Strategy and specialisms
With a career spanning 16 years, she’s spent most of her working life in the B2B marketing and publishing arena. Having set up her own agency, employing two staff and a host of associates, found herself wondering which direction she should take her business.
Should it be a ‘niche’ agency or a larger one (where time is spread thinly around the clients)? Given it was a big decision; she wanted someone external to the business but who had experience of helping other creative agencies position themselves and develop strategy.
At the end of the coaching programme, Joanna has a much clearer sense of direction for the business. “Our specialism underpins our strategy. This has meant that our confidence has grown in terms of the way we identify the right kinds of clients, how we pitch and what we say. We now have no qualms about walking away from business which isn’t a good fit.”
With a strong positioning, we were then able to develop a highly effective networking strategy. “Since working with Melissa, I’ve joined up my online and offline networking – I sit on the marketing committees of my target market’s trade association, hosting round tables and have a series of speaking engagements lined up.
“Melissa made me made me get out and talk to people about the business. Without a shadow of doubt, this has helped to significantly improve our profile, visibility and ‘opportunity to sell’. We now have a very healthy number of opportunities in our sales funnel.”
How we got there:
Joanna and I worked together for six sessions. Each session gave Joanna the space and opportunity to step back and think, “It was great to be able to talk through ideas, work through scenarios and I liked the fact she was genuinely encouraging and interested in the business.”
“We used Melissa because she understands the creative industry and strategic positioning. She also has a very positive approach that is tempered with her ability to be challenging. She’s a really great listener and has a good deal of empathy which is important. Owing to the success and enjoyment of the programme, I regularly refer people to her as I know she’ll be able to help them.”
Laughing all the way to the Bank
Melissa Kidd helps HSBC Premier Managers, to over achieve their acquisition target by 61%.
One of the main benefits of an HSBC Premier personal bank account is the bespoke advice provided by the the Premier Relationship Manager. As well as providing a first rate service for their existing portfoilio, the Managers are also responsible for finding new customers.
Building relationships through networking is one of the most successful ways of doing this. But, as is often the case with professionals, networking is something that many of them struggle with. And this reluctance to go to events means that they are missing out on new business opportunities.
To address this situation, Frank Mowat, Head of Premier Banking SouthWest, and his team designed a one day conference: Networking for Success. It was held in Bristol, in Oct 2010 and he asked me to run a session which would help to improve their confidence and effectiveness.
“After working with Melissa Kidd, the South West Premier team’s acquisition performance has significantly improved,” Said Frank. “To be more specific, three months later, the team are 61% ahead of target. And to put that into perspective, this time last year, they were only 8% ahead. We’re delighted!”
Melissa has subsequently been re booked by the Bank in a number of other regions, who are keen to share in the success.
How we got there
“Melissa ran a very engaging and highly effective Networking Know How session at our conference which absolutely hit the spot,” said Frank.
“Running through what to do before, during and after a typical event was incredibly helpful to ensure we don’t let opportunities slip through our fingers. The confidence in the room dramatically increased.
“A number of our staff had attended her open workshops and been very positive about them, so we wanted her to come and talk to the rest of region.”
“She went down very well,” said Steve Jones, a Senior Premier Relationship Manager, who attended her earlier workshops. “Her material is extremely relevant to our business and her unique and interesting presentation style meant the feedback was extremely positive. It provoked a lot of thought within the room and was talked about for a long time after.”
“It was one of the best events HSBC have ever done in all the six years I’ve worked here!” Simon Hart, Senior Premier Manager
“Melissa was engaging, relevant, funny and opened my eyes to a new way of finding potential customers.” Rebecca Jones, Premier Manager
Making IFAs and Accountants more Memorable
Standing out in a crowd can be difficult.
Especially if you’re an IFA, accountant or both. Attending networking events can often be relatively uncomfortable experiences for many professionals. But IFAs and accountants seem to have a harder time than most.
Why is this?
“All too quickly people brandish us as boring, we get glazed looks when we describe what we do and there are usually a number of competitors in the room.” Said Brian Hill, Managing Director of a South West IFA and accountancy firm. “Furthermore quite a lot of confusion exists for consumers in the market place.”
