The turn-key fix?

05. 04. 2017    |    posted by:

The self-help world is full of answers to every problem we can imagine. Some answers even solve every problem. The energy, enthusiasm, and confidence behind these solutions are impressive. We see the same approach in the business world, where such simplicity is just as much a siren song.

Whether in our own lives or in business, what these solutions forget are that we really do not all want the same outcomes, at least when we ask the next level questions.

Looking thinner and more energetic might be wonderful, but not at the risk of skin conditions or liver failure. Become more profitable, but not if I am not able to help my family, or cannot do the client work I enjoy or take more complexity.

In the end, there are solutions for most challenges and opportunities. We just need to slow down sometimes and make sure we are asking the right questions with the right answers first.

So here are some tips for getting past the easy quick generic answer...

Get away: To dig deeper, it is helpful to get away from distractions, so go someplace where you can relax and turn off your phone. Take a walk outside, and take notice of the sky, trees, and the things around you.

Look way out into the future: Often dreams can turn into reality, but they start as dreams, where the "yes, but" is absent. What ways might you describe your dream's outcomes?

Work backwards: From your dream, break down their pieces, all of them, allowing each nuance of your dream to define your next steps.





What is your Sales Process?

01. 31. 2017    |    posted by:

More than almost any part of business, sales seems to promulgate its myths better than any other. Sales is an art. You either have it or you don’t. Extroverts are the best sales people. It’s a zero sum game. It all comes down to dollars and cents. This list seems endless.  A quick look at where businesses are willing to spend money shows an investment in sales people, sales training and other sales magic pill promises creating a need for focus

The problem with many sales efforts is the focus is at the end. Did we get the sale? Focusing too close to the end blocks many opportunities and squeezes the rewards available.


Open up the sales process and many opportunities are created for better tangibility of customers, customer needs, customer solutions and customer relationships. Open up the sales process and many opportunities are created for better efficiencies in product or services offerings, production, development of sales team’s abilities and loyalty, and overall organizational planning.


While most organizations can at least give this concept a nod, there comes an expression along the line of “we are different”. Yes, every organization is different. Each industry in its own way is too. But the overall process is not as different as one might think. Once it is understood at the macro level, the ability to customize the process to your organization is there.


Knowing your process allows marketing and sales to work together. Collateral pieces and related promotion efforts fit into the process, allowing targeted messages. Adjustments from message to sales language and techniques can be made around the steps. Tweaks to any step in the process can improve results downstream, while efforts further down can provide feedback to the earlier stages. The work by your door opening sales people and great closers can be leveraged. The ability to shape and adjust expectations and deliverables can improve “wins” and their rewards.


Strategic efforts from tactical sales channel management, to new market initiatives can be determined, launched, monitored, and adjusted. People are not machines in a process, yet like machines, the ability to monitor their part of the process not only helps the process each time, but improves the sustainability of the process.


Curious as to how an in depth look at your sales process could help your organization? Give us a call and let’s have a conversation!





Stop Pushing for Results

10. 13. 2016    |    posted by:

“Expect them.”  That is how one client put it.  Seeing how his company has more than doubled in size over the last 5 years, there may be something there.  He manages for the “right how.”  What that means is that it is important not only to show the results tied to success, but that they must be in line with how the organization wants them to be created.  It goes beyond the example of Wells Fargo employee cheating.

A classic example of this truth is that of two members of a sales team.  One is out beating the bushes, turning over rocks, and all the other types of well-intentioned effort.  The other sits at their desk making sure their sports fantasy league’s statistics are up to date.   At the end of the period, the first has uncovered some opportunities and even closed a few sales, with okay results.  The second though had nothing until the last week, when the phone rang, turning into one of the company’s largest orders ever.  Which one would you want on your team?

It can be motivation, it can be following a process that is designed to reflect well on the organization, and it can be undermined even from above – the “how.”  The latter was seen in a company that had built a bonus program around EBITDA.  They paid a lot out in bonuses, then customer service started falling and other customer satisfaction measurements started deteriorating too. 

Managing the “how” means looking at processes and other factors that encourage the right processes.  Expect results, so that excuses are not acceptable.  A lack of results will tell you that the process is wrong, or the person in place is not following it for some reason.  Dig deeper and see if you put the right person in place, or if the process is in need of change – the world does change.