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INDUSTRY: Professional Services

Helping new managers grasp the business development challenge……..


This large accounting firm (just outside the big 4) has (as every other firm has) a large population of people recently qualified as accountants or tax specialists. That population is characterised as being very intelligent and the individuals have proved themselves by passing challenging professional exams. They reached a point in their careers where they needed to learn to manage others (not the subject of this case study) AND meet the expectations of their Partners such that they rapidly became experts in finding and winning new business.


Most of these young people are brilliant at their technical skills and had chiefly focused on developing these over 4 or 5 years, and had done so very successfully. The group typically had the most exposure to clients; they were the ones who handled most of the emails and the calls. Clients trust them to do a good job. 

But if they changed – seemingly overnight – into pushy sales people that hard-earned trust would have broken down. 


They lacked the experience and confidence to have different (non technical) conversations with clients and often reverted to focus on their own areas of specialism rather than their client’s needs.

So the key here is giving them the confidence to ask challenging questions that gives them the skills to spot, and most importantly, develop opportunities. 


We developed a one day training workshop. The design is flexible enough to accommodate different service lines. We start by getting participants to address their own prejudices about selling and being sold to. This helps them understand the barriers in their own heads to moving forward and helps them build a mental model of how they can manage themselves. 

We use visualisation techniques to further develop their view of how things can be different. The beauty of the design is it appeals to all. Each person can relate the outputs to where they are in their own business development journey. 

We tell them about what the deep research says the best do and then get them to apply that to three simple case studies. (Again designed to fit all service lines.)

This blend of knowledge transfer with “having a go” in a safe, supportive and challenging environment means confidence levels increase dramatically.  


A number of participants reported that they immediately applied the skills. In one case that was the following day and resulted in spotting an opportunity for ~£90,000 worth of new work which was then further developed into a new assignment for the Firm.

The workshop continues to get very high ratings. Demand through word of mouth recommendations has tripled. 

What the client said


“The facilitators, Chris and John, were fantastic. Very insightful and very knowledgeable challenging us in the way we think and act.”


More Case Studies

All the work we do is based on deep experience and we utilise the most comprehensive research sources to ensure that whatever we do will deliver results. Our broad experience means we can quickly make interventions that are pragmatic and built on what the best do – and often brought to life with real case illustrations.

Check out more examples.

The JA Consulting Proposition

JA Consulting delivers development capability across a range of business environments – from the Defence industry to professional services – the typical situations dealt with range from few £ thousands to £ billions – and at all levels in industry.