How are the mighty fallen.
At its peak, it was said that one pound in every seven spent in the UK went into a Tesco till. Those days appear, at least for the forseeable future, to have gone with calamity after disaster overtaking the troubled supermarket.
With their shares at a 11 year low, dividends being cut and the market capitalisation falling nearly half since the beginning of the year, the marketplace has lost confidence. Warren Buffet announced his dollars invested in Tesco as possibly his worst ever investment and with analysts at HSBC estimating a wapping £3bn to rectify their problems, this story appears have a long way to go.
The new CEO, Dave Lewis, is encountering a rotten structure apparently built on corporate greed (the lavish private jet is on the market for £23m and big bonuses have been frozen), corruption (allegations of the sale of personal information of 5m customers) and desperation (misposting of income and costs to massage financial trading information by c£260m). 8 Senior Executives have been suspended pending their investigation whilst Deloitte have been brought in to investigate the scale of the scandal.
Tragically for Lewis, these issues are underpinned by a more serious concern - the TESCO model for making money no longer works. Like for like sales are down 5%+, whilst thin margins are under pressure and profits are down over 90%. Once the dominant brand that reshaped the high street, Tesco's brand has been, some say, irreparably tarnished with customers, suppliers and the financial markets.
Picture it. They are coming towards you and you know they are going to ask you what you are doing now...
If you impress them there could be plenty of business coming your way, but if you don't...
The overriding temptation is to leap straight in and explain what you do. "I sell computers", "I design houses", "I make cars". This is understandable but wrong.
The truth is that people are rarely impressed by the "what". Decision making has been proven to be controlled by that part of the brain that is linked to emotional engagement not reason - the area where trust and happiness exist. In this part of the brain, judgements will be influenced by the "why" not the what.
So a better approach would be to get to the why you are doing something in the first 10 seconds - don't hang around....
"You know I'm passionate about how small businesses need expert advice, so now I am ...."
"I've always been fascinated by design, so now I..."
"I've realised that I love helping people work together..."
Try it and wait to see their response.
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.