A good consultant gathers all the information and evaluates it accurately. The more depth and understanding you have, the better results you can deliver. Subir Chowdhury, the CEO of ASI Consulting Group, believes in this concept. In this episode, he shares how he landed a $60-million deal without a proposal. Known as one of the world’s leading management consultants, Subir recounts his humble beginnings and success journey from launching his first book to closing deals with global Fortune 100 corporations and industrial leaders. He highlights the value of having conviction and self-confidence and reveals the most prominent mistake consultants make nowadays.
I’m very excited to have Subir Chowdhury joining us. Subir, welcome.
My pleasure to be here. Thank you for inviting me.
For those who aren’t familiar with your work, just take a moment and explain what you do.
I literally wear so many different hats, but my major thing, what I do day-to-day is I’m a management consultant. I help all types of organizations from Fortune 100 companies all the way to a tiny little hospital in process improvement and quality. What it basically is I make organizations more effective and by doing the process improvement initiative, we save billions of dollars to different types of companies.
I was going to say you’re known as a real thought leader in the quality and Six Sigma movement. You’re also the CEO of ASI Consulting Group where you’ve worked with and consulted for organizations like Bosch, Kia, P&G, Xerox, many other Fortune 100 companies that you would know of. Before we explore where you are, I want to take everyone back and understand how you got into the business of consulting.Communication is the key to reaching the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor equally. Click To Tweet
It’s weird the way I came into the consulting and let me tell you a little bit how. I graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, which is IIT in India, one of the most prestigious schools in India in aerospace engineering in 1989. After I graduated in aerospace engineering and I lived my first job in Apple computers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Over there, Apple was just entering the market and nobody knows how even to use the Apple computer. They were just entering the market in ‘89 in Bangladesh. When I joined, I got it making torsion. They said, “Subir, you have to kick out IBM out of the market and try to sell this device and you have to self-teach yourself.” I played with the machine and I was 21, 22 years old. I learned everything on my own and then going to different organizations. At that time, it was very popular. WordPerfect and all those Microsoft DOS operating systems and all.
That is the way my first couple of years before I came to America that I have been working everywhere to sell the Apple system and then teaching them Apple, how to use Apple and everything else. That is why I started my first job in my career and then after a couple of years I came over here. One thing happened within the couple of years because even though I was not a consultant, but I acted as a consultant because I was trying to sell this system to all these different companies like US Embassy, different government organizations in Bangladesh, a lot of American companies based in Bangladesh at that time about the Apple. A couple of things stand out in my career was what I found that why people like Subir Chowdhury.
Even at that time, I was 21, all of my customers love me. One of the things I found out is communication because in all levels, I try my level best how to communicate with the richest of the richest or the poorest of the poor equally. Similarly, how can I communicate with the Fortune 100 CEO as well as the assembly line worker effectively? Communication is the key. That is the one thing I found out, even though without knowing, but I parked in my brain that this is the one thing I enjoyed dealing with the people, advising them. That is my experience. I have a two-year gap in the sense that I worked. I did my Master’s degree in the US. I came to the US in ‘91 and finished my Master’s in ‘93. After I finished my Master’s in ‘93, I got my first job in General Motors as an engineer. I worked there from ‘92 to ‘96. Two years when I was working there, one of the things happening to me was I was coming up with some ideas. I was coming up with out of the box ideas inside of GM. These GM people were thinking I was crazy and so a lot of them were thinking, “What are you trying to come up with? You are working for a company, a big corporation. You have to please your boss, don’t try to cross the line.”
I was doing everything out of the box. Trying to go back again because that is my nature. I felt that what they were doing was stupid. I have to come up with something and then I wanted to come up with a complete idea, giving the solution to them. The problem is that nobody was trying to listen and implement it. In fact, they were trying to put me on the sideline. That was the time. At that time, the idea was, which will make sense. In America, we have GM, Ford and Chrysler, three major automakers at that time. I’m talking about in ‘92, ‘94. There are a lot of other companies coming up, but main organizations are GM, Ford and Chrysler. My idea was why all of them has three different quality standard. Why can’t all of them collectively have one common quality standard? That was my curiosity as a young guy, I don’t know anything. My curiosity is if they are all three companies, so for example, if you supply identical parts to GM, Ford and Chrysler, you as a supplier have to meet the three different quality standards. That doesn’t make any sense.
