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A reminder of why you MUST focus on PROCESS not PRODUCTS

February 7th, 2011

I received this email from one of our members after he attended Boot Camp.  It’s a sober reminder of how little ‘slip ups’ can have big consequences.

I am writing to tell you about the worst experience I have had since Boot Camp. I feel lots of emotional pain about it. What a “dope” I have been! I don’t plan on repeating it!  The salt in the wound was reading your Results Revisited manual.

Not long after attending Boot Camp I sold our first Planning Session to a client we have had for almost 20 years. Not only did we sell a Planning Session, involving all of their team members, but we also sold Towards Awesome Service and Phone Right all for about $10,000. The client is a wholesaler located in a small community with revenue of about $67 million.

We were feeling great! But the client was not ready to commit to additional service other than the monthly financial statements we were already producing for them. They wanted to wait and see what they would be able to do on their own after the Planning Session and the other two ‘products’. I outlined additional services, from monthly team meetings to identifying and monitoring KPIs as part of a Management Control Plan. But “no sale”.

Last week the client called and asked that I attend a meeting today involving the owners of the company, their executive management group and their consultants. Unknown to me, the “consultants” had analyzed the company and were presenting a review meeting to everyone, including the company’s banker.

At the meeting I found:

• The consultants had reviewed all the processes of the company
• The consultants had developed a management plan for the company.
• The consultants had developed performance standards for each of the key positions of the company.
• The consultants had developed KPIs (they call them Critical Performance Metrics or something like that).
• The consultants had developed draft budgets, cash flow projections, etc.
• Two people were there for three weeks and were paid $45,000.

I felt terrible that we didn’t get it because I know we could have done all of this work.

So what did we do wrong?

1. First, we sold products instead of a process. For example, we told them we could do a TAS team training program which we did and they loved it! BUT we did not position it as a marketing initiative linked back to a client advisory board and tied it to an ongoing KPI monitoring metrics such as referral rates, customer satisfaction, average transaction values, frequency of transactions. Our Phone Right training program was also a huge success but we did not integrate it into the company’s sales productivity monitoring system e.g. a KPI that monitored sales conversion rates.

2. We did not keep “taking the message to them”. We just continued as accountants without showing them the continuing process of business development. I gave up after the client didn’t show continuing interest.

3. I failed to see a buying signal the client gave us earlier this year when they asked us to “recharge” them again.

I recently picked up and read your Results Revisited Manual and it hit me between the eyeballs. Your ideas are right on target. Our initial work with clients after the Boot Camp was geared at selling them products (Towards Awesome Service, etc.) instead of looking at these as tools to supplement our work on the systems of the business.

Thanks for all you guys do for us. Boot Campers like me will eventually get the process “right”! Actually I hope this same experience has happened many times to other Boot Campers that way I won’t feel so stupid!

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