Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss
Volume 2 Number 1
A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.
Let’s Not Assume We Know It A
However, we and our clients often make assumptions that are unfounded. Assumptions have two variables: the probability of being correct or incorrect; and the seriousness of the impact of their validity or invalidity. Assuming the bank will fund your expansion, and using your personal funds as a bridge until the bank approves the actual loan, has enormously serious consequences if your assumption is wrong, despite the bank officer’s assurance of the loan approval being “just a formality.”
Assuming that your buyer will be able to procure the six figures she has promised for you in her budget next year may seem safe if she has a five-year track record of doing so, but I wouldn’t spend the money on a vacation home until I had all of it on deposit. Your client assuming the field force will support a new compensation system isn’t something I’d bank on without talking to the that constituency, or at least asking what evidence supports that conclusion.
Just because a client tells you something, doesn’t mean it’s true. It may not be a lie, but it could be a highly faulty assumption. “Don’t be absolutely sure of anything, not even if I tell you,” admonished Bertrand Russell.
My client asked me for a sales closing workshop of two days’ duration. As always, I asked, “Why do you feel you need this?”
“Uncontrolled attrition,” said the president. “We lose 25 percent of our business each year due to reasons beyond our control, and we’re only bringing on sufficient new business to replace it. We need to exceed the losses with gains.”
“Why do you believe you’re losing so much business annually to uncontrollable causes?” I asked.
“The field force tells me this is the reason.”
You can guess the rest. I investigated clients who had left, and 90 percent had left due to poor service from the field force. The president was operating on an invalid assumption—that the field force was reporting accurately. Hence, his “solution” wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. With the holidays in December and the “January blues” after the first of the year, shouldn’t we be using those two months to improve our business processes, and leave marketing for later?
A. If you believe that, and the fact that “no one is around in the summer,” then you’re writing off about five months. The last time I looked, the commuting traffic was just as heavy, certain businesses (e.g., retail) thrive in December, and no one outside of a couple of European countries shuts down in the summer! If you’re working on those assumptions, then you’re not very motivated or innovative. There are ALWAYS opportunities and reasons to market. And even if your assumptions were true, it means that you’d be one of the few people out there, much more likely to be noticed!
October 22-24, 2012
The Breakers, Palm Beach, FL
The third annual conference, limited to 20 people, which has featured Marshall Goldsmith and David Maister the past two years. Learn how to rise to thought leadership in your field with practical techniques and ongoing support. The graduate session is already sold out a year in advance! Fifteen spots remain. There is no other opportunity like this in the world. The finest venue, great interaction, top people. All lodging and meals are included.
Read about the 2011 session here.
Sign up for 2012 here.
March 6-7, 2012
Alan's Home, East Greenwich, RI
We have space for only 6 people in this session which provides six months of growth in two days. Create a powerful speech, practice it, set the right fees, and establish a marketing plan. Extensive prep work. All meals, lodging, local transportation included. A unique, intensive opportunity with ongoing and detailed feedback from Alan. Three spots remain.
Miami, February 7, 2012
London, May 8, 2012
In an extensive day of recorded role-plays and case studies, learn how to establish objectives, metrics, and value that will gain conceptual agreement with a buyer and lead directly to large proposals with almost guaranteed acceptance. We will provide everyone with videos of their simulations, and everyone is encouraged to record their own and others. I’m buying dinner for the first ten registrants in each city.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.
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