Thin Air Marketing

January 12, 2015 11:32 pm

There was a company that approached their marketing endeavours in an ad hoc fashion. They spent tens of thousands of dollars every year getting their message out, with one of their strategies being radio advertising. I am not picking on this form of advertising here but merely pointing out some issues…

  • Two of the ads promoted an area of their business that they were long known for in their town but…they disliked doing  that type of work and it made the least amount of profit
  • The other two ads were probably 50% near the mark of their core business
  • The radio company had never bothered to get a true understanding of their business and what they really wanted to promote
  • The radio company wrote ads more from a historical perspective of the company than its current direction
  • Because they weren’t analysing the response rate, weeks had gone by without a single call from the advertisements

The disconnect here, between the core business and its profit drivers,  and the corresponding advertising is strikingly apparent. When a company doesn’t have that deep understanding of who they are and where they make their money, and then promote their services in a shotgun, ad hoc approach, the chances of success are very limited. Combine this with no analysis of marketing strategies and corresponding enquiries and you’ve got good money going down the drain (or into thin air in this case).

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Happy New Year

January 6, 2015 6:59 am

Happy New Year!

The changeover period tends to lend itself quite naturally to looking ahead, thinking, creating plans and then pushing the action buttons. In my recent newsletter I have written about optimism balanced by realism. I find that the two are perfect partners when it comes to business growth. Facing and then countering market conditions, changing economics, increased competition, challenging staff, low cash flow and the like yet holding an unremitting optimism is one of the things that sets the resilient and successful apart.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead.

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Thoughts on Planning

December 15, 2014 12:51 am

At this time of year our thoughts tend to wander over the bridge into the following year. For some it is the hope of a better season to come, grateful that the current year is coming to an end. For others it is to capitalise on an already excellent year and grow to a whole new level whether in business, personally, financially and so on.

Here are two focal areas to help  you as you enter the New Year.

  • Get present with the past. Jot down the positive outcomes for the year past and the challenges and disappointments you experienced.
  • Create your future.
    • What would you like the coming year to contain?
    • What are the areas of growth you would like to see?
    • What relational, familial areas do you need to work on?
    • What are the personal growth and fun zones you would like to enter and develop? eg. learning to dance, cook, ski, fitness levels
    • What would you like your bank balance and debt levels to be by years end?
    • Where can you take your business or career in the next twelve months? What are the areas you need to work on to ensure you are growing and moving toward the next summit?

I have been aware over the past few months that we are really growing or declining. Strengthening or weakening. After all, plateaus of safety and comfort eventually erode if left to their own devices.

Best,
Ray

Planning Template for Business Owners.Click here

Ignition Coaching Program. Click here
Take advantage of my Christmas offer. Register by Dec 24th 2014 and receive either 3 months additional time (valued at $4000) or take 10% of the current price.

 

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What Are You Sitting On?

November 30, 2014 11:40 pm

A public speaker requests the audience to look underneath their chairs. One lucky attendee finds placed there a gift.

Business is like that.

In our attempts to drive new business we expend countless funds and effort on creating well laid out plans – hiring marketing strategists, social media experts, web SEO specialists and the like.

One of the things we neglect (and often this is due to the effort involved) is the hundreds and perhaps thousands of customers, prospects and unfulfilled quotations that have built up over the years but have never been utilised and are sitting right underneath us. The simple process of gathering  their contact details from business cards, quotations, various lists etc. can be an extremely valuable process. Judiciously collating this data into highest potential leads and then creating a strategy designed to connect with these can turn a business around fast, getting get cash in the door a lot quicker than taking months to make a plan and then market indirectly – such as social media.

While all these strategies have their place, going directly to those who you have dealt with in the past is one of the best ways I know of and that many of my clients have experienced significant results in.

What’s under your chair? Take a look. You might be presently surprised.

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Categorising Work For Efficient Time Use

November 20, 2014 2:13 am

To effectively manage workload, one method of streamlining tasks is to categorise the type of work we do on a daily basis and then batch these similar tasks into blocks of time in our schedule. A mortgage broker for example would have the following categories:

  • Marketing
  • Prospective client meetings/sales
  • Loan research
  • Loan writing and submission
  • Follow up administration
  • General Phone Calls and Email responses

After categorising the different work areas,  create a default diary batching related tasks into the time blocks you have created. The time spent planning and executing this  will significantly increase your efficiency.

