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A Tribute to a Top Salesman

June 5th, 2015
a good salesman

My uncle, Lowell Anderson, valued personal and professional relationships. He credited his business success to his genuine interest in his customers.

Certainly, Sales is at the heart of any organization. Without growth, a company will eventually decline and wither away. Thus, having top notch sales people is cornerstone to success. Of course I advocate thinking of all your employees like salespeople as they represent the company and can make a huge impact on success; however, there are also people dedicated to sales. My Uncle Lowell was a top notch lumber salesman in Chicago for his entire career, and so I’d like to dedicate this to him as he passed away earlier today.

My uncle understood the critical importance of the customer. He treated his customers like royalty which is why he had “customers for life”. He often talked about valuing relationships – another fundamental of successful salespeople. My uncle extended that viewpoint into his retirement. When my Aunt Martha passed away (his wife), his concern was to make sure that her sisters were included in the decisions and process as he valued maintaining the relationship.

As my uncle demonstrated, being in sales is all about relationships. I remember that he would track and remember important events in his customers’ lives, their likes (such as the University of Illinois games), etc. Thus, it wasn’t just about selling lumber; instead, he focused on relationships and value. Although I don’t have nearly the sales experience as he had, I have learned quite a lot since starting my consulting practice – and I listen to the best. He was undoubtedly correct which is why he had a long and successful career in sales with lifelong customers and friends. And, of course he will be missed.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Your Customer Comes 1st

The Power of Relationships

 



Why Looking at Return on Investment (ROI) is So Much Better than Cost

June 3rd, 2015

supply chainHow many times have you heard about managing cost (or saving money) in the past week? I bet quite a few, as almost all companies focus significant efforts on cost. In all functions, and certainly if you are in or responsible for Operations, a large portion of your responsibility is to reduce cost. Similar to real estate where it is “location, location, location”, I often hear about “cost, cost, and cost”. Certainly managing cost is vital to success; however, being solely focused on cost will drive you to failure!

Instead, I advocate thinking about return on investment. For example, if you spend $1000 instead of $100,000, yet the benefit is $1100 vs. $400,000 over the same time frame, which is better? Of course, when you spend $100,000, you quadruple your investment whereas you only gain 10% with the smaller investment. With that said, of course, it makes sense to minimize the $100,000 to $90,000 if it’s feasible so you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Although these numbers can be compelling, it isn’t the only reason to focus on ROI. If you are thinking only of cost, you will MISS opportunities to grow your business and innovate. Think of the “cost” in this case as an investment. Are you willing to invest in your success?

One tip to implement this week:

The great news is that no matter your position, you can start thinking about ROI. For every decision you make, consider the likely benefits and costs. Costs are not only financial; there could be hefty risks as well (with small or large investments). Most executives think this way for large capital investments; however, why don’t we think this way for the smaller decisions? We should!

It doesn’t have to be lengthy and time consuming. Just think about the benefits; ask a few questions (if you don’t know, you should find out anyway) and you’ll be much more confident that you’ll end up with a better result in the end. Those businesses that think about longer-term impacts (even if the return occurs within a quarter or year; it can seem longer-term at times) will thrive.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

 



What Is Company Culture?

June 1st, 2015
company culture change

Many executives can tell you precisely the company culture they want to have. However, creating that culture becomes increasingly difficult without communications, change agents and action.

I wholeheartedly agree with my consulting mentor Alan Weiss with how he defines culture – “It is that set of beliefs that governs behavior”.

Culture seems like such a mysterious topic and executives spend millions to try to create culture change and the like. Yet when you boil it down to the basics, it is really quite simple. What set of beliefs does your company run by? Where did they come from? Are they helping or hurting you?

When you look at culture with this viewpoint, it becomes easy to determine how to change your corporate culture; however, the devil is in the execution. For example, one of the companies I worked with merged with another. The strategy was “perfect” – great synergies and opportunities to leverage strengths. The vision was communicated effectively but fell apart in execution.  As I’ve heard Alan say about one of his clients, “Bill, do you believe what you read on the walls or what you hear in the halls?”  In this case, the set of beliefs and values that govern the day-to-day behavior were not modified.  Thus, the fabulous strategy could not occur as the former company philosophy prevailed.

Stay tuned for articles about how to change culture; however, to give you a few tips to stew on in the interim:  1) Communicate consistently, frequently and with different media.  2) Align communications with actions.  3) Find exemplars to lead the culture change.  Much of my consulting practice’s success is based upon these principles for the simple reason is that RESULTS FOLLOW.  And you have a happier work environment to boot.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to strengthen your Eagle Eye:

Lost in the Culture Change Maze? 4 Strategies to Succeed 

Are You Working on the Right Priorities?