Jan 092013
 

 

business coaching, service coach, managing cash flow, seasonal businesses, test and measure, A customers, trust your team, ineffective advertising

We(Service Coach team) have found that growing a service business to fast is the reason why the majority of businesses fail in the first 5 years. Growing to fast ultimately leads to a lack of cash, and usually a very big cash flow problem. Taking the time to build your business, your team, and your systems is the way to ensure long-lasting profits.

As you grow your business, it is easy for you as a business owner to get seduced by the lure of easy money as you bring new customers into your business. However, Continue reading »

 January 9, 2013  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Aug 202012
 

leads, sales, customers, delivery of service, referrals, cold calling, build a business organically

 

 

 

 

Exceptional Delivery.

Most business owners assume that they must invest big dollar amounts in new marketing campaigns in order to increase their lead generation. However, there are some very easy, cost-effective ways to exponentially increase your leads.

Contact your existing customers: It is six times easier to sell to an existing customer than to sell a new customer. If you concentrate on and stay in contact with your existing customers, they are more likely to do more business with you. Think about new or complementary products that they may be interested in. Give them a call just to say hello and ask them how it is going. They will greatly appreciate your interest and will become your advocates.

1. Ask for referrals:

Your satisfied customers, happy employees and devoted friends/family will want you to succeed in your business endeavors. Ask them if they know of other like-minded customers who may be interested in your services. If you ask most people for help, they are usually willing to work with you. When asking for referrals, be specific with your associates.

  • Identify a number of potential referral sources for the next year.
  • Schedule a lunch/breakfast with each referral, each month.
  • That will result in 12+ meetings and exponentially more new business contacts.

2. Cold Calling:

Want to know a quick and low-cost strategy that can generate massive results in your business, if practiced regularly? Simple techniques, like old-fashioned phone calls to suspects, warm leads or referrals, are usually used. The chief excuse of business owners for not using cold calling is lack of time. If you can’t (or won’t) do it, identify a resource within your team to handle this important task.

Discipline yourself to stop what you’re doing for five minutes a day, and make calls. Just two calls per hour, every business day, will yield hundreds of calls over a year. If you have a target list, you could place a call to each, once every quarter to let them know you’re there and you care! Remember, even if today they are buying what you’re selling from someone else, you can position yourself to be the second choice for when things change!

Focus on results, and set a daily goal; make calls until you reach the goal. This may be to get an appointment, sale or new referral (as appropriate.) In no time, this will become an effective habit/tool for growing your business. Once you’ve achieved your goal for the day, congratulate yourself and then go about doing the other tasks that confront you.

3. Deliver exceptional service every time:

This one is my personal favorite. I feel that if you are building a great service business, this should be your number one priority.  Delivering exceptional service does 2 things for your business.  The first thing it does is it guarantees that your current customer will be more than satisfied with their experience using your service. Exceeding the customers expectation will give you the confidence that your customer will be interested in continuing to work with you and your business. This is otherwise known as, the lifetime value of your customer.

Secondly, providing exceptional service will turn your current customer into a referral machine. Your customer will become an advocate for you and your business. So, if you have 200 satisfied customers that are advocates for your business, you now have 200 FREE sales reps.  This is a very powerful strategy, especially for the small business owner who has a limited budget to grow his/her service business.  I see this as a very organic way to grow your business.  Executing this strategy will help your business grow at a pace that is healthy. Not to fast and not to slow.  See Wednesdays post for more on growing your business organically.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 August 20, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jul 302012
 

Reading this book made will help you realize how much you enjoy growing your service business. This book did a great job at reminding me of some of the core elements to marketing a service business along with great insight on how to continue to build and grow a service business.

My 3 take aways for reading this book.

1. Yes, build the quality into your service, but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period of a test project. People typically are not looking for the service that they want the most, instead they are looking for the one they fear the least. People do not choose a good experience, they tend to choose  to minimize the risk of a bad experience.  We see this all around us. The success of franchise’s are proof of people making choices to minimize the risk of a bad experience.

2. The warranty of a Brand. What is a brand?

A brand is more than a symbol. In the public’s eye, a brand is a warranty. It is a promise that the service carrying that brand will live up to its name, and perform. A service is a promise, and building a brand builds your promise. Building a brand makes selling faster, easier, and cheaper. The amount of  time people have in America today is shrinking. Companies have down-sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. These people need short cuts every waking minute. They turn to service and product brands.