A planned day as opposed to a re-active day always wins hands down

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Gaining Favour

November 11, 2014 11:27 am

If you want to gain favour and be treated well, remember peoples names and then use it when you connect with them. Hopeless at remembering names? I use the notes app in my phone to record peoples names after I’ve met them. Then, prior to staying at a hotel, visiting a cafe etc, I review the list, recall their name and end up with a free glass of wine.

Whether customers, suppliers, restaurant owners, hotel managers, retail staff and the like, if you make the effort to remember someone, take an interest in them and engage with them, favour will definitely come your way.

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Efficiency Tip #10 – Interruptions

November 10, 2014 1:22 pm

Schedule your interruptions. It may not always go to plan but you are more likely to keep singular focus for longer amounts of time thus increasing productivity. Interruption scheduling may look like this:

8am – 10am –  Finalise quote

10am – 10.30am – Call back all phone messages and respond to email (interruptive potential)

10.30 – 12pm – Management meeting

12pm – 1pm – Emails, calls and misc (interruptive potential)

1.30pm – meeting with Bob

Having others take your calls, turning email alerts off and then scheduling when you will deal with them assist in getting the most important items achieved. Most calls and emails are not urgent and if they are, then at least the interruption is minimal

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Efficiency Tip #9

November 6, 2014 11:22 pm

Plan tomorrow today. Arriving at your office at day’s start with a pre-planned schedule will keep you focused and less likely to be side tracked throughout the day.

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It’s Not Rocket Science

October 30, 2014 8:50 am

In our attempts to promote growth, expanding our brand and presence, some of the basics of business get neglected. Take these for example:

  • Treating our people purely as workers not as valuable assets
  • Not returning phone calls in a timely manner (as per the customers sense of timeliness)
  • Communicating when you will complete a service or have delivery of a product and then not communicating when there is a delay
  • Not keeping the customer in the progress loop
  • Consistent lateness or cancellations of appointments

If you have happy staff, that happiness factor will overflow to customers. If you then keep your current customers and key prospects at the centre of your attention, doing what you say you will do and communicating when things change you will find your business will more likely grow intrinsically and word of mouth business will come your way.

Doing the basics well is not rocket science

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Car Lovers – getting a customer to return

October 30, 2014 8:45 am

Having a filthy car from my travel in the country and disliking the process of washing it, I decided to call into a car wash I’d never been to before – Car Lovers,Toowoomba QLD. It was my first time and won’t be my last time. Why?

– the employee was very patient with me describing

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All You Have To Do is Ask – Referrals

October 30, 2014 8:42 am

Business owners, managers and marketers spend countless hours in developing complex marketing strategy models with lengthy roll out times. One of the most overlooked and quickest ways of getting new business is that of referrals.

There are two main ways of getting referrals.

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Front Of Mind or Out Of Mind

October 30, 2014 8:40 am

I have long held the belief that those who, on a monthly basis, keep in touch with their key prospects and customers are in the top percentile of their industry. At a recent speaking engagement to 70 electricians I asked the question “how many of you keep in touch with your key prospects and customers at least monthly either by calling, monthly newsletter etc?” It was worse than my prediction. No hands went up.

So…if you keep in touch with your key customers and prospects at least once a month, not only will you be in the top one percent of those who do so, you will be the one they call when they need your services.

You want to be front of mind – not out of mind.

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The 1 minute Survey

October 30, 2014 8:38 am

I get emailed five minute and seven minute survey requests from hotels I’ve stayed at and other companies that I have conducted business with. I never fill them out with the main reason being the 5 and 7 minutes time requirement. It is just not that important to me.

But… if they were to send me a one minute survey I would be more likely to complete it. One hotel sent an email with two options. A one minute and five minute survey. Smart. I completed the former.

Surveys are useful things and reducing the survey to even one question ie. “would you refer us to your friends and family?” will more likely be completed than one with fifty questions. If they answer yes to that, you know you’ve done a great job. Adding a section of ‘additional comments’ is also useful.

