Joining me today is Dan Waldschmidt, founder of Waldschmidt Partners International. Dan's privately-owned firm specializes in executive strategy and business strategy. They've helped companies worldwide change the conversation and dominate their industry.
Below, you can read highlights from our discussion or use the links to start the video from different parts of the conversation.
Dan tells his consulting clients about well-known brands, like Ford Motor Company, General Electric, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, that only achieved success after their founders failed thousands or even tens of thousands of times. “Think about trying something ten thousand times,” Dan says. “Even counting to ten thousand is really difficult.” With his team at Waldschmidt Partners, Dan uses his EDGY Strategy to help sales teams exceed their goals.
The EDGY Strategy
Click to start video at this point—“What we try to do with EDGY is look at why business is broken,” Dan says, “not why cold calling is broken or why prospecting is broken. We came up with these philosophies that have a profound impact when applied practically.”
- Extreme Behavior. According to Dan, true achievers are willing to “go farther and further than anyone else,” even in the face of criticism. For example, a business owner who goes bankrupt might get labelled as “cursed,” Dan says. However, Henry Ford declared bankruptcy five times before redefining the automotive business and, along the way, modern manufacturing.
- Disciplined Approach. Thomas Edison didn’t achieve success by accident. Dan believes that learning from failure requires the discipline to test ideas, to measure what worked, to avoid repeating mistakes, and to deny the immediate gratification of giving up or settling for less than true success.
- Giving Mindset. Dan calls giving out bonuses during sales cycles “tactical stuff.” Instead, Dan recommends a philosophy that empowers employees and enriches both customers and communities. “When we have gifts given to us,” Dan says, “we’re moved. It’s truly memorable.” According to Dan, a downloadable PDF usually doesn’t offer enough value to be considered a real gift, unlike a signed book or a souvenir.
- Yuman Perspective. Dan playfully changed the first letter of the “human” element, both to make a better acronym and to illustrate how people operate. Treating employees, customers, and prospects as fellow human beings first influences both your tactics and your outcomes.
Dan uses Zappos.com as an example of a company that uses an EDGY strategy. Although the company has earned kudos for examples of extreme customer service, few businesses fully embrace an approach that runs counter to traditional accounting practices. Getting EDGY requires leaders to embrace long-term thinking, even in the face of advisors or investors who prefer quicker returns.
“You Don’t Have to Blink.”
Click to start video at this point—In a memorable blog post titled “Why you don't need to blink,” Dan wrote: “You are enough to be successful. You’re strong enough. Power through, work hard, don’t give up, keep trying. Believe you are going to succeed.” According to Dan, the power to persuade prospects lies in our ability to understand and confront our own fears and frailty.
“You might call us mind hackers,” Dan says, about consulting’s foundation in neuroscience. “For too long, sales has been this machismo sport of sleeping with clients, drinking way too much whisky, and buying tickets,” Dan says. Even though that sounds like an outdated stereotype, Dan urges sales professionals to review the past five years for evidence that they’re stronger than they might believe. Effective sales strategies stem from the talent to influence decision makers, not from relying on personal relationships.
Surviving Change Under Tough Market Conditions
Click to start video at this point—Dan admits that change isn’t easy, especially for multi-million dollar companies. However, by focusing on four key areas, company leaders can take pressure off their teams while standardizing their approaches to success:
- Strategies. Before focusing on tactics, Dan urges his clients to consider whether they want to focus on a single, huge deal every year or dozens of small deals every month.
- Processes. Dan recommends defining specific days by routine actions, such as staging follow-up calls on one day each week, and field presentations on another.
- Tools. Salespeople often forget to follow up or follow through when they lack a tool that reminds them, Dan says. Tools like Salesforce and Boomerang can help keep opportunities from falling through the cracks.
- Connections. Like family pets, relationships require routine care and feeding.
The right systems offset our human abilities to remember only a handful of names, tasks, or appointments at any given time. Organizations that embrace strategies, processes, and tools enable their sales professionals to use more of their brain power to do their jobs better.
You can connect with Dan and learn more about his work via the following resources:
Dan Waldschmidt Website: www.danwaldschmidt.com
Waldschmidt Partners Website: www.waldschmidtpartners.com
The next PowerViews will be with Jim Dickie of CSO Insights. Stay Tuned.
By Dan McDade