#147-Know Your Competitive Advantage
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 dove deep on all things leader-related, related to leading yourself and leading others. I am John Laurito, your host today and every day. So a couple of thoughts. First of all, for those of you who have been asking, I greatly appreciate you asking about two things. One is my TED talk. When is that coming out? I’m extremely excited about that. I am waiting any moment for that final video to be sent to me so I can then put it out to social media and put it out to you. So stay tuned. I think by the time this episode airs, it will be only a couple of days away. So thank you. And that TED talk was a great experience. It was a really cool thing. I was honored to be invited to do that. They are not easy to do. As many of you who have followed TED talks, you know, getting onto that platform is a big deal. So I’m certainly honored.
John: It was a unique experience because, unfortunately, because of covid, there was no live audience. So it was everything minus the audience. So it will be I don’t I’m not sure if you’ll be able to tell when you see it because of the way it was videoed. But it was me in front of a whole still sound crew and production crew minus the audience. So I will look forward to doing one in front of a big audience again, at some point in the future, but I think you’ll like it. I’m interested in your feedback and your thoughts. Secondly, my book, my book, Tomorrow’s Leader: How the Best Leaders Get Better and Fast-Changing World is coming out very, very soon. It is in the final phases of production. It should be available for preorder literally in the next few weeks.
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John: OK, so today’s topic. So, I was reflecting back on somebody. Somebody was talking, we were talking about your competitive advantage and I was relaying a story that I thought made a really good point. I figured, OK, let me share this on a podcast because it was kind of an interesting experience. And you know me well enough to know that I will give props to
great organizations. And when they do great things and I’ll also be really open with organizations that don’t. So this organization does a lot of great things and they produce a fantastic product. But in this case, their sales pitch was lacking big time. So I’ll tell you about it. So the company that I profiled today is Bose.
John: So Bose is one of my favorite companies, technical companies out there. It is a phenomenal speaker system. If you’ve ever had a Bose speaker system or whatever it is, your earphones or speakers or anything, you know, the quality is top notch. So if you’ve ever gone into a Bose store, I went into one of these a while back. So this is a few years ago. And I remember being excited. I was looking at the time to set up some surround sound in my place. And I had done a bunch of research. I had looked at different speakers and different systems and everything like that. This was a number of years ago. So I remember walking in the Bose studio and he said, you know, have you gone through our demo? Have you actually heard what the speakers sound like? And I said, no. I said, you know, I would love to hear if you can give me a sample. He said, OK, come on back.
John: So he led me to the back of the store where they have this separate room that’s set up almost like a little home theater. And you sit down in this comfy chair and there’s this huge Bode’s speakers, you know, in the corners of the room. And, you know, they’ve got this big screen and you’re like, wow, this is a pretty neat theater. I got a feeling I’m going to be pretty impressed. And so they start this demo. And I got to tell you, the sound quality was unbelievable. It was super, super impressive. And it was this it was all pre-done, this sales pitch. It was a video and audio kind of experience. And it was almost like you’re in a movie theater and you’re getting that Dolby sound. You know, that speakers sound. These were the Bose speakers, and these big speakers are vibrating and shaking and, yeah, big bass and everything like that, and your ears are like an overload, but it is unbelievable.
John: And at the end of the presentation, so I’m thinking, OK, this is great, but I’m sure it’s going to be super pricey and I don’t have a home theater like this wasn’t what I was looking to build and design. And I want these, you know, it’s a lot. So the guy and the presentation said now you would expect this type of sound from Bose and you would expect this sound
from speakers like this, which were huge like four or five-foot speakers. And at that moment what they did is they lowered the speakers and all it was was a shell. And the sound wasn’t coming out of these huge speakers. They were coming out of these little tiny things that were affixed to the wall.
John: And it was mind-blowing. It’s like, what? Wait a sec. Are you kidding me? Like, that big sound came from those tiny little speakers. And that was their point. And it was such a masterful way to make that presentation. It was like, wow, I was just blown away. I’m like, oh, I’m sold. Here’s my credit card. And so the guy comes out and he’s like, hey, would you think I’m like, honestly, I’m like blown away. I didn’t I had no idea these speakers were that small and so powerful. You’re telling me that’s legit? Like he’s like, honestly, these four little tiny speakers put in the high corners of the room or whatever you want is going to produce that sound. I’m like, wow, I’m totally blown away. And so, you know, the driver and I take over. I’m like, OK, well, how much is the system? And it was something like, I’m going to say $2,500 or $3,000 or something like that. For four speakers it was well above the average price level. In fact, I had done my research and the ones that I was going to go with were something like, I don’t know, $700.
