Theory of Constraints — A Concise, Expert Management Briefing

TOC Sales & Buy-In Application

A genuine Sales Process

Gain strong internal buy-in for new ideas

Make more sales in even fiercely competitive markets

Basis for focused, methodical continuous improvement in the sales process

Boost your sales success rate — for internal sales (buy-in) as well as external sales (customers)

Because Theory of Constraints solutions are so unorthodox, and demand the equivalent of a DNA change (in contrast to the more common band-aid level solutions) Eli Goldratt realized a long time ago that a powerful approach to gaining internal buy-in was necessary; and, since none could be found, he naturally invented one.

The TOC buy-in process is the most effective approach to buy-in I have ever encountered. Sad to say, that could be damning it with faint praise because very, very few managers actually have ANY formal approach to gaining buy-in whatsoever. When a manager understands the Theory of Constraints buy-in steps they make so much sense — and explain so many buy-in problems in the past — that many managers consider them as powerful as the TOC applications themselves. Used internally, the techniques create both a logical and emotional buy-in to a solution, creating a force of ownership of the solution that glues a workforce together through it's implementation.

Applying the solution to External Sales (dealing with customers)

The development of the Unrefusable Offer (URO, also known as Mafia Offer or the Market Solution) as a tool to break market constraints created another buy-in problem for TOC specialists. In an URO a salesman is selling value, not the product or service; and despite the sales profession's claims to teach salesmen to do just that, it was quickly evident that the majority of sales people simply do not understand the concept. Moreover, even those that do, have to rely on their natural ability because there are no tools to turn to for help. So the internal buy-in processes were examined from a perspective of their application to gain external buy-in (i.e. make a sale) and the variation that has emerged is extraordinarily powerful. The TOC Sales Process (or Selling Process) is a genuine process, one that can be trained, followed, and monitored, and where process failures can provide meaningful analyses for improvement.

How powerful is the process? As part of Eli Goldratt's recent launch of his Viable Vision process, I watched him in action last summer as he closed one of the 21 Viable Vision sales that concluded in a single week, with a total value of more than $100 million ... using a sawn-off version of the process. I hope you'll agree that 21 out of 21 isn't bad, especially in circumstances where the sale was to a CEO and 2 lieutenants, time was strictly limited to 2 hours per sale, and the average fee presented was in the $5MM to $10MM range (and represented extraordinary value at that price — typically 90% of that fee or more was entirely performance-dependent in an environment where success translated into a bottom line improvement that dwarfed the fee). And no, it wasn't just because it was Eli Goldratt; others have generated similar results in a wide variety of other countries since then. And anyway, we have seen the Sales approach being used by TOC users for many years.

In addition to it's sheer effectiveness, the TOC Sales approach offers several other advantages over traditional selling:

  • There is a formal methodology so that even technical specialists reluctantly placed into a sales role (as is often the case with large sales) can literally, just follow procedures.
  • The Theory of Constraints support for focused, methodical Continuous Improvement is a side-effect of the main process ... but an extremely valuable one.
  • The procedure is such that an internal manager who will subsequently be left in a position of having to sell to others what has just been sold to him, is beautifully equipped to do so.

 

Recommended: If you want to learn more on this topic.. Unless you are willing to commit to a workshop with a TOC Expert, you cannot beat the educational material developed by Eli Goldratt, the originator of the Theory of Constraints. He is an amazing teacher.

The 8 Videos in his Satellite Program are a best-buy for a company, intended for use by groups of employees. His provocative coverage of every industrial application of TOC challenges managers to think in new directions, and to recognize the sacred cows in their organization and their own thinking.

The 16-CD Self Learning Program is extracted from the same material but intended for use by individuals on their own PCs, rather than groups.

The TOC Insights is a new interactive PC-based tool for individuals. As a TOC Expert I thought they were too "cute" ... until I used them with clients. They proved to be highly effective learning tools for the 5 major applications, and the Distribution and Supply Chain solution is documented in detail here for the first time anywhere.

Planned: a Monthly TOC EZine This EZine is intended to be 100% practical, offering tips, advice and illustrations of users' experiences with the different TOC applications.

TOC Experts with practical suggestions to real problems encountered with clients will also contribute.

The EZine will promote the use of TOC in combination with other technologies, for improved results.

We will be taking subscriptions soon.

 

 

 

 

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