I was told once that if you cannot repeat the same results you had last week with the same actions, same effort and same resources then what you have is a RAS moment.
Random Act of Success
Coming across this simple phrase changed everything I do!
RAS moments happen in all areas of our life.
They are results that happen through unrecognised, non-specific actions along with a sprinkle of luck that cannot ever be repeated.
We particularly see them in the field of sales and customer management.
One example is when teams and individuals win big with a customer one month and everyone is hyped. There are high fives all around, fists pumped in the air and smiles everywhere with every director and manager wanting to be recognised for the random part they played in a customer win. But no one really knows how to replicate it.
This is prevalent in every organisation I meet around the world.
This is due to four things. We…
- Overweigh our own actions.
- Undervalue the unseen conditions.
- Create an informed view of the contributions of others.
- Misinterpret the real influencing triggers and decisions that moved a customer to buy.
These are all actually assumptions that are best described by psychologist Gary Klein:
“One of the greatest barriers to insight is holding on to a flawed assumption. But these assumptions are usually unconscious. We don’t even know we’re making them. So they’re difficult to spot and to correct.”
Why does it matter?
It’s easy to make claims and statements. Take a moment to see if you recognise any of the following scenarios.
Have you ever…
- Achieved an amazing result with a customer but have not been able to achieve the same or get a better result again.
- Had your customer rave about something specific you did but you’ve never had another customer rave in the same way again.
- Had awesome customer growth one year but then struggled to get the same the following year.
If you’ve experienced any of these above or others, then you may have an area of your customer practice where you’re experiencing RAS moments.
Should you recognise these, then your leaving your business and results in the danger of competitive influence, average potential results and eventual churn.
RAS moments have been highlighted in recent surveys from research companies and institutions like Gartner, HBR and Nielsen.
Only 47% of leaders see results from their customer plans fulfilled each year.
76% of organisations surveyed by Rain Group believe they should be getting 25% more from their existing customers.
What does this all mean?
It means we haven’t worked it out. We’re all experiencing the impact of RAS moments.
Even with effective plans in place, something is missing.
We don’t actually know how to continually get the same or better results from our most important customers, consistently.
I recognise that we all have seasons where growth might be stagnant, yet that doesn’t mean other areas of your customer relationship can’t get better.
Rather than just looking at revenue, profitability and CSAT scores, look at areas such as:
- Referrability — are you being referred more by your customers?
- Seeding — are you gaining future investment commitments in advance?
- Co-creation — are you working on building new advantages with your customers where you both benefit?
All of these areas can be tracked as leading growth indicators.
But how do we break out of RAS moments and start achieving the results we really know are possible with our most important customers?
One of the most effective ways, that drives deeper moments with our customers, begins with a shift in perspective before a shift of activity.
This is the process of moving from Random to Recurring Acts of Success.
Recurring acts of success
RAS moments don’t need to be random.
They can be recurring if we’re willing to do the work that helps us gain the perspective needed to make better and more profitable decisions with our actions.
I want to introduce you to four powerful approaches to breaking out of random and designing recurring acts of success with your most important customers.
One of the most challenging and fascinating aspects of being human is our brain’s ability to create patterns from fairly abstract places like reviewing senses, body language, past experiences and more. The brain does this to help keep us safe, to help us make decisions quickly, and provide context for learning.
In many aspects this is great, but when dealing with customers we must constantly evaluate what we think we know in order to challenge our understanding of the best possible actions to take.
That is why evaluating and challenging our assumptions is so important.
It helps to guard against potential false and unhelpful biases, allowing you to focus on what matters most to generate greater results for you and your customers.
Action to take
Before you begin a new engagement with your customers take note of the resources, people, strategies, tactics and conditions involved in your engagement. Become a mad scientist!
Once you become more cognizant of the areas that impact and influence your outcomes the most, the more power you’ll have to confidently produce recurring success.
As well as a pre-evaluation, post-evaluation of our projects is also important.
This is because even with our best efforts when activities aren’t measured consistently we can often miss crucial moments.
I had this situation myself when managing a sales distribution team in the US and China.
We had just achieved a big distribution win with a global retailer. Everyone one was on a high as it meant bonuses all around. When sitting down with the team we did a post-deal evaluation.
Here is a sample of questions we asked:
- What was the biggest learning from the deal?
- Who were the most influential people in the deal and what was their contribution?
- What do you believe were the top five contributing factors to gaining the deal and why?
- What specific problems do you/we have to overcome to get to where we are?
After asking the post-evaluation questions we discovered two things:
- There was one core contact on the customer side that had considerable decision-making influence who had powered the deal through. But we couldn’t rely on them for future deals as they were due to leave.
- We invested a significant amount in people, resources, travel and first-year margin to get the deal over, totalling almost 250K.
This information helped us gain a strong reality check on the relationship.
Action to take
Undertake your first post-deal evaluation by using the questions above, and adding your own based on the areas important to the future work with your customers.
3. Ask the customer
What I didn’t add in the post-evaluation is another critical question…
Ask your customer for their feedback.
When I’ve taught this area of recurring acts of success to customer leaders and key account teams they will often push back.
They say one of these statements…
“Jermaine, we’ve already done extensive needs analysis to understand what was important to the customer and why they chose us. We know what we’re working on.”
“Jermaine, our customer success team do all that follow up.”
Both of these statements might also be true for you.
Here’s what I’ll say to that…
“You’ve missed the opportunity!”
This isn’t about whether you understand what the customer was looking for in a solution.
It is about whether you fully understand what influenced the customer to commit to you through the buying process.
To do this we must go deeper. Downloading my PDF on buyers journey and commitment process will be helpful to understand this in your customer reviews.
Action to take
What do your current questions to your customers help with understanding the effectiveness and repeatability of your customer engagements?
4. Tap growth drivers
Recurring acts of success also come from a deep understanding of customer growth drivers that support repeatable and exponential growth with our most important customers.
This includes relational influence, value advantage, and intimate loyalty supported by customer clarity and clear growth systems. Clicking on the links above will give you more detail in those areas from previous articles.
Watch out for my next blog article that will cover customer growth systems.
Action to take
Ask yourself and or your team…
Do we have a known, understood, practised and proven plan for consistent customer growth and relationship success?
If the answer is no, then it may be time to look more closely at your common practices and the behavioural, strategic, tactical, and resource applications you are using.
What kind of RAS moment are you experiencing today?
Are they Random or Recurring?
What I’ve shared with you will feel like a lot of work. And if you chose to do this by yourself, then it will be. But, this work is needed.
Once you’ve done it once you’ll have created a critical blueprint that will put you lightyears ahead of your competition, and significantly increase the likelihood of achieving results that matter for you and your customer’s in the long term.
Your Customer Growth Guide