Pat Egen’s Weblog

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I needed a day like today….

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Once in a while, a day comes along where you realize “this is why I do this.”

We are ACT consultants. That is a good thing and somedays a bad thing. ACT is sooo much better now with version 11. However, there have been days where it wasn’t so.

I had two people from a new client in my offices today doing an “Advanced/Power User” ACT 2009 Class. The class was customized for their requirements.

Or at least that is what was scheduled. What happened, as usual for me, is it turned into a “here’s how you can use ACT” to satisfy your requirements and let’s plan what you need to be doing. In other words, it turned into more of a consulting gig than a training gig. That’s what happens a lot. I get started, they jump off their seats, and we’re off to the races.

I had gotten an email from the client with their “vision.” I always ask for these when I do customized training so that I am totally prepared for what they are looking for. They came in expecting an ACT class – well, it turns out they weren’t sure what they were expecting.

This was an interesting client. They drove 5 hours to Chattanooga to meet yesterday with another client of mine. That client is an LTL trucking company meaning they sell “lanes” – Atlanta to New York for example. My client sells trucks. My client is their customer. the new client knew my client was a big ACT user – 65 users in fact, so they met with them to see how they use ACT.

At their recommendation, they then met with me for training. Today they showed up for the training and met with me to see how they could get to where they wanted to be with regards to selling better and using ACT.

That’s where the fun began. Do you know/remember how gratifying it is to show somebody something and they almost jump off their chairs. It was that kind of day. We have all dealt with the “holy s…., ACT is broke” days. So, I really needed a “wow, you mean ACT can do that….” day. When they saw what we could do with Dashboards, I thought they would explode. Those of you not taking Dashboards and making them shine are missing the boat.

When I showed them Pivot tables from the Opportunties to Excel extract, I thought the Sales Manager would faint dead away. He looked at me and said “What are Pivot Tables.” We spent the next hour showing him what he could with some data he had on his laptop. He said “Pat, I have spent 100’s, and I am not kidding, 100’s of hours putting together Excel spreadsheets for reports from our mainframe data and in one hour you just showed me the answer.” He was literally “overwhelmed.” Speechless – almost.

He was one of those guys you try to keep on a path – who will take you on a circle instead. He saw what he could do and was already at the pass waiting on us to catch up. How refreshing is that.

I can’t express enough words to say how much I needed a day like today. There is so much power in ACT. When you get someone in the room (ok, really now, I’m getting goosebumps) who sees what can happen and how it can revolutionize their business ( a business that is 45 years old) it, again, justifies why we do what we do. And again, it justifies to me why I love working with smaller organizations. They just appreciate you so much more.

So, for those of you out there looking for more revenue or more business, take a look at what you know. If you know ACT – you know sales guys. You know how to make it “attractive” to those sales guys. And, you have Excel in your back pocket. Excel is such a powerful tool that simply showing Pivot tables to a client can be business “altering.” And it makes you a vital piece of their business future.

This was the first time they had met me. They drove 5 hours to get here. They said, about two hours into the session, it was worth the trip. They also said “we will want you to come to our offices in 6 months.”

By the end of the day and after the Pivot “epiphany”, it was “can you be at our offices within the next three weeks.”

How such a simple little thing as an export to Excel can totally change the entire session around. Yes, ACT is cool and they are going to do this. But the Excel reporting on their AS400 data – now that’s so much farther down the path than they were thinking that they were out of their seats and almost out of their skins.

Like I said – I sooooo needed a day like today. It was reaffirming – it made me realize I have value to add – always knew that but sometimes when you are trying to fix what’s broke in ACT, you question yourself. Wow, such a good day.

So, here’s hoping you all get one of these days soon. It makes it all worth it…

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Written by pregen

April 2, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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