A Gem From Noah Flemming – What is Your Most Valuable Resource?
I got a lot of flack (and praise) from last week’s Tidbit, where I said that your people are not your most valuable resource, but that instead of the single most valuable asset most companies will ever have is their customer database and purchase history.A lot of people seemed to think I was saying that you don’t have to treat your employees well, or that it’s not important to recognize when they go above & beyond.
There were some heated comments in the comments section & my inbox (along with many more from business executives who understood exactly what I was saying), and so I wanted to follow up on that theme this week.
I was working with a client where we found two sales reps who were just crushing everyone else regarding results. The CEO would often say things like, “We just need two dozen more guys like Jim and Steve! Unfortunately, the people we have now will never be as good as Jim and Steve.” I told him he was likely wrong. I wanted to see what was responsible for the difference because I know from long experience that it’s easier than most people realize to replicate success in sales and marketing.
We started by talking to Jim and Steve. Neither of them could explain it. They were humble. They didn’t claim to be the best salespeople on the planet. They didn’t try to dazzle us with unbridled hubris. Instead, they both said things like, “I can’t explain it. I just do things a certain way, and it works.”
The sales manager had set excessive quotas for them, but she couldn’t explain why they were doing so much better either. As you may have guessed, there was not much of a process in place.
Here’s why this is important. If there’s anything in your company where you or others say something like, “I don’t know how I do this, I just do it” or, “I can’t explain it, I just do it that way, and it works,” then the company will lose the ability to do that when you leave or retire or die.
One of the things that is undervalued about having processes in place is that it allows you to transfer learning. As you might have guessed, there was no process in place to either ascertain what these guys were doing or how to transfer those skills to the others.
We moved on to watching Jim and Steve. Both of them had built a sales process that worked for them. The process included things like researching the client before making a visit or scheduling a call before showing up. Each was using a simple excel file to manage each prospect and client. They ALWAYS had a next contact date for a client, especially when they had to work to get it (i.e., suggesting next call times, or follow up times if the client didn’t’ get back in touch as they’d promised).
Here’s the takeaway: Companies don’t necessarily need more people like Jim and Steve. They need to know what skills, or processes that can adapt from Jim and Steve and bring everyone up to a higher level.
We do a lot of internal benchmarking with our clients who have multiple locations. Let’s find the outliers because if we can find them, we have a baseline that we know everyone should be able to hit.
Creating formal structures/models/processes around the most important things that you do not only make it easier for you to replicate it more frequently and successfully–it allows you to pass on that understanding to others, to train them & help them grow.
Your Challenge For This Week:
Find one thing that you do well, but can’t explain to somebody new. That’s a trouble spot.
Take an hour and see if you can identify the components of what you’re doing that make you successful in that area. Now ask yourself if you can codify the process. If you can, you’ve likely found an area of your business that can be quickly improved with a simple process.
Here’s an easier way to understand this week’s challenge–find your Jim & Steves and ask yourself what you can borrow, adapt from them, and disseminate through the organization.