so I suggested the task be omitted. However, they insisted that the work needed to be done, whereas I felt that doing work which had little business value would be detrimental to my business relationships.
As we discussed this, Sarah suggested my views of the task were based on untested assumptions, and I should have a more detailed conversation.
I found that: (1) the source materials for the task were being produced by a junior member of the team who was a new starter, and my client wanted the audit to double as a training opportunity; and (2) the spreadsheet analysis would be used to make public statements about a £multi-million project that would affect its commercial valuation.
This clarified for me how to present the outcomes, and when the task was complete it was: (1) delivered as a coaching session with both the client and the team member, rather than a presentation; and (2) I produced a report containing unambiguous statements about the quality of the analysis.
The client was delighted with the audit and the way it was delivered, and suggested we could be involved in much more auditing of his team’s work.”
Vinod Bhatia, Director, Paragon Simulation
The experienced International Business Development Director of a UK manufacturer was struggling to win new business. During his coaching session Sarah asked a series of questions about his approach. These led him to discover that he was making an assumption which was paralysing him: “Before I call this prospect, I must know all the answers.”
During coaching he chose a new course of action to tackle procrastination and overcome fear. He decided to “dive straight in”, leaving behind days of research and generic PowerPoint presentations.
Three weeks later, the Director had already generated leads from France, South Africa, Canada and Portugal, and received two Request For Proposals, through a simple but profound change. By his follow-up coaching session he was hunting for new business with renewed energy, and has applied his coaching learning to other areas, with success. “Coaching got results and got the buzz back!”
Business Development Director, manufacturing company
Sarah coached a senior lawyer from a global professional services firm. She realised she needed to understand what motivates her clients in order to negotiate win-win outcomes. Sarah gave her some simple techniques on how to ask insightful questions and ran through a checklist: '5 questions you must be able to answer before negotiating'.
The lawyer was astonished to realise how often she needed to use pitching skills, even though she's not in sales. She learnt how to prepare for client negotiations using a 3 step process on how to pitch persuasively. Here’s what the lawyer said after Sarah’s coaching:
“It would never have crossed my mind to treat negotiations like a 'pitch' before - but it works! I've faced so many tough negotiations since our coaching session, where I've used pitching skills to win my audience in the first few minutes. This has been critical to getting me and my team where we needed to be.
"Coaching has helped me see and present a situation in a way that's attractive to both sides and grabs and keeps peoples’ interest. So we can all feel engaged and that we are working towards one shared vision. I’ve used rapport-building skills to change the 'temperature' in the room at the start of a negotiation. - A frosty start never helps anyone and it's a skill to be able to break through it.
“Having a structure to build my pitch around has given me so much more confidence than I had before, knowing that I'm working with solid, tested techniques that I have practised. The tips - and the opportunity to practise where mistakes didn't matter - have made a huge difference in client meetings!"
Rebecca, solicitor, global professional services firm