Feb 202013
 

 

passion, focus, hard work, enjoy the journey, trust your gut, rely on your team, long term success, honest and integrity, execution

But what else does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur, and how should an entrepreneur define success?

Here’s what I came up with, a Top 10 List:

10. You must be passionate about what you are trying to achieve.

That means you’re willing to sacrifice a large part of your waking hours to the idea you’ve come up with. Passion will ignite the same intensity in others who join you as you build a team to succeed in this endeavor. And with passion, both your team and your customers are more likely to truly believe in what you are trying to do. Continue reading »

 February 20, 2013  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Oct 012012
 

conversion rate, sales, sales scripts, benefits, testimonials, define uniqueness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are my top seven ways to increase sales conversion:

1. Written Guarantee: This is where you write a guarantee addressing the customer’s key frustrations in buying from you. For example, a hairdresser that guarantees ‘you will like your haircut and so will 98 per cent of your friends’. For an attorney the guarantee could be a fixed price — You’ll get for patent filed for $5k.

2. Use Sales Scripts: These are absolutely essential whatever business you’re in. Once you find the right (or very close to right) way to sell something to someone, why change it? Write down exactly what you said, and then do that every time. And make sure your team does the same. Every customer is different, but the objective is always the same: match the product to the buyer. You should have scripts for everything – from answering the phone to saying good-bye.

3. Define Your Unique Value Proposition: If there’s nothing different about you, people will only buy from you because of convenience, or price, nothing more. Added to that, you’ll never be able to raise your prices; if there’s anyone doing it cheaper, people will buy from them. You need to work out what is special about you, and then make a big deal about it.

4. Print Benefits and Testimonials: This is a sheet (and a page on your website) that you can give to every person who meets with you. It contains the 4 most important things about your product, or the 7 reasons yours is a better choice for them. Also include testimonials on it – that is, direct quotes from your past customers about how good you are. A video testimonial is the most powerful way of communicating all that you do for your customers.

5. Build Trust and Rapport: There are some simple things that you can do to make sure this happens. First, always use their name, and make sure you introduce yourself using your full name. Ask them questions, and genuinely listen to the response – these are your clues. Do your best to help them with ideas and advice. If you believe in your product/service, then you know that one of the best ways to help them is to sell them your product/service.

6. Provide Something Extra: To seal the deal, throw in something they didn’t expect – something that gives them the perception that they are getting a great deal. Then place a time limit on it, which pressures them into making a decision. Make sure it’s something that they will value highly which doesn’t cost you very much — i.e.: high perceived value, low-cost to you.

7. Provide Quality Products: People will buy quality when it’s affordable. By providing the best, you put yourself a cut above everyone else.

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!

 October 1, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth, Money Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Aug 272012
 

business growth, networking, planning,sales strategies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some business owners I meet complain that, although they attend networking events, they don’t actually get any work through them and question whether it is worth while bothering, given that there are 101 other things they could be spending their time doing.

Clearly, networking isn’t going to be an appropriate marketing tool for all businesses, but for many I believe it is. After all, if you needed a builder/ accountant/ IT specialist, wouldn’t you prefer to deal with somebody you have met and chatted to rather than somebody you didn’t know at all?

If you are going to use networking as a marketing tool for your business, as with any marketing tool you use, you first need a clear strategy in order to make it work well for you.

Below you will see my ‘top 5 tips’ to effective networking, this will to help you develop your own approach.

1. Choose the networking groups you attend wisely.

You need groups of proactive business owners, not ones that just meet to chat and feel good about themselves. Go along to the meetings with a goal in your mind for the number of cards you are going to hand out, receive, and the number of meetings that you are going to book.

2. Be clear on the type of business you are looking for.

Think about the size, type and location of companies you would like to work with. Make it easy for people to refer work to you by having a clear and concise offer.

3. Ask the people you meet about themselves and their businesses.

Don’t forget that people buy from people they like and showing interest in what others do will help build that relationship. Having a great story to tell will help make people interested in what you do, never try to just sell what you do.

4. Always follow-up on the people you have met after the event. Remember, networking is the start of the sales process, not the end. How do you follow-up after a networking event. Personally, I take all the business cards I have collected and I send invitations to have that contact connect with me via LinkedIn and Facebook.

5. Finally, make sure you measure the results of your efforts. Testing and Measuring is the key to reaching your goal for any activity that you participate in. If you aren’t willing to take the time to test and measure, then you might as well stop doing that activity.