If you do that, even for the paperwork, as a supplier you put your price tag into it so the cost will go up. You do have to meet three different standards. I talked with a lot of suppliers and asked them if we can make that even one common standard. When I told GM, they said, “They don’t want the competition. You don’t talk about that.” That was the time when one of the middle managers advised me, saying, “Subir, some of your ideas are so out of the box. If you really want to make a dent, then why don’t you go out and get involved with the American Society for Quality, American Automotive Industrial Action Group or Society of Automotive Engineers. These are all non-profit professional societies. Why don’t you get yourself involved in those as a volunteer? There is no boss there and you continuously make noises, talking about your ideas and somebody will listen.”
Is that what you did?
That’s what I did. When I did that, based on that ultimately, the automotive industry there’s a new standard called QS-9000. I was one of the pioneers on that and my first book was published. When I was conducting, when I got GM, Ford, Chrysler, all leadership together and trying to tell them, “You have to all work together to come up with one common standard. We are going to help and all of our volunteers are going to help,” that’s what I did. Somebody in one of the conferences, and at that time I didn’t even write even one book, one of the ladies came to me saying, “Subir, the way you conducted is amazing. How these companies, all these suppliers, there are 40,000 suppliers, how do we get certification? Where is the booklet? Where is the other stuff?” I said, “Everything is in my brain.” She said, “You have to write a book about it.” I said, “I never wrote a book.” “Don’t worry about it.” Ultimately, she persuaded me and she became one of my lifetime very good friend. I ultimately came up with the book called the QS-9000 Pioneers even when I was still in GM.
As soon as that book came out, I was making at that time maybe $55,000, $60,000 as a senior engineer inside of GM. Immediately those different companies were calling me and saying, “We want to pay you $3,000 a day.” The problem is I didn’t have a green card at that time, so I cannot even quit my job. When the book came out, what I did, I also sent the manuscript to the people who are absolutely the top in the field in quality like Philip Crosby, JD Power, Dr. Taguchi. These are the giants in quality. All of them are 70-plus at that time and I was 27, 28. The good news is none of them I knew, but I always believed in the American dream.
I just wrote to them. They didn’t reply. I wrote to them again. I didn’t give up until they replied. Ultimately, they all reviewed the book and not only that, all of them came, even Dr. Taguchi from Japan, Philip Crosby, JD Power. All of them came to Chicago in the American Society for Quality 50th Congress to launch my book. I was only 27 or 28 years old. All these people, they spent their own money to come and launch my book. That is the only book until now written endorsed by every single quality group. By the time when they flew in and JD Power, one of the iconic figures in the automotive industry saying that what should we do? He basically made a big dent in the automotive industry to make all of them have a harmonized one standard. His code is about that you will be the new voice of quality of the automotive industry. That’s what he told me at that time.
It sounds like that on the back of everything that you just went through, which is there are so many lessons in there that I think that we can pull out, but would you say that’s what led to your first consulting client?It doesn't matter what their successes are, anybody can be reachable. Click To Tweet
Yes. What happened after the book came out? These mentors were having a fight to who can hire me. All of them offered me a job as a consultant. I still remember when I met JD Power on the day of my book launch for breakfast, he asked me, “Subir, what do you want to be?” I said, “I want to be like you.” He said, “What do you mean by that? Explain to me.” I said, “You know what good quality is. You can say what the customer is telling you, what is good quality, what is bad quality. If I tell you to transform a bad quality into good, you don’t know because you are a marketer. You are just reporting what is good, what is bad, whatever the customer told you. If I tell you how to transform the bad into good, you don’t know how to do it.” He said, “No, I don’t.” I said, “I want to be known for that.” He said, “Great idea. What are you doing in GM?” I said, “I cannot quit.” He said, “As soon as you can legally quit, you immediately quit and start in consulting. Look how much demand you already created.”
