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This Webinar is For You. And You Alone.

The Toyota Production System - Source: Gemma.com

Before I started ESR, I consulted with a small company that sold a well-know ERP system as well as their own professional services to Tier 1 automotive supplier companies (Magna, Delphi, Dana, and Johnson Controls are examples of Tier 1’s).  During one sales strategy session we found ourselves faced with a challenge.  One of the salesreps was determined to get access to a senior level manufacturing executive at a Tier 1 and was making no progress.

The rep (who previously worked as an engineer in a Tier 1 company) knew that the SVP of manufacturing was very interested intrigued the Toyoya Production System (Note: Gemma was not our client).

A plan was hatched.  Here it is:

Goal: To commence a dialog directly between the client’s rep and the SVP of the Tier 1.

Strategy:  Engage the SVP in a highly targeted and customized one-on-one webinar.


  1. Devise a topic that would be highly compelling for the SVP.  If memory serves, what was decided upon was something like, “TPS: Case Studies in Driving Efficiency, Quality, and Market Share for Tier 1 Suppliers”
  2. Send the SVP a series of (snail mail) invitations to attend a live webinar, delivered by my client on TPS the (Toyota Production System).
    • There would be three occurrences of the same webinar.  Three dates were chosen to assure the the SVP would be available for at least one (early morning, mid-day, and early evening). 
    • Each invitation in the series would provocatively highlight aspects of implementation of the TPS system that the salesrep knew would interest the SVP. 
    • Plans were made to have an inside sales person call to remind the SVP of the event and seek confirmation that he would be attending. 
    • There would be no recording.  That would eliminate the possibility of the SVP viewing an archive at some later date instead of the live presentation.
  3. Invite other prospects as well, just in case someone else was interested.  If someone signed up for a time slot that the targeted SVP wound up not choosing, they would be asked to join another session.  Remember, the salesrep was only interested in one attendee: that SVP.
  4. At the end of the webinar, offer, as a promotion, an hour on the phone with the TPS expert—the presenter.  The offer would be available only to the first three people that called in immediately after the conclusion of the event, first come first served.  Again, all we needed was one person—the right one.
  5. The goals for the phone call would be:
    • Answer any questions the SVP had. 
    • Confirm that the SVP was looking at installing and implementing TPS within his company.
    • Offer to perform an audit of the company’s current manufacturing process (my client was very effective at this) after meeting face-to-face with the SVP.  The SVP would have to agree to an additional meeting for sharing and discussing the results of the audit.

A month later, I was back in my office, listening in on the webinar.  That SVP, another manufacturing executive from a different company and I were the only three outside attendees.  It was as professional a presentation as any I had attended, live or over the Internet.  The rep concluded his brilliant discussion.  The marketing manager, who was hosting the event, said, “…and now for the first three of you that call in… ”

Five minutes later my phone rang.  It was the CEO of my client’s company. He said, “Dave, Rick is on the phone with the SVP.”


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