When you are approached by a sales person, do their questions actually irritate you? Do questions move the needle towards you buying their product or service? Emotions are a bad word in business probably because men are not comfortable in letting down their guard. Getting men in business to imagine their business with your products or services can be achieved by using stories. Consulting firms call their stories "case studies".Here is a great article on using stories.


During years, I have been taught that art of selling had a lot to do with the ability to ask intelligent questions, and then to present one's offer in the context of the answers provided by your counterpart.
However, with hindsight, when I look back at my most significant sales - or at least those I am the most proud of - 3 spring to my mind. And I have to recognize that what they have in common has little to do with my ability to ask "intelligent questions". These transactions shares a common characteristic, though: they were all generated via a story loaded with emotion.
  • More than 20 years ago, as I was working as a sales executive with a computer manufacturer, one of my customers was a large insurance company. One day, as a bold move, I decided to call the CEO of the company and I provided him with some evidence that, without a fast move from his company in terms of increasing their IT processing power, they might find themselves confronted with difficulties during their beginning-of-the-year premium collection process. 3 weeks later, I was signing a $6m transaction with this insurance company.
  • About fifteen years ago, I experienced a situation with a business intelligence (BI)project manager with a mobile phone operator who wanted to equip his sales people with customer intelligence capabilities on their laptopsAfter a few words, it appeared clear to me that this project manager had a competitive technology in mind and that the only thing he wanted from me was just a low price, which he could leverage to make his preferred vendor drop his own price. In a state of desperation, I decided to tell the project manager the horror story of another mobile telephone operator who had launched a similar initiative, and who had experienced a resounding failure. WhySimply because the sales executives had not made the effort to use the new capabilities. Too far from their good old habits. Too much disruption. After telling this story, and presenting some elements that he might consider to avoid falling in the same trap, my counterpart revisited the specs of his project, and eventually made the decision to buy... from me.

Are you misinterpreting the CFO?

It is unlikely that companies would deliberately be reluctant to consider new ideas that would save millions of dollars. However, what might be misinterpreted as reluctance, is that some organisations may find it more challenging than others to take ideas from the drawing table and translate them into reality.

Being organisationally effective at considering, adopting and implementing new ideas requires people to have the skills to change their behaviours to an appropriate extent and at an appropriate speed to be able to work with new ideas.

Some organisations are good at equipping people with such skill sets enabling them comfortably experiment with new ideas, and find ways to integrate them into the activities that drive the bottom line. However, it’s not just about equipping people with these skill sets but also about providing an environment where people are given a certain percentage of their working week as ‘time out,’ to reflect, experiment, and look for applications for new ideas.

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Is Health and Wellness a cost?

Is Health and Wellness a benefit or a cost? Why would a CFO in a larger, employee heavy firm, not take a look at implementing a Health and Wellness program?

It is easier to get fired for doing something that went wrong or that someone found objectionable than it is to get fired for maintaining the status quo.

For example, in the corporate health and wellness industry, there is decades of evidence that positive ROI can be created with a solid wellness program. (And of course a poorly run wellness program can cost hundreds of thousands.) 

With health insurance costs skyrocketing it often amazes me when I see not fund a proper wellness program and go with "free" health fairs that are designed and run by medical doctors who simply use the corporate event to fill their out-of-network medical practice with patients.

It is management's responsibility to maximize the value of the organization but, despite all of the evidence that corporate wellness programs work, the average CFO still refuses to fund a professional program.  Their Human Resources or Benefits department struggle.

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Why do cost saving ideas not get done?


The degree to which companies are having to cut spending and budget expectation is directly proportionate to the degree of cost saving ideas that have been implemented. 
Gary Hamel startled me in his book, Leading the Revolution, many years ago when he pointed out the top line of ROI and the bottom line.
CFOs are risk adverse by the nature of their characters. Ideas push up their blood pressure. Why take a risk?
Let's keep cutting costs because I can cope with revenue payments but not with a new project face plant.
Of course, wisdom indicates that no one will save themselves to prosperity. But is does turn an umbrella into a shelter.

Are CFOs using "Cost" as a reason not to start new projects?

I believe that cost is a major factor why companies are reluctant to consider new ideas right now.
Implementing new ideas can have significant upfront costs, while the savings and returns are usually only realized in the long term.
Companies are cutting costs and budgets due to the current economic climate, and this has a direct impact on what money is available for innovation and new projects.
Are costs holding back business growth this next quarter?

Jacoline Loewen See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch Author of Money Magnet
Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie Co.

150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

http://www.crosbieco.com/

How terrified are managers to do personal annual reviews?

You can never look bad to the board when you tell them you have some new ideas that will increase revenue that ties into the strategic plan. It shows that you are forward thinking. It is my opinion from being in these type of situations that the answer is this. 

Most of the executives I have worked with (70%) lack managerial courage. When you talk about saving millions dollars that means "beaucoup" changes in the organization that probably will effect people's jobs, layoffs, your power and control and the size of our office. This means having to talk to people who work for you that may not be good news for their self interest. 

Just look at how terrified managers are to do personal annual reviews. It takes courage to tell an employee they just aren't cutting it. A majority of men don't have the talent to resolve conflict and avoid it. They avoid conflict just like at home with their wife. Women run the house. (I learned this in Pyschology and talking to my coach) I was with a company who as a perk gave the three C-Level staff their own coach. 

We all know in our organizations staff who are negative and cause so much unproductivity but are given 5 stars at every review because their boss is afraid of conflict. I had a senior manager have a melt down one time because he was going to a different office without his mountain view. He tried to get me to back down on the change with intimidation. Conflict avoiders are everywhere. 

Many seasoned executives are afraid of new ideas because they don't want the pain of making the changes. Change agents don't last long in an organization. The executives that I have talked to who have been with the company the longest had one pervading quality. "They never took sides on anything and never initiated any change" 

I admire how quickly how quickly Microsoft could make organizational changes versus IBM whose ego really got in the way.

Jacoline Loewen, author of Money Magnet and on BNN The Pitch

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Canada M&A deals drop 15 pct in Q3 as sellers wait


What is happening to businesses in Canada? It seems that the sellers are waiting for uncertainty to pass. When BNN asked Ed Giacomelli, Partner at Crosbie & Company, for his views on where we were, he said that the Q3 deal volume down 15 pct from Q2, 25 pct on year. BNN asked Mr. Giacomelli for his opinion on these lower rates of M&A, he said he believed it was due to the uncertainty but that by next year, sellers will be more confident again.
In addition:

* Deal value of C$40.5 bln was up 18 pct from Q2

* Big CNOOC/Nexen deal skews data

TORONTO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The volume of merger and
acquisition activity in Canada slowed 15 percent in the third
quarter from the second as market uncertainty held back
prospective deals, though a blockbuster bid by China's CNOOC Ltd
for oil producer Nexen Inc helped boost the overall value of
transactions, a report showed on Wednesday.

Worried that a new project may ruin your image?

Even though a new project or tool is going to make the CFO look good, there is always that other side...that 'why didn't he/she come up with the solution earlier since it was out there before?
The CFO needs to remember that since they have the opportunity to do something about it, now is the time to do it.
Don't worry about anything else except that it makes sense for the business or the practice. 
It makes sense to get it done, now.

Have you heard of Insight Selling?

Implementing any consulting service involves focusing more on the potential for the prospective client to change and less on clients with potential to buy. 

This involves "insight selling" as opposed to old school "solution selling". The difference is insight selling involves looking for agile organizations who have not identified the potential problem you can help them solve while "coaching" them into the buying decision through producing disruptive information that uncovers unmet needs vs. asking a lot of questions hoping to . 

This is typically easier to accomplish when you target people within the organization who fall into the category of go-getters, teachers, and skeptics. Avoid people who fall into the category of guides, friends, climbers, and blockers who while friendly can't build consensus within the organization to change providers or take actions that would lead to saving money.

Jacoline Loewen, The Pitch on Business News Network, BNN

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

How does an outside advisor get the CFO to buy?

A CFO's reluctance to try something new, even something that would save the company significant dollars, can be attributed to the initial lack of trust in the advisor that brings the idea to the table. 
It takes time to foster a relationship of trust with an individual who has much at stake in a company – whether it’s just a job, equity, leadership position, or just plain reputation. 
So if the idea is presented by an outside advisor, that advisor should invest into the relationship and over time gain the trust that is necessary to execute the idea presented. 
Additionally, new ideas typically require a lot of work above and beyond the normal day to day responsibilities of the status-quo. So it is imperative to obtain buy-in from every individual that will be involved in the process. 
You know how the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That, I believe is one of the biggest hurdles companies need to overcome when considering new ideas. Everyone has to be on board so that it is properly implemented and successfully launched. 
My 1.5 cents.

Jacoline Loewen, BNN The Pitch 

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Does your business have lumpy payments?


If your business doesn’t have enough cash, you will be under stress. That is something I experienced first-hand. When you don’t have enough cash, you feel pressure to take any client who shows interest. This is usually a mistake. Trying to be all things to all people is a downward strategy.
Most owners understand this. When you are under pressure to pay your bills, it’s hard to say no — even if the customer is outside of your target market. You need money, you take the business, and you often end up spending too much time serving the customer. And if you stay in this cycle, you put your business at risk. When you own a microbusiness, burning time is just like burning money.
Several years ago, I did some work with a graphic design firm, Gray Cat Studio. Michelle Bisceglia, the owner, had built a knowledge base working with specialty food manufacturers. She knew a great deal about the businesses and what made them successful.
When I first started working with her, she would take work from anyone. She often lost money when she went outside her knowledge area, but like many microbusiness owners, she was often short on cash.
We worked on developing her niche and I coached her in using a new word: No. Over time, two things happened. She was able to charge higher fees because of her expertise, and it took her much less time to complete projects. This allowed her to create a cash cushion, which made it even easier to say no to customers who didn’t fit her profile.
Two Paths for Microbusinesses
Ultimately, microbusiness owners have two choices. They can choose to remain a microbusiness, like Ms. Bisceglia, or they can do what I did in my previous business and move into the next level, the traditional SME. In both cases, understanding the drivers that create cash for living and saving is crucial. If you want to grow, you will not only need to finance your own living needs and retirement savings, but you also need to create cash for growth.
There is no good or bad about this decision. It’s truly about an owner’s preferences. Some people decide they want a bigger business, and some are happy just doing what they want without having to worry about managing other people.
If you choose to stay at the micro level, you need to understand that lumpy sales exist and you must have a strategy for dealing with them. You should have a plan in place in case you become disabled. You should have a strategy for saving for retirement, because you will not be able to sell your business.
What do you think? If you’re a microbusiness, what are your challenges? Have you decided to stay at this level?
Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

The Asian Century will switch from 'quantity' of growth to quality

Will China perform as many experts say it will" Here is the journal of a recent trip to asia by a Goldman Sacks leader"
In the first decade of the Asian Century, much of the story has in effect been about the 'quantity' of growth rather than the quality and sustainability.
This is especially true with respect to China as I shall discuss in more detail, but also for India, Indonesia and others (if not, of course, in Japan where it has been and remains the absence of either). I introduce the aspects of my trip in this context because I think part of the challenge right now is that markets had become used to the drug of the quantity of growth in the region.
And importantly, in terms of our expectations, we never were and are still not, assuming that the same intensity of nominal and real GDP growth will continue.
For this decade, 2011-2020, for example, we are assuming that China will grow on average by 7.1%, down from 10.5% the last decade, and India 6.5% down from 7.5%. We are expecting the N-11 countries to see their real GDP accelerate to around 5.3% from 4.2%, but this would not be powerful enough to offset the softer Chinese and Indian growth in aggregate.
Let me re-emphasize that if China, India and the Asian N-11 countries achieve what we assume, their share of global GDP will rise sharply and the world will probably grow faster than previous decades, despite their softer growth rates.
 Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

What forces a business to change for the better?

People just go to the office, grab a coffee, do the stuff they were trained to do 10 or 20 years ago, go to the meetings in their calendar and go home, its a wonder anything changes at all anywhere. 
New companies do new things sometimes, but then stagnate. 
The way of the world, with exceptions I'm sure, is sadly that external crises only stimulate change. 
You all must have seen the same yourselves for the new ideas you've seen. 
Once people are in the comfort zone that's it, they're staying there.
Buy Money Magnet, by Jacoline Loewen, learn new ways to find money for your business.

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726
By definition, it is management's responsibility to maximize the value of the organization.

Yet growth is a confluence of issues (love that terminology). Yes, employees do get mixed messages but management (unless they are owners) are employees too. Complacency, ego and fear of failure happenign resulitng in the pink slip will all stop CFOs from changing the ways things get done.
There is no simple answer to helping a CFO look at risk and trade offs more but creating the right environment is a huge step in the right direction.

How do you do that?

Jacoline Loewen, Author of Money Magnet.

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

How can a CFO add value in a family business?

The role of the CFO, particularly in a family business, is to help gather up all the ideas flying around the company and work out the risk and reward for each potential project.  Often, these ideas originqte with a comment from the business owner who then forgets.  A CFO is needed to capture the ideas and try and get them onto one page in order to choose the priority. To explain it better, here is the CFO of a family business explaining his situation and how he added value.
Once whilst in a new role I inherited 50-projects, all of which had the opportunity to add revenue, save lots of dollars, or lose dollars.There was however no clarity over which projects would do which. 
I think the simplest answer to "What should we do?", is PROVIDE CLARITY (in addition to having the right structure in place), to leaders who are completely inundated with hundreds of competing priorities. 
To continue - I managed after some time and much investigation to get all of the 50-projects on 1-page with the 'Approximate $ annual return' and '$ return per hour invested' for each project. It brought amazing clarity to the situation. Some projects were canned instantly. Some had potentially staggering returns. 
Projects were then pursued in detail and prioritised accordingly via a stage-gate process. 
Another important enabler is DETAIL, proving to the boss that all angles have been considered. I cannot stress this enough. One criteria for allegedly great consultant ideas, for instance, could be 'Do I trust this consultant who is offering me this advice, and if so, why?'. 
All of this should help in some part to help clear the fog and enable leaders to focus on the best opportunities in an environment where everyone is doing more with less.

Jacoline Loewen, author of Money Magnet, weekly TV Show, The Pitch, BNN

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Is asking managers to innovate a waste of time?

Isn't the real problem is that you are looking for love in all the wrong places? 
Even Peter Drucker, my favourite management guru, said that it is a mistake to ask managers to innovate. 
This is not what they do. 
Managers do their best to conserve the existing order. Asking them to engage in creative destruction is a recipe for failure.

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

What drives change - emotion or logic?

Is it emotion, rather than logic, that is the key driver to change?

Is excellence a habit?

Excellence is not an act but a habit and all the companies in the world are not having great sense to excellence. 
Take an example of Google, who born and brought up with the idea of Innovation, Excellence and Inverted Leadership.
Hence forth, they achieved a product and results in the last 14 years which most of the companies can't even think up as goals. Companies need to do more to encourage the dreams of entrepreneurs, not just the drudgery of corporations.


Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

What is the cure for organizational paralysis?

As dull as it is, that old addage "leadership begins at the top" is still true. Many Executives who, when faced with what appears to be an obvious decision that will benefit the company, simply can't pull the trigger. What is the big stumbling block?
Fear of looking bad? 
Wondering if "the Board" will ask why it wasn't done sooner? 
Fear of screwing up? Who knows the reason; but, with indecisive or reluctant leadership, the organization eventually takes on the same personality - filtering down through middle management to each employee. Ask around and you'll likely find that people know what should be done; but, no one takes action. Find a cure for this "organizational paralysis" and we can make a lot of good things happen!

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

Why are companies reluctant to consider new ideas that could save their companies millions of dollars? Is it the risk of looking bad for not having found these ideas before or is it complacency?

Here are my initial thoughts, but we will run with this theme this week - CFOs and their Risk Appetite: 
  1. Fear...the fear of looking bad. If any decision maker or an individual who can influence the decision perceives any personal risk he/she will kill it. The culture of the organization and the relationship between the decision maker and his/her boss/peers can definitely come into play here. 
  2. Complacency...without any incentive to change, why do anything new/different? 
  3. And arrogance...I am the smartest guy/gal in the room and anything I have not thought of isn't worth my time. At the group level, we are the smartest/best in the business so we are already doing things the best. You get the idea...
Jacoline Loewen 416 662 1930 Author of Money Magnet

Jacoline Loewen   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726

How can CFOs lengthen the average tenure of 18 months?


Many lower-level employees constantly make recommendations to improve the business -- and that is how they get promoted. Some people make recommendations, but these suggestions fall on deaf or antagonistic ears. 

How to get the benefits? 

To keep away from a general management textbook shelf, I think the bigger issue is the fact that we train people in sales, accounting, software development, and other vertical skills -- and we under-train in horizontal change methods, technologies, training and techniques. Most change, in the "millions" category require changes across organizational line, require changes in IT systems, and require a project management skill-set within a repeatable change methodology or system. 

We are Business Transformation professionals at Crosbie and Company, and "change" is our business. Until companies put "continuous change" at the forefront of everyday behavior, and train their employees in change (we call it Transformation), it will remain a hit or miss activity. 

CFOs need to be outspoken advocates for Business Transformation, or they will be doomed to a 18 month tenure as investors will keep searching for leaders to get them into the top quartile of industry performance.


See Jacoline Loewen on BNN, The Pitch

Jacoline Loewen, Director,   See Jacoline on BNN, The Pitch  Author of Money Magnet Director, Crosbie Co.
Crosbie & Co.
150 King Street West
Toronto, ON
M5H 1J9
416 362 7726