The good news that goes the same time because of my book, and all the recognition I received, based on that I received a green card through the US Congress and everything. As soon as I received that, then immediately, I quit. I joined my organization, which is one founded by Dr. Deming and Dr. Taguchi. Initially, I joined the organization called American Supply Institute, which used to be a non-profit organization. Within a couple of years of joining the organization, I trust on the organization so much, the board of directors was saying, “Subir, you are running this as a big for profit, big consulting.” I said, “That is my dream.” That was the time I want even to quit and start my own company. That was the time all the employees of this non-profit wants to join me. That was the time I made a deal saying, “Let’s start this ASI Consulting Group.” I still kept the name ASI, so I’m one of the major owners of the organization.
Going back to when you were launching your book and you sent a manuscript to the gurus, the well-known authorities in the industry, if you didn’t continue to follow-up with them, what do you think would have happened? Do you think you still would have had the same outcome that you ultimately had?
No. One of the things that I learned is that any consultant, any profession, not only consultants, anybody, any human being should have to think about in their mind that anybody can be reachable, any human being, another human being. It doesn’t matter what their successes are. Anybody can be reachable. Once you have that mindset, then what do you do? You have to have that strong mindset that anybody’s reachable. Once you have the reachable target, then what do you do? You continuously knock their door and you never give up until that door opens. Even JD Power, Crosby or Taguchi, they didn’t know me. They didn’t reply initially.
How many times do you think it took you?
In some of these people, maybe 25, 30 times.
Someone might be reading, “Subir, I can’t do that. I would feel like I’m a nuisance. I would feel like I’m too pushy, that I’m too salesy, that I’m making myself appear desperate.” What’s your mindset around that? I want to know what separates the mindset that you had that obviously is so powerful from those who create reasons not to take that consistent action?
The reason is that because you have to have the conviction, that value proposition you’re bringing in. For example, all the successful people wanted to see what you are trying to bring to the table. If you bring something unique to the table, if it creates value to other organizations or value to not only to the organization, plus also to other human beings then successful people notice that. Every time they asked my background, I said, “That is the wrong question. You are asking the wrong question. You should ask me what I’m bringing to the table.” I told them that. They said, “What are you bringing to the table?” I said, “You can be the best in your field, but this idea didn’t come from your brain. It came from my brain and I wanted to validate with you. Can you give me some advice?” Even now, even if I go in front of the client, after all the Fortune 500 client success and everything else, it’s still any client I meet can be a $250,000 client or it can be a $50 million client.
Any client CEO I meet, the first thing I ask them is what their number one pain. Not my pain but what is their number one pain? I become very truthful and tremendously thinking if I don’t know it, if I don’t get it, I continuously try to understand it better. If I feel that I cannot add value, I say, “That is not my expertise. I don’t want to be part of it.” The real issue is even in the consulting profession, I always talk about the young consulting professionals. Consulting profession problem is 99.99% of the people just try to sell their service. They are not thinking about, “Do you know what value I can bring to my client?” That value will drive and bring that money for me. I never ever focused on money, but money followed me.
I think that’s such a great point because you’re right. When you have a real conviction, when you are focused on the value, it’s almost like you’ve identified a higher purpose beyond engaging to talk about your offerings and doing business. You want to make an impact. I’ve had conversations with coaching clients about this. Those who really are focused on value and want to make a bigger impact are the ones that typically have greater success compared to those who are just trying to sell their services.You have to have the conviction on the value proposition you're bringing in. Click To Tweet
Let’s have an example, if I tell you, you’ll not even believe it. If I tell you I never in my whole life made a PowerPoint presentation or any proposal ever in my life. I never wrote a single proposal or a PowerPoint presentation to do a sales deal. I signed a $250,000 all the way to $60 million consulting deal. One client, $60 million. My company, competing head to head with a big partner. In one time, the one I owned, the $60 million contract, my competition, whoever submitted, these are all big five consulting firms, their price is half of my price. Their price was $30 million, my price was $60 million. The client still signed with me. Let me tell you their story why. For example, there was a particular organization, I don’t want to tell the name of the client, but they came to me and said they want me to save them $2 billion in a few years. I said, “Can I find $2 billion in your organization?” He said, “You can find $10 billion wasted in my organization.” After that, they wanted me to submit the proposal and I said, “No, I don’t make any proposal.” “What do you mean?” I said, “I don’t submit a proposal. I just write you an email, only one page, and that’s it.” They said, “What do you mean? We only got so many?” I said, “Go to them.” They said, “What do you need to do?”
Our CEO is very interested in me. I said, “You tell your CEO that he needs to meet me face-to-face for fifteen minutes and then I’ll submit my price and what I’m going to do.” Ultimately, this purchasing tried to bully me, tried to do everything, and they ultimately gave up. They went to their CEO and said, “This guy you recommended, he doesn’t want to submit any proposal. He said that the only way he’ll submit anything to us, including his pricing is after meeting with you for fifteen minutes. Without that, he will not do it.” The CEO gave the meeting. I flew from Los Angeles all the way to the East Coast to meet with the CEO. As soon as I met the CEO, the first thing the CEO asked me, “Subir, you came all the way from Los Angeles to meet me and spend your money. I didn’t pay you any penny and you wanted to meet for fifteen minutes. What are these fifteen minutes all about?”
I said, “I have to talk eye to eye, face-to-face with you so that I can understand, so that then there’s a deal between you and me.” He said, “What is the question?” I said, “I have a couple of questions for you that I wanted to hear directly from you.” He said, “Okay.” I said, “Do you have any children?” The CEO said, “Yes, I have two children.” I said, “I have two children too. Suppose your boy and my boy is in life-threatening danger and you have to save only one, who are you going to save? Your boy or my boy? The CEO said, “My boy.” I said, “Thank you for your honesty. I’ll do the same. Let me tell you the reason. Do you understand that it is your baby?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Suppose if you engage my firm and me, to do these deployments for you to save you $2 billion, is it your baby or my baby? If you write me a $50 million check, do you think it will be your baby or my baby?”
The CEO looked at me saying, “Subir, is that your question?” I said, “Yes,” He said, “It will be my baby.” I said, “You remember that. When the baby is in danger, you have to step up. Not me, I’m a consultant. I don’t run your organization. You have to be 100% committed at all times, 24/7. This is your baby, not my baby. I wanted to make sure of that, so do I have a deal?” The CEO looked at me, saying, “Of course.” I said, “The first sentence of my proposal your purchasing are looking for would be the CEO of this organization saying to me that this deployment would be our baby. That would be my first sentence, so you remember that.” “Are you going to write that?” I said, “Yes. Do you have any problems? That’s what we agreed now at this time on this day.” The reason I shared that with you is that because what I do, unless the CEO is committed, if you ask me right now what I achieved for my clients, I said, “I didn’t achieve anything. All the credit is 100% of my client’s credit.” What I do, I share this story. This is a funny thing. I own that contract.
A couple of years later, the CEO sat with me and told me, “When my purchasing came to me and said, ‘Subir’s price is $60 million and his competition’s price is at $25 million and $30 million. Why are you choosing Subir?’ Do you know why we chose you, Subir? You mandated that it should be my babies. You meant now. Your competition did not mandate it is my baby. They didn’t even request a meeting for me. They focused on my money. You focused on me and my success on the battle. That client, I saved them $3 billion in eighteen months. This is very interesting. I have a three-year contract to save $2 billion. I saved $3 billion in eighteen months and washed my hands. Think of what that tells you. No consulting firm will do that because I have so much demand for other work, I don’t care because of money’s byproduct.
When you say you wash your hands, what do you mean by that?
That means I’m done with them. The majority of the consulting companies, what will they do in my position? They want to collect the fee, client’s cost. I get my job done and I told the client, “You guys are ready on your own. I retained your people. You don’t need me. I’m done.”
What did you collect in the end? Did you still collect your $60 million?
No. I got a $10 million bonus from them, which is a pretty good bonus. I collected almost maybe $45 million.
How did you get to that number? What was that initial even $60 million based on?Ethics is the absolute foundation. Click To Tweet
It was based on the savings of that $2 billion.