3. Today’s good idea will almost always beat tomorrow’s better one.

Do it now. The business obituary pages are filled with planners who waited. Moving organizations tend to keep moving. Dormant ones tend to run out of air and die. Not-moving creates more not-moving. By the time the delayed consequences of all this not-moving occur-one of which is that action-oriented people in the company flee the company, making the company even more waiting-orientated- it often is too late to correct them. Act like a shark. Keep moving.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 July 30, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , , ,  3 Responses »
Jun 182012
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying, unique selling point, turn weakness into strength

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we learned in Part 1.

Part 1. Here’s a vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head.

Are you struggling to create a memorable positioning statement for your marketing? Do you want to stand out from your competition, but the uniqueness of your business seems to elude you?

Here’s a sneaky, vital secret that turns conventional marketing psychology on its head. By changing your positioning statement, find out how to transform your weakest link into your strongest marketing tool ever.

3 examples of using your weakness

  1. Avis is Only Number 2…So, Why Go With Them… Years ago, in the rental car market, Hertz was chugging along merrily, with Avis a distant second. With one Problem-Based USP(unique selling point), Avis closed the gap. Its catch phrase, “We’re No.2, We Try Harder,” ignited the minds of the target audience like a rampaging bush fire. They turned a liability into an asset.
  2. Southwest Airlines took to the skies with a similar message. We’re Smaller Than Everyone Else, it told us, while gently explaining why its service was dramatically better, as a direct consequence of their size. They also turned a liability into an asset.
  3. In 2001, Harley Davidson proudly boasted how their CEO was 38th on the waiting list for the company’s then, new V-Rod motorcycle. And they took pains to describe how each Harley was lovingly rolled off the plant. The waiting period, which normally would be perceived to be a negative, was turned into a publicity coup that burned a stamp of quality and uniqueness into the brains of every prospective Harley owner.

All of these companies took a cold, hard-nosed look at reality. The superlatives in their business had been taken. Instead they unearthed their USP, in what most people would consider a disadvantage of sorts.

 


 

Part 2.  How to Create a Knockout USP for Your Business…

Let’s assume you’re in the wine selling business. To own real estate in a customer’s brain, you’d have to do battle with about a zillion other wines. Yet decades ago, Paul Masson cut through the clutter with a simple statement. We sell no wines before their time. With charming simplicity, they turned a negative waiting period into an exploitable advantage.

You too can turn your liabilities into assets. Stop screaming about how magnificent you are, and look for the apparent glitches in your business. Let’s just consider a few scenarios. Are you perceived to be too expensive, extremely slow, or maybe just too busy?

 

The Primary Reason You Should Search for the Hiccups in Your Business…

Knockout your competition like a Mohamed Ali right hook.  Finding what makes you beneficially different is a notoriously difficult task. However, just about any client or potential buyer will very quickly identify your weaknesses and liabilities. If it’s a technical problem, you can fix it. If it’s a conceptual problem such as speed or price, it’s much harder to fix.

This, however, is the key to your success. The more you try to keep your weaknesses and liabilities under wraps, the more customers will uncover them. On the other hand, take a liability and turn it into an asset. Expose a problem to the harsh glare of the spotlight and transform your frog into a prince. This brave act will gain the instant admiration and support of your clients, while giving you a USP that others simply won’t have the guts to match.

Can You Make the Leap?

Creating a negative USP is a tricky, dangerous tactic, and one not to be taken lightly. “We’re slow and proud of it!” is hardly a selling point, yet fulfills the requirements laid out in this article. However, if you’ve been struggling with your USP, as many companies do, this is a tactic that may work well for you—as it has with some of the companies above.

It’s time you tickled your customer’s brain with some sharply focused psychological marketing jujitsu. Find the weaknesses and liabilities in your business, carve them into a dynamic USP, and the attention your business has been craving for, will be yours forever more.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 June 18, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
May 302012
 

make the sale, networking tips, communication tips, confidence in communication, building relationships, body language

 

Communication is more than words.   The tone of your voice and your body language are even more important than the words you use.   If a person you meet is outgoing, upbeat, and full of life, then you need to be friendly and animated.   If they speak loudly and use a lot of gestures, you need to be loud and demonstrative also.   On the contrary, if they are gentle and soft-spoken, they will feel comfortable with you if you are also a bit reserved.

  • Did you know that you are either create a feeling of security or a feeling of suspicion by your body language?   You should always smile when appropriate, and maintain a comfortable level of eye contact.   Looking at a person in the eye communicates honesty.   When a person refuses to look at you, it sends the message that they have something to hide.   You should also respect personal space.   Stand or sit close enough to communicate effectively, but not so close that they start to back away.   The point is that communication   includes your facial expression, your gestures, and the tone and inflection of your voice.   If you match and mirror the person you are meeting, they will feel comfortable and connect with you because you are like them. Do you do networking to help build your business? These are great points that will help you at any networking event.
  • You set others at ease if you have a degree of self-confidence.   You can increase your confidence by a little planning.   Have you developed a short, personal story that tells others who you are?   It may help you to write out a two-minute version of your personal story.   When you are confident, others will feel at ease. Everyone likes to be with people who make them feel good.
  • Finally, one of the best ways to make a great first impression is to focus on the other person.   People love themselves!   Asking great questions followed by positive affirmations is one of the best ways to connect with another person.

