The Coach's Corner

Archive for August, 2015

Do You Know What Additive Manufacturing Is?

August 31st, 2015 // Tom Doescher // 2 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Do you know what additive manufacturing is? Do you know what 3-D printing is? If you make things or buy things that are made, you should probably know. Everyone else can delete this post.

After reading an article titled “It’s Happening, and It Will Transform Your Operations and Strategy” in the Harvard Business Review’s May 2015 issue (I have read many other articles on the subject, but I would highly recommend reading this one), I had a conversation with a buddy who owns a small machining business. I asked, “Bruce, will additive manufacturing affect your business?” He replied, “Absolutely, eventually it will.” Then I asked, “What was the last technological change of this magnitude?” He replied, “CNC machines, which were first built in the 1940s, over 70 years ago.”

I think you get the point. Here are just a few excerpts from the HBR article:

  1. In 2005 there were only 50 patents relating to additive manufacturing. By 2013, the number had grown to more than 600 worldwide.
  2. In 2014, sales of industrial-grade 3-D printers in the U.S. were already one-third the volume of industrial automation and robotic sales.
  3. The U.S. hearing aid industry converted to 100 percent additive manufacturing in fewer than 500 days.
  4. GE Aviation has switched to printing the fuel nozzles of certain jet engines and expects to churn out more than 45,000 a year. The new technology allows a nozzle that used to be assembled from 20 separately cast parts to be fabricated in one piece, which will cut the cost of manufacturing by 75 percent.
  5. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has been using drones from Aurora Flight Sciences, which prints the entire body of these unmanned aerial vehicles — some with wingspans of 132 feet — in one build.

So, do you make stuff? Do you buy stuff that is made?

Let me quote the article: “Smart business leaders aren’t waiting for all the details and eventualities to reveal themselves.”

Are You Easily Accessible to Your Clients/Customers?

August 17th, 2015 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

A survey cited in The Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixson and Brent Adamson, reported that the second most important factor (95 percent) driving customer loyalty is accessibility. I have commented on this subject before, in my blog entitled “How Accessible Are You?“.

I believe too many businesses, both large and small, have substantially reduced their accessibility with technology that they hide behind. What does it “really” cost to have someone answer the phone during normal business hours?

Today, you can easily distinguish yourself by simply answering your phone or responding to an email in a prompt and timely fashion.

Have you performed an evaluation of your client/customer touchpoints? Have you talked to your key clients/customers about their experience with your company’s accessibility?

As I mentioned in my 2013 blog, I changed doctors due to the lack of accessibility. I can feel some of you pushing back right now. I know you’re busy, but what’s more important than being responsive to your clients/customers?

Are You Helping Your Clients/Customers, or Selling Them?

August 3rd, 2015 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

In preparing for an upcoming blog series, I’m reading a book recommended by a client, entitled The Challenger Sale (the authors are Matthew Dixson and Brent Adamson). It seems like most B2B businesses desire to obtain new clients/customers, but few are able to execute their plan. Here are just a few tidbits from the book:

  1. A business services sales director told the author that of their 100 sales reps, two are responsible for 80 percent of the company’s revenues.
  2. In the authors’ study of more than 6,000 sales reps, they labeled the most successful reps as “The Challenger” and determined that these individuals possess three strong traits: teaching, tailoring and taking control.
  3. In a survey of more than 5,000 B2B customers, the answer (53 percent of the time) when asked, “Why do you select a particular supplier?” was “The sales experience.” The second most common answer (19 percent of the time) was “The company and brand impact.”
  4. Customer loyalty is won out in the field.

Here’s what the clients/customers say about The Challenger reps:

  1. They offer unique and valuable perspectives on our market.
  2. They help me navigate alternatives.
  3. They provide ongoing advice or consultation.
  4. They help me avoid potential land mines.
  5. They educate me on new issues and outcomes.

I plan to write more on this subject later. But for now, suffice it to say that at Doescher Advisors, we believe the most successful new business developers “help” their clients/customers; they do not “sell” them.

I would love to hear from you. In your experience, what do you think?

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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