How Process Ensures Success : Tomokazu Ihara



Tomokazu Ihara, from Kawasaki, Kangawa, Japan knows all about “process”. “Tomo” is a client of Flannery Sales Systems who runs “Ultras”: 100 Mile Ultra-marathons. Tomo shares with us parallels he has seen between using a sales process to win business and the process he follows to win a 100 mile race:  Preparation, Execution, and Team Support. “You don’t even think about taking the first stride in 24-hour race without a process.”

Preparation and Execution

The experience of trained ultra runners teaches you to begin race preparation with some key information: What is the distance? What is the course? What is the elevation? What are the obstacles? What kind of training, clothing, shoes, fuel, protection, and which pacer do I need for the race?

Tomo:  “When I train for 100 miles, I try to train myself with what can happen wrong. The more you know about the trail, the conditions, and yourself, the more you can anticipate what may go wrong, that is what will save you during the race; because if you have already anticipated that problem, you will be able to manage that. The race is so hard physically and mentally. When you get mentally down, you start thinking that you can’t finish the race. The preparation keeps you going. The important thing after preparation is to give your 100%”.

A sales process is built on the experience of successful sales leaders in your organization. Their experience is key to documenting a unique sales process built for the conditions of your marketplace: How long will it take? Who should be involved? What are the milestones? What obstacles may be anticipated, and what kinds of training, coaching, tools, and selling skills can be developed prior to the race? How can we forecast our probability of winning? A good sales process will help you anticipate what may go wrong. Your preparation will give you the ability to give it your 100% and finish strong.

Team Support

Trail running is all about how you manage yourself and aim for your personal best. Although it is very individual sport, it has a very good community. Tomo shares how he gets a lot of good support from his team. “People who do this sport are passionate and inspirational. When you have a good team, it is easier to accomplish things. You depend on your pacer. You learn in the mountains together.”

Sales also depends on individual effort, but a Sales Process gives a sales team a common goal, a common language, and a repeatable process, which makes it easier to pace a sales cycle. When you train on the same path together, you have a basis on which to share ideas, make adjustments, and share successes. A well directed team executing a sales process can help you achieve for your personal best.

Preparation, execution and team support are all keys to success, but Tomo ends our interview with this important reminder: “Every morning you have two choices…continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them!”  How will you reach your dreams for this quarter?

Tomo is currently training for the UTMF (Ultra Trail Mount Fuji) 100 mile September 26.  You can follow his inspiration and success at