So now you have a guide to effective networking, get out there, take action and make it work for you.

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 27, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Aug 062012
 

 

sales, sales people, conversion rate, follow-up, sales tips, sales scripts, sales testimonials, sales goals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Ask More Questions:

Questions are the answers in sales. Too many sales people tell their customers the features and benefits of their product or service but never take the time to find out which of the benefits the customer is actually interested in. So, ask them to tell you what they want.

2. Set Daily Targets:

A common theme in sales- chase enough customers in the hope that one or more will buy. In reality this leads to sales people only selling to the early adopters or price shoppers who would probably buy from anyone. However by keeping track of how many customers buy on average from a given number of leads and then introducing strategies to convert a higher percentage will ensure your sales team learn how to improve their results. Set daily targets and assess your performance against these targets.

3. Use Sales Scripts:

No one likes to hear someone read from a script, but customers do expect us to be consistent. So how do you ensure all your interactions with prospects are consistent and that you deal with objections in a professional way? By writing down what it is you say in any given situation and by training your team to use the same questions and language you can bring a lot more productivity to your sales process.

4. Offer / Guarantee:

Why should someone buy from you and not a competitor who can provide the same product or service at a lower price? What is it that you offer them or can guarantee them that will differentiate you from your competition? Your offer must generate excitement to get prospects to make a decision to buy now.

5. Ask For The Sale:

One of the biggest common failings in sales is not asking the prospect to buy. A fear of rejection, that the sale will be lost, prevents many sales people from actually asking the final question. Just do it and learn from those that say no so you can improve your conversion rate over time.

6. Learning:

To be successful in sales there absolutely must be a habit of learning. Learn from other sales experts, learn from books, learn from your best customers and learn from past experience. Both your good and bad experiences can be a huge help in improving your sales success. You must record these experiences and build your knowledge over time. Write it down so you do not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Testimonials:

We all need to be reminded of what we are doing right and why our best customers love dealing with us. Sometimes we focus too much on what is going wrong rather than what we are doing right. Focus on the good stuff and we will do more of it! Get your customers to write down their testimonials so you can use it in your marketing and attract even more great customers.

Question: When is the best time to make a sale?

Answer: Just after you made your last one. Ever hear stories of football players who stop scoring touch downs and it seems they will never score again? Well generally they change something about themselves; their attitude or a superstition or a habit; and then suddenly they are back in scoring form again and they keep scoring.

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 6, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Jul 232012
 

sales, sales people, conversion rate, follow-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 ways to boost your sales right now, this week …

  1. Get your salesperson with the best conversion rate to train everybody else for a day or two.
  2. Script your sales process. Use a lot of questions in the script (it’s NOT a sales pitch) and learn from what the best sales people are doing.
  3. Break your sales process down into each and every critical step and work on one step at a time.
  4. Measure your conversion from one step to the next and work on improving each step by just 10% more than it was.
  5. Work on the letters, brochures, other written or audio/video material you use during each step of the sales process.
  6. Use my magic question for phone selling, “Thanks for your call, just so I can help you best would it be OK if I asked you a couple of questions?”
  7. Run a competition among your sales people for a week or two around the one area you need to see the most improvement in.
  8. Learn the critical buying step in your sale, for example in female fashion stores, it’s trying the clothes on, with it you have more than a 50% chance at making a sale, without it, less than 10%.
  9. Follow up and follow through, too many sales are lost by salespeople who can’t be bothered to follow-up again and again and again … at least 7 times …
  10. Make an offer that is either limited or a bonus offer or something to get customers to act now and to give sales people some ammunition …
  11. Just plain ask people to buy, usually in sales training the one biggest reason sales people are not getting the sale is that they don’t ask for it …
  12. Bonus: Stay focused on your conversion rate for 3 months and watch the dramatic effect it has on your bottom line.

Once you’ve got it right, or at least much better than it is today, then and only then is it time to go to work getting more prospects and investing more money into your marketing and fixing the marketing you are doing now.

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 23, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »
Jul 162012
 

 

sales, marketing, conversion rate, test and measure, guarantee, follow-up, USP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Follow up – It is amazing how such a simple strategy can be so effective. Every quote, introduction, tender you do is just the start of your conversion process. So many businesses spend hundreds of pounds getting a lead, many hours preparing a quote and then, if they don’t hear back, just say “oh well,” and move onto the next lead. This is such a waste of time.