Wasn’t it about the number of days or the number of hours?
The number of days and number of hours is part of it. I calculated that part. How much effort? I have eighteen people full-time work on that client for eighteen months. Obviously, all the mandates were calculated. The thing is that there is some formula in the sense that our project might be a million-dollar project. Our project to save five mandates of my consultant’s time was required and so there was a complete formula based on that. Based on that, I came up with a budget of that $60 million. The deal was once we solved the issue, once we are done, we don’t need to.
Your fees had the days and hours covered as the base, but it sounds like you had an additional component or element to your pricing based on the value and the original investments.
You are absolutely right. If I saved them $2 billion, then they gave me a $6 million bonus. If I train their people and they become more self-sufficient, I have another component that they can have the right to use my material because I will train their people. I trained more than a thousand of their people. They can use that material to train the rest of the 10,000 other people inside their organization, where they don’t need a consultant because I trained their people. We call it as a train the trainer so that they are completely certified on that. It is a value proposition for the client, but I’m telling you no other consulting firm in my position will do that. They will not walk away from another $50 million. I felt that my job is done. I exceeded their expectations, so I’ve got to collect my fee, my bonus check and then I move into the next client.
Subir, where does the confidence come from? I understand when you’re having the conversation, you already have plenty of business, your pipeline is full, people are calling you. This CEO doesn’t want to comply with or accept your terms of engagement. No big deal. You have many others. In the early days when you were not at the level where you are now, your business wasn’t as well-known, you weren’t as well-known, did you also have that level of confidence? It sounds like you never went in with a proposal. Where does that come from and why do you do it?
Simple, because that is my belief. As a consultant, my belief is that I always tell my colleagues, including my clients, I talk about it. I can die for my client and I mean it. I think that conviction is there. Even these $10 million, depending on the size of the client, when the saving number is done, when I bring my team, I tell them, “Before you guys pay, just buy some gun and kill me.” That’s what I tell them. I’d rather die because I cannot fake it. The conviction is so strong. Even a lot of the time I pushed my clients so hard. They tried to slow me down. I tell them, “No, because this will add value to your organization.”
As a consultant, I believe my job is to make my clients successful at any cost. On an ethical way, not the unethical way. Ethics is an absolute foundation. That conviction is there. Even when I was nobody like I was just starting my career, I still had that conviction. I tried to reach out to the customer and tell them. The other thing is that one of my very good friends, he’s also one of the world’s number one leadership coach, Marshall Goldsmith. When I was 27, he was 47. He is twenty years older than me. We became a lifetime friend. When I was at that age, I reached out to Marshall and I asked him for advice.
He basically said to me one thing so profound that changed my life. He said, “Subir, the difference between an absolute consultant that the client remembers for life versus thousands of other consultants is they believe in themselves so much. The only thing they tell the client is the truth. Even if the client is so upset, it’s still to tell the truth.” You might be humiliated, you might be thrown out. To be honest with you, at the beginning of my career, I was thrown out. I was kicked out. At that time, I was still telling the client, “Sir, you’re doing a mistake. I’m sorry I cannot convince you. I know you are throwing me out but I’m just letting you know. Even if you come back a couple of months from now, a few months from now, or a couple of years from now, I’ll still die for you. When you fail, please remember me. You come back to me. I will still try to give my life for you because I want to make a difference for you.”
I was kicked out. I was thrown out of Korea from Hyundai, from Korean automakers, literally thrown out. I was maybe 31, 32. A few months later, the chairman of the board of Hyundai said, “I want Subir, nobody else.” I said, “My price became triple.” He said, “Even if your price is five times, I still want you.” I went back, several years they are my client and the rest is history. I put them into America’s map. I’ve made them one of the best in quality. They used to be one of the worst in quality. The point I’m trying to make is that when you do as a consultant, as a profession, your goal should be that you understand my passion for it. I die for my client. To be very blunt and honest about it, and if you don’t know, I always talk about it.The more depth and understanding you have, the better results you can deliver. Click To Tweet
Majority of the consultants, not only the consultant but also the senior leaders, number one is pretending they know something. I am a consultant, is verified, if don’t know something, I say I do not understand it. Sometimes they say, “Subir, what are you talking about? You are one of the world’s top experts.” People tell me I’m one of the world’s top experts. That is people’s problem, not my problem. I do not still understand it. Please explain this to me. Don’t think that I know everything. If you think that you are paying me top dollars, I have all the answers then you are doing wrong. What I’m good at as a consultant I collect all the information and analyze it properly.
