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Pitching for work in Britain 7 th April 2011. Introduction Never Second works predominantly with sellers of professional services to improve their effectiveness.

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Presentation on theme: "Pitching for work in Britain 7 th April 2011. Introduction Never Second works predominantly with sellers of professional services to improve their effectiveness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pitching for work in Britain 7 th April 2011

2 Introduction Never Second works predominantly with sellers of professional services to improve their effectiveness We have also worked with product sellers to fine tune their pitches On occasion we are engaged to run competitive tenders for our clients I am a chartered accountant and over the course of my career I have sold life insurance, advertising, toasted sandwiches, tax structures, boat trips and consultancy I regularly fly to Copenhagen on my way to the former Danish province of Skåne

3 Some statistics... 73% of eventual buyers say “No” five times 92% of sellers give up before or at the fifth attempt 8% of sellers get the benefit of all the previous efforts of the other 92% and secure the deal

4 So... Whatever you are selling and wherever you are selling it PERSISTENCE PAYS

5 Cultural observations Tip 1 British companies tend to develop managers to be 'generalists' rather than 'specialists’ Tip 2 Recent years have seen many people moving job and employer on a reasonably frequent basis Tip 3 British organisations have moved towards a much flatter system of management Tip 4 Job descriptions in the UK are often very imprecise leaving a potential vacuum in ownership of task and decision. Tip 5 Managers like to be seen as part of the team rather than removed from it Tip 6 The value of pure academic education is viewed with some suspicion. Respect is earned through experience rather than qualification Tip 7 Managers find it difficult to articulate direct instructions and will often couch instructions in very diplomatic language. Tip 8 There are a lot of meetings in the UK and they often fail to produce the desired decision Tip 9 The British do less empirical preparation for meetings than other nationalities - seeing the meeting as a forum for debating potential solutions Tip 10 Meetings are reasonably formally structured, roughly following a predetermined agenda and keeping more or less to time. Tip 1 The drive for egalitarianism is strong in Danish business circles. This leads Danes to be consensus-oriented Tip 2 In common with other Scandinavians, Danes seek consensus through detailed discussion and the search for a negotiated agreement Tip 3 Denmark has few truly multi-national companies but boasts hundreds of highly respected players in niche-markets Tip 4 Danish success has been largely built on high levels of design, creativity and technical excellence Tip 5 Employees have, traditionally, tended to stay with one company for much of their careers and job-hopping has been somewhat rare Tip 6 Structures tend to be much flatter than in many other countries with wage differentials reflecting this Tip 7 Managers are expected to be 'primus inter pares' (or 'first amongst equals') rather than figures of authority who give direct instructions to subordinates Tip 8 Promotion tends to be determined through achievement rather than through relationships or networks Tip 9 People are expected to be well prepared for meetings and to be able to argue their own point of view convincingly Tip 10 Pre-meeting lobbying could be viewed as mischievous and underhand.

6 Cultural observations Tip 11 The British like to be part of a companionable team Tip 12 Members of a team are expected to take an holistic interest in the project, rather than confining themselves to their allocated role only Tip 13 The British place diplomacy firmly before directness and will try to avoid engendering negative emotions Tip 14 The British can misinterpret direct speech as rudeness, aggression and arrogance Tip 15 Humour is acceptable and expected in virtually all business situations Tip 16 Self-promotion is not appreciated in the UK. It is far better to self-deprecate. It is, of course, acceptable to be positive about your company and products Tip 17 Meetings will often begin with a good amount of seemingly meaningless small talk Tip 18 Women play an increasingly prominent role in business life - especially in service industries Tip 19 Formal dress codes are still predominant although changes are starting to occur in this area Tip 20 Colleagues will virtually always use first names amongst themselves. It is considered very formal and distancing to use surnames. Tip 11 Meetings can be long and are certainly plentiful - due in no large measure to the consensus-seeking process Tip 12 Debate is often very direct and this is seen as a positive style of communication. Overly diplomatic or coded-language will be viewed with suspicion Tip 13 Danes make good team players - so long as they understand and approve of the team 'rules‘ Tip 14 Communication across functional lines tends to be very open and leads to an expectation of being kept constantly 'in the loop’ Tip 15 Levels of foreign language speaking are very high with many people speaking two or three non-native languages Tip 16 Humour is an oft-used communication tool in Denmark Tip 17 Body language can be somewhat limited which makes the interpretation of responses difficult for people from more expressive cultures Tip 18 A high percentage of women work in Denmark and many reach the highest levels of organisations Tip 19 Danes tend to work contractual hours and make a strong separation between work and private life Tip 20 Dress codes tend to be reasonably informal in Denmark although this can vary across industrial sectors.

7 Key differences: Tip 13 The British place diplomacy firmly before directness and will try to avoid engendering negative emotions Tip 14 The British can misinterpret direct speech as rudeness, aggression and arrogance versus Tip 12 Debate is often very direct and this is seen as a positive style of communication. Overly diplomatic or coded-language will be viewed with suspicion

8 Also be aware... British business dress tends to be more formal Many British managers are generalists rather than specialists There is more of a glass ceiling for women in the UK than Denmark People change employer much more often in the UK British meetings often start with small talk that blurs the distinction between work and private life

9 And the most important similarity.... Both our cultures value humour in the business environment......

10 P Identify Meet Understand Pitch Debrief Follow up Plan Write Follow a structured process

11 P PANIC EDIT WRITE REST LOSE PRESENT MEET SUBMIT Or do it the old way....

12 Public sector “wrinkles” Despite the cuts, there is still lots of opportunity in the public sector Delays and potential changes to the Health and Social Care Bill mean the NHS is a bit up in the air But, the principle of any willing (now capable) provider remains OJEU rules mean that once a tender process starts, access to decision makers is limited

13 What are we seeing in the market? Intense competition Continuity of service Old loyalties weakening In service provision, tight scoping is critical to keen pricing Customers/clients are looking forward not back Relationships remain important – for both market intelligence and to influence decisions But people are moving around so you need to constantly renew and expand your network

14 Helping the prospect to buy De-risk the decision for them – Use credentials to show your expertise – Offer the opportunity to speak to satisfied customers – If appropriate, allow them to experience your product or service before buying – Have a robust approach to continuity of service Have a strong explanation of the benefit to them of using your product or service

15 Dealing with procurement Procurement professionals and procurement processes are increasingly used for services as well as goods With services, it is still people buying people In organisations with procurement people, get to know them You may be able to create opportunities for yourself if you know their targets You are likely to get the “heads up” before a process starts

16 ANY QUESTIONS?


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