My Oprah Aha! Moment
Michael O’Donnell, Founder & CEO of Envision IT Partners
Ok, I’ve never actually watched The Oprah Winfrey Show, but it’s impossible to be on planet Earth and not have at least heard of Oprah’s Aha! Moments. For those of you who may not be familiar, an “Aha! Moment” is that moment when suddenly something becomes crystal clear to you. It is one of those unforgettable, connect-the-dot moments, where everything suddenly changes. A few years back I, I experienced my own “Aha! Moment” and it forever changed how I do business. In this moment, I realized the importance of understanding what value you bring to your clients and the power of communicating that value to the individual who benefits the most – the owner.
I was at a happy hour sponsored by the landlord of our Platte Street building in Denver. I was finally able to put a name to the faces I had seen around the building, as well as meet business owners from our landlord’s other properties. I met a fellow company owner named Lee and we were having the typical “So what does your company do?” conversation when I noticed he kept checking his phone. He apologized and told me that he was waiting to hear from his wife because she was supposed to pick him up to head over to a Kid Rock concert. The conversation quickly turned to our mutual appreciation of Kid Rock’s music and I told him I would give him a ride to the show and would buy a ticket on the street and maybe see him inside. He accepted.
On the ride over, we moved past the elevator speeches about our companies. I asked more in depth questions about his company. He mirrored my line of questioning and I explained what it was we really deliver. I told him that our team of ten Microsoft certified engineers fully manages a company’s IT infrastructure and everything that goes with it. And we do it for about half of what it cost to have an in-house IT department. I could see that it had started to sink in. Lee said, “So I get access to more techs, over a longer work day, with no such thing as sick or vacation days. All for half the price.” Lee looked at me and said, “Why wouldn’t I sign a contract right now?” I answered, “You should.” I dropped him in front of the Filmore, we said our goodbyes and nice to meet ya’s and I went about finding a ticket.
A few days later Lee emailed me and asked to meet for coffee. He wanted to “revisit the conversation we had on our way to the show”. Once again, I walked him through how our engineers range from help desk to high end storage and virtualization specialist so whatever level of engineer was required for an issue was available all for half of what he was spending. Once he wrapped his head around how he would get twice as much for half as much money he asked once again, “Why wouldn’t I sign a contract right now.” Once again, I answered “You should.” A few days later, Lee and I grabbed lunch together. We recapped our prior conversations and ended the lunch with him signing a contract.
And this was my “Oprah Aha! Moment”.
Lee signed the contract because I was able to solve a problem for him. One that he was, up until meeting with me, convinced that the only way to solve it was to hire a costly in-house IT person. When I explained how we were able to help him avoid an in-house IT cost to his company and that we were his one “go to” for all his IT management needs, it was a problem solved for him. Additionally, I was able to articulate this to the person it impacted the most – the company owner. I’ve never again bored a potential client with all of the techy stuff that our company can do. Who cares? People just want to know if you can help them. I’ve continued throughout my career to focus completely on helping business owners solve their problems. That’s where I start and end every day.