727: 3 Reasons You Should Create a Customer Advisory Board w/ Betsy Westhafer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Betsy Westhafer, Founder & CEO of The Congruity Group.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

Wouldn't it be nice to have several fault leaders in your industry know and Love Your brand? Start a podcast, invite your industries thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reaping the benefits of having a network full of industry influencers. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the be to be growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green, I'm James Carberry. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to the baby growth show. We are here today with Betsy West, a first. She is the founder and CEO of the KONGRUITY group. She's also the CO author of the number one best selling book profitability. That see how you doing today? I'm great, James. How are you? I am fantastic. So, Betsy, I'm really excited...

...to chat with you today. We're going to be talking about executive level advisory Boards, but before we get into that, I would love just give a little bit of context to our listeners as to why you're the person to be talking about this. Can you give us a little bit of background as to what you and your team er up to? It than concurity group? Yeah, absolutely, thanks. Yeah, we are working with our clients to basically be able to foresee the future of the market, and we do that through executive level customer advisory Boards. So the concept is basically gathering the key customers, decision makers, executive level key customers, around the table and really getting insights from them that help my clients move their companies forward. So, for example, if you have a key client that is moving in a new direction, you'll be able to hear that ahead of time by having these kinds of conversations. Yeah, I love it. And so give us a little bit...

...of insight into into the book profitability. So it's not spelled like like dollar profit, it's PR o phet ability. Talk to us about the book and what made you want to write it. Yeah, so I reconnected with a colleague of mine from a couple of years past and we were just having this conversation. His name's Tony Boto and he is a an expert in customer experience and has done phenomenal work in his career in that area and we just got talking about the whole customer basically the whole customer thing, so to speak, and his work is more bottom up from the user level and my work is top down from the CEO level. So what we realized is we kind of covered the whole spectrum of the the customer insights, and so we just decided one day that we are going to write a book and we got talking about it and Tony said, you know, this is kind of like the profits of old, and then that's when it just kind of hit me, Oh,...

...profitability, and so it that happened in our very first phone call about the book. So it just it just came together really well. It was a project that I just am very grateful that I had writing partner like Tony. I love it so so I want to I want to talk get into more detail, betsy, about what these advisory Boards look like and then talk about some of the really tangible benefits that come from them. So can you get this kind of a high level overview of what these advisory boards are and then and then we'll transition into some of the core benefits of having them? Sure. So, basically we do two meetings a year and maybe one or two calls in between, and so the key to it really is recruiting the right people to have around the table. So we have a methodology that we use to carefully, carefully select the people that you're getting the insights from. You don't want all raving fans, you don't want all the tractors, you...

...want a real good balance of people that are going to give you the insights that you're looking for. So we have a recruiting process and then we get into the agenda planning, and that's that's key also because we really want to find out from the sea EO. This is a CEO led initiative and we want to find out from the CEO what do you need to know in order to look three to five years out for your company, and so we develop the agenda around that and then, based on that, we, you know, develop sessions that really are engaging in a good way to pull out those insights, and we do them in Nice locations where people are, you know, going to want to spend a few days and we build in a lot of networking, a lot of peer to peer interaction, because that actually has been cited as one of the number one reasons that executives will choose to participate on a customer advisory board is because they they really enjoy that peer to peer interaction and a chance to learn from from other people that may be facing the same challenges. I love it. And so is there typically a pretty hefty...

...cost involved in terms of paying folks to be a part of your advisory board? How does that typically work? Well, interesting, in Lee enough, we do not pay the participants, and the reason for that is because if they're getting paid for their insights, they may be hesitant to say something that the company really needs to hear. So they actually don't get paid to attend. Now they get their expenses covered, they're shown a really good time, you know, with some entertainment, nice dinners, usually some gifts of some sort, but they actually don't get paid to be on the board. At least in my practice that's the case. Okay, so so we talked offline, betsy, about some some of the benefits and and you mentioned disruption, kind of at the at the top of the list as we're talking about the the benefits of putting together an advisory board like this. Talk to us a little bit more about that. How to how do these groups allow you to avoid being disrupted. Yeah, so when you think about bringing your key customers...