Treating customers time as a priority will more likely get you the responses you are after

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Providing Options

October 30, 2014 8:37 am

If you send a quote or discuss a product with a potential buyer always present options. Options provide the choice of “which one should I take?” If there are no options it then becomes “should I take this or not?” Providing options for payment type, delivery dates, sizes and anything else that is relevant is invaluable and significantly increases the likelihood of gaining a new customer.

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Hitting Goals Through Weekly Standards

September 18, 2014 12:01 am

Having weekly standards creates momentum and progression toward our goals. Here are some examples:

Goal – lose 3 kg
Weekly standard – walk 150 min; chocolate on weekends ONLY

Goal – 4 quotes sent per week
Standard – make 5 calls per day

Goal – enquiries to increase by 10%
Standard – monthly newsletter, weekly blog, daily social media update and radio presence

Too often a goal is set without scheduling daily and weekly standards that will contribute toward the achievement of that goal. Schedule the standard activities and you will move toward your goals at a more rapid pace.

 

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Efficiency Tip #8

September 4, 2014 10:23 pm

Tips for increasing your daily efficiency:

  1. Use a diary – electronic or paper
  2. Plan tomorrow today
  3. Use a headset when on the phone and deal with what you can immediately. e.g. send the email you promised, the meeting invite, book the job in etc.
  4. Arrive to appointments 10 minutes early
  5. Discard the To Do list and schedule tasks directly into your diary
  6. Become outcomes driven not time driven. ie. if you set aside time for marketing, the outcomes might be to arrange two meetings for next week. Once achieved move onto the next thing
  7. Limit distractions.Turn your phone onto silent (or give to your assistant) and turn email alerts off while working on the important. Make callbacks and reply to emails at scheduled daily intervals
  8. Return calls within three hours and emails same day
  9. Learn to travel light without checked baggage
  10. Conduct stand up meetings when there are only a few quick things on the agenda
  11. When a meeting is near completion stand up and walk toward the door. The attendees will follow suit
  12. Work with a sense of urgency and speed
  13. Keep yourself rested and refreshed

 

 

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From The Ground Up

September 1, 2014 11:18 pm

Mowing a lawn that had not been cared for in a long time, I discovered under the semi green surface very dry and old grass. The exterior hiding that which lay underneath.

The business of life is like that.

Companies often grow to a point that while seemingly successful to the outsider, chaos, turf battles, financial mismanagement, unethical behaviours and the like lay hidden under the surface. Entrepreneurs with a lightening rise to wealth and fame occasionally come undone. National acclamation with personal failure
The apparently successful family man is found to have a dark private world, undoing what he has built over many years

When I care for a lawn, I will occasionally ‘cut the guts out of it’ – stripping it back to almost bare earth. Then, fertilisers, weed deterrents and water are applied as required. This promotes holistic growth.

Whether it is our business or personal worlds, promoting consistency and growth from the ground up is important if we are to endure for the long haul.

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Ascertaining Future Direction

August 28, 2014 3:35 am

Speaking with a hotel waitress recently she mentioned that between her and her husband they were running three businesses, she was also holding the position of a waitress and had two children. Another electrician I was speaking to said it this way – “some weeks I have a heart for what I do, other weeks I’m just not sure.” He was struggling to build his business.

Here are some keys for ascertaining the best way forward…

  • What really lights your fire? What do you love to do?
  • In what areas – skills and abilities do you excel at?
  • What have you been successful at in the past?
  • Who in the market place will need and pay for your services?
  • What do you need to stop doing?
  • What isn’t adding value to your life and to your clients?

If you get this simple alignment it will assist in driving you wholeheartedly into a future whereby you love what you do, provide exceptional value to others with the addition of getting paid well for that value

 

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Customer Needs Verses Pushing Product

August 4, 2014 10:37 pm

I visited a high end hi fi store on the weekend. The salesperson asked me what I was interested in which was simply something I could play CD’s on that gave excellent separation of instruments and vocals. For the ensuing 15 minutes I got a download of all his musical education and how wonderful the product was. The system rotated, I could mount the speakers on walls, the remote could make coffee (joking) –  all of which 1% related to why I went in there in the first place. He lost me and lost the sale.

