Great Advice from Great Minds

Great Advice from Great Minds

Keith Ferrazzi is considered to be a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders by Crain’s Business, and one of the most creative Americans in “Who’s Really Who.” He has been published in The Wall Street JournalHarvard Business ReviewFortuneForbes, Inc., and Fast Company.

His #1 New York times best-selling books Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back propelled him into the spotlight by redefining relationship growth. He is now considered the world’s foremost expert in professional relationship development. At 32, he became the youngest CMO in any Fortune 500 company. Today, as CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, he advises companies everywhere on how and why to change, and the importance of positive relationships to that process.

Given our problems in the industry with our ability to engage and influence HCPs, Keith’s experience on changing both behavior and culture can be very valuable to us.

True to his teachings in Never Eat Alone Keith really never does eat alone! At our breakfast together I was immediately put at ease with his open, generous approach. He really is dedicated to helping whomever is in front of him.

One of Keith’s key messages is that in order to change culture, you have to change behavior first – then the culture changes naturally. But how do you change behavior? Here are some of the things he pointed out that help effect that.

People get into the industry because they want to help. This is important: recognizing that most people in this business believe in the causes it serves, not just the money it offers. What is needed is a way of getting back to their original intent, what he calls “engineering to gravity.”

Shareholder value comes from customer value. In every business he’s studied, he assures us that if you focus on the customer, the economics catches up. “The greatest aspiration we should have is to be as generous as possible to our targeted customer base.”

Employees are as important as customers. A conduit to focusing on customers has to be focusing on employees. “If they’re being squeezed,” he says, “they don’t have the opportunity to serve.”

Start internally. Keith says that high-return sales strategies depend on elevating and collaborating, internally and externally. And you have to focus on the internal elevation and collaboration first. Whoever is managing the key strategic accounts has to know how to effectively create solutions internally in order to deliver the robust solutions externally.

Practice, practice, practice. The old level behavior was to push a script. The new level behavior is to come up with patient-based solutions for efficacy, for instance. What are the specific practices that will allow that to occur? One of the things you have to do is process that dialogue and process the solution internally. That behavior has to be practiced and processed until it becomes a ritual — and then it becomes a culture.

Changing the crisis of trust. The recent bad publicity and image of the industry is what he calls a negative relationship. In order to create a positive relationship, you have to pass through some form of candor or transparency. Keith advises being frank and vulnerable, doubling down on authenticity. Saying things like “I would imagine you’re going to think someone in my position is just concerned about how many scripts you’re going to write. But let me explain to you why that’s not even a good business model. It’s more important to us for a long-term relationship that you trust us.”

How relationships happen. “You’ve got to bond to the [customer] on an emotional, an empathetic level. The art of selling is the art of empathy. Your job is to build a relationship and to be of service. That’s what it means to be a trusted advisor, which is what we teach.

Change the behavior to change the culture: Keith says you have to ask which constituencies need to change which behaviors, and that the first constituency is you. What do you need to do to show the organization you’re willing to change your behaviors? He advises leaders to tell their stories about how they humbly need to make a change in themselves. This gives permission for the organization to make their changes.

Share your authentic focus on the patient to build trust.Pc0380100

interview with Keith Ferrazzi

Jill Donahue, HBa, MAdEd is on a mission to lift our industry, building purpose-driven, influential people. Through her keynote talks, workshops and award-winning mobile-learning program, she is helping teams build trust, open doors and make a bigger impact.