Good Isn’t Good Enough When It Comes to Sustainable Revenue Growth

Wayne O'Neill and Nancy Ursey, from HNTB Architecture, at the 2016 SMPS National Conference

Wayne O’Neill and Nancy Ursey, from HNTB Architecture, at the 2016 SMPS National Conference

The feedback I got from people who attended my talk on Revenue in Plain Sight at the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Build Business 2016 national conference in August was remarkable on so many levels.

The first thing I was struck by was the diversity of the attendees. There were people in mid-career, Millennials, even top executives of various construction firms.

Even with those diverse backgrounds, they were telling me the same thing: We’re doing well – but we’re not being proactive about growth.

Ask a person from a typical successful firm and you’ll hear …

  • We’re doing great!
  • 110%
  • Repeat work
  • We’re blowing the doors off
  • We’re winning so much work!

But what I was hearing after the talk was …

  • As good as we’re doing, we’re not leading in ways that give us a shot at maximizing profitable sustained growth
  • The more I think about it, there are a lot of things sitting around us that we are not proactively shaping

In other words, they were winning work, but they didn’t see what was staring them in the face until my talk opened their eyes to it.

Seeing the Work

To “see the work” means to see the opportunities sitting right in front of you. To notice what you have been missing all along. Or maybe you’ve subconsciously noticed it, but you haven’t talked about it.

Everyone has opportunities that have been staring them in the face, going completely unnoticed. Spotting them is a learned skill (this is what I teach as a coach and speaker – and what I’ll really get hands-on with in our upcoming Rapid Fire Interactive Event).

At my SMPS talk, attendees scratched the surface of learning to see the work. Their eyes started to open to the possibilities, and they quickly went from “We’re doing great!” to “Maybe there are more opportunities we could be capturing.”

When you see the work, projects can be secured in a much more evenly paced manner. This enables the top leadership – particularly the top technical and operational leadership – of those firms to plan for the resources needed to deliver.

Secondly, when you see the work you can shift to more account-based revenue so you won’t hit the panic of hiring then wondering what to do with the employee after the original scope winds down.

It’s a really good spot to be in. It’s not about individual projects, it’s about accounts.

With how many people reached out to me after the talk, or responded to my request for feedback, it’s clear that not seeing the work is a pretty pervasive problem.

Making the Time to Dig In

Another thing I kept hearing was “I wish the talk was longer.”

The talk was an hour and 15 minutes! And I was very interactive, providing feedback and coaching on specific audience issues.

I’ll tell you why an hour and 15 minutes wasn’t long enough, though.

A lot of people came in thinking their companies were in pretty good shape, and they left thinking that maybe they weren’t doing as well as they thought they were. In that hour and 15 minutes, they learned there are things they could be doing to go from “good” to “outstanding.” It surprised them – especially the folks from healthier firms.

This is why we created our Rapid Fire Interactive Event.

We understand that people often need more time with us to learn what we are teaching, but they aren’t always ready for 1:1 coaching.

Our Rapid Fire sessions are four hours long and we dive really deep with a group of 35-40 people. We give 20-25 examples of work hiding in plain sight, across the country and in different verticals. We really get into the details of how to see the work. We show you where it’s hiding, what the business and political issues are that surround it, and how to use those issues to communicate the value of working with you. We go through the account shaping process so you pull out of project-based thinking and shift to account-based thinking.

Rapid Fire isn’t a talk – it’s a forum where everyone can ask questions and get coached on their specific issues. It’s interactive – not just with me, but with everyone in the room. We don’t just sit, we do the work.

The Bottom Line

I work with billion-dollar firms and struggling firms alike, and they have the one thing in common. They’re not scooping up every opportunity that’s right in front of them.

I invite you to join us at the next Rapid Fire Interactive Event on Tuesday, Sept 27 at the Hotel Sorella in Houston. You can find more information here on our website.

Though I love speaking about revenue hiding in plain sight, I’m also actively speaking about:

  • Leveraging stewardship equity
  • Leveraging operational savings that attracts equity investment
  • The difference between connecting and presenting
  • How to know that your firm is really growing

Keep an eye on our Speaking page for upcoming talks, or reach out to Maurielle Balczon to hire me to wake up the attendees at your event.


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