Client consulting skills for professional services



This course has a simple objective: to help you build stronger client and business relationships using a more client-focused communication-based model. Participants will also gain new skills, knowledge and tools to improve their ability to develop business opportunities (from both new and existing contacts) with more certainty and assertiveness.

Training objectives

As a result of this course, participants will be able to:
  • Master the dynamics of interpersonal communication with potential clients – gaining rapport, getting meetings set off properly, controlling meetings, adding value
  • Use a variety of structured and high-impact questioning techniques to uncover opportunities, need areas and business criteria – confidently and efficiently
  • Follow up and progress opportunities effectively, using strategic planning and focused business development planning
  • Differentiate their solutions clearly and accurately with client-matched value statements
  • Present the right USPs, features and benefits and make them relevant and real to the client
  • Use advanced techniques to develop client needs, value and decision-making criteria in depth

The skills developed over the two days will add value to all the participants’ client meetings and client relationships.


Partners, fee earners and others responsible for business development.


An intensive one-day course.

The expert trainer

Graham specialises in providing high-quality consultancy, coaching and training in sales, sales management, customer service and personal productivity. He has a long career in sales and was a top-performing IT and solutions sales professional and sales manager. His most recent full-time role was as Managing Director of Sales Productivity and Development for Thomson Financial, helping develop a large European sales force.

His work has taken him all over the world and involved him in working closely with hundreds of different organisations from all business sectors, his client list including such organisations as BT, Vodafone, AT&T, Orange, Pfizer, GSK, Boots, Unilever, American Express, Thomas Cook, Apple, Sony, Motorola, Cisco, MFI, Barclays Bank, LIFFE, Abbey National, Prison Service, Home Office, Law Society, BBC, Daimler-Chrysler, Citroen, Weetabix, Nikon, Shell and many, many others. In addition he has written over twenty books published in several different countries, including Companies don’t succeed – people do!, 90 Brain Teasers for Trainers, Customer Service Games for Training, Sales Training Games, Telephone Tacticsand Working Smarter.

Known internationally as both a trainer and a popular motivational speaker, he believes that effective learning has to be interactive and challenging. All his learning events are built around practical exercises, role play and case studies. His training style focuses not on just explaining new ideas or developing new skills, but also on motivating people to use them and to develop themselves as individuals. This approach gets results, as the following comments from course participants show:

‘Brilliant course, really interesting and very focused to my job role and day to day work.’

‘Took away some very good ideas that I can use every day… good examples too.’

‘Very confident in the subject, and amusing too. Made the course very interesting. A very clear sales model to use going forward.’

‘Full of useful hints and tips which I will apply to my job.’

‘Extremely well presented and structured’

‘A very intensive course and a lot of concrete tools provided.’

‘Useful data, tools and insights; engaging and interesting as always.’

‘Very good… contained everything we do on a regular basis and problems we have come across… the exercises made it very interesting too.’

Course outline

  1. Introduction
    • Course overview, objectives and introductions
    • The importance of good client skills and personal effectiveness
    • Understanding personal effectiveness
      – Defining personal effectiveness
      – Understanding the business climate and how this effects personal effectiveness
      – Behavioural influences
      – Factors which influence human behaviour at home and at work: courage and empathy
  2. Relationship management best practice
    • How to build and manage key relationships within an account – with relevant examples and tools
    • Qualifying and managing key influencers accurately, and producing a ‘relationship matrix’ for each account quickly and easily
    • Developing a coach or advocate
    • Approaching and developing new contacts strategically, plus tools and techniques for successful tracking of contacts, future actions and call-backs
    • Utilising CRM tools and networking sites, including Linkedin
    • Planning session and role-play to gain an appointment with key contacts
  3. Consultative communication model
    • Developing communication strategies that work – The 4 Cs Model
    • Planning communication: starting, maintaining and ending discussion
    • Six elements of good communication in practice: Connecting, Questioning, Encouraging, Listening, Summarising, Providing
    • Ways to structure your communication for maximum effect and impact
    • Creating your 30 second summary – making your points clearly and precisely
    • How you can influence your response by the verbal techniques you use
    • Structuring your message for best results
    • Opening and endings; how to best start and finish your communications
  4. Connecting
    • The first five minutes – ways to gain instant rapport and set the foundation for a consultative approach in a first meeting
    • How to structure an effective consultative meeting
    • How best to differentiate your solutions and build credibility and enthusiasm early in the buying process
    • Overcoming buying initial resistance and relaxing the client, where they are a new contact
    • Opening the meeting: PBC (purpose-benefit-check) and gaining agreement to proceed
    • Client meeting best practice, tips and tricks
  5. Consulting
    • Identifying and summarising client needs and requirements accurately
    • Key skills and approaches for this stage of the client’s buying process
    • Mapping user and business needs, consequences, payoffs and criteria onto your solutions
    • Using the alternatives assessment tool to uncover value and client preferences
    • Decision-making criteria – tools to help you develop these with the client and in doing so progress your sales opportunity more accurately
    • Qualifying opportunities accurately and identify next steps to progress client sales opportunities to a successful conclusion
    • Dynamics when asking questions: active listening, drawing-out skills, summarising, etc
    • Creating a ‘disturb’ approach to creating needs and opportunities and positioning your solutions
  6. Convincing
    • Defining and agreeing comparative advantages with your contact or client
    • The six principles of unconscious influence and how to use them
    • Client-focused value messages: how to differentiate your solutions clearly and accurately with client-matched value statements
    • Express the content clearly, concisely and correctly, plus choosing the right words that persuade effectively
    • Using the core emotions: Confidence, Empathy and Enthusiasm
    • The Persuasive Presentation Model
      – What is a good, persuasive client-focused presentation?
      – HOw do you rate as a presenter? A 30 point self-assessment
      – The five questions you must answer before preparing your presentation / demonstration
      – Building a benefit bank
      – Doing your homework; knowing your objectives, audience and resources
      – Getting organized; check-lists for more effective demonstrations and presentations
    • Performance and delivery
      – On the day, final preparation check-list and mental rehearsal
      – Staying calm and controlling nerves
      – Using visual and presentation / demonstration aids
      – The 10 most common errors that presenters make
      – Key communication skills for this stage – identifying buying signals, dealing with client questions and objections
      – Creating and presenting a compelling proposition
  7. Commitment
    • Key skills and approached for this stage of the client’s buying process
    • Isolate, prioritise and answer objections and concerns more openly, accurately, using a consultative not confrontational approach
    • Deal more effectively and profitably with price objections and reduce ‘buyer’s remorse’
    • Ways to ask for commitment professionally and pleasantly
    • Managing the transition from prospect to client
  8. Networking skills
    • The importance of networking, and different forms of networking situations
    • Maximising the power of quality connections: connectors, maverns and ‘salespeople’: the 150 people
    • Become more confident and assured when ‘working’ a room
    • Conversing – developing engaging, relevant and interesting conversations on purpose, using high-impact and leverage questions
    • Use effective follow-up to maintain active contacts and connections
    • How to position yourself as a centre of influence
    • Follow-up – a simple check-list to maximise the value of connections
  9. Course summary and action plans
    • Review of main learning points
    • Presentation of personal action plans

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