Tag Archive: management

We Are All Salespeople

May 13th, 2019

Do you think of yourself as a salesperson? For most of us, the answer is probably ‘no’; however, every successful executive, manager, professional and person is a salesperson.  

Last week, I participated in a consulting conference, and our Society for the Advancement of Consulting ambassadors (pictured here) filled the role of salesperson to spread the word on the value of SAC. We had a great time and many value-added discussions. I find the key to ‘selling’ is actually providing value; not selling people products and services they do not need!

When I think back, I have always been in sales even though I thought I had no idea whatsoever about sales at the time. The way I got my first job was talking about the value of a senior project and how it was applicable to performing a planning role. I had NO idea that this was actually selling but it is how I successfully landed a great job out of college. Early in my career, I found system settings that would make our Coca-Cola facility’s process better, and I had to sell IT and others on why they should support this change. Later at a plastic injection molder, I had to sell management on why we should focus on certain inventory initiatives.

Lastly, as a VP of Operations of an absorbent products manufacturer, I absolutely spent 90% of my time selling my team on how they were valuable to the vision, suppliers on how they could have a part on creating a win-win, customers on how we could create collaborative vendor management inventory initiatives that would increase their service and profit (which would also improve our revenue growth, inventory and efficiencies), the Board of Directors on why we should focus efforts on material projects to drive profitable growth (even though they wanted me to focus on reducing labor costs instead) and the list goes on. In consulting, 80% of project success (partnering with the client to make sure results occur) relates to selling and positioning. After all, doesn’t it all stem from successfully navigating change?

Think about your career and daily job responsibilities. I bet you are selling every day as well!

One tip to implement this week:

The key to success in sales is to provide value. As I read in a book by my consulting mentor when I decided to start consulting, selling consulting services is simply finding ways to provide value to clients by helping them to increase the value of their businesses. Somehow, increasing the value of businesses sounded FAR simpler to me than selling people on hiring me as a consultant (after all, who budgets to hire a consultant?), and so I went for it (and am celebrating my 14th year anniversary in May).

Of course, it isn’t exactly that simple; however, it is absolutely true. The crux of all sales is in providing value. Think about when you purchase products and services. Why do you purchase? I used to think I was quite logical and not influenced by typical sales techniques; however, it is human nature that logic makes us think and emotions make us act. Although I am never tempted by clothes (except as I know I need to look decent to be successful), I realized I spent quite a bit of money on education to be successful in my consulting practice. Clearly, I saw the value and ‘went for it’. How can you show value more often in your job, your company, and of your products and services?



Which Business Best Practices Do Top Notch Trusted Advisors See?

October 5th, 2017

In my ProVisors ODAM (Ontario-hosted Distributors and Manufacturers group – don’t you love the play on words?) meeting this month, we discussed business best practices we’ve seen with our manufacturing and distribution clients. It was a fascinating discussion as our group is diverse and consists of the most respected attorneys, CPAs, commercial insurance, business financial advisers, and consultants from around Southern California. Yet, we agreed rather quickly on core best practices. Thanks to Ron Penland for making the meetings engaging and trend-worthy.

Best business practices, this way….

Here are some of the top themes surrounding best practices:

  • Start by understanding financial statements and cost – it’s interesting how often this arises with our clients.
  • Look for the value add.
  • Find ways to scale without increasing costs. There are many options such as leveraging technologies, best practices, trade associations and more.
  • Leadership equals profit improvement. End of story.
  • Don’t start planning your exit “too late”.
  • Consider process improvement techniques such as lean manufacturing, SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning), etc.
  • Be aware of your indicators and metrics.

More Best Practices

Are you reliant on figuring everything out yourself? We hope not! The most successful people find groups, attend seminars and conferences, engage with trade associations and interact with others who are up-to-speed on the latest trends and timeless success traits. If you think you might need to go a step further, feel free to contact us and we’ll suggest a few strategies for you.

 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on the topic:

100 Best Practices, Tips to Elevate Business Performance in Manufacturing

 



The Calm of Muir Woods and Why Disconnecting Works

September 12th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

 

Over Labor Day, I went to beautiful San Francisco for a weekend away, prepared for the “coldest winter ever spent is a summer in San Francisco“, and it turned out with record-setting temperatures over 100 degrees! So, after a food walking tour in the thick of the heat on Saturday in the Mission District, I thought my first visit to Muir Woods might provide some welcome relief on Sunday – and it did. Muir Woods is beautiful and calm. It can be a great way to get away from the rat race by going somewhere you can hear the babbling brooks and be a small speck among the majestic trees. How often are you able to get away where you can hear beyond conversations, traffic and phones?