Most buyers aren’t interested in how good you are or how good the product is, and ALL of them are interested in themselves.
“What are the benefits to me and will it meet my goals?”
If you listen intently to your customers needs, identify their wants and centre your discussion around them, you might in fact create a new customer in five minutes than have them walk out the door empty handed after fifteen.

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Front Of Mind or Out Of Mind

July 29, 2014 10:27 pm

I have long held the belief that those who, on a monthly basis, keep in touch with their key prospects and customers are in the top percentile of their industry. At a recent speaking engagement to 70 electricians I asked the question “how many of you keep in touch with your key prospects and customers at least monthly either by calling, monthly newsletter etc?” It was worse than my prediction. No hands went up.

So…if you keep in touch with your key customers and prospects at least once a month, not only will you be in the top one percent of those who do so, you will be the one they call when they need your services.
You want to be front of mind – not out of mind.

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Simple Change Process

July 20, 2014 10:43 pm

Simple process to dramatically cut waste and streamline for improved performance…

  • Measure current results; map relevant processes
  • Identify waste in processes
  • Set improvement goals
  • Create change strategy
  • Implement strategy
  • Manage changes
  • Rinse and repeat
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The Expected and Unexpected

July 14, 2014 7:27 am

I recently found some notes I had taken on a visit to The Castle Inn Hotel in Rhode Island – USA. Here are my notations…

  • Arrived – car door opened by concierge (expected)
  • Luggage carried to reception (expected)
  • Asked if I would like coffee while I waited for the room (unexpected)
  • Given a welcome pack that also included weather forecast for next 3 days (unexpected)
  • Personally shown to my room (unexpected)
  • Given a personal tour of my room and how to use appliances, fireplace etc. (unexpected)
  • Lunch – personal service, great food and wine (expected)
  • Made something to my liking that wasn’t on the menu (unexpected)
  • Arrived back to my room after dinner to find chocolates and a robe laid out on my bed (unexpected); Bed was prepared for sleeping (unexpected); Radio playing classical music with mood lighting set (unexpected); Weather forecast note also laid on my bed (unexpected)

What if all businesses took some time to provide the unexpected. I’d expect customers would keep coming back, just like I will return to the Castle Inn

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Leadership not Location

July 10, 2014 6:24 am

Success is about leadership not location. On one occasion, I consulted with two similar types of business in the same town on the same street. One was doing well, the other was not. Leadership was the key differentiator. While successful businesses are led by different behavioural and personality styles (e.g. some introverted, some extroverted), all leaders I’ve encountered generally exhibit the following traits:

  • Most are humble and teachable, yet determined. They are willing to be wrong but determined to get it right. They are humble enough to accept input from management, employees, consultants, accountants, mentors etc.
  • Visionary. They ‘see’ and create the future
  • Leaders not followers. They are the captain of the ship and everyone in the organisation knows it. They don’t fall prey to the whims and whines of customers and employees.
  • They recruit their weaknesses building strong teams around them. 
  • They hold people accountable for results
  • Display a strong sense of self belief
  • Exhibit a strong abundance mentality around future work, money, people etc

Successful companies are led by good leaders period. They do not blame the winds of change always looking within themselves rather than out. If you run a coffee shop ten miles out of town on a road that no one travels down then yes, location might be an issue but in the majority of cases, leadership not location is the success factor

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Efficiency tip #7

June 26, 2014 1:46 am

To increase employee efficiency ensure:
– each person knows exactly what’s expected of them
– that for each role/responsibility there is a related performance measure
– you meet with them regularly to review their progress
– they are in the right role according to their strengths
– a training track is created for them for both personal and technical development
– that they aren’t promoted outside of their core strengths
– you take an interest in them personally
Efficient personnel are a foundational asset to any efficient business or organisation

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Exceptional Service Doesn’t Just Happen

June 17, 2014 7:22 am

I was recently involved in giving an Exceptional Service award at the Dalby Chamber of Commerce. A great initiative of the chamber and one which is much needed in this day and age of very low service in many organisations. With the ongoing focus of outsourcing, streamlining, cost slashing and electronic automation, the whole area of customer service has taken a very low priority on the agenda of many businesses. What if ALL hotels attempted five star service and kept a record of our preferences; if tradesman showed up on time or called to advise they were running late; if large companies kept the customer in mind when considering outsourcing to different countries; if banks didn’t schedule their teller lunch breaks when a million others are on lunch and in long queues; if the receptionist was taught to smile when they answered the phone. Exceptional service starts with the intention of management. When customers feel and experience that they are the centre of your attention the organisation then grows by word of mouth reducing advertising costs. Exceptional Service doesn’t just happen.