 

Whether in business, personal life, or other social situations, it really is good to know how to leave a great first impression, and it’s all about making others feel comfortable.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 May 30, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
May 232012
 

customers, ideal customers, firing customers, qualifying customers, grading customers, small business growth, service business growth

  • Step One:Define Your Clients: We all have clients that drive us mad. They might always pay late or complain and haggle over invoices or prices, wait until the last-minute to lodge important paperwork, put unnecessary demands on you, have questionable hygiene habits… the list goes on. The first step is to define your clients into 4 classes A,B,C & D class clients. The definition is up to you. You might also find an ‘A’ class client might be one that always pays a month late but never questions the price.
  • Step Two: Tell them where they rate: Send all your ‘A’ and ‘B’ clients a letter telling them that you appreciate their effort in the relationship, that you enjoy working with them and will always strive to do the best for them. Then send your ‘C’ and ‘D’ class clients a letter suggesting Continue reading »
 May 23, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  5 Responses »
Jan 192012
 

Branding, Business Coaching, Service Businesses, Build a Better business, Business Planning, Advertising, Marketing, Identifying

Having a great brand is one thing. Backing it up is another.

The best way to describe the branding process is to think about it in terms of how your customers come in contact with you or your company. We can simplify this process by thinking about it in 3 main steps.

  • Step1 Initial contact. This is when your customer first comes in contact with your Personal or company brand. This might be at a networking event, or a they might see one of your vehicles somewhere. This initial contact is typically what most people think about when building a brand. This is the step where you are setting the initial expectations to your prospective client. Branding is all about making a name for you and your business. Customers then associate your personal name with your company name, logo, and colors.
  • Step2 Delivery of Service. This is exactly what it sounds like. This step is the part where you or your company delivers the service that you have promised. A key factor to helping your name spread like wild-fire is to make sure the quality of your service exceeded the customer’s expectation. Your customers will be more likely to spread the word, and give out referrals if you master the delivery of your goods and services. The mastery of delivery comes when we build a customer data base with raving fans, we do this by consistently exceeding our customer’s expectations during the delivery process.
  • Step3 Back Up branding. After the services are completed, what are your follow-up procedures? Do you have your logo and letter head on the invoice that you send them? Do you make follow-up phone calls, send follow emails, or thank you cards? Do you invite new customers to be a part of your Facebook fan page, LinkedIn page or any other social media? Do you use customer feedback cards or survey cards to get important feedback to keep your services at the highest level? Back end Branding is often overlooked as a key component to the growth of your company.

What do I mean by backing up your brand?

It means that there is no sense in putting forth all the energy and effort in step 1 if you are not going to follow through by being committed to performing steps 2 and 3. Delivering your product or service with consistent excellence through all 3 steps is what I mean by backing up your branding strategy.

Do you want to know more about building your Personal Brand? Click here.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 January 19, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Jan 122012
 

I believe that incentive based referral strategies rarely work. People typically refer because they want to not because of the iPad that you are offering to give away.

When reading The Tipping Point I learned that one of the keys to getting your product or service to spread like an epidemic is  that the “connectors” give referrals for their own personal reasons. They like being known within their circles as the people who know other quality people. The connectors pride themselves on their large data base of people.

Connectors are the type of people who know lots of people. They are the kinds of people who know everyone. This type of personality collects people like some collect stamps. A classic example of a connector in action is if they go to a restaurant that they like, they will immediately start telling their friends of the wonderful new restaurant they tried and how you should try it. Know anyone like that? This is essentially what word of mouth is. It’s not me telling you about a new restaurant with great food, and you telling a friend, and that friend telling another. Word of mouth begins when somewhere along that chain, someone tells a connector.

Here are some simple tips that you can introduce in your business today. They will help you keep your customers coming back, bringing their friends with them, maybe even a few connectors.

• Send them thank you cards

• Sell them everything they need to gain maximum benefit from the purchase

• Use their name frequently

• Call them up just to make sure everything is going well

• Call them up when something new arrives in stock that you know they would like

• Follow up & follow-up again

• Under promise and over deliver

• Keep in touch often

Try to implement just a few of these tips. If you care for your customers, your customers will care for you, and help you to grow your business. It is a simple as that.

 January 12, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »