March 2014

Death by Repetitive Practice

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageWhile some people may like the idea of death by chocolate, most would probably agree that killing the success of a business with ineffectual approaches is a really bad idea. Unfortunately, that’s what’s happening in many companies across the globe. While the use of Repetitive Practices in their businesses may not close the doors, they are hampering the achievement of their tremendous potential.

What is a Repetitive Practice? It is an inefficient method or routine that is often the way things have always been done. Repetitive practices are all too common and are the cause of or a contributor to most of the challenges faced by companies of all sizes.

How do you spot these? Watch for one or more of the following indicators:

  • A process that achieves less than the intended result.
  • Beloved or institutionally sacred methodologies that people fight to keep, even when these methods have lost their competitive edge.
  • Any routine that is complex, requiring constant reminders of what to do and how to do it.
  • A system, procedure, or course of action that people defend by saying, “But that’s the way it’s always been done.”
  • All ways of doing things that are the same after a maximum of two to three years (business and the market have evolved but processes lag behind).

A recent example involves a client in my Executive Advisor program that improved sales tenfold in just three months. Their repetitive practice of Sales Force, a sales process that attempts to control the client, was replaced by Sales Flow, a collaborative way of selling that engages the customer in selling themselves on buying. Sales Flow takes less effort, creates happier buyers, and is the current Innovative Practice that enrolls people in a more satisfying process for acquiring what they need and want. This increases sales, profits, customer satisfaction, and repeat business.

In order to achieve greater success without ridiculous amounts of effort, Repetitive Practices must be replaced with Best Practices and Innovative Practices (you can read more on how to innovate in my post Putting Lipstick on a Pig and Calling It Innovation).

Some leaders treat their companies, or aspects of them, as finished products versus living, breathing, evolving entities. I bet they’re the ones medicating themselves with chocolate instead meditating on better ways of doing business.

________________

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Scott WintripDeath by Repetitive Practice
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Be a Peer, Not a Pauper – Scott’s Sales Yoga Thought of the Day

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On a discussion forum this week, advice was sought for dealing with a reluctant buyer who was viewing the salesperson’s attempts to sell as competition to her own efforts. This all too common attitude by some buyers is exactly why they need your help.

Unfortunately, advice on this topic often perpetuates the subservient mentality of many who sell. This “you have to prove yourself approach” is the beginning of a losing battle for the hearts and minds of those who’ve already decided that you’re selling something they don’t want or need.

The only way to get someone to shift their thinking is through collaboration, versus coercion or deference. Here are three attitudes to adopt that will help:

Be a Peer, Not a Pauper
Act like a peer and you’ll be seen as a peer. Behave like you’re subservient to the individual you’re dealing with, and that’s exactly who you become.

Peers trust one another and are more willing to believe what is being said by one.

Be an Instigator, Not an Interrogator
Grilling someone whose attitudes and beliefs are different than your own is a powerful way to break their heart and shut down their mind. A salesperson who instigates a new way of thinking, through a collaborative conversation, is seen as not only a peer, but an ally to be trusted.

Be a Hero, Not a Zero
Your job is to be a hero and make the buyer also look like a hero by selecting a valuable service you offer which will improve their circumstances. A zero spends all their time playing into the buyer’s negative beliefs and attitudes, often agreeing to do things the buyer’s way, even though that’s not the most effective and prudent way.

Heroes show people why their idea or solution is the best one, backing it up with case studies, references, or other proof that allows the buyers to convince themselves they are making the right choice.

Behaving like a peer, an instigator, and a hero are the sales equivalent of inviting your customer to join you as fellow superstar in the Justice League. The alternative, buying into counterproductive conversations and negative attitudes, is the quickest path to becoming a villain in the Legion of Doom.

Sales Yoga

 

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Scott WintripBe a Peer, Not a Pauper – Scott’s Sales Yoga Thought of the Day
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How to Avoid Compensation Complaints

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Wintrip Consulting Group : Take No PrisonersTake No Prisoners is a free weekly memo from Scott Wintrip that explores how Radical Accountability prospers companies and changes lives. Instead of taking people hostage with outdated, heavy-handed, and ineffective methods of management, measurement, and motivation, Radical Accountability focuses on creating an unwavering responsibility for getting what matters most done.

Like the overly complicated tax code in the US, many compensation plans for sales roles are filled with convoluted rewards, confusing tiers and thresholds, and loopholes that undermine the system. Thankfully, it doesn’t take an act of Congress to undo a complex plan or one that’s not garnering the intended results.