Dalby COC

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When Bombs Go Off

June 11, 2014 4:00 am

Occasionally in life, bombs go off. These are events and circumstances that we have no control over. They come out of left field and often overnight. It might be the death of a loved one, litigation from one who has a personal vendetta against us, shift in the marketplace dramatically impacting cashflow, workplace injury, personal health issues etc. One business owner I’ve met with in recent days had a multi million dollar contract declined after it had been authorised. In his anticipation the owner had placed a photo of the new plane he was going to purchase on his wall. After the contract loss, in place of the plane the decline letter was posted.
We have power over many things but some are purely outside of our control. Here are some survival thoughts to help navigate your way through the valley of darkness that you might either be in currently or may enter in the future.

  • Act rather than react. Face your day with a plan; measured, focused
  • Get plenty of rest and eat well. Ongoing refreshment and replenishment is essential
  • When you do lose the plot (emotionally) take time out. Emotional reserves and clear thinking are the foundation which all other actions are built on in these times. Find something to lift your spirits. For some it’s the beach, others the mountains, others fixing things. Whatever it is do it
  • When cashflow is affected  slash costs, manage cashflow tightly, work out payment plans with creditors, call in all money owed to you. It is important to keep constant contact with creditors and making ongoing minimal payments where possible. If you can’t make a pre-planned payment call them to advise. Get the assistance of accountants, financial planners, debtor management specialists, consultants etc.
  • Ask “what is the worst that can happen?”
  • Ensure you don’t go it alone. Entrust yourself very honestly to people who believe in you
  • Get professional help if you are not coping
  • Go easy on yourself. Beating yourself up won’t help anyone
  • Wherever possible push forward. As Mark Thompson, senior coach of Essendon Football club said “you don’t win games by stopping goals.”

Often these events create a marathon like journey not a quick sprint. For some a month others years. The carnage of bombs going off can be substantial so the intentional lifting of the head to face the storm full on is the best way to tackle it. Easy to say, hard to do as I personally have experienced my share of left field events. Healthy emotional reserves, supportive people, locking in the mind and attitudes with daily actions that contribute to resolving things are the basic ingredients to making it through.

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Efficiency Tip #6

May 25, 2014 6:22 am

Don’t put it down, put it away is what I used to tell my children. For adults it’s no different.
Create a place for everything and then when home or at the office, that’s where it goes.
Deal with each piece of paper whenever possible at the ‘touch time’.
Have a throw out every 30 days.
De-clutter. Re-organise. Simplify.
You will find your headpsace and corresponding efficiency in all life areas will increase significantly

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The Good and the Bad of BMW Selling Techniques

May 15, 2014 11:41 pm

Over the last number of years I have encountered sales staff from BMW that has left me thinking that the societal ill feelings toward the current day car salesperson was justified – pushy, disinterested if they perceived you didn’t look the part, all about their commission and so on.
Having an early morning wander through one of their Brisbane car yards Paul Maddern (sales consultant) approached me. These were the things that impressed me about his sales approach that might be of help when you or your staff are talking to potential customers in your business:
  • his body language and vocal tone matched mine
  • his sales approach was in sync with my needs and wants, not the standard lineal approach encountered with other high pressure types
  • relaxed
  • interested in ME
  • didn’t try to sell me
  • when I told him I wasn’t ready to buy today he didn’t switch off, walk to the next customer, show disappointment or attempt to drag me over the line
  • didn’t hold back on fully answering my questions giving me quality information and value
  • relationship was more important than an immediate sale
All this built instant rapport making me trust him instantly. Subsequently he was the first car sales person from memory I have ever requested a business card from .
Given that BMW is my favourite vehicle, Paul will do very well from me over the coming years as well as the referrals (one immediate) I send his way. BMW would also do well from insisting that all their sales people emulate his approach.
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If You Say It, Do It

May 11, 2014 7:05 pm

Last month I spent an overnighter in a local private hospital after having some leg surgery. The hospital boasted the following tagline:

