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Eric Richardson
Eric Richardson

Summary

Founder and CEO of Growth Development Associates (GDA). Since 1989, GDA has provided Sales Training in over 40 countries for global companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Siemens, GE, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Cross Blue Shield, RGA, United Health, Honda, Acura, and thousands of small and medium-sized businesses and resellers. Eric is a highly motivational and impactful Keynote Speaker. 

GDA offers customized sales training live and on-line for all six areas of sales and management training: (1) Consultative Selling, (2) Selling Value, (3) Effective Sales Writing, (4) Account Management, (5) Demand Generation (Marketing), and (6) Managing & Coaching People, plus Strategic Planning and Tactical Planning for executive teams.

 

How David Beat Goliath

We were part of a fast growing computer company.  In fact, at the time, DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) was growing at 35% per year.  Having gotten the industry’s attention, we were now going after long-time, loyal IBM accounts.  Many of the IT executives at that time were not only loyal to IBM, but most had actually learned how to be effective IT executives at week-long IBM schools for IT executives.  Even stronger, IBM had lived up to all promises with ultimate customer satisfaction for years.

So it was no surprise that the IT executive at this large, national chicken producer had no interest in even meeting with us.  We could not even get an appointment.  With nothing to lose, one of my account executives waited all day for a chance to introduce himself to the CEO in the parking lot.  When he introduced himself, the CEO cut him off and responded with one line… “If you meet with me, you’d better be coming to tell me how you’re going to make me some money.”  Intimidating, yes, but the truth is that we had technology that when added to what they were getting would, in fact, enhance their profitability.  I knew this, because I had spent most of my professional life up until that time at IBM, and though I was now Director of Sales and Marketing for a competitor, I still “bled blue” and knew very well the value that IBM was bringing to the client.

Thus warned, I accompanied the account executive to meet with the CEO.  Before he could repeat his warning to us, we reiterated that we had come to show him how we could make the company money, and that broke the ice… a bit.   We then asked him what he felt were the critical processes of profitability in his chicken business, his business, in which half pennies meant the difference between profits and losses.  On his whiteboard, I scribed for our discussion and highlighted processes, including temperature controls, batching, processing timing, market deliveries, routing efficiencies, and breading controls.  I learned more about chicken production in forty-five minutes than I imagine many farmers had learned in years on small farms.  And I saw how integrating those systems in real time could have dramatic effects on profitability… enough to warrant investigation into a pilot.   At the end of it all, the CEO told us that he could see the potential, but that anything that would happen would have to happen at the hands of his IT executive… the same IT executive who would not give us an appointment.

But now we were armed with a whole new strength… the strength of knowing the CEO’s vision of improved profitability.  It was after six PM by the time we had driven back home.  During the drive, my account executive called the office of the IT executive and left a message that we had met with the CEO about profitability, and that we wanted to share with the IT executive what the CEO had said.  My account executive left his home phone number.  When he walked into the house at 6:30 PM, his phone rang.  It was the IT executive.   “Get your butt in my office first thing in the morning,” was all he said.

I can tell you two things that happened after that meeting.  One is that we won millions of dollars of computer systems sales for DEC in the months that followed.  The second is that the Frank Purdue left that whiteboard untouched in his office for almost three years.

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