Superfood; End of Sepsis; 1000% More Powerful; Veritat is Coming; My Health Routine
March 30, 2017
“3000” Theme; No Average Joe; Top 10 Tweets; CEO Boot Camp Dates
April 13, 2017

Sales Incentives; Happiness Guarantee; Dosage Matters; Trip Around the World; European Summits

"…insights for scaleups"


Thank you — to all of you who, so far, have ordered my wife's award winning olive oil. For those who missed last week's insight, more below, but first…

European Growth Summits May 9 Amsterdam, May 10 Berlin, May 11 Barcelona.

Sales Incentives/Process Matter — Dan Caulfield coached a home automation company and put in place a system that in 6 months took the company from 9.8 million (bidding jobs/winning 35%) to 20 million (in the door) and 40 million booked in the pipeline. Notes Caulfield:

It was a growth hack of sorts. The company did not think they could get home owners to avoid the industry standard bidding process. We put in place a new process focused on selling assessments first (what I sold at E&Y to the tune of $1.3 billion). We convinced home automation customers that they needed a plan to "Love Where They Live" and the assessment only cost $1/sq. ft.

Selling a quality home automation assessment first and building trust with the home owners meant that not one of the jobs was taken to bid. The total per resulting contract was 27% higher (average contract was $600k) and there was no wasted work on bidding, saving over $400k a year. Continues Caulfield:

…and the sales incentive was "you sell an assessment and you keep half and get it on the next check." Since these new assessments were 100% incremental revenue I wanted the company to give 100% of the assessment fee to the sales people but in Los Angeles the average home they targeted was 12,000 sq. ft…. so the company decided on half. Nevertheless, sales people earned 1.5 to 3X more in the 6 months then they made the entire previous year on the old commission program.

The beauty of all this is that the home owner is essentially paying for the proposal! And since they have ownership in the process of creating the proposal, they are going to love it and not want to shop around. It's a perfect "pre-suasion" move as Robert Cialdini will teach at the ScaleUp Summit.

Happiness Guarantee — Caulfield notes that the best part of the new sales/installation process was the Happiness Guarantee.

If the home owner decided to go with us we would 100% guarantee their happiness or they would not pay the last 10% of the contract. This guaranteed we met their expectations. And everyone on the team knew that half of this last 10% refund was spread between anyone that touched the client, so they didn't want to mess up

Since the average deal was $600k, this meant a potential $60k refund spread out among the people who touched the project. Continues Caulfield:

Do you think the people doing the planning, installation etc. were focused on the customer's happiness? You bet your ass. Project managers driving all night to get a part to ensure it was in place on move in day. Flowers for clients on move in day became the norm, as well as at the 2-week mark another follow-up visit checking if everything was working right or if the home owner would like another walk through etc.

Same sales people, same potential customers. Just smarter sales process and incentives. Congrats Dan on your coaching of this client.

Peer Pressure Matters what I like most about the above example is that the entire team took a hit re: the guarantee if someone messed up. This created peer pressure. And as this HBR article notes, peer pressure does more to permanently change behaviors than short term incentives. BTW, this is why I prefer team meetings over one-on-ones. It's tougher for someone to dance around an issue in front of their peers than alone with their boss.

Family Matters — Trip Around the World — entrepreneur Adam Dailey's book, released this week, details how he and his wife packed up their family of four young children (under the age of 7!) and took a one-year sabbatical travelling around the world. Titled How to Run Away from Home: And Bring the Family With You, Dailey explains how to plan and finance a trip like this to schooling on the road to dealing with the unexpected and managing obligations back home. He encourages people not to wait and just make the leap. And this week the book is just $.99 as a Kindle download or free if you have KindleUnlimited. FYI, for those new to these insights, my wife and I did something similar with our four children (12, 10, 5, and 1 at the time) 9 years ago, which is how we ended up living in Barcelona these past eight years. Entrepreneurs Sam Goodner and Caroline Caskey did the same with their two children as did entrepreneur Larry Weinberg and his wife and two children.

Exercise Matters — Think Clearer, Feel Awesome — Jamie John, CEO of Australia-based Sky Accountants, sent me a note after last week's insight on health. Note's John:

Most executives are way overweight. I was 3 years ago at 42 years old. 100 kg (220 lbs.) Then I took up interval training and sprinting 3 years ago, lost 13 kg (28 lbs.), can sprint faster than most 25 years old and won 2 awards in professional running in my state of Victoria. I train 5 times a week for one hour. I think clearer, feel awesome and all this helps my role as CEO. If you're not healthy you're behind your game and as a leader you set an example. Your health is the real wealth.

He goes on to note:

If you're smart, you'll take the same discipline in looking after yourself and apply it to your company. Strangely enough my firm has never grown faster than in the last 3 years that I've been sprinting. It's all the same routine, persistence and consistence, it works magic in all areas of your life and business.

Dosage Matters — and following up on my Vitamin C discussion last week, Dr. Harri Hemila with the University of Helsinki, has found that dosage matters. 6 to 8 grams/day of oral vitamin C does shorten colds vs. the standard 1 gram recommended by governments. And he notes it's been proposed that 15 grams/day does even more, but there are no studies at that amount. Personally, if I feel like a cold is coming on I take 1 gram/hour orally – 16 to 18 grams/day – along with zinc. The key is spreading out the dosage given that Vitamin C has a half-life of 30 minutes in your blood. Dr. Hemila concludes:

Given the consistent effect of vitamin C on the duration of colds, and its safety and low cost, it would be worthwhile for individual common cold patients to test whether therapeutic 8 g/day vitamin C is beneficial for them. Self-dosing of vitamin C must be started as soon as possible after the onset of common cold symptoms to be most effective.

When you read all the purported "studies" about the impact of certain vitamins and nutrients, please note that the dosage matters.

Winner of London's Great Taste Awards 5 Times — at the heart of the Mediterranean Diet, which has been the basis for some of the longest living cultures, is olive oil – a superfood that goes back to the Greek and Roman empires. This article highlights the incredible health benefits of this natural food. And the Romans selected a unique region in Spain (Priorat) that had all the right ingredients to produce the world's finest wine and olive oil. Now this olive oil is available in the US, winner of gold at London's Great Taste Awards fine food show five times. Our family consumes 20 liters per year and feel it contributes significantly to our health.

Harvard Exit Summit — thinking about selling your firm sometime over the next three years and want to maximize your outcome? June 12 – 13 is the next Harvard Summit on Maximizing Your Exit. Limited to 80 participants, click here for more information and apply by April 15.


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And if you're interested in becoming a world-class certified Gazelles International coach, please go to for more information. If you determine that we're a fit and wish to join our premier organization, we invite you to contact our Dir. of Coach Engagement at [email protected] or 877.217.2253 ext.700.


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Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.