‘first class treatment, world class results’

Reading this upon admittance I mistakenly thought they meant it. Here are a few second class experiences:

  • no one cleaned up the wrappers, papers, rubbish in my room for the duration of my stay
  • requesting something sweet with my (instant) coffee  I received pre-packaged one star motel biscuits in a plastic wrapper
  • asking for an additional pillow the nurse was clearly frustrated with the request and told us how busy she was
  • A ten minute wait after my shower for the nursing staff to attend after buzzing them numerous times (the buzzer not having been placed adequately within reach nor working properly)
  • And the worst….being left on my own to shower (after the op) with no one checking on me

In my thinking this doesn’t reflect their tagline. One might think I am a fussy customer but given the nature of their ‘first class’ promise (for that is what the customer takes it as) and the fact that one feels quite useless and vulnerable with the after affects of anaesthetic I think my grievance is justified.

Companies and organisations spend millions of dollars on re-brands with pretty logos and clever taglines. All are absolutely useless if at ground level, service is hit and miss and they don’t do what they say they will do.

If you make promises – deliver on them
If you give deadlines – keep them (or communicate changes)
If you’re running late – call them
If you use a tagline – live it
If you say it, do it. Its that simple

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Efficiency Tip #5

May 5, 2014 3:22 am

Keep your desk clean, having only that which relates to the thing you are working on in the moment. Establish a filing system for the easy retrieval of highest accessed documents and files. A tidy desk and ordered office space provides greater clarity of thought and significantly increased productivity.

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Increasing closure ratios of quotes and proposals

April 27, 2014 6:09 am

Thoughts on Increasing closure ratios of quotes and proposals:

  • Filter requests for quotes upfront. If it doesn’t fit your ideal client, sweet spot etc, deal with it immediately
  • Strength of relationship and referrals generally win over price
  • Buyers buy based on:
    – what they perceive to be value
    – needs and wants
    – emotive drivers
  • Slowing down the buying process in the initial stages often will give significant sales increases
  • Learn from your history. Keep records. Review to see what worked, what didn’t work and keep refining
  • Tweak your proposal/quote presentations. Keep trying small shifts and analyse the results
  • KPI’s and performance enhancement  should be based on sales from quotes rather than number of quotes. Better 10 quotes sent with 8 sales than 100 quotes sent with 8 sales
  • Tailor make the proposal around your buyer, not around your product or service
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Efficiency tip #4

April 22, 2014 12:28 am

Work on responding to all email within 24 hours.
Return phone calls within 3 hours where possible.
When providing a quote, advise when they will receive it.
Our current culture expects speed efficiency, undertakings to be kept with constant communication. Rapid turnaround times create increased business.

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When Operations Impede Progress

March 27, 2014 4:41 am

Taking the daily operational hat off to focus on the future can be a challenge for the most
adept business owner or manager. The day to day running of our businesses and
organisations often demand our all, leaving little energy and focus for anything else. We tend
to get caught up at ground level, fighting fires, dealing with staff issues and meeting budgetary shortfalls. Our minds are on making today happen, often neglecting the future planning and strategic progress that is so essential for success. When this is our ‘normal’, the ideal future gets delayed. The switch of hats, from operations to strategy needs to be a planned activity as more often than not, does not occur on its own.

A study in recent years concerning the disciplines of Australia’s leading CEO’s revealed that of the top three practices, the scheduling of time out for weekly review and reflection along with planning the future were paramount to their success. We would do well to practice the same. Being able to jump off at regular intervals the business or organisational boat we are sailing on; to sit on the sand and stare out at the horizon – thinking, planning, reflecting, will help us when jumping back onto the boat in operational mode. Time out and spent in this manner will enable us to take the ship more directly to its destination. These are some areas to centre on when taking practising this discipline:
– Review of the progress and results in recent days and weeks – the good the bad the ugly
– Key issues requiring immediate attention
– Activities that are irrelevant to the current journey and need to be stopped
– What were the successes and how can we further build on them?
– Where are we sailing to? What is our destination? Are we on track as far as the milestones previously established?

Taking time out to Review, Reflect and Plan is essential for managers and owners if they are to effectively lead and manage a growing organisation.

