A first class team building experience

Six strangers become a crew

By David Tovey

Cowes_weekI was fortunate to be able to spend five days in early August sailing on the Solent during Cowes week.

During the week, as we sailed during the day and at night, it reminded me yet again about how much can be learned about teamwork and leadership on board a small sailing boat – and how similar sailing is to running a business team.

The Solent during Cowes week is an extremely busy stretch of water.  Hundreds of racing yachts and leisure craft come together for seven days of racing and nautical fun during the first week of August. It’s a fun environment that needs serious attention to the safety of your own boat and that of others. The sea can be a very dangerous place to be if a boat isn’t skippered and crewed well.

The crew I was part of on my most recent nautical challenge had never met before. It consisted of a South African, an Italian, a German and three Brits. A crew of six that had come together to achieve one main objective – to get a 40ft sailing boat to operate safely in one of the busiest stretches of water. (Continue Reading…)

Five reasons you won’t win business

What to do when buyers are not saying ‘yes’

By David Tovey

Success_FailureThe famous Zig Ziglar once wrote that there are five obstacles to gaining a sale, no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.

Many organisations at that time went about developing training courses to overcome ‘objections’ under each of the obstacles headings as they sought to find short cuts to closing a deal. In my own sales career I was even provided with an encapsulated A4 sheet of ‘smart’ responses to reel out anytime a customers indicated they had no need, no money, no hurry, no desire or no trust. Each time I look at that sheet I’m embarrassed by how manipulative and sometimes less than truthful some of the techniques were.

The five reasons you won’t win business still apply, how you deal with them in the 21st Century needs to be different.

A 21st Century response required

In the 21st Century when a seller pushes a product or service or uses any sales technique then todays buyers automatic response is to resist. Today’s buyer is just too sophisticated and aware to be taken in by persuasive sales or marketing techniques. (Continue Reading…)

Cross Selling

The toughest nut to crack?

By David Tovey


I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been asked if I could help ‘fix’ a firms cross-selling problems. Most firms have loyal clients buying services from competitors that they themselves could provide and senior managers often see this as lucrative business they should chase.

Many firm instigate cross-selling initiatives, encouraging their people to ‘get out there and refer your colleagues’ or ‘get out there and sell’ – only to find that nothing much changes.

 Grasp the nettle

In fact most cross selling initiatives fail because firms fail to grasp the nettle of business development, cultural and leadership changes that are needed to significantly affect fee income.

The worst kept secret is that every professional advisory firm is trying to win more business. Clients know partners and managers have business development responsibilities. If fee earners don’t want to be seen as mere pedlars of professional services the first thing they need to ensure is that the client’s best interests are at the heart of any cross-selling activity. (Continue Reading…)