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A ”New Normal” Arrives and Requires some New Thinking (and some revisiting to old and trusted truths and strategies) – by Peter Pritchett

Academy for Chief Executives’ group Directors Group 2 (“Future Leaders in the Midlands”) worked with David Abbott on his “Irrational Customers” workshop this week. I chose David as our speaker this month because I believe that we are clearly entering a new phase of economic activity – and that successful businesses will need to adapt their strategies, particularly in the area of marketing and sales (and also staff development and retention, as it happens: but that is another conversation for another day).

Peter Pritchett

Peter Pritchett

“In what way?” you may ask. Well, those of us who were in established businesses prior to 2007 will remember that annual price-increases were the norm, that it was easier to have conversations about “value” rather than “cost”, and maybe you too felt much bolder when pushing for margin and closing new business (I notice that I certainly did).

Then along came the “interesting times” of 2007-13: price reductions, cost-cutting and new customers seeming to prevaricate became the “new normal” that many of us have been dealing with.

Well, there is definitely change in the air again right now.  I live in New Zealand and travel back to UK frequently (almost monthly) to run my leadership peer-groups and one-to-one coaching,  and so have the benefit of “fresh-eyes” whenever I return to the UK (plus the feedback and insights of all the business leaders who are members in my groups). The business mood took a definite up-swing at the end of 2013. We all feared then (and maybe still do, deep-down) that it may prove temporary and fragile: but hey, what would happen if we started behaving as though it will last, and that this is (at last) another “new normal”.

Well, that’s where David’s session this week came in. I chose him to remind the business leaders present of all those good practices that have stood us in good stead in the past – and also to introduce us to some new ones. David has a long and successful background as an innovative marketer and he definitely brought some new thinking and energy into the room.

I won’t attempt to reproduce his material here, but he addresses 3 areas in his workshop: Pricing, Personal Influence and Group Influence.

I came away with a number of insights and intentions, but those uppermost in my mind and that I intend to adopt in my business are:

  • Putting much more effort into establishing “Relative Value” of my product, in order to boost sales of the higher-value services (rather than the more “reasonable” – lower cost, basic, entry-level – ones  that have been most effective during the tougher times).
  • Seeking opportunities to use the 2Franklin Effect in my sales conversations. (I’ll leave you to look that one up).

It’s not really what I am going to do with David’s stuff that is important here – it is what YOU are going to DO differently in your business to sieze the opportunities that the new mood in the market will present you with over the next few years.

Give it some thought!


If you would like to join a peer-group of like-minded business –leaders who get together most months to work on questions like this and share best practice please do get in touch with me. We had two guests to our meeting this month, and they have both decided to join us as members: they will be working on their businesses, rather than in it, much more from now on. How about you?

About the Author
Peter Pritchett leads Academy groups based in the West Midlands/Thames Valley. He is an experienced business leader, having run subsidiaries of London International Group, RTZ and a US Corporation. He has led two successful management buy-out teams and has previously worked in acquisitions and strategic planning for several FTSE companies. Peter believes that many business leaders should pay more attention to their personal goals and to those of their key people. It is only when businesses align personal and business goals that the team’s true potential can be realised. The same can also be said of personal and business values and culture. These are areas that Peter focuses on with the management teams that he works with. Visit to find out more.

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