Leading Edge Value Creation

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Over the past twelve months I have been working with Blair Enns to establish a new consulting service, Win Without Pitching (WWP) - Professional Services. Our partnership brings together the proven WWP value creation and growth approach and First Follower’s expertise in successfully growing professional services.

We truly believe this unique approach will transform those working in consultative environments, including architectural* and design firms, legal services, consulting engineers and accountants.

Why is this important?

The professional services landscape has become increasingly crowded, commoditised and the lines between traditional consulting firms (such as the Big 4) and specialist firms, have become increasingly blurred.

Competing for work in a highly contested market using traditional pricing approaches, erodes profitability and ultimately damages the commercial longevity of businesses. This has been evidenced in the Australian legal services market with smaller and mid-tier firms merging or being acquired by larger, global firms.

Regardless of the size of the firm, from sole practitioners through to global firms, the reality is the current model of time and materials (‘the billable hour’) is an outdated model. It does not reflect the world we operate in, nor the speed with which information is processed and level of automation occur. 

Firms who seek to differentiate their offering on price alone will not survive in the medium term. We need a different way. To ensure long term commercial success we need to shift the conversation to the value we can create for clients through our expertise and insights. It is the value we create for clients which commands a premium in the market as it can’t be easily replicated or commoditised.

Learning how to articulate this is paramount in the contemporary professional services world. And this is where so many professionals struggle. Because how do you price the insights and expertise through highly talented individuals and teams, who draw on their intellect, networks and collective power of their organisations to create better solutions? 

Our clients are highly intelligent, sophisticated purchasers of services and operate in incredibly complex environments. The value they desire comes from advisers who can tackle VUCA style problems, conceptualising new solutions. Helping them to see around the corner, not just telling them that is where the corner is.

Conceptualising offerings in a stakeholder rich environment with competing agendas and helping clients succeed in creating their future state, is where firms of the future will be positioned. The only way to price in this type of environment is through the articulation of the future value your firm will enable and ensuring you are rewarded commercially for doing so.

How do I articulate the value my firm offers?

Let us teach you. 

At the Leading-Edge Value Creation events scheduled next week, Blair and I will take you through the ways in which you determine the value you might create for the client. Our objective is to move the focus from your costs or deliverables to the value you might create for the client and then set pricing guidance based on that value. 

We will illustrate the techniques used to navigate sales in a professional services environment, including the Value Conversation. This includes how to:

  1. Confirm the client’s desired future state (What do you want?)

  2. Agree on the metrics of success (How will we know we have achieved these things?)

  3. Uncover the value that would be created from hitting these metrics (What’s this worth?)

  4. Offer pricing guidance (I’m going to bring you a range of solutions in the $Y to $X range.)

Attendees will leave the event with an understanding of how these techniques can be used in the effective execution of the processes involved in providing consulting services and running a highly profitable firm. Note each event attendee will receive a copy of the ‘Just Four Conversations – A Win Without Pitching Framework for Navigating the Sale’.

 Leading Edge Value Creation - Win Without Pitching Professional Services seminar has been approved by the Australian Institute of Architects for 2 formal CPD points in the competency of Practice Management.  

Join the Revolution

To see if your firm is a philosophical fit with the Win Without Pitching approach and you are ready to join the value pricing revolution, join us in Melbourne on 17 October at Eureka 89 and 18 October in Sydney [SOLD OUT].

Later this month, Blair and I will select a small number of firms to work with on a performance-pay basis to help them create extraordinary value for their clients, and to reap extraordinary rewards. Firms need to register their interest here to be eligible for consideration.

*CPD Eligibility

Ceinwen McNeil is the founder and managing director of First Follower, an international strategy consulting firm which designs and executes growth strategies for professional services. Drawing on over twenty years of business development and client management experience in both the public and private sectors, she founded First Follower to enable businesses to successfully navigate step growth change. Ceinwen’s direct approach, commercial acumen and exemplary stakeholder engagement skills make her a highly sought-after adviser. Visit www.firstfollower.com for more information.

Tune in to Ceinwen’s podcast, the Frank and Fearless, which provides insights for leaders who are interested in growing their businesses and leaning into the wind. Listen to Frank and Fearless here.

Ceinwen McNeil