Grolistic…No-Excuses Growth Blog

Intimacy and Satisfaction

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When you last faced a purchase decision, what helped you feel more comfortable with your choice?  What gave you confidence that your judgement was appropriate and correct?

You had worked through the analysis and were satisfied with it…but in retrospect, there was something more that convinced you that your decision was the right one. This level of satisfaction is most often due to a productive experience with your salesperson.

At first, your basic needs were explored…the ones you were prepared to share. But then, the salesperson asked about your business, what you do, why doing it is important to you, and how you try to make a difference for your customers. He or she listened attentively, never distracted, eyes always on yours.

The salesperson then likely shared a bit of his or her story, including why being with you was important; you sensed authenticity in what you heard, with accountability for your satisfaction being mentioned. Next came some additional questions, asked with sincerity and empathy; these inquiries probed beyond your stated needs to discover why the needs you mentioned are valuable to you, how meeting them helps you strengthen your business or provide more value for your customers. There was no pressure to respond; on the other hand, this was […]

By |September 13th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Change Resistance

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Few change initiatives succeed the first time they are launched. Resistance to change is a potent human reaction so expect challenges and outright rejection. It’s what you do next that matters.

If you continue to believe wholeheartedly that your proposed change will increase the value produced for customers and your company, then persevere. Evaluate the basics of your strategy:

Are you appealing to the appropriate audience? Do they have the experience and analytical ability to recognize the potential benefits from the change? Or does fear of change paralyze them?  Win support from those who can advocate for your idea.

What’s the story behind the change?  Is it compelling?  What is missing? Revisit your research, rework your details, clarify your promise, and then refine your story.

Ask open-ended questions to probe the basis for the resistance.  Some of your audience may need to be heard before they can join your initiative.

When encountering change resistance, how do you react?
 
Why is perseverance the key to winning?

By |September 5th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Leaders Enable Team Success

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Leaders want their people to succeed; success lifts the person and the leader. Leaders cannot succeed if those they lead fail. The most effective leaders invest significant time engaging and coaching their people.

Exceptional leaders appreciate that empathy and emotional intelligence, paired with experience and intellect, enable them to engage and collaborate with their employees such that those they lead gain awareness about how each person makes a difference. This truth is what inspires people to invest discretionary effort to achieve a goal that delivers success.

These leaders recognize that success is contagious – it stimulates enthusiasm. They make themselves available to all, though with varying degrees of access, so that people can interact with them, feel the enthusiasm and sense the opportunity to contribute.  Sometimes, it’s a walk around; sometimes it’s a team meeting.  But the secret is engaging with the people so they can share their ideas and emotions. The meetings these leaders facilitate are less about “reporting” and more about building shared accountability, considering what’s next and what must be accomplished as a team to get there.

Leaders are subject to constant pressure that often causes them to make personal sacrifices. Few discuss the costs associated with […]

By |August 30th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Culture and Value Creation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The fundamental premise of any business acquisition is that the merged organizations will be more valuable together than they would be if they continued as separate entities. An acquisition is supposed to be an exercise in value creation. Yet, a KPMG study indicates that 83% of acquisitions fail to boost value, and often, value is actually destroyed. Something goes very wrong along the way.

Of the five key due diligence parameters for acquisitions – risk, price, strategy, management capacity and culture – the least attention is typically paid to culture integration. This is no surprise, since assessing the ingredients of a company’s culture – values, behaviors, relationships, attitudes, and commitment to customers – is not readily quantifiable.

How has the culture of the target company contributed to its success?  How has it motivated its people to invest discretionary effort to achieve goals?

The KPMG study indicates that value creation is more dependent on successful culture integration than on any other factor; it is the root cause of success or failure for an acquisition. Without a full integration of cultures, creating value will not be possible. Get it wrong and nothing else matters. Trust erodes…unproductive conflict increases…commitment fades…accountability is avoided…and results fail to materialize.

To evaluate another organization’s culture, ensure […]

By |August 23rd, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Pulling the Fire Alarm

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

As sales leader, you encourage your team to develop strong customer relationships. Because this takes time, you counsel them about perseverance, commitment and accountability, and enlighten them that they will know that preference has been earned when they are invited to participate in more strategic discussions like new product development meetings.

Like most sales professionals, your team is highly self-motivated, with each member consistently demonstrating initiative. They understand that the trust relationship they have built with each customer can only be sustained if your organization delivers on the promises made by your sales team, on behalf of the organization. They also recognize that their accountability for preserving these enduring relationships rests with promptly solving problems to ensure customer satisfaction.

But are they aware of the limits of their accountability? Which issues are so significant that they require urgent senior leadership involvement?  Do they know when to pull the fire alarm?

Encountering issues like the following can paralyze a sales person who typically knows how to get things done:

Consistently poor service that is causing customers to leave;
Learning that there’s pressure on the shop floor to ship inferior or dangerous products;
Hearing that the customer service phone queue now persistently exceeds targeted response time;
[…]

By |August 15th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

What Are You Worth?

