Win by a Nose, Lose by a Nose|
by David & Lorrie Goldsmith
Permission for reprint given to Keynote Resources
Have you ever focused on something so intensely that your senses seem to shut off? Imagine being a jockey at the helm of a Belmont Stakes contender. Your horse is breathing hard, but you barely notice it. Your body is rocking in tune with the flow of the horse's gait, but you hardly feel it. The resounding cheers of 120,000 screaming spectators are muffled at best, if not completely blotted out altogether. Your focus is on the white finish line, and making sure that your horse's nose cuts over it before anyone else's. A new "challenge" approaches…a stately competitor has inched its way to your shoulder. Now you can see its whole head. The white line looms closer and larger. Can your horse hold out its lead to the finish? Both cross the line. The winner will have to be determined by photo finish. A difference of less than one centimeter separates you and the other guy from the $1 million prize. Did you win or lose by a nose?
Real life isn't always that exciting or dramatic, but real life mimics this "win by a nose, lose by a nose" competition all the time. Consider this. If you're firm is attempting to secure a sale and you lose, what do you lose? EVERTHING. If you win, you win several times over. First you win the order and you get to benefit from the time trying to secure the sale and then you win the added benefit of profits. Your competitors lose not only the sale, but they lose profits and opportunity costs associated with the efforts. Profits have to pay for the lost efforts used to secure the sale.
Let's say your firm generates 300 quotes a year and you win about one third or 100 projects a year. Closer evaluation might show you lost 14% due to late submissions, 17% due to plus or minus 1% of the asking price, and 11% due to not having a 24-hour hot line. Contemplate what your business would look like if you jumped from 100 orders a year to 146 orders just by fixing these small issues and winning by a nose. Perhaps the jump would go from $32 million to $47 million just by evaluating win-by-a-nose strategies. Our clients say they most likely would have to turn away business. Would you?
If we used the concept, "win by a nose, lose by a nose" to the military, then decisions and actions are much more evident. What happens if you lose by a nose-a split second? You die. Business would be much more productive if the consequences were as severe.
The great thing about this strategy: you don't need to be 10 times better than your competition to win, do you? You just need to be a nose.
Minor adjustments can make the difference between having everything you want and watching other people have it instead. Sometimes being aware of just how close you really are makes a world of difference, too. Other times, doing the same thing, but changing the timing reaps big rewards.
A simple example is how you might pay off a business loan or a mortgage. Say you have $200,000 to pay off on a 30-year loan. You can make one lump payment each month, and in 30 years, you're done. Or, you can cut the amount in half and make two payments a month. In 22 years, you're free and clear. Tack on another $100 per month, and you might get out from under the loan in 18 years. Think of what twelve extra years of retirement savings or $80,000 can do to the quality of your life. In essence you've won by a nose with a simple planning strategy.
If you're in management, there are plenty of ways you can adjust and tweak what you do to win by a nose. You can make your own list of win-by-a-nose strategies. The possibilities are endless, really. Here are 4 things you should consider to get started:
Copyright David and Lorrie Goldsmith. All Rights Reserved.
David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of their own consulting group. Their firm offers consulting and speaking services internationally. David was named by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the "26 Hottest Speakers in the Industry." Jeff Gitomer say’s "David Goldsmith is unique in that he can see a 30,000 feet view of business and then delivers the hand-to-hand tools for combat."
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