John: Now, again, this is like years ago. And I can’t remember exactly. But it was fair to say that the BWS was like four times the price of what the ones were that I researched. Then I researched ones that were apparently really well-rated in the market. Those audio tests that are listening are probably, you know, like what? That’s just the prices they’ll make said, well,
OK, give me a break, because this was like 15. Maybe it was 20 years. I don’t know. It was a long time ago. So any event, I’m like, OK, well, I said, listen, I’m ready to make a decision. I’m ready to buy something. But I’ve got these other speakers and I printed them out. I had had the thing.
John: And I’m like, OK, what’s the difference between these speakers that are seven hundred bucks and what you’re telling me? These Bose are $2,500. Granted, I know it sounds great, but so do these. Apparently. So what’s the real big difference and why are yours four times the average cost of all these other speakers and the guy you would have thought I’d never had ever asked them that question before. The guy looked a little nervous and he said, well, and he stammered a little bit and he and he had the control. There’s a remote control for him. And he said, well, you know, the Bose. You know, there’s a lot of different features with it. And I’m like, well, what’s the difference? And right away I’m thinking, OK, this guy doesn’t know his value proposition. And he said, well, you know, with Bose, you don’t have to point it directly at the speakers. You can point it anywhere. And it will still connect and the control will still work. OK, really.
John: Really, that’s the difference, that’s four times the value, that’s the first answer to my question. That’s number one on the list. Is that what the sales training program taught you? I don’t get it. And I don’t think I got any other answer on that. I actually think that was it. That was one and done that was the difference-maker. And granted, I, even as a consumer, could have told you I could have given a better answer, that I could have said, well, look, quality is really, really good. Yeah. For the maybe totally untrained ear, you know, maybe you wouldn’t notice that big of a difference. But I just sat through this demo. It was pretty mind-blowing. So you could have gone down that road, the quality, the speakers, all kinds of different things. I don’t know the color of the speakers or whatever, but the control, you don’t have to point it at the thingy. Right. I just was baffled.
John: So needless to say, I did not buy Bose speakers. I have bought other Bose speakers, but I did not buy those Bose speakers that have a surround system. And I could have possibly had I had the right salesperson and had they really shown me and convinced me why these were worth four times, I don’t know, maybe they weren’t. But there’s a lot of people out there that have bought those surround sounds. So I’m guessing other people felt like they were maybe other consumers had the answer. But this sales guy paid on commission and that’s his only job. And probably the most important questions he’s ever going to get asked was totally unprepared for that question. The basic question was softball. I just gave it to him and just all he had to do was knock it out of the park. And I was a buyer. I was right there. All right. You know, I get frustrated with this stuff.
John: So that’s my job, though. I like to educate. I like to share pieces of wisdom, nuggets, nuggets of goodness, whatever you want to call them. And hopefully, you can avoid those types of experiences or if you’re in that situation if you’re a salesperson or you’re the leader, because, in reality, that’s the leader’s fault, not training his or her salespeople well enough. That’s your job. You got to make sure your people know the deal, the basics. They got to be brilliant at the basics. Thank you, Larry Post. That’s Larry Post-ism. You got to be brilliant at the basics. You have to, that’s your job. But you gotta know that stuff. In this case, the person did not. So in any event, that’s my story today. I do love Bose speakers. I did not like
my Bose experience that day, at least the answer to the question. I did like the experience, but not the answer to the question.
John: So I hope that helps. Gives an opportunity for the wheels to turn a little bit. Ask yourself how well-trained are your people in your organization? How well could they answer those questions, drill them? How often do you get them together and role play? Think about a coach of a sports team. That’s all you’re doing is you’re running through plays. Here are the different scenarios. If this happens, what do you do? If that happens, what do you do? You’ve got to prepare your players, your team, the same thing. If you run a company, you’ve got to prepare your people. They have got to be great. They’ve got to be ready for those things that, you know, are going to be very common. Resistances are questions. You have to, that’s just the basics of it.
John: So I hope this gave you some fuel, some food for thought, for food, for thought, not fuel. And again, email me, direct message me. Let me know what your thoughts, comments are. Greatly appreciate your suggestions for topics. Make sure you like, share, subscribe to all that kind of good stuff. Go down below. Give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time. 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!