High Payoff Lessons From Luggage – Step 1

by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

By Linda Feinholz, “Your Success Catalyst”

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself if the ‘baggage’ you’re carrying with you in business is serving you well or diverting your attention?

I spent six weeks on the road on vacation this year. All in a single trip. And I did it with one carry-on suitcase, a briefcase and shoulder bag I hand carried through 7 cities. On planes, trains, metros, buses and ships.

I’m all about being nimble and this luggage actually was. I knew I was likely taking too much. Other people who saw what I was taking thought I was bringing much too little with me.

Packing for trips says a lot about how we live our business lives.

I’ve been working with a family business for the past few years. When I started working with them, the partners said they wanted their business to grow 40%. They all stated that goal.

However, when I asked what that growth should be composed of? Well back to that in a moment…

The load I carried on planes, buses, trains and ships came to 37.5 pounds for the carry-on suitcase alone. If I could have left the 3 skirts, two fancy outfits, assorted jewelry, and a heavy long-sleeved top out of the suitcase, I sure would have. I expected to need the latter for the walk on the glacier in Zermatt, and the rest for the time spent on the cruise ship. I thought I might also use them for dinners in various cities.

My itinerary? Paris, Barcelona, Avignon, Livorno, Chittavecchia, Naples, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens, Venice, Florence, Rome, Switzerland, Paris.

My clients’ itinerary? They didn’t know what market they wanted the business growth in. They couldn’t decide which niche they wanted to expand. As a result, they had no way to make decisions about the direction to give the sales team or the marketing department.

They had empty suitcases waiting for their decisions. And they didn’t have any idea what they needed to prepare and carry with them to grow their business.

In addition to my suitcase, my shoulder bag with the lap top computer and cell phone and back up drive and cables and papers weighed in at 15 pounds. And 6 pounds for the purse and its contents that included the last of the tour books.

My trip took weeks of thoughtful planning. Decisions about where we would be going and where we would not. What that would be worth carrying and using, and what not to take. What resources I already had, and which needed buying.

Until I got my clients focused on setting their destination they couldn’t figure out the luggage they needed on the journey to build their business. They were completely stalled.

As a result of their work with me, they set clear goals on providing services to a specific type of industrial building and size of business hotels. By taking the time to research their choices and settle on High Payoff ones, they knew which training materials to develop for their sales team, what sales targets to set for each market, and the new resources they needed to give their operations folks to deliver on those sales.

They also knew which old baggage to leave behind – which unprofitable clients they would stop going after, which sales materials would stop being used.

In 5 meetings they defined their market. In 4 months they scripted and delivered the new training to their sales team. In 6 months they had lightened the luggage their folks were carrying by closing their relationships with unprofitable customers. And they had repacked their bags by giving their staff the new skills and materials that supported their sales and marketing folks closing exactly the type of clients they wanted.

Now that’s the right kind of luggage to take when your company sets off on its growth trip.

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