Just think of how many times you have been offered something and then life has got in the way so you did not get around to ordering it. How pleasant would it have been if somebody had reminded you and helped you complete the purchase? Also remember if you do not follow-up, your competition will.

2. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Why should somebody buy from you rather than your competition? When times get tough you may find more people in your sector trying to compete on price. Educating your prospects about your uniqueness and how you add value is the only way to ensure you get the business and still make a good margin. If you can communicate with your prospect all the benefits they will get from buying from you, why would they go anywhere else?

3. Guarantee – One of the main reasons people don’t buy is that they have a fear they will be let down at some point in the process. It is your job to identify in what areas these fears may lie and then to guarantee that by buying from you they will not be let down. Just look to the big companies like M&S, Domino Pizza and DHL for great examples of this.

4. Benefits and testimonials – Another great way to alleviate people’s fears of buying from you is to show them what benefits your existing customers have received by buying from you by getting written testimonials from them. These should include real benefits to them, not just “they are great people to buy from.” If your customers do not know what to say then there is no harm in preparing a testimonial for them to sign.

5. Measure it – It has been proven that just by regularly measuring your results, they will improve by up to 5%. This works because by monitoring your results you are setting your subconscious brain to look for ways to improve that factor.

While consciously you are not doing anything, subconsciously you are affecting the result. An easy way to demonstrate this is have a piece of string with a weight on the end and hold it dead still. Then without moving your hand, think about the weight moving in a certain direction. You will be amazed at the result.

Just by working on these strategies you can make an amazing difference to your revenues and it need not cost you a penny.

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 16, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  8 Responses »
Jul 022012
 

marketing, growing small business, spending time instead of money, low cost marketing, marketing budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

If, as a result of the present economic times, you find yourself cutting back heavily on your marketing budget, it does not mean that you also need to cut back on your marketing activities. Marketing is paramount in these times of economic distress.

How then can you keep your marketing efforts alive despite a dwindling fund?

There are many marketing initiatives available that are free of cost or have a minimal cash outlay with a relatively high return that small businesses can effectively employ to remain competitive.

Here are nine such techniques that can help you survive and thrive through the present tough times.

  1. Networking – Networking with local business groups, local ‘service’ groups such as Round Table, Lions etc, or even at your children’s school or the church, etc. can be a great marketing technique that does not cost a thing. Spend your time instead of your money.
  2. Referral policy – Ask your existing customers to recommend you to a friend and, if necessary, give them some form of reward (high perceived value to them, low-cost to you) for doing this.
  3. Targeted Direct Mail – A carefully written letter sent to a targeted list and then followed up to increase response rate can work wonders for your business.
  4. Improved Signage – Improve your signage to cover the services you offer.
  5. Marketing Collateral – Leaflets promoting all your services sent out with invoices or directly to your customer base is a cost-effective marketing technique.
  6. Email Newsletters – While it can cost a bit to set up a template, email newsletters come with only a small cost to use as long as you have the time to write the content yourself. There is no postage associated and these are free to send.
  7. Free Poster Signs – Post signs on your vehicles – you have a free poster site, why not use it!
  8. Internet/Online Marketing – There are a plethora of free/low-cost options available online, such as blogs, social media, membership communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Meetup, Yelp etc. where you can market your products and services. YouTube can be used effectively to demonstrate your product and with the help of social media tools, these videos can reach a newer, wider audience.

It is important to remember that axing your marketing budget does not mean that you also minimize your marketing initiatives. The biggest mistake businesses make during a recession is to cut down on their marketing activities. Using these free, low-cost marketing techniques will help your company stay afloat during these tumultuous times.

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 2, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  No 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 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 »
May 212012
 

profit is your purpose, profit, break even, break even point, focusing on profit, service coach, business coaching, fixed costs, cost of goods sold, gross profit margin 

The most important number in business is your Net Profit, yet how many of us look at this number when it comes back from the accountant at the end of the financial year and wonder how we arrived at that figure. One of the keys to creating a successful business is to constantly focus on the profitability in your business, in particular understanding what the main profit drivers are.

Few businesses rarely analyze the net profitability they derive from each of the different products or services they sell (and let me be clear that I am referring to net profit and not gross product). The exercise can be very revealing. When I have done this exercise with my clients they have frequently Continue reading »

 May 21, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Money Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »