The second client that we completed work for during the last two weeks was CGI Insurance Business Services
. Once again we completed a simulation for them, but this time we had the luxury of two days with their sales team (as I've mentioned before, the ideal time to spend with a sales team is three days - but two gives us a good shot). We provided the 'full monty' for this client - we rented office space in Markham, Ontario, for a fictitious company called Third Core Insurance. We set up a web site for the company, including an annual report with detailed financials. We then worked, as always, with a group of exeperienced executives. Carole Salomon (who has worked with me before), Joy Rychlik and Edward Rychlik were superb in their roles for Third Core Insurance, and gave great value to the sales team with direct, honest and helpful feedback.
The first day of the program gave the sales team, split into two competing groups, the opportunity to call and hold meetings with the members of the executive team. I haven't received any feedback from the participants yet, but I know what I think - we crammed too many meetings into the first day, and sacrificed time for feedback and guidance. My mistake, and one I won't make again. Each group conducted 6 customer meetings on that first day, and we rushed our feedback into corridor conversations that just didn't give us enough time to discuss ways of improving performance.
The second day, when the groups had to present to the executive team, was better paced. The groups received about 90 minutes of feedback from the executives on a collective and individual basis. My experience on previous programs was that participants ran out of energy by about 3pm on the final day. However, whilst this was true on the three day version of the program, there were still participants with the appetite for further feedback and discussion once the program had formally finished. My gut feel is that the rushed feedback on day one left them wanting more.
My fix to this issue - and something that worked perfectly on this CGI program - is that the good people at Tandberg
(especially Cherif Gress and Norman Bell) were on site with their video capture and streaming equipment, grabbing everything that was going on in all the meetings and presentations. After the material has been indexed and moved to Third Core's website, I will work with CGI to provide further coaching and guidance based on our recorded program observations.
On the last day, it took one of the participants to remind me of the purpose of the Selling in Action simulation program, and to motivate me to look hard at our performance over the last two weeks.
Fred Silvestri gave me the following quote, which he accredited to Vince Lombardi
: "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect
". Once again, our program was good, but not perfect
. I'll be looking forward to the feedback I receive from the other participants on this program, and will publish it as I get it.