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Efficiency Tip #3

March 9, 2014 10:57 pm

When suggesting a meeting via email or voicemail, best to give 2 or 3 definite options upfront. e.g. How would 2pm Wed or 5pm Thurs work? The initial clarity saves the unwarranted and inefficient back and forth

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Improving Inputs Increases Outputs

March 5, 2014 6:03 am

Even the best run businesses have degrees of inefficiencies. The need to continually be alert for areas on the slide is essential to keep your business in top condition and performing at its best. Elite athletes are aware that inputs determine outputs. What they put in they get back. And just as they constantly monitor both their external performance and internal inputs, the elite business does exactly the same.

Many businesses expect increased results but neglect the process of identifying and correcting what goes into creating that increase.

Beginning the improvement process is often the hardest part. The starting point is to identify the two or three areas that need the most attention and then start with those. Be mindful that often low outputs in different areas can be the result of one cause. For example, one persons inefficiency (input) could be causing output issues in administration, error rates, invoicing delays and the like.

Look for the one thing that will change the many.

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Transactional verses Relational Selling

February 16, 2014 11:48 pm

I was having lunch with a client I had completed a project for and he told me of a company that had come to discuss their services with him. The word ‘bludgeon’ came to mind. The sales person was all about getting the sale NOW. Wasn’t interested in establishing a relationship with my client but was all about the transaction. This form of selling while it still works (people buying out of fear and pressure) is the least effective sales approach. The strategy has been around for decades and those in sales should recognise it should be buried in decades past. Here is the best approach by far for selling in the current times:

1. Establish a relationship with the person. Build rapport and gain trust
2. Gain mutual consensus on moving forward together providing options so THEY can choose
3. Ensure your product or service is right for THEM, not just of benefit to you
4. Walk away if point 3 isn’t met and refer them to someone or another product that is better suited
5. Stay in touch. This is called relationship. They might not be ready now but they might be in 12 months time.

Transactional selling is about now. Relational selling is about now and the future. A sales pipeline reflects people at different stages in their buying process and timing. If you are all about today then there is effectively no pipeline.

High pressure, bludgeoning, transactional selling is all about the seller not the buyer. There is no care, no concern, no recognition that people matter. Establish a relationship and you’ll establish a successful future with the added bonus that people will be calling YOU because they’ve heard that you are the best.

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Efficiency Tip #2

February 10, 2014 10:06 am

Batching similar tasks into one block of time will save you hours. Examples:
• opening mail and paying bills
• quoting
• returning calls and emails
• talking with staff
When you practice this with your phone and email alerts off, limiting distractions all round, your efficiency will dramatically increase

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Look For The Cause

January 30, 2014 4:45 am

Don’t get caught up in the problem, look for its origin. Whether cashflow issues, errors, delays, complaints etc, keep asking the question “what is the cause?”. Once isolated then correct it. And, often the correction of the one root cause will fix multiple surface problems.

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The Eagle

January 1, 2014 11:53 pm

Watching a flock of birds flying together, I noticed in the distance an eagle flying solo. The flock were doing what all flocks do – flapping their wings to maintain their togetherness and to continue on their merry way to their group destination. The eagle on the other hand seemed content in his solo existence. Effortlessly appearing to chart his own course. I picture him celebrating his differentness.

When it comes to our businesses and vocations, I observe that most are in the flock. They jump on the same bandwagons, do what everyone else is doing and fall prey to the latest fads and self help/business theories. You only have to read the daily posts on Facebook to see this play out. It’s convenient, safe and demands little thinking or self belief. Do what the other birds are doing, go where they are leading and we’ll be OK.

Being an eagle.takes courage. An eagle simply acts according to its being. It knows itself. It trusts its faculties. No flapping – just soaring. No ‘pack security’ – happy to chart its own course. Does what it was born to do.

As the new year gets under way, understanding YOURSELF in the context of your business or vocation is foundational. Do you love what you do and are you good at it? If not, be an eagle and change – leave the pack. If you do, ask “what makes me/my business significantly different to the flock?” Then ACT according to your ‘being’. You will see greater reward and experience less flapping.

Oh, and when the flock questions you, tells you it can’t be done, to seek something safer or de-friend you, you’ll know you are in the eagle category. It’s not safe but its definitely the way to fly.

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