The more depth and understanding I have then I can deliver better results for you. That is also important that you need to be also very humble in front of your customer. You cannot come in. Even after writing fifteen books, several bestsellers and everything else. Even now when I go in front of the client, I try to tell them I’m the dumbest guy in the room. The Fortune 100 CEO asked me, “Subir, what are you talking about? Your pay is so big. You’re telling me you’re the dumbest.” I said, “Yes. Do you know how I got lucky?” He said, “How did you get lucky?” I said, “I was so fortunate I was working with your competition, with the other industry, all types of stuff. They enriched me so much. I’m trying to share with you all of the knowledge I collected from different clients, so that you can become more successful. You are ten times smarter than me.”
Subir, I want to dig into one thing because I want to add as much value as I can for everyone and everything that you’re sharing. First of all, thank you because I think there are so much value and golden nuggets here. It sounds like from an early age, you had the conviction, you had the self-esteem, you had the confidence to be very direct, to be very honest. There are some people who don’t. There are some people who struggle with that who are reading going, “I get what Subir is sharing with us, but I’m not confident to that level. I’m concerned that if I’m very direct or if I engage the same way that I might get thrown out.” All different things might be going through people’s head. For those who maybe it doesn’t come as naturally to, what would you suggest if you had to offer a piece of advice that could help someone to create that relationship?
Read more books. Every single day, make that as such a habit to become a good consultant. I’m talking about any book. Read even fiction book more than even non-fiction book. The reason is that it brings empathy. Fiction teaches you empathy. Read those type of books. You can empathize with the client more. I strongly feel that any good consultant should read at least two to three hours a day. You have to figure out the time. That’s number one. Number two, once you read more books, then you develop more self-confidence. I don’t know how, but it happens. Any book you read, your self-confidence will go up not overnight, but over time you will develop more self-confidence. Number three, communication. Spend more time on how to become a good communicator. The problem with the consulting field, almost 80% of the consultants I meet suck in communication. It’s not about the polished discussion. Don’t think that I’m the polished guy. It’s not like that. I’m a very authentic guy. I still have my own accent.
I was originally born in Bangladesh, but it’s still why the client loves me, why the client wants to hear because I’m very genuine. Be very authentic, completely authentic. If you are fearful, let the client know you’re fearful. That is authenticity. Even myself telling me I don’t know. I don’t have any fear. It’s rather to tell the client honestly and trying to embrace because the client is also a human being. That is the other thing. The other perspective is trying to find a mentor, try to find in your field because consulting is a big field. There are all types of people, it might be your reader, in all different fields. If somebody is in your field, you figure it out. I didn’t have any clue JD Power was going to ask the question. When you ask the question point blank that, “Subir, I need to know who you wanted to be ten, twenty from now, how you wanted to be known.” I told him looking at his eyes, “I don’t want to offend you, Mr. Power, but I want to tell you the truth.” He looked at me and I said, “I want to be like you.” He said, “That sounds good. You define what you mean by that. What will you be bringing different? Are you going to copy what I did?” I said, “No.” I explained.Fiction teaches you empathy. Read those types of books so you can empathize with the clients more. Click To Tweet
It was so crystal clear. You have to think the people who are struggling that they also have tried to request them humbly. They should find a person in their field. Whoever that person is, it doesn’t have to be JD Power level. Try to find that person as a mentor because mentors make a big difference. If you ask me what helped me, because nobody advised me. I did it on my own. I was very curious. I was hungry for knowledge. What I did, I went to Dr. Taguchi, JD Power, Philip Crosby, and I was so hungry for knowledge. They gave it to me for free. If I find any young person who is in the early twenties or even early 30s, they contacted me and obviously, they have to knock the door ten times, on the eleventh time I say, “I got it. No problem. I want to talk to you.” If they really pass that, if they want my help, absolutely. I mentor a lot of other young kids. I strongly feel that other professionals who are struggling on that level should find the right mentor, who they want it to be. Try to develop the relationship. You cannot become a consultant just sitting in your room. You have to become a consultant who talks to all types of people.
When I’ve been walking on the street or whatever, I needed somebody. I’m just talking to them, talking about my ideas with them, sharing the ideas. Even in the family, I’m the dumbest guy but that’s okay. I have thicker skin because I’m a consultant. When I go to big corporations, there’s a lot of internal politics. Lots of politics, but everybody likes me. I’m basically talking with them and having the relationship because I do effective communication. If I go to any manufacturing organization, typically I pass request I make to them, I want to spend more time in their assembly line. I want to go there and check out their manufacturing line. The client is shocked, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “That’s what I mean. No, I don’t need the company CEO. I’ll be myself there.” I took my team there and had somebody discuss with their assembly line worker. Once they feel comfortable, they give us all the secrets. They tell us what is not working then we can focus on that. If I didn’t have that communication skill, if I go, “I’m Subir Chowdhury. I’m only meeting with the CEO. I don’t go to the lower level,” then I cannot be effective because it’s a conviction of the value to the client. I strongly feel that I think the number one thing would be you have to be very authentic and you have to read a lot of books.
You also find a mentor, a person that you admire, you feel in your field, one of the best. The question would be if you think, “Subir, that person is not reachable,” absolutely will be reachable. Anybody’s reachable. One day I was living in Michigan, this was several years ago. I suddenly dreamed that I wanted to do some real estate deal with Donald Trump. I reached out to him. I don’t do any real estate in there. Ultimately, no answer. Finally, I got down to it and said he doesn’t want to sell me the land and I wanted to buy the land from him in Los Angeles. He said no, I could only buy a home from him because he doesn’t sell land. I said, “No, because you cannot build as good quality as I can. You sell me the land.” What happened, a few years of negotiation, he gave up and he sold me the land. A few years after that, he came to my home to check and told me that I did the best home I built in his community, even better than what he built. He said, “No, you are right.” After he became President, with his son, I did two more deals. Why am I sharing this? The reason I’m sharing this is anybody reachable. The question is, how strongly do you want them to reach?
I had a situation at the beginning of my career. I’m talking about when I was 28, 29. I went to a senior leader. He gave a public speech in a public place and I startled the clients so much. I noticed there were two or three things he said that were not true. After his speech was over, I somehow excused myself to go in front of him for two minutes. I just went to him and I said, “The three points you mentioned, your company doesn’t practice that and I have the data to show it to you.” He was so shocked. He said, “Okay,” because he was in front of the journalist. He said, “Give me your card. I’m going to see you after I’m done with this guy.” He invited me. I went there, I talked to him and he was so shocked. He said, “Young man.” I said, “Yes, sir. This is my data.” He said, “Do you know what I want you to do? You’re so good. I’m so impressed. I’m going to invite you to come to my senior leadership team to present this. What is your finding? You wanted to come to my lecture.”
I went to listen to his lecture. I startled so much about the customer. What I did, I startled him, and I read so much about the customer. I found out what their weaknesses were and some of the things were not matching on his presentation. His presentation was prepared by his subordinates. He was giving all the good things. On the link, there were a lot of bad things that I found. I proved it to him, then ultimately, he invited me to come in front of his leadership team. I spent two hours on the leadership team. At the end of the day, I ended up with a $10 million contract.
There are wonderful lessons in that and through everything that you shared here. I really want to thank you for coming on. I want to ensure that people can learn more about you, more about your work, more about what your company’s up to. Where’s the best place for people to go?
I have lots of free information, completely free, a lot of videos and everything and a lot of articles. SubirChowdhury.com or my company information is about ASIUSA.com. You’ll find everything about it or you just simply google my name.
Thanks so much.
Mike, thank you.
- Subir Chowdhury
- ASI Consulting Group
- QS-9000 Pioneers
- JD Power
- Marshall Goldsmith