Growth & Leadership Insights

Why Customers Buy More

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The most productive way to grow sales is to increase orders from current customers. As a result, many organizations, seeing themselves as suppliers of products or services, consider how to sell more of their offerings to their customers.

But every supplier is just a hired hand…employed to do a job that produces benefits for a customer who doesn’t care about their products or services.

Discovering how these benefits contribute to the customer’s success, how they help overcome obstacles and accelerate progress towards the customer’s goals, is the key for unlocking more opportunities with that customer.

So rather than asking themselves how they can sell more, these organizations should start by asking customers about their aspirations and what’s hindering their progress. Only by asking these questions can it be learned what a customer values and what priorities impact their decision-making. With those answers in hand, the supplier can propose solutions that focus its experience and competencies on accelerating the customer’s success.

This is what drives customer satisfaction and cultivates an expansion of business that builds an enduring customer relationship.
What benefits does your customer derive
by doing business with your company?
What insights do you have about your
key customers’ aspirations, opportunities and obstacles?

By |October 17th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments


Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed.

It’s what motivates consideration of a supplier. It’s the primary reason that people choose to follow their leaders.

Credibility is all about reliability, authenticity and accountability…walking the talk, keeping promises.

Demonstrating credibility as an individual involves living in accordance with your personal core values. Doing so guides direction, decision-making and commitment. When obligations are honored, personal credibility is strengthened.

The same is true for those who seek to lead. With their personal values as a foundation, credible leaders lead by example, modelling expected behaviors aligned with their company’s values. They recognize the responsibility of leading from the front, being first to reach out and listen to their people, first to observe policies, and first to make sacrifices. And through their actions, these leaders earn respect for being genuine, trustworthy and credible.

For such leaders, actions live long after any words they may have uttered. They succeed because people view them as credible and choose to follow them. Their actions inspire others to invest discretionary time, energy and talent, making a difference by improving the business and accelerating progress. And the result is a vibrant, sustainable organization that flourishes and endures.
How do you assess your credibility as a leader?
How might you strengthen your […]

By |October 10th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Price vs. Value

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

Price is obvious to all buyers. It’s clear, direct and easy to evaluate. In a retail environment, it’s the same for everyone.

Value is different for every buyer. It is derived from the benefits or experience generated by the product or service purchased.

Selling on the basis of price is easier than selling the value your product or service produces. But doing so makes you a commodity – discounting your expertise, diminishing your brand, and setting you up for a one-way journey down in revenue and profit.

Selling value requires an investment of time and energy to discover a customer’s need and why resolving it is important. This enables the proposal of solutions that leverage your competencies to overcome obstacles and produce benefits which create value for the customer.
How often do you sell price vs. value?
How do you discover why resolving a customer’s need is important?

By |October 3rd, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Assessing Leadership Competency

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Preparing for a business acquisition or transfer typically triggers a due diligence process that evaluates leadership competency. Here are the leadership behaviors we evaluate to determine how a leader contributes to the achievement of short-term and strategic goals, and enduring business sustainability:

Acting with credibility: more than any other leadership attribute, employees choose to follow leaders who walk the talk, lead from the front and keep promises; they are seen as genuine and worthy of trust.

Thinking strategically: despite the constant pressure to be drawn into day-to-day tactical circumstances, leaders must carve out time to think about the strategic opportunities that enable progress. They are the only ones in the business who determine long-term direction.

Driving change: leaders are hired to improve results, which involves driving change, not just adapting to it. Change requires an investment of discretionary effort by employees that cannot be compelled; overcoming resistance to change mandates that leaders inspire their people to invest extra time and energy to improve process and performance.

Nurturing relationships: there is no business without relationships…no customers, no employees, no investors, no future. Relationships matter; leaders are responsible for building enduring relationships with all key stakeholders.

Cultivating shared accountability: teams bond when they struggle together to overcome barriers and achieve […]

By |September 26th, 2018|Grolistic, Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Breaking Innovation Barriers

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Most organizations pronounce their commitment to curiosity, creativity and innovation; yet the reality is that many of these companies can be hostile to the exploration of new ideas.

To achieve predictable growth, it is perceived as less risky to pursue operational efficiency through continuous improvement than to challenge the status quo, encouraging the exploration of innovations that might possibly disrupt a stable business.

But with most organizations being steadily challenged by changing customer needs, technology or processes, isn’t sustaining a stable business a myth? Shouldn’t leaders be seeking to drive productive change rather than always reacting to it?

In a recent HBR article on barriers to innovation, 55% of the responding senior leaders cited internal politics (turf battles) as the most significant obstacle to the pursuit of innovation; and 45% of these leaders cited cultural barriers as the second largest barrier. Specific obstacles reported are:

Lack of time for innovation – people are expected to invest extra time and effort exploring new ideas without specific direction, guidance or incentives;
No support from senior leaders – innovation is not encouraged; there are no rewards or celebrations for new ideas, or for lessons learned from novel concepts that are not adopted;
No process or budget […]

By |September 12th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Relationships Matter

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

You’ve heard business people say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Because you care about your business, everything about it is personal. The relationships you build, inside and outside your business, are your most important asset. Relationships matter.

