Obsess Over Your Customers, Not Your Rivals

From HBR, worth a read and then asking yourself some questions….

The starting point of most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders and organizations go broader.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. And the answer is this: Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve…..

….Sure, someone in your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing, at a basic level. But there’s a point at which paying attention to other companies and what they’re doing interferes with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer. Focusing on competitive products and companies often leads to “me-too” products, which purport to compete with or iterate on something that customers might not have liked much in the first place.

Conclusion:

  • First, rethink what you sell.
  • Next, rethink your customers.
  • Now, focus on their problems.

Read full article HERE

 

 

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Kolbe Wisdom™ and Sales & Service

KOLBE WISDOM™ AND SALES & SERVICE

If “selling” can be defined as the exchange of goods or a service for money, then it stands to reason that the process is influenced by the instincts of both buyer and seller. So by knowing the Modus Operandi™ (MO) of your team you can predict how they will work at maximum effectiveness.

In Dentistry there is so much more than just selling an item of treatment or even a service. You and your team are engaging in a life-long relationship with any new patient to your practice. Sadly if you read and listen to some of the people advising dental professionals you would think it’s simple. That all you need to do is follow the memorised script to its, apparently, logical conclusion for effortless success.

This approach, presuming one size fits all, not only fails to bring the best out of the members of the team but also omits any consideration of the buying instincts of the patient, client or customer.

A quick review:
In previous postings I have outlined the principles behind Kolbe Wisdom™ and how, by using the 32-question Kolbe A Index, it is possible to identify the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.

I outlined the four Conative Characteristics:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information – Specifiers.
  • Follow Through – Sorting and Storing Information – Classifiers.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty – Improvisers.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles – Builders.

Each Action Mode has three Zones of Operation, which determine how the individual acts when using it.

  • Initiating Zone: how they insist on beginning the problem-solving process.
  • Accommodation Zone: how they respond to people and situations.
  • Preventing Zone: how they avoid or resist problems.

We lead from different strengths and it is the mix of the intensities in each of these characteristics that gives rise to our individual ways of doing things – our modus operandi, or MO.

A successful sales team is (like any other team) a synergistic group that takes advantage of all the instinctive insistencies. Too often it is presumed that an individual with what is deemed to be a “sales personality”, described as outgoing, high-energy and driven – frequently by greed – is the right person to have in charge of sales. If that were the case and these are the qualities to succeed in sales there wouldn’t be the failures in selection that there are now.

Successful selling requires creativity; it’s a matter of pure instinct. Most recruitment techniques, like sales training courses, miss the point. There is little point in selecting the extrovert because he or she is the life and soul of a party. Similarly, there is nothing to be achieved by teaching manipulative techniques in mirroring and gaining a false sense of rapport in order to make a one-off sale which will be followed by buyer’s remorse when their innate needs surface.

The phrase about a leopard changing its spots comes to mind when considering the different ways that a member of the Dental Team will initiate in everything they do, not least the sales process.

Take, for example, a discussion about rebuilding a broken down dentition. A Fact Finder would instinctively want to know everything about the patient before describing the treatment required. Someone who initiates in Follow Through would be keen to describe the reliability and longevity of the proposed work and perhaps offer a guarantee. In Quick Start the clinician will just want the patient to trust their judgement and will be itching to get going. The Implementor requires something tangible like models, wax ups and radiographs, so that their instinctive needs are met.

Unless the authentic instinctive nature of the person involved in dealing with the patient is allowed full rein then they will be unfulfilled, inefficient and ultimately unhappy. This will soon show itself in their dealings with patients and will lead to less than optimum performance of the whole team.

Good sales people meet their customers’ needs by using their instinct to find alternatives that work with the instincts of their customers. The process must be win-win without manipulation of the client to act contrary to their best interests.

When instinctive needs are met, there’s no procrastination, no buyers’ remorse and no customer dissatisfaction. That is the sales process at its best.

Sadly the reality is that much sales talk is artificial communication, which ignores buyers’ instincts in pursuit of the “close the deal” attitude. Until this changes, the majority of dental people in “sales” including front desk, nurses, hygienists, treatment co-ordinators, associates and, above all, practice owners will continue to fail and they and their patients will continue to miss having their needs met.

Want to discover your Kolbe A? HERE

Next week: Sales considering the patients’ MO™.

During this piece I have, once again, borrowed and quoted heavily from Kathy Kolbe’s book “Pure Instinct” which is available from Kolbe Corporation through their website www.kolbe.com.

It is possible that some of the concepts I discuss will not be clear to the reader who has not read the earlier articles, for back copies please email me.

They shopped until they dropped and then they stopped….

On the very rare occasions I am in large shopping “malls” (usually visiting a John Lewis – predictable I know) I wonder, “how do these places make any money”?

Interesting article in the New York Times about the changes in US retail via Benedict Evans’ Newsletter where he says:

Is American retail at a tipping point? (Arguably, it passed one several years ago). The USA has 2-3x more retail square footage per capita than other developed countries, and that may now be starting to collapse, driving (sic) by commerce but also lots of other factors.

Worth a read HERE.

Now that’s one way to ask for feedback

 

I love reading reviews on Amazon, the 4 & 5 stars tell me something but the 1 star reviews sometimes make me fear for the survival of the human species, “couldn’t get the lid off, “arrived without batteries”, etc. I often wonder where the gap between expectations and reality started as they are so far apart and how there can be such diverse opinions on the same things.

The coffee shop on the ground floor of the House of Fraser store in Princes Street, Edinburgh is a regular stop for a pot of green tea. During a recent visit I was forced to think about why so many of us are happy to give feedback either via Trip Adviser, Amazon, Goodreads, or the dreadful NHS “Friends & Family” or less formally, but more usefully, by sharing opinions with friends, family, colleagues and so on and how much use that feedback really is.

The one thing that we rarely do is to make our case directly with the person, business or system with which we have dealt. That may well be due to our reluctance to face up to another human being and deliver both positive and  negative feedback, and to both commend and recommend. More likely is that very few of us welcome feedback, interpreting it as direct criticism, nor do we have systems in our business where we encourage direct, honest but non-confrontational, sharing of how someone’s experience was for them. 

In most face to face professional situations – especially dentistry – we ought to be able feel how the experience is for someone so that it can modified and dealt with as you are progressing so that the right support can be given. Whilst that is true, or sadly, not true for clinicians are our support staff wired in the same way, are they taught to seek and expect responses? Do we take the time to fine tune their antennae? Do we select for empathy or efficiency? Or both? Or as I all too often find, neither?

Just thinking.

 

 

Kolbe – My Decade of Success – What’s Your Kolbe?

WebIt’s nearly ten years since I completed my Kolbe Accreditation, since then I have shared the my knowledge with hundreds of individuals and helped many teams understand how instinct is so important in knowing themselves and their teams. So over the next few weeks I am revisiting some articles that I wrote back then.

What’s Your KOLBE™?

One of the biggest challenges to any clinician and small business owner is the blending of individuals together to make a team.

These are the same challenges that can afflict larger businesses and corporations too.

  • Do you recruit people then find they aren’t quite what you thought?
  • Are you beset with problems retaining staff?
  • Do have difficulties integrating the individuals into a team?
  • Is your hygienist outside the wire?
  • Do your associates fail to embrace your vision for the future?

The KOLBE Wisdom™

  • Identifies the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.
  • Focuses on the strengths of your team.

The KOLBE A Index is a 36-question survey that reveals the individual mix of striving instincts; it measures individual energies in:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information.
  • Follow through – Sorting and Storing Information.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles.

The results are a serious of ‘scores’. Mine for instance is 6/3/8/3, this isn’t the place to give full analysis, my PA’s is 8/8/1/4 which means we work together well.

Hence the question: What’s your KOLBE?

Some background. Kathy Kolbe is a well-known and highly honoured author and theorist who has been working in the field of human behaviour for nearly 40 years. Following on from her scientific studies of learning differences between children she devised The Kolbe Wisdom™, which has been used by such businesses as Kodak, IBM and Xerox and many others around the world. It is now available for use with smaller teams.

The Kolbe Wisdom™ is based on the concept that creative instincts are the source of the mental energy that drives people to take specific actions. This mental drive is separate and distinct from passive feelings and thoughts. Creative instincts are manifested in an innate pattern (modus operandi, or MO) that determines each person’s best efforts.

These conative or instinctive traits are what make us get things done. They should be differentiated from the cognitive (knowledge) or the affective (feelings). As Kathy Kolbe has written, “The conative is the clincher in the decision making hierarchy. Intelligence helps you determine a wise choice, emotions dictate what you’d like to buy, but until the conative kicks in, you don’t make a deal – you don’t put your money where your mouth is.”

Conation doesn’t define what you can or can’t do, rather what you will and won’t do.

A person’s MO is quantifiable and observable, yet functions at the subconscious level. MOs vary across the general population with no gender, age or racial bias.

An individual’s MO governs actions, reactions and interactions. The MO also determines a person’s use of time and his or her natural form of communication. Exercising control over this mental resource gives people the freedom to be their authentic selves.

Any interference with the use of this energy reduces a person’s effectiveness and the joy of accomplishment. Stress inevitably results from the prolonged disruption of the flow of this energy. Others can nurture this natural ability but block it by attempting to alter it.

Individual performance can be predicted with great accuracy by comparing instinctive realities, self-expectations and requirements. It will fluctuate based on the appropriateness of expectations and requirements.

When groups of people with the right mix of MOs function interactively, the combined mental energy produces synergy. Such a team can perform at a higher level than is possible for the same group functioning independently.

Team performance is accurately predicted by a set of algorithms that determine the appropriate balance and make up of MOs.

Leaders can optimise individual and group performance by:

  • Giving people the freedom to be themselves.
  • Assigning jobs suited to individual strengths.
  • Building synergistic teams.
  • Reducing obstacles that cause debilitating stress.
  • Rewarding committed use of instinctive energy.
  • Allowing for the appropriate use of time.
  • Communicating in ways that trigger the effective use of the natural, universal and unbiased energy of creative instincts.

Any  team is as good as:

  • The conative fit each individual has with his or her individual role.
  • The members are, in accurately predicting the differences between each other.
  • The management of the team is, in using the talent available.

In dentistry the use of Kolbe does not only help build the right teams. When the concepts are understood and applied to clinical situations or ones of patient choice and treatment planning then resistance can be handled and the correct way of presentation used.

There are only two fully trained and currently accredited KOLBE Consultants in the UK.

There is only one experienced in working with Dentists and their teams. 

Take YOUR Kolbe A analysis here

If you would like to find out more about using these fantastic tools in your practice or if you would be interested in a presentation to your study group or society get in touch via the contact form below or call me on 0044 7778 148583.

The Monday Morning Quote #408

“Productivity isn’t  everything but in the long run it is almost everything”.

Paul Krugman (Nobel prize winning economist)

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The Weekend Read – What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School by Mark H McCormack

9781781253397First published in 1984, I see that it is still one of the top sellers in the Business sections of airport book shops. Its very longevity proves that it either must have something going for it or because it has always been popular it must be good. Well you pays your money and you takes your choice. I find it a well written, easily digestible book with plenty to offer anyone in any business.

I read it when it was first released by Collins in 1984 (so yet another thank you to my Dad)  thinking that the lessons of “big business” which at the time were a million miles away from my life as a peripatetic associate in dental practices would not apply to my life. In this as in many other things I was wrong – the fundamentals of business large or small are the same. I have re-read it a couple of times since and although the landscape may have changed the fundamentals have not – nor will they.

The book is split into three sections People, Sales & Negotiations, and Running a Business. The opening four chapters should be compulsory reading for all new dental graduates including as they do with getting on with people, making an impression and getting ahead. The Sales and Negotiations isn’t as high blown as you may think and has plenty of nitty gritty advice.

The last four chapters on running a business are invaluable to anyone thinking about getting into business on their own or wanting to be a first class employee. There is a lot of B***S*** spoken these days about being an entrepreneur; those people who say they want to be an entrepreneur, especially in dentistry, would do well to read the last chapter of the book where he states that 99% of people should work for somebody. Start by examining your motives and if they are dreams, if you are running away from things or you ‘want to make a lot of money’ then McCormack writes, “forget it”.

In case you don’t know who Mark McCormack was (he died in 2003) here’s the blurb, “dubbed ‘the most powerful man in sport’, founded IMG (International Management Group) on a handshake. It was the first and is the most successful sports management company in the world, becoming a multi-million dollar, worldwide corporation whose activities in the business and marketing spheres are so diverse as to defy classification. Here, Mark McCormack reveals the secret of his success to key business issues such as analysing yourself and others, sales, negotiation, time management, decision-making and communication. What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School fills the gaps between a business school education and the street knowledge that comes from the day-to-day experience of running a business and managing people. It shares the business skills, techniques and wisdom gleaned from twenty-five years of experience.”

Available from The Book Depository.

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