MyNextClient was founded by Michael Avari when his clients asked him to coach their sales teams in consultative selling.
Avari has over 30 years of business experience from start-ups to Global 50 companies. He was originally trained in consultative sales at IBM in the late 1970's when the company had the informal reputation of being the premiere sales and marketing organization in the world. Back then, the rigorous sales training program took nine months to one year to complete, trainees were graded and ranked, and only the best were rewarded with a territory and an aggressive quota. In spite of the competitiveness, IBM emphasized a highly ethical and professional approach to selling that centered on the three principles of Thomas Watson, Jr.1:
- Respect for the individual.
- Excellence in customer service.
- Pursuit of excellence in every task.
Avari was also trained in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and in Ethical Influence at the Harvard School of Government. These programs emphasize the paramount importance of the relationship and of co-development of solutions with clients. In a negotiation, the interlocutors must find ways not to 'split the pie' but to make the pie larger. Each party must feel he earned value in the end result and there should be consensus to continue the relationship.
The concept behind MyNextClient, then, is to combine these techniques -- consultative selling, positive negotiation, and ethical influence -- into a unified and comprehensive methodology to assist sales reps in any industry achieve a trusted advisor relationship with their clients, one client at a time.
In his consulting practice, Avari recently assisted the world’s largest telecom to establish their professional IT services capability in the North America. He helped two start-ups launch their software businesses with efficient use of capital. One of these projects won the coveted IBM Beacon Award for technology innovation. He works with financial services clients helping, for example, a broker-dealer with sales training and coaching.
Avari’s experience includes a turnaround at an aerospace testing company, which he achieved by hiring and personally training the sales team and by changing the mindset of the engineering and delivery teams to become a part of the sales effort. Avari also has extensive international business in Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. The export management company he ran won the President’s ‘E’ Award for Export Excellence. For another start-up, he managed a pan-European project integrating wireless applications and micropayments involving partners from Finland, Great Britain, Italy, and Belgium.
Avari earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell and his MBA in Marketing and Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Europe and is fluent in French. He currently lives in New York.
Ellen Manzo is a proficient and award-winning sales team developer with a progressive track record of success in sales, marketing and sales operations. As a Regional Director – Asia Pacific at AT&T, Ellen Manzo had full revenue accountability for the Asia Pacific region for AT&T’s worldwide networking products. Drawing on over 21 years of accomplishments in the IT industry, this global sales leader guided AT&T’s WorldSource initiatives – one of AT&T’s top initiatives for worldwide networking. In this capacity, Manzo managed the strategic alliances of eleven Asia Pacific based telecommunications providers and led the worldwide sales of WorldSource solutions to AT&T’s most strategic multinational accounts for deployment throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Prior to that assignment, Manzo had full sales accountability for many of AT&T’s multinational accounts headquartered in the New York City and Los Angeles areas. Manzo has demonstrated her unique leadership and sales skills in cultivating key client relationships and creating value-added programs for her sales channel to drive success time and time again. Manzo creates high performance teams to achieve new heights. As General Manager in the greater NYC area, Manzo’s team generated over $200M in annual revenue and closed $350M in new revenue over the contract terms.
This change agent has a track record of building a loyal following of top performers and turning lack luster teams into top performing sales stars who bring value to client businesses as well as to that of their firm. It was under Manzo’s dynamic leadership that an organization with minus 8% in revenue growth transformed to achieve nearly 20% productivity growth in a mere 12 month period while employee satisfaction results demonstrated significant improvement in all areas measured. During her tenure Manzo and one of her teams broke new ground and sold the first international equipment contract and the first third party maintenance agreement valued at $135M targeted for deployment in 155 countries to a major multinational. Based on her achievements, she has been recognized for finishing within the top 2% of AT&T on more than one occasion, awarded the Woman of the Year for her division, received numerous outstanding leadership awards and identified as having officer potential for her firm. Manzo served in a variety of additional sales, marketing and sales operations executive positions while at AT&T. Like many of the technology industry's top sales executives, Manzo began her career at IBM and distinguished herself with outstanding sales performance.
Manzo brings her innovative thinking and dynamic leadership experience to the clients whom she consults. Her experience includes the development of an entire business model and business launch for an art firm, business consulting the new owner of an in-home care concern for incapacitated patients, and serving as marketing advisor to address a new target market for a financial asset management firm.
Manzo earned a B.A. degree from Rutgers University with cum laude distinction, attended negotiations training for executives at Harvard Law School, IT education for CIOs at MIT and AT&T’s Advanced Leadership Program. Manzo is cited in Sales and Marketing Digest’s article on motivating performance (12/95), in Break-Through Selling, Creative Tools and Techniques that Built Sales from America’s Sales Stars, Barry Farber and Joyce Wycoff, Prentice Hall, 1992, State of the Art Selling: 100 Top Sales Performers Share Their Secrets for Success, Barry Farber and Joyce Wycoff, Career Press, 1994, Selling: Building Partnerships by Barton A. Weitz, Stephen Bryon Castleberry, John F. Tanner, McGraw Hill, 2008 and several Asia Pacific based telecommunications journals. Manzo has lived and worked in the greater NYC area, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Tokyo and Paris.
1- Watson, Thomas J., Jr.. A Business and its Beliefs: The ideas that helped build IBM. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.: 1963