The third installment of the role of the Red team is one of my personal favorites because we’re dealing with the impact each person can have on the outcome. I know the team goes in together and wins together, but I also know that one person can be a difference maker. If one person delivers a “performance” that educates, informs, inspires and motivates the prospective client in a positive manner that can be a key factor in securing the work. I’ve seen this play out countless times in my own company and working with clients.
For all these reasons, the Red Team needs to make their assessments and coaching “personal”.  If everyone on the team thinks someone else will point out or address issues that the person is unconscious of, and that are highly annoying or even distracting such as inappropriate habits, twitches, or poor manners, the person won’t improve and get the necessary feedback. Not saying what needs to be said is actually passing the buck. This is one of the key areas I focus on when part of the Red Team. I have done everything from telling Presidents to stand up straight, take their hands out of their pockets and make better eye contact to work on improving the handshake and voice projection of engineers. No one is immune for coaching that will improve their presentation and presence. Remember the team goes in together and wins together however that depends on each person’s performance.
“What separates you from your competition? What standards are you setting? What makes people talk about you? What makes people look forward to doing business with you? What makes people tell others about your business?” – Jeffrey Gitomer
Consider the following to help provide some context to my recommendations.
Why do some clients choose us but others don’t?  Why don’t clients recognize and reward us adequately for the value we believe we add to the project?  Why doesn’t a consultant buy into or commit to a solution we are recommending to solve a problem?  Why doesn’t a trade partner or supplier see issues our way and collaborate with us to find a solution?  Worse still, why doesn’t another team member accept our ideas or suggestions?
The answers to all of these questions are related.  We likely have not connected with the prospective client personally and we perhaps even appeared arrogant, selfish, fearful or tentative.  If one of the presentation team members is coming across in that manner at the practice session, it is the Red Team’s responsibility to not only point out the issue but also to address it and coach the person towards the required changes. If not, they risk the person’s attitude and behavior being detrimental to the success of the pursuit.
Research reveals that satisfied clients are six times more likely to give us repeat business. On what basis then are clients satisfied?  Here are most frequent reasons given when they are selecting a firm to do their work:

  • Best value
  • Chemistry
  • Creativity/Initiative
  • Credentials
  • Continuity of people
  • Expertise
  • References
  • Service philosophy
  • Management style
  • Competence
  • Trust

Look at the list carefully. What it is not there in abundance is technical factors – it’s primarily relational. In other words it is about people, it’s about YOU!
These criteria give us many opportunities to differentiate ourselves from our competition.  Quite often experience, credentials and competence is very similar for each of the competing firms.  The key factors for making a difference are usually personal issues and factors relating to relationships, communication, trust and reliability.
Here are a few previous blogs that provide more insight and suggestion for your review.
Final thoughts – Push the client’s hot buttons! If the Red Team has been fully engaged throughout the entire process; if they have a deep understanding of the key issues; if they have put the entire team and each person through their paces, a collective knowledge should exist as to what the hot buttons are. These “buttons” are what enables you to close the deal and seal the relationship. Listen to my audio file to learn how to define and present your solution on a compelling and powerful manner.
Hot Buttons
If you found these suggestions helpful or have other ideas on how to utilize Red Teams please share them with our readers and create a conversation.

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” – Dale Carnegie