ELEAD1ONE partner Bill Wittenmyer, guest blogger for AutoSuccess Magazine –  May 27, 2014

America is a wonderful place; it provides us with everything needed for survival, entertainment and everything in between. I have been on the road speaking lately and was struggling a bit for this edition of my blog. Then, a ray of hope was cast upon me while waiting for a prescription in a popular chain. Low and behold, sushi was for sale in the pharmacy. I thought, who in the world would buy that in a drug store? I mean, can you say “hospital visit?” My next thought was that it would be like buying prescriptions from my sushi chef. “Yes chef, I would like the penicillin hand roll, please.”

The truth is that our world is full of good-natured and well-intended people who are not experts in the field in which they operate. With the constant need to be everything to everyone and not miss any opportunity, our society has morphed into one that has lost the value of specialized operation. In my last blog, I cautioned readers to be careful where they receive advice. However, we should also be wary of where or from whom we purchase products. Are you doing business with the “pharmacy” of auto software solutions? By pharmacy, I mean an organization that purchases other products or companies to resell the merchandise as their own. Alternatively, do you give your business to the specialty store that has the expertise on select services with easily traceable product origins and pedigree?

Lately in our industry, the trend is that bigger is better. It’s ideal to have one giant company with endless product offerings. It seems every time I turn around, I read another story about an acquisition or merger – companies brought under the umbrella of a large organization or investor group. Some of which are never to be heard from again. Good companies such as BZ, remember them? Gone. They disappeared into a black hole called the “pharmacy.” Sometimes these companies are rebadged, or just shelved; you never really know. Many businesses purchase multiple companies that offer a similar product. There have been several CRM companies acquired by the “pharmacy” that have disappeared. Although, I must admit, I am ok with that.

I believe that everything is cyclical. In the future, I believe that companies will diversify back to specialty businesses that focus on email marketing, mobile marketing, fixed ops software or call centers, etc. Until then, make sure you get the most bang for you buck. More importantly, get the best product offered by experts in that field. Cheaper is not always better, and you certainly should not buy something average in quality just because it is offered at the “pharmacy.” My good friend Jim Ziegler always says, “average is the point where sucks begins.”

This country is also very generous. As I sit on the plane writing this edition, a fine gentleman sits next to me. Most who know me have heard the coin operated speech – this, however, is different. Settling into the seat, he proceeds to open a fast food bag. Please know that I am not judging. However, if I need to lose 15 pounds, then he has about 5 times that. In any case, he pounds down two biscuits with bacon and eggs. Not heart-healthy. Then when asked if he would like something to drink, it is a coffee with three, yes three, sugars. Now to say that these cups are not large would be a discredit to anything small – we are talking thimbles. Finally the piece de resistance, the crescendo if you will. He pulls out a vitamin and pops it into his mouth. He has me like a fish on a hook. I ask the dreaded lead in, “what do you do for a living?” His reply, “I am in the healthcare industry.” Just like that; another lesson learned.

I think we should all practice what we preach. It sounds so easy, but the truth is that we should act in the way that we expect others to perform – particularly as managers or leaders. It is easy to think that nobody notices or it does not matter, but we should live, practice and strive to perform as we instruct others. In our organization, I make sure the entire company is executing CRM tasks and following up with prospect and clients to the highest degree. It does not always happen, but I know that I do it and I constantly remind our people to as well. I tie it to their bonuses and it is a part of the team culture. I follow up with people, unreasonably. If they ever feel as though they have had enough, then I explain that you cannot be a good follow-up company without good follow-up.

None of us are perfect, but we should strive to be conscious of following our own direction and advice because nothing strips away credibility faster than being contradictory. Leadership is not a position or title, but rather action and example.

And for all that is good in this world… please, please don’t buy sushi at your pharmacy!