How an Executive can Convey Differentiation with Numbers
Numbers are the best way to shine as an executive and stand out
You are no longer VP of sales or COO for XYZ Corp. You are a problem-solver. You no longer have a list of your role and responsibilities; you have a list of ways you have helped clients. In your conversations, be clear on “here’s the type of issues I solve.” Most companies don’t say, “I’m looking for a part-time VP of sales” or “I need someone with sales management expertise.” Instead, they say, “I have a sales problem,” but leave out that they are looking for someone to solve it. To help with that, make yourself impressive and memorable. Nothing does that better than numbers. You want someone to be able to meet you today and remember the types of problems you have solved and what kind of impact you have made weeks or months later.
The more easily referral sources can remember this information, the more they will remember you when the next CEO is discussing his sales issues. They will remember your story about a similar sales situation and the results you got for the client. Kristen’s conversation with Frank about the bankruptcy turnaround situation was over a year ago. She still clearly remembers his example.
As an interim executive, your background is no longer about the responsibilities you had at the last five companies. That information should be replaced with key accomplishments and results at your last five clients (or positions if you recently transitioned). Selling yourself as an independent executive is about selling results and outcomes. When a company needs an independent executive, they don’t necessarily need a person who has X, Y, Z experience; they need someone who can accomplish and deliver successful outcomes. We review hundreds of resumes and profiles each week; this is the number one thing missing and conversely, the number one request from clients. “What have they accomplished in the past, and what types of results have they delivered for other companies?” Given the tremendous amount of experience an executive has, clients looking to bring on an interim executive or advisor are not looking for whether he or she has had Profit and Loss (PNL) responsibility. That is assumed at this point. What impact the executive has had on PNL is what they are more concerned about. Leave the job responsibilities on your CV and focus on the results you have accomplished in your last couple of positions or projects.
Don’t be modest, and don’t be stingy with numbers. As much as clients do appreciate that you “increased morale,” they are far more impressed that you “reduced turnover by 20 percent.” How much did you help grow sales by or improve EBITDA? A client is looking for specific results. Rather than, “I increased sales,” say, “Sales increased by 32 percent year-over-year while the operating budget was reduced by 5 percent.” Rather than saying, “I am a versatile executive with more than twenty years of experience in the C-suite who can help companies maximize value and increase returns,” consider using a specific example that exemplifies what you can do for a company: “I have more than twenty years of experience working with startup companies in the energy industry. The last three firms I worked with each exited within five years for multiples of eight to ten times EBIDTA.” Another common description we hear is, “I work with small growing companies and help them get past the curve where their sales have outgrown the talent of their team.” We recommend adding at least one specific example like, “I helped the last company I worked with grow from $10 million to a run rate of $18 million and increase their net profit by 50 percent in the nine months I was there.”
Here’s a great example of how one executive chose to niche her business within a single industry and built her brand by the numbers.
Executive Case study: Dentists by The Numbers
Penny Reed has worked with dentists and spoken to dental groups for more than twenty-five years. Her articles have been published in numerous trade publications including Dental Economics, Dentistry Today, and Inside Dentistry. She was selected by Dentistry Today as one of their prestigious Leaders in Dental Consulting.
Here are Reed’s top five ways to grow a dental business:
- Increase New Patients by 10 Percent
A thriving dental practice should have a minimum of twenty-five new patients (comprehensive exams) per full-time doctor per month. If the value of a new patient is $2,000, and a dentist increases productivity by 10 percent, or three new patients per month, a dentist’s revenue would increase like this: three additional new patients per month at $2,000 per new patient = $6,000 per month in additional production.
- Increase Active Patients by 10 Percent
Increasing the active number of patients means not only adding new patients, but also ensuring the total active patient base is growing and not shrinking. In a practice with 2,000 active patients (an active patient is a patient who has been in to the office in the last 24 months), then an increase in 10 percent would translate to increased annual revenues of $40,000.
- Increase Hygiene Membership by 10 Percent
Another growth factor is to have more patients in the practice see the hygienist regularly to increase revenue and overall dental health. For a dental practice with 2,000 active patients, that can translate to increased annual revenues of $59,600 (and many more healthy sets of teeth).
- Increase Case Acceptance by 5 Percent
If the patient visit value is $200, and dental practices increase it by 5 percent, the dental office raises the value by $10 per patient visit for a total of $210 per patient visit average. That change produces an additional income of $10 per visit, at 6,144 visits per year. The monthly increase would be $5,120, with a $61,440 annual increase.
- Maximize Efficiency of Provider Time by 10 Percent
In an eight-hour day, this would mean streamlining systems to allow almost an additional hour of primary provider time (doctor or hygienist). A dental office should focus on freeing up thirty minutes (three ten-minute units) of primary time in operative and the same amount for hygiene. That could add up to $75,000 more revenue in a year.
“Dentists need to see the potential,” says Reed. “For an office that already has annual revenues of $1.2 million, these changes can result in a potential growth opportunity of more than $296,000.”
Instead of focusing on aspects of the dental economy they cannot control, Penny directs a dentist’s focus to the five areas that drive growth in their business, which fall into three broader categories: marketing, engagement, and organization.