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

All our lives, we struggle to improve, to advance our careers, and to strengthen the financial well-being of our families. There is genuine value in this pursuit, and during our lifetimes, we’ll have opportunities to make more money. But, is the pursuit of wealth what truly drives you? Is that what defines you?

Most leaders acknowledge that real satisfaction comes from what they do, how they act to overcome a challenge, achieve a goal or build a business. As people of action, their true worth comes from what they do to make a difference. Investing time and energy to produce a significant improvement that positively impacts stakeholders is what makes work meaningful.

And when it’s time to inspire others in the organization to follow their lead, the most effective leaders, relying on their empathy, recognize that those they lead share the longing to make a difference. That realization is what enables leaders to encourage the discretionary effort required to deliver productive change that improves results. The inspiration that motivates people to invest extra time and energy is grounded in the universal aspiration of doing meaningful work that makes a difference.

What drives this need for purpose in us? It’s possible to […]

By |August 9th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

3 Behaviors That Cultivate Customer Loyalty

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Who in your organization directly interacts with customers? For most business transactions, people still want to buy from people, rather than buying a brand or company name.  Enduring relationships evolve from these personal interactions.

To cultivate customer loyalty, here are 3 behaviors you want your customer contact people to consistently demonstrate:

Generosity
Seek first to learn about potential customers – their story, their needs, their aspirations – and share ideas, trends and suggestions that might produce value for them, without any expectation of an immediate sale. This will surprise them, and they’ll appreciate your openness and generosity.

When presenting potential solutions, lead with the customer’s interests and what you can do for them; this will resonate more than an introduction that focuses on your company’s pedigree.

Every interaction, no matter how seemingly trivial, is an opportunity to add value and enhance your customer’s experience.

“Generosity is the genesis of trust” and trust sustains relationships.

Vulnerability
When doing business, customers find it easier to perceive, judge and commit to companies that provide access to real people. When customer contact people share small personal insights, their vulnerability is revealed, making it easier for a customer to recognize authenticity, a key component of trust building. Asking about a customer’s interests or family, or sharing an emotion, demonstrates empathy and […]

By |August 1st, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Believe It or Not

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

In today’s marketplace, there’s lots of barking and not much listening. Everyone is in a hurry to inform why they are right, loudly and clearly.

When your debate or pitch isn’t resulting in a dialogue about facts or rationale, when no one is conforming to your ideas or even engaging with you in a productive discussion about competing ideas, then the easy answer is to decide that your audience simply doesn’t know enough.

This assumption often leads to more barking, at even higher volumes, about negative consequences, all in an attempt to address the perceived ignorance.

But ignorance is typically not the problem.
The root cause of this challenge is that your audience doesn’t care about your topic or position, at least not to the depth that you do. And why don’t they care? Because they don’t believe what you believe.
Do you share a common purpose? Do you agree on core values? What creates inspiration for them, touches their emotions?

Logic and knowledge cannot convince when there is no shared belief.

How do you react when your message is not being heard?
 
How can you discover what you have in common
with your target audience?

By |July 19th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

The Lowest Price Myth

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

When Henry Ford introduced mass production to the fledging automotive industry, his objective was to make Ford cars affordable for everyone by optimizing efficiencies in car manufacturing. But then, he and his team discovered that people didn’t want the cheapest car. They wanted a car that made them feel special – a car with some style, that was safe – a car that they were proud to drive.

Every successful brand is known for something more than their price, even those who have the lowest prices. Reducing price is easy and one-directional.  At first, this action may send the message about commitment to efficiency and better outcomes; but soon, in a competitive market, there’s always someone else that is ready to go a penny lower than you. In the race to the bottom, your choices to compete get ever more limited, leading to brutal consequences that can destroy your organization’s purpose and values, bringing harm to your customers, your suppliers and ultimately, your employees.

What happens if you win this race, or worse, if you come in second?  What will be left of your business? Will it be sustainable? How would having the lowest price make your customers proud to be associated with […]

By |July 4th, 2017|Grolistic, Grolistic...No-Excuses Growth Blog|0 Comments

Managing the “Gorilla” Customer Relationship 

 

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

When your business with one customer exceeds 25% of your annual sales, then you have a “gorilla” customer and you’re probably feeling vulnerable. You’ve earned the business by serving them well, and if they offered you more, you’d likely be pleased to expand the relationship, but be wary.

Loss of a gorilla customer can be devastating, and typically that loss has nothing to do with your performance. The 3 top reasons these customers depart are:

There’s a change in your contact(s), and the new person(s) cares nothing about your relationship;
Your customer is acquired by or merged with another large entity, and they no longer need you;
The customer decides to consolidate suppliers or move the work in house.

Here are some warning signs that your vulnerability is growing:

You discover that you are consistently compromising the profitability of your business to serve your largest customer;
So much of your company’s time is consumed serving your most significant customer that there is no time dedicated to pursuing new business; or
You’ve stopped offering uncommon, “against the trend” advice to your key customer because you are afraid to lose them, even though this helped you originally earn their business.

To […]