...around the table and the decision makers and they're telling you where they're heading with their companies, it gives you the opportunity to to figure out your own strategy so that you're out in front of them. And if you're out in front of your market, then you're going to be the DISRUPTOR and not be a casualty of the disruption which is inevitable. I mean disruption is obviously a big buzz word right now and it's nobody's immune, and so by listening to your key customers and where they're going, you are able to get out in front and avoid being a casualty of the disruption that's inevitably going to come gotta. So the second thing you mentioned was and it allows you to have this internal alignment for your senior leaders. Can you elaborate on that one for us? Sure. So when you're bringing your leadership team around the table with your key customers, everybody on your leadership team is hearing from the customers in the same context, at the same time, with the same setup. You know all...

...the same information. So it allows your internal team to really understand what the customers are saying so that when you go back after the meetings there's not a whole lot of debate about what the customer was saying or what they meant and and it also filters out some some personal bias when you have a group of people hearing this stuff at the same time. It's, you know, it's one of the ways to be really objective about how to approach what the customers are saying. So it it gives the the leader of the team, the CEO, the ability to have his team or her team lined up in the same direction and flying information, which is obviously, you know, best case scenario for a leader. That makes sense. The third piece that you talked about, betsy, was the human experience, you know, of doing something like this. Talk to us about this. Yeah, so, when Tony and I were writing the book, he said something that really struck me and he said in be to be we talked about doing business with other businesses and he said, really, we're doing business with the people of other businesses and...

...we have to keep that human experience at the forefront. And it's not just customer experience, it's really what it means to be a human and the way people react to certain things and their their personal goals and transformations and those kinds of things. So for a leader to get a bunch of numbers like inps scores and customer satisfaction scores and those kinds of things, that's great and it's very important work, but they really under need to understand why those numbers are the way they are. In a lot of that has to do with the person rather than just the customer experience, if that makes sense. And so by putting a bunch of customers around a table you're really tapping into much more like obviously you're actually hearing the words come out of their mouth, as opposed to them just filling out a survey or or a form saying, yeah, I would rank you, you know whatever, a seven out of ten.

So you're really able to get context around their feedback as opposed to just a number. Yeah, exactly in the other thing is these meetings are all under enda and so a lot of times they will share some very personal experiences that they might not share or be either not be willing to share in a larger group or wouldn't have the opportunity to share, and so because of the intimate nature of these board meetings, you can really dive deep into more of the human experience piece of their business. One of the questions I have, betsy, is there an art to kind of coming up with live to dig into how you guys come up with the agenda so that you're actually extracting valuable insights out of the people around the room? Yeah, so, as I mentioned earlier, it's really important to have the full engagement of the least of the leadership team in order to pull off a really effective customer advisory board. So we go straight to the CEO and the leadership team and say what is it...

...that you need to know? We ask them point blank, please tell us what do you need to know, and then we build the agenda around that. And what we do is we do longer deep dive sessions rather than a whole bunch of mini sessions so that we can get into some really core discussions that are going to help the the leadership team of the host company. So we ask the leaders what is it you need to know and and we dig in. You know, we ask a lot of questions to really extract what it is they really need to understand and then we build the agenda in the sessions around that. Got It, and so this has been incredible abouts it. Hadn't really thought about this, this concept a whole lot before scheduling, you know, getting this, getting us on the books and talking to you. If there's somebody they want to dig more into this, they want to check out your book, they want to learn more about what you and your team are doing at the KNGRITTI group. What's the best way for them to stay connected with you as well as follow what what the company's doing? Yeah, thanks. Well, I would highly recommend, I know I'm biased in...

...this, but I highly recommend reading our book. There's a lot of a lot of information. There are a lot of stories about companies that have listened well to their markets and a lot of stories of companies who have not, and so I think being able to see real life examples of the difference it makes, and then we go into some strategies on how to really listen to your customers. So that book is profitability and it's on Amazon. And then I probably the best way to connect with me is through Linkedin, Betsy Westaver, and other than that you can certainly check out our website at the Congruity Groupcom. I love it. Wonderful. Betsy will, thank you so much for your time today. This has been fantastic and I really appreciate it. Thank you, James. I appreciate the opportunity. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the bead tob growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community.

So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a be tob growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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