Brian wanted to work with someone who had a track record of helping financial professionals stand out. He wanted conversational ways of explaining what his firm could do and how it was different from other IFAs and accountants. Plus he needed the flexibility to be able to confidently convey this at both formal business networking events and informal social occasions.
Andy Board, Tax Manager at Smith & Williamson, was in a similar position. Smith & Williamson provide investment management, accountancy, tax, corporate and financial advisory services to private clients, corporates, professional practices, and non-profit organisations. So was struggling to convey their offer in a concise, conversational way.
“One month on from the Make yourself Memorable programme, I’ve now attended 3 networking events, which have all generated much more interest than previously. The responses when I’ve introduced myself have included:
“Oh well I’d like to take one of your business cards”
“That sounds very useful”
“Gosh, you’re a good person to know”
Brian recently attended a training course, where everyone had to introduce themselves at the start. During the break, a delegate approached him saying, “Ah, you’re the man that can save me overpaying my tax aren’t you?”
“So,” said Brian, “In terms of being remembered for the right reasons, I’m very pleased!”
Andy Board said,“Three months on from the course, I’m generating more leads owing to making a better impression and having quality conversations at events”.
How we got there
“The Make yourself Memorable programme consists of half day workshop, a follow up coaching call and regular reminder emails. The workshop took us through the 7 ways we easily remember information and showed us how we could apply them to our business development conversations.
She gave us lots of ideas for how we can describe what we do in a different, easy-to-grasp memorable way. This has been useful both conversationally but also from a broader marketing perspective.
I can honestly say this was one of the most useful training programmes I’ve attended,” Said Brian.
Coke Team are made of more than fizz and froth.
Melissa worked with Coca Cola Enterprises, on a leadership and team development project…
Adrenaline’s running, time’s ticking, and your trainers are squelching from the river you’ve just had to cross. The steep hill, with two of your team members already half way up it, looms ominously. Ten kilometres down, four to go and you’re running on empty…
Fortunately it wasn’t me at the bottom of the hill. I’d already gone through my rigorous assessment and selection process to be involved in this project. I was here to support the performance of their high potential employees.
They’d been asked to take part in the gruelling Source2Sea challenge. This is an annual event, where teams must make their way from the source of a river to the sea and points are awarded for the completion of tasks within time limits.
Coca Cola, the world’s number 1 brand, is a massive organisation of 70 000 employees. You can imagine the range of languages and cultures that exist within it and how those differences can impact the supply chain. The aim of this project was to bring together leaders from France, Belgium and Britain.
It’s a fantastic, focused and fun opportunity for them to develop as leaders and as people. My role was to support their learning along this personal and practical journey.
Challenges came thick and fast. The first being that team – of four men and one woman – to which I was assigned had never worked together before. They came from three plants – Belgium, Toulouse and Paris – with varying degrees of English, fitness, seniority and self awareness.
Interestingly, but somewhat unsuprisingly, those that emerged as star performers had built strong relationships with all their team members and as such were able to motivate and influence them at critical moments.
They were self assured without being chest beaters. Their quiet confidence and sensitivity to the needs of others – particularly the physically less fit, cultivated a real sense of loyalty and team spirit.
They also had a greater degree of resilience, self awareness and were able to control their thoughts and feelings when it really mattered. And generally were all round really nice people.
Coca Cola have a real get-on and-do culture so there was much focus on strategic planning. The winning team weren’t the fittest but were able to plan effectively and so didn’t end up shooting off in the wrong direction.
Yes, a far cry from the arid plains of India but I was, none the less, reminded of Ghandi’s quote, “Speed is irrelevant if in the wrong direction.” It’s just usually the easy way out.
“I’m convinced you have helped me to grow in a very short time…so much so that I have asked if I can continue to be coached here in France to keep on developing myself.
I learned from your coaching approach and have begun to use it with some of my team. Seventy people is a lot so I have chosen a select few and am encouraging them to take more of their own decisions and it’s been very well accepted. Thank you.”
Operations Manager, Coca Cola Enterprises, Toulouse