Tuesday, May 19, 2009

From the Military of Yesterday to the Corporations of Today.

The year is 1994, and I am slowly moving through a wood line, with my fire team close behind. I am suddenly blinded by the sun’s reflection off of a tiny object thirty meters ahead. I immediately halt and disperse my team into the trees. I squint to get a better view as I grab my binoculars. I then try feverishly to make out the object, but am unsuccessful. I instruct Cowen to join me for a recon of the forward position.

At a snail’s pace, Cowen and I slowly move forward, careful not to reveal our presence. We flank in closer, and I notice that it is a lookout post manned with two enemy soldiers. We immediately take cover and bring our weapons into firing position. As we look through our scopes, we instantaneously realize both soldiers are asleep on post. I quietly call out, “me left on three. One, two, three,” (thump, thump). One perfectly placed shot to each head. WE LIVED, and THEY’RE DEAD. Our team takes control of the forward position.

The exercise concluded, and today I can thankfully say, we were not actually put in the position of deciding life or death.

This is a story I use quite often when asked to speak with companies about the marketplace, but until recently, I never thought the implications of this story would apply so literally. Large corporations have spent millions of dollars over the years setting up lookout posts (around the country? world?). These corporate lookout posts are quite literally corporate management teams sent out to monitor market trends. The problem is the corporation’s processes have become so tangled in bureaucracy that they are unable to respond fast enough to stop the threats that close in on them.

Hence, “Corporations are asleep on post,” resulting in healthy businesses being battered by smaller mobile companies. These smaller companies are able to aggressively “flank in” and create new relationships with the large corporation clients. Smaller companies hone the edge by applying new technologies which streamline their processes. Then, they are able to pass the savings thus acquired onto their clients. Not only do these smaller companies save their clients money, they increase customer satisfaction through efficient delivery. Because of the smaller and more personal size of these companies, management teams are empowered. These teams are encouraged to seek out and pursue new business, and they are given the freedom to make quick and dire adjustments to fulfill their clients’ needs.

Large corporations must attack, not sit back! They must go mobile! They must use the tactics and ideas of smaller companies to remain dominant and keep up with their global competition. They must apply new technology to cut costs and speed up delivery processes. Power should be placed back in the hands of those who manage.These managers must immediately acknowledge the wants and needs of their clients on an individual basis, and be given the trust of corporation heads to respond to those wants and needs.

If no action is taken, large corporations will find that they have been silently and skillfully approached, and their “lookout posts” will be overrun by those with better techniques, better operation skills, and more updated corporative weapons.

Friday, April 10, 2009

NO smile equals NO enthusiasm!

When managing a team of sales people it is important evaluate challenges by breaking down each problem and work on resolving them one by one. That was the case with a particular sales rep in my office. Every month this sales rep, we’ll call him Tom, just missed his quota. I sat and reviewed all his numbers. When I looked close I noticed that although his conversions from appointments to clients were good he lacked in getting appointments. With out giving himself enough opportunities he was not able to close enough deals to make goal. Phone skills was the problem I was faced with. So one day I sat outside Tom’s office and just listened to him call his leads. He didn’t take no for an answer, he tried to build a relationship with the clients; he worked hard at converting appointments but with no success. Then it dawned on me. It was the way he was talking. There was no enthusiasm in his voice. I stepped into his office and saw him slouch at his desk spinning a pen while talking. NO smile equals NO enthusiasm! I understood the problem right away. I had to teach Tom to smile talk!

After realizing the challenge I move into action. I left the office on my lunch break, went to the store and bought everyone in the office a mirror that they could place on the wall next to their desks. When I returned we had a meeting discussing their phone conduct. I encouraged the whole staff to view themselves when they talked on the phones, and to make sure they smiled as they talked.

The plan worked. Everyone was finding they had much better conversion rates when they focused on their phone skills. The Branches revenue increased by thirty percent. As for Tom he was promoted to manager.

I share this story because it is important for us all too trouble shoot the problems in our offices and implement creative ways to resolve those situations.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Mortgage Origination Skills Prepared Me

My background in mortgage origination has conditioned me undertstand....