Muir Woods

Majestic Muir Woods

 

One tip to implement this week: 

How often would a day – or even an hour – away to a place where you can hear yourself think be valuable? I find that most of the BEST ideas show up when you empty your mind. Unfortunately for most of us, we try to force ideas when we are in brainstorming sessions, talking with our manager or on the phone with a key customer. And many times, they are not likely to play by our tune. Instead, when we least expect an amazing idea, it shows up.

Have you ever kept working because you had to finish a critical project or report but the information just wouldn’t flow? Thirty minutes away, whether on a walk, playing with the dog or escaping into a TV show might do wonders. If you are at the office, you could walk to the other end of the building to check in on someone you haven’t seen in quite a while or you could go to a conference room or empty office and think. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan to be effective. Give it a try, and let me know how those ideas start flowing.

 

If you enjoyed this article, read more about how important getting a new perspective can be…

 



Who Should You Follow? A Guide to Good Mentoring Relationships

August 18th, 2017
Mentoring offers benefits to everyone involved

My own consulting mentor says: “follow someone who has been there and done that”. Experience counts.

We recently took on one of our first consulting mentoring projects. Since our focus is on delivering growth and profitability for manufacturing and distribution companies, we work mainly with business-to-business. With that said, every consulting project involves some level of coaching – mentoring – to people working on those businesses to deliver results.

And since we consider results to be the 80/20 of our business, we put a lot of attention on coaching the appropriate employees (from line supervision to the executive team) to achieve a desired outcome. So when a consulting mentorship opportunity arose with a mentee who was serious about achieving results, we jumped on it. And, we are so glad we did!

How to form the best mentoring relationship

The mentoring situation brings up the idea of knowing who to follow. It seems like an obvious topic to consider yet I often find my clients following “undesirable” role models with the expected (and unfortunate) results. My own consulting mentor says “follow someone who has been there and done that” – not someone who can talk about what to do but has never done it before. He uses the example of a ski instructor. Would you follow a ski instructor’s advice if they could talk a good game but didn’t know how to navigate the black diamond hills? I wouldn’t either! It’s similar to looking for a cheap heart surgeon. Who would do that?

Search for mentors and coaches who can help you navigate the most complex issues that arise because they have experienced it before – or something similar that they can draw from.

Bottom line: Choose your mentoring relationship carefully. Look for professionals who talk the talk and walk the walk, people who deserve to be viewed as true mentors.

Like this article? Continue reading about how mentoring and teaching can help you in your own career.

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The Eagles & Apprenticeships

August 1st, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last weekend I went to Classic West – an amazing weekend of six classic bands at Dodger Stadium including The Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and Earth, Wind & Fire. What a lineup! Aside from amazing music and fabulous floor seats (we were two rows back from David Spade!), we were also able to meet up with family and friends. While I adore Journey, I have to admit the best act of the weekend was the Eagles.  

Classic West featuring the Eagles

This was the Eagles first concert since Glenn Frey’s sudden passing in 2016, and they made it a tribute to him. Don Henley said he wasn’t interested in performing if Glenn’s son didn’t take his dad’s place, so he did. He did an amazing job and sounded just like his father. The emotional, generational apprenticeship was a clear success. The Eagles also brought Vince Gill and Bob Seger to join their session. A great jam among classic musicians who have known and learned from each other for decades.  

A tip to implement this week: 

Are you thinking about apprenticeships for your business? There are many reasons you should be incorporating apprenticeship programs, regardless of your industry. Especially relevant, as baby boomers retire, who will take over? Does the new workforce possess the breadth of experience and skill sets that will be required? Who will train them?

We don’t often see apprenticeships except within professional trades. Why is that? I can see many opportunities for these types of programs among my clients. Take a step back and think outside the box. What type of training, education, mentoring and/or apprenticeship programs would be most effective at your company to ensure a smooth transition from the baby boomer generation to the Gen X, Y, and Millennial workforce? It isn’t an all or nothing proposition – so think about which roles are better suited to which programs.

Finally, I’d love to hear your feedback – how has an apprenticeship worked or not worked for you in past? Let me know in the comments or via email anytime!

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