Three simple rhymes, yes, rhymes of all things, can put you on the right path to legislating a new set of workable monetary rules.

Comp done right is an evolution, not a new solution
A plan that meets today’s needs while allowing for tomorrow’s changes in your business ensures that you won’t have to make dramatic alterations. A good plan simply has to evolve as your business evolves.

For example, ten years ago I created a plan for one of my clients and it’s never been changed. It works just as well today as it did a decade ago. What’s evolved are the proportions of the commissions as the company has grown in size and market share. More money today goes towards rewarding account retention while a smaller, but still enticing amount pays for new business development.

Getting behaviors right eliminates a compensation fight
One of the biggest plan failings is a misalignment between rewards and behaviors. Attention goes where the money flows, and commissions and bonuses only do all of their intended functions if they focus that attention correctly. Without this focus, leaders find themselves in a no-win fight to get people to behave in the desired manner.

A recent example is a company whose recruiters weren’t generating enough quality referrals. And why would they, since they were paid the same percentage in commission regardless of the source of their candidates. By shifting slightly more commission money to referral generated candidates, more than half of their deals this year have come from referrals and the company is well ahead in year-over-year growth.

Simple is sustainable and makes goals attainable
Compensation plans lose their motivational power when staff can’t remember how they work or if calculating rewards requires more than simple math. The power of the people in any sales organization resides in their ability to clearly see the benefits of doing what they’re being asked to do.

Last year I simplified more than two dozen plans, and all but one are contributing to better financial results for everyone. What happened with that one? A new senior leader hired after the plan was in place decided it wasn’t sophisticated enough and layered in tiers, compensation kickers, rules for when commissions are reduced, and changes that reward activities more than outcomes. While some activities have gone up, revenues are in a steady decline, and even this new leader has trouble articulating how the plan works and how much someone can make on the plan.

While I’m doubtful that US Congressional leaders will choose to move past partisanship to fix the broken tax system, I’m confident that competent sales leaders will do the right thing and fix ineffective compensation plans. Those that do will be voting in favor of their key constituents, their salespeople, who will reward everyone with the right behaviors that generate sustainable growth and profits.

This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Look at your comp plan with an honest and critical eye, especially as to its complexity, behavioral alignment, and sustainability to become an evolving plan. Then, begin to address any areas of weakness.


NEW OPPORTUNITY – GAIN with Scott Wintrip
People in the staffing and recruiting industry have often said they’d love to keep me in their desk drawer, allowing them to open it anytime they need advice or support. While I’ve yet to find a big enough desk to fit into, I have developed a new membership offering that gives you top drawer access to my expertise when and how you need it.
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Every day I provide pithy pieces of advice and wisdom. Join the growing crowd who read these gems every day.

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If you’d like to reach me, email: scott@ScottWintrip.com or call my direct line: (727) 502-9182

Visit my web site: https://www.WintripConsultingGroup.com

 

Scott WintripHow to Avoid Compensation Complaints
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Putting Lipstick on a Pig and Calling It Innovation

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Hundreds of leaders in the staffing and recruiting industry heard panelists and speakers talk about “innovative” ideas last week at the Executive Forum in San Diego. In a number of instances, what was said was no different than putting lipstick on a pig and saying she’s a contender for Miss Universe. The reality is that many so called innovations are nothing more than old ideas regurgitated in a different way.

This observation is not a criticism of the event, which was outstanding, or the ideas that were shared, as many were prudent or even incredibly wise. Leaders benefit from reminders of what works, which I refer to as sustainable practices, and methods that stand out for their ability to improve the way work is done, which are true best practices. Labeling something as innovative, when it’s not, is careless, at best, and reckless when those hearing it blindly use it, thinking they’re about to reinvent the wheel.

Why does this happen? Innovation in staffing and recruiting isn’t easy, especially since everyone has access to the same product. The day we gain the ability to manufacture cyborg temps, contractors, and direct hire candidates will be the day when true ease of innovation begins.

So, do you just give up on innovation or just fake it by applying a bit more lipstick to the pig? Of course not. Innovation not only exists, it’s flourishing at companies that apply the Innovation Equation:

Good or Great
PLUS Irresistible Value
MINUS Labor and Complexity
EQUALS Sustainable Innovation

True innovation entails starting with an aspect of your business that customers see as good or great, not what is sub-par or out of your wheelhouse. Next, you find a way to add value they find irresistible while also reducing your labor intensity and process complexity. Do that, and you’ve transformed what many people see as a business that’s hard or even impossible to innovate.

