Monthly Research
& Market Commentary

Ten Techniques for Building Personal Impact in the Business Relationship Manager (BRM) Role

Value Centric Leadership / 05 Jan 2017 / By Kirt Mead

Too often, business partners treat their BRMs, and indeed Central IT, as suppliers, or vendors, calling them in only after the business discussions have occurred, and only to address the IT elements of the project or programme.

The BRM can only overcome this default positioning, and gain ‘a seat at the table’, by building stronger relationships and trust with their partners.  To do this, it is not enough to be smart, know the technology, work hard, and deliver results.  The BRM must also realize that their job is a performance, and that they are on stage every day.  When BRMs meet with their business partners, they must have personal impact, creating a positive experience in the partner’s head.  Only by doing this can they become individual people to their partners and not simply faceless suppliers of technology.  The BRM must ‘show up’ in a powerful, yet approachable, way.  When working face to face, they must be able to engage the partner’s full attention, even to stimulate surprise and delight. 

Successful BRMs use many techniques to increase personal impact:

  1. Refusing to be treated as a vendor or supplier; not thanking them for their time when meeting, not meeting across a desk.
  2. Being fully present for the partner, giving total attention to them and their agenda.
  3. Displaying a mix of confidence, energy, comfort with ambiguity, and openness to experience, especially in confusing and politically ambiguous situations.
  4. Being interested in the partner as a person, not just as a title.
  5. Getting the partner to talk first, actively listening to their thoughts and issues; expanding the arena of discussion through examples and outside experience.  
  6. Understanding where the business partner is coming from, the broader business and political context of the project.
  7. Thinking outside-in from the customer to the firm.
  8. Not hiding behind a PC to take notes.
  9. Not discussing detailed project documentation.
  10. Capturing key conclusions in tag lines and ‘napkin doodles’.

A BRM who deploys these techniques effectively puts on a powerful personal performance that engages the partner and creates a positive experience, leading to a stronger relationship.  The BRM can even show up as having executive presence and gravitas!

Creating personal impact can only be learned through experience and practice.  BRMs should take every opportunity to participate in broad, unstructured discussions to develop their skills and to practice showing up powerfully.  LEF’s BRM training programmes are explicitly designed to offer participants a chance to practice and learn relationship techniques in an intense, yet supportive, environment.


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