#137- Inspect the Client Experience
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. So today I want to talk about the importance of as a leader or business owner or whatever role you are in inspecting what you expect. And in particular, what I want to talk about today is inspecting your sales process or the client process more specifically. Because I find that a lot of leaders, especially as their organization grows, get really too far removed from this and they forget the basics of the business, which is all about that customer or client feel and interaction and experience. And sometimes we can feel like the whole organization is running great and internally everything is running great, but externally things are really not. And I’ve seen leaders really lose sight of that, oftentimes. They feel and their assessment of their company or organization is really high when in reality that customer or client would rate it totally on the opposite end of the scale. And I’ll give you an example.
John: We’ve all been approached by salespeople with all different products, services, or whatnot, programs like me, and I’m sure you do as well. You get emails, you get whatever, text messages, phone calls on a regular basis. Rarely do I really entertain these. But every so often there’s somebody that, you know, I will respond to. And it’s usually the people that have something and they’re very direct and open and transparent with what they are offering or putting forth or want to talk about or propose. I respect that. What I don’t respect is where it’s the bait and switch and it starts off as one thing and turns into another.
John: I had somebody recently reach out to me to suggest someone as a guest on my podcast on this podcast, Tomorrow’s Leader, which I’m always looking for great guests. And this person told me in an email about this person and they sounded terrific. So I said, OK, great, let’s set up a call. So I did a Zoom call with this person or at the scheduled time. And it was the person who had recommended this individual and the individual himself. You know, after two minutes, maybe even less, I realized this was not going to be somebody I’d want to have on the podcast, not somebody I don’t think that everybody would enjoy listening to.
John: But it wasn’t that. It was the fact that within a very quick few seconds or minutes, the conversation steered to what now became apparent as the real purpose of this call or Zoom call. And that was to sell me something that he felt that I needed, which was a tool or program technology to help run my business. Now I am right away. I was a little turned off. I just don’t like it, it’s not direct. Just be clear, be transparent and tell me what you’re looking to sell me or what you’re proposing and I’ll decide if I want to meet and have a call. Don’t, you know, put it out there as one thing, and then all of a sudden it changes to another.
John: In any event, we had a brief conversation. There was a little bit of interest on my part based on what he was talking about. I said, OK, well, let’s set up a call. I don’t have the time to go through it right now. Give me a demo of what you’re talking about. Let me see what it looks like. We set up the call. We had the call, I show up, he shows up. And immediately it becomes apparent to me that he forgot what this call was about. For some reason, he had thought we had already gone through a demo and he started and said, OK, well, what did you think of the demo? I’d love to answer your questions. I’d love to find out what your decision is. I’m like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I haven’t even seen it. That was the purpose of this.
John: So right away, I’m like, OK, well, why, how hard is it just to track what it is that you where you left off with somebody? Do you have a good CRM system? Do you have some kind of way to capture the notes from a prior meeting and be able to go into a meeting that you’re prepared with? Now, listen, I’ve had days where I have 15+ appointments. I know those types of days. We go from one to another to another, but you have to have systems in place so that you’re prepared and you know what that meeting is all about. So needless to say, it was relatively a waste of time.
John: But what I also found is, as I said, OK, well, show me what it is. You got me here for a few minutes, at least give me a little bit of a demo. And he started to go through it. And to be honest with you, it was just a horrible presentation. And maybe part of it was he wasn’t prepared and wasn’t ready to do it. But I would think if you’re demoing your tool and your number one product, you’re pretty good at it, you should be or have been doing it for a while and you do it repeatedly and you should be able to wake up at three o’clock in the morning in the middle of deep sleep and be able to do it really, really well. This guy, on the other hand, was a disaster and the sales skills or presentation skills were basically non-existent. There was no questioning. There was just telling. And very quickly he was off in a different area that had nothing to do with my business. It was functionality that had no meaning to me whatsoever and he just lost me.
John: So the combination of all these missteps here made me realize and just think about how many times as leaders that we’re running organizations or sales teams or whatnot, where we don’t lose sight of the fact of how important it is to inspect what the core of the business is. You know, what is the service that a client’s getting? What’s the experience that somebody gets in? If I own a coffee shop, what is the experience that somebody has when they walk in to the time they walk out? Good, bad, indifferent? Is it slow? Is it fast? Is the quality of the coffee good and has a service to people. Look them in the eye to a smile. How does a place smell? How does it look? I mean, everything, every part of that, because that’s your livelihood.
John: There’s nothing else that matters more than the client or customer experience. So the technology in this case could have been phenomenal. But if the person behind it or in front of it and showing me and instructing me can’t present it in the right way and is not tapping into what’s important to me, they don’t get anywhere. They’re not going to make a sale. So I could be the CEO of that company and have a team of people like this person and have the best technology and product out there, but it’s not being led the right way. And I as the leader, I’m not leading the right way because I get the wrong people doing the wrong things.
And ultimately, then it’s just the weakest link of the chain, which is the most important one. So it just doesn’t make sense.
John: So quick topic today, but my message to you leaders out there, again, I don’t care if you, you know, own a restaurant. If you run an automobile dealership, if you are a coach of a team, if you are running a pharmaceutical division company, division of a pharmaceutical sales company, inspect the process, put your people on the hot seat, have them present just like you were a client or prospect and have them go through their whole sales process with you. I find that people that work for me have been doing it for 10, 15 years, and it was scary sometimes when I inspect their sales process. Which it would be assumed they’ve been doing it so long that they are great at it.
John: But you’d be surprised oftentimes when somebody has been doing something for a long time, they either develop bad habits, they get lazy, they cut corners, they cut out important things in a presentation. Whatever it is, they’re not communicating everything they need to. And all of a sudden things get sloppy and then we wonder and scratch our heads why results are not where we want them to be. You as a leader, it’s your job. You’ve got to inspect it. You got to take a close look. My guess is you’re going to be surprised sometimes that what you see is hopefully positively surprised, but unfortunately, more times than not, you’re going to be opening up your eyes to something that you may not want to take a look at, but you need to.
John: So with that said, I hope this was helpful. Hopefully, it opened up your thoughts and got the wheels turning a little bit on some things that you need to do. But get out there and inspect. All right. Thanks for joining us today, as always. Give a thumbs up, a like, share, comment, subscribe. All that kind of good stuff and go down below, give a five-star review. Much appreciated. And look forward to talking with you soon. Thanks, everybody.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!