Business is a team sport. As a leader, you are dependent on others for your success. You create a direction and context for action; you influence and inspire. Developing trusting, committed and powerful relationships with all stakeholders is a fundamental part of your job description.

An enlightened leader creates a culture where powerful business relationships can flourish. Aligning the culture around a purpose, core values and goals promotes trust and collaboration, enabling employees to take risks, learn from mistakes and adapt quickly, resulting in greater loyalty and a successful, growing enterprise.

An integral part of this culture includes a profound respect for and commitment to customers. Leaders must remain outward-looking, building strategic, partner-like relationships with core customers that help them succeed. Consistently delivering promised benefits that resolve short term needs, while also contributing to a customer’s progress and goal achievement, builds an enduring relationship. Rewards for customer commitment include recurring revenue, higher ROI on […]

By |September 4th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Battling Commoditization

Bob Schultek
Author of 
The Gauntlet

The market is tilted in favor of commoditization:

information about available suppliers and options is easy to acquire online;
assessment of these alternatives is designed to enable prompt, simple allocation into pre-determined boxes; and
minimal energy and time is invested to gain additional insight about offerings beyond what is evident through readily available information.

In this market, your process for responding to inquiries must be distinctive, separating you from competitors. To avoid confirming that yours is a commodity business, your response must get beyond answering posed questions and quoting prices, to soliciting a discovery conversation.

Establishing dialogue with a prospect humanizes your business, changing it from a data point in a table of alternatives to an actual, tangible team of serious business people who seek to propose the most productive solutions to help the prospect succeed. Conducting this discovery discussion provides your opportunity to be distinctive.

Engaging the prospect in a discovery process:

Identifies the prospect’s stated need and problem, and how they define value or success for them;
Exposes the importance of resolving the need or problem (unmet goals? unfulfilled strategies?);
Uncovers barriers that are inhibiting progress;
Heightens the prospect’s awareness that prompt action is needed;
Expedites your understanding about the prospect’s decision-making process; […]

By |August 29th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

3 Questions About Choosing to Follow

Bob Schultek
Author of The Gauntlet

People act in their own best interest. Before choosing to follow your lead, your team will assess your credibility (are you genuine?) and your intentions (why should I follow you?), asking themselves these 3 questions:

1. “Can you help me?” The number one reason that people choose to follow is because the leader is credible. More than vision, or communication skills, or other effective leadership characteristics, people need to believe that a leader has the credibility and competency to fulfill promises, to walk the talk. Your authenticity gives them confidence that they can benefit from following your lead.

2. “Do you care about me?” Having determined that following a leader can produce benefits, people focus next on evaluating how likely it is that this will occur. This judgement rests on the leader’s empathy and ability to explore how achievement of a shared goal presents advantages and opportunities for those on the team. It is a process of discovering the aspirations and needs of those you seek to lead rather than assuming that you know these answers. Asking the questions demonstrates caring.

3. “Can I trust you?” Making the commitment to follow is ultimately about trust. The generosity of time and energy you invest to discover what motivates your team becomes the genesis of a trusting relationship. Promising only what […]

By |August 22nd, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Sustainability & Value Creation

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

The fundamental premise for business acquisitions is that the merged organizations will be more valuable together than they would be if they continued as separate entities; an acquisition is expected to create value.

Yet, a multitude of research studies cite a high failure rate for mergers. One KPMG study indicates that 83% of acquisitions fail to boost value, and another by A.T. Kearney concludes that total return on many M&A deals is often negative.

These studies consistently point to poor cultural compatibility as the root cause for this high rate of acquisition failure?

The KPMG study and others agree that value creation is more dependent on successful culture integration than on any other factor. Without a timely and extensive integration of cultures, the sustainability of the acquired business is compromised, as is the opportunity for the deal to create value.

Start the integration process right by thoroughly evaluating cultural compatibility during due diligence; and prior to assessing the target organization’s culture, ensure that you understand your own. This will enable you to make clear choices about expected behaviors and other attributes for the merged entity.

Unfortunately, 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 […]

By |August 15th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments

Benefits from Promises

Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

Delivering promised benefits to a new customer communicates that you respect and value the business shared with you, and that your commitments are reliable. The customer’s confidence and trust grows, earning you consideration when the next opportunity arises.

Consistently producing promised benefits, time after time, builds customer loyalty. And when your solutions do more than resolve short term needs, when they also contribute to the customer’s progress and goal achievement, an enduring relationship is cultivated. Rewards for this level of customer commitment include recurring revenue, higher ROI on sales investment, exposure to innovation opportunities and strategic access to your customer’s senior leaders.

Finally, rewards earned from your enduring customer relationships enable you to keep promises to your people…promises of opportunity, business sustainability and job satisfaction. They also illustrate how your company makes a difference for your customers, fulfilling your purpose and enabling your people to realize the meaningfulness of their work. It’s this awareness that motivates those people to invest the extra effort necessary to launch innovations or continuously improve your business.
How do you ensure that your customers
are aware of promises kept?
How do you alert your people to 
customer relationship rewards you’ve earned?

By |August 7th, 2018|Grolistic, Growth & Leadership Insights|0 Comments