What’s this look like on the street? Recent examples include a client I advised to add value that prompted procurement in three different companies to enthusiastically choose to spend lots more money. Another was a service innovation a global client that guarantees customers they’ll want to hire the first person presented every single time (I call this the One and Done Promise and it’s been kept 79 out of 80 times in just the past few months).

Reminders of sound business practices are great and should be talked about often. But these should never be treated as innovation. Doing so risks complacency and lulls people into be satisfied with kissing the pig.

________________

NEW OPPORTUNITY – GAIN with Scott Wintrip
People in the staffing and recruiting industry have often said they’d love to keep me in their desk drawer, allowing them to open it anytime they need advice or support. While I’ve yet to find a big enough desk to fit into, I have developed a new membership offering that gives you top drawer access to my expertise when and how you need it. Learn more

Scott WintripPutting Lipstick on a Pig and Calling It Innovation
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Using Mind Over Mouth to Improve Sales Results – Scott’s Sales Yoga Thought for the Day

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In a recent interview with marketing expert Linda Popky, I share how to improve the sales process by practicing Mind Over Mouth and other techniques from Sales Yoga.

Scott WintripUsing Mind Over Mouth to Improve Sales Results – Scott’s Sales Yoga Thought for the Day
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Extreme Customer Service

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Wintrip Consulting Group : Take No PrisonersTake No Prisoners is a free weekly memo from Scott Wintrip that explores how Radical Accountability prospers companies and changes lives. Instead of taking people hostage with outdated, heavy-handed, and ineffective methods of management, measurement, and motivation, Radical Accountability focuses on creating an unwavering responsibility for getting what matters most done.

When’s the last time a customer thanked you for making a mistake? If the answer is never or rarely, your company must not be practicing Extreme Customer Service (ECS).

Last week I experienced a typical missed opportunity to deliver ECS. I had decided to try a different vendor for printing, and gave the Sir Speedy franchise in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida a shot. After agreeing on how the job would be done with the General Manager, I sent an updated version of the document. He confirmed receipt and promised completion of this small order, just 100 to start, by the next day.

Upon picking it up, I immediately noticed they had printed the older version. The GM immediately acknowledged their error, but indicated a reprint couldn’t be done until later the next day, well after when I needed it. When I suggested I go ahead and use the older version, allowing them extra time to correct their mistake, he announced I’d have to pay for the reprint if I took the bad batch with me. His only concession-a 30% discount on the reprint.

In the end, he reprinted the document and delivered it to my event early the next morning. While this got the job done, it left a negative impression, shaken trust, and the impression that collecting revenue was more important than impressing a new customer. Sir Speedy was anything but fast and accurate and instead behaved like Sir Sloppy.

Extreme Customer Service seizes mistakes as relationship building opportunities. It’s accomplished by resolving issues or mistakes in such a way that makes the customer grateful for the original problem. To do this requires collaboration with the client to create a solution that is not only about them and their needs and expectations, but also goes one step further to exceed those expectations. The result: an extremely satisfied customer who is grateful for all that transpired.

If the GM in my story had accepted my suggestion or collaborated with me to create an ECS moment, he would have won a new customer singing his praises. Instead, he lost one and became a shining example of what not to do.

Extreme Customer Service costs little and repays everyone many times over. The alternative costs dearly and returns nothing but grief.

This Week’s Radical Accountability Activating Action: Work with your leadership team to create ECS standards and practices. Roll it out the following week.


NEW OPPORTUNITY – GAIN with Scott Wintrip
People in the staffing and recruiting industry have often said they’d love to keep me in their desk drawer, allowing them to open it anytime they need advice or support. While I’ve yet to find a big enough desk to fit into, I have developed a new membership offering that gives you top drawer access to my expertise when and how you need it.
Learn more

Follow me on Twitter! You can find me here: https://twitter.com/ScottWintrip
Every day I provide pithy pieces of advice and wisdom. Join the growing crowd who read these gems every day.

You may subscribe and encourage others to subscribe by clicking here.

Check out my podcast series called Simply Scott on iTunes.

If you’d like to reach me, email: scott@ScottWintrip.com or call my direct line: (727) 502-9182

Visit my web site: https://www.WintripConsultingGroup.com

Scott WintripExtreme Customer Service
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