Structuring Conversations

Joint event with the Institute of Consulting & JGC UK - The Joint Consultants Forum

Thursday 8 November 2012, 6.30pm - 8.30pm

BCS, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

BCS Members £10, Non-Members £15, JCF & IC Members £10 - including VAT. Catering will be provided.

Malcolm Sleath of 12boxes

How you speak with your clients has a huge influence on the value they place on your services.
This determines the level of repeat business you achieve, the referrals you get and the fees you can charge.

Conversations with clients are going to happen anyway, so improving the way you think them through, plan them and carry them out is the most cost-effective way to boost your business and professional results.

This interactive session addresses the following issues:

  • The preparation paradox - It’s a good idea to think through upcoming conversations with clients, but the more you plan in advance the less you may hear what the client is actually saying. Learn how 12boxes resolves this by providing a clear structure for collecting information and thinking through the issues, either in advance or during an exploratory meeting. Discover how this enables you to focus on the client while you establish a clear link in their mind between how they see their situation and your preferred solution.
  • The need to shorten the business-development cycle - Some people thrive on making new contacts and getting to know people, but many professionals who sell and do don’t have the time to engage in lengthy relationship-building exercises. Learn how 12boxes enables you to quickly engage your client in a substantive conversation that helps you to build a relationship they see as valuable. Discover how 12boxes positions you as a trusted adviser and not as a seller.
  • The need to build credibility without giving away your expertise - Many professionals are rightly proud of their expertise and seek to impress clients with the quality of their solutions. Unfortunately, as soon as the solution is disclosed to the client it loses its value. The client asks, 'How long will it take and how much?' without your having an opportunity to assess the true value to the client. Learn how 12boxes enables you to build credibility and encourages the client to talk about the value of your solution before you have described it in detail or even said what it is. Discover how this transforms the buyer-seller relationship into something much more collaborative before you invest any time in writing proposals and the like.
  • Obtaining psychological buy-in - In conventional selling approaches people talk about closing. Business development problems are often couched in terms like, 'Our people aren’t closing sales'. But although there is always a point where a deal is signed, or an order approved, the seller may not be physically present. There is always another meeting after you leave. Most sales that are not closed have never been opened. Learn how 12boxes enables you to understand precisely where the client is in the buying process so that you need never write a proposal again without having obtained the commitment of the client in advance. Discover how 12boxes gets you alongside the client so that proposals, feasibility studies and pilots become joint ventures loaded for success.

Malcolm SleathSince 1976, Malcolm Sleath has been a consultant and coach working with a wide range of clients ranging from world-renowned consultancies to one-person firms. Out of this experience came 12boxes, a way for consultants, professionals and experts to influence others in an appropriate way to achieve their business and professional goals. Malcolm writes a regular Q&A column for the website at