Category Archives: Sales and marketing

7 Steps to Becoming a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

successful-businessThis past weekend, I attended a personal development training led by a husband and wife team of multi-millionaires with multiple business assets constantly throwing off cash on their behalf.

I listened intently to what they had to share. One of their tips was to ‘release the breaks’. The supposition being that we’re actually doing things (or not doing things) that keeps the breaks on our business engaged.

I gleaned 7 steps from their talk on how to become a highly successful entrepreneur. Add these to your strategic planning and implementation activities and you’ll raise the revenue and profitability levels in your enterprise, even if it’s in its infancy. In fact, the sooner you apply these principles, the more easily you’ll reach your goals.

1. Zoom out
Take time to imagine the long-term vision of your company and your life. Really get in touch with your purpose on this planet and the impact you want to have. Think big. Think bigger than you think is possible. It’s hard to see all of your potential grandeur when you’re not yet there, but work at it and let your perspective expand to the greatest possible heights.

2. Zoom in
Once you’ve gotten clear about the big, bright future, reel yourself back to the present and identify what tiny (or not so tiny) steps you can take TODAY to start down the path toward your destination.

3. Organize
Identify the activities that seem to be generating the best results. Clarify which ones are working. Simplify your processes in order to minimize wasted efforts, resources and time.  Unclutter your life and business.  Focus on what matters most. Focus on what works the best.

Get rid of everything else that could distract you from reaching your goal

4. Actualize
Keep taking productive, consistent action. Keep moving forward. Things may not always turn out the way you expect. Learn along the way. Adjust and keep taking action

5. Monetize
Keep looking for revenue streams. Perhaps there are new markets to be tapped. New ways to deliver the products/services you already have. Partner with others to gain access to new prospects.

6. Can it and clone it
Once you have a business model that works, document it. Identify the processes (think McDonald’s). Keep them simple so it can be replicated. Replicate it.

7. Increase your reach
Visibility is critical for success. Look for ways to get in front of your ideal clients. Get referrals, advertise where they hang out, speak to them (individually or in groups) to demonstrate your expertise and value. Use marketing tools to carry the message farther.  Get your product or service sean, heard and read about by as many people as possible.

Follow up with them. You’ve probably heard this advice before but are you doing it? The fortune is in the follow up. Follow up!

Implement these 7 steps and watch your business soar.

The Difference between Sales Process & Sales Tactics

SalesProcessMany people don’t understand the distinctions between strategy, process and tactics.

A strategy is an overall plan to achieve specific, generally long-term, goals. It’s an approach, a broad, general roadmap, a way to go about doing business.  A strategy defines how an organization intends to get from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future, perhaps three to five years out.  Pursuing Whales to grow revenue is a strategy.  Going global is a strategy. Penetrating a specific industry is a strategy. Increasing visibility to raise awareness about a product or service is a strategy. A strategy may include time frames but typically they are ‘end point’ dates.

A sales process is repeatable plan.  It outlines milestones involved in bringing on new clients, moving the prospects from “Stranger” to “Raving Fan”, for example.  It defines what is needed along the way to move from one point to the next. A sales process will also help you determine how likely you are to close a particular deal. It is in some regards, independent of the people who implement it.  Obviously people are involved in the process but if it is laid out well, it mitigates the reliance on a Rock Star salesperson.  A primary principle of  Whale Hunting: Land Big Deals, Transform Your Company states, “Success is 90% process and 10% magic”.  Once proven, people can be taught to implement the sales process.

The steps in a sample sales process might be as follows:

  1. Qualify
  2. 1st meeting
  3. Proof
  4. 2nd meeting
  5. Proposal
  6. Close
  7. Intake

Sales tactics, on the other hand are day-to-day activities individual team members execute in service of the strategy that has been laid out.  Tactics outline what will be done.  They are measurable and can be assigned to specific individuals. They are observable and trackable.  A tactical plan (made up of a series of tactics) may cover a time frame of six to 18 months.

Let’s say a company decides to implement pursuing large firms as a strategy to achieve aggressive revenue growth targets.  The company will likely have already set specific revenue targets and due dates.  Here are some sample tactics for the various roles in the firm

  • CEO: Schedule an in-house workshop to introduce Whale Hunting to the entire company
  • Sales Specialist/Assistant: Spend an hour a day researching and compiling dossiers on selected Whales
  • Sales Manager: Recommend three whales to approach to CEO
  • Salesperson: Contact a key decision maker at the prospective whale to schedule an initial meeting within 5 days of receiving a completed dossier
  • Subject Matter Expert: Make a list of Good-to-Great questions for an upcoming meeting with a prospective whale

Defining and communicating a strategy throughout an organization helps align the staff and focus its attention on what’s important. Tactics help people find their place in and get engaged with the strategy. Tactics give staff personal accountability, ‘skin in the game’, that can be measured and rewarded.

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The 4 Seeds of Selling & Influence

I am a lifelong learner. I’m always interested in expanding my thinking and my knowledge base. Recently, I attended a training and picked up some great nuggets on how to best connect with and influence people.

Whether you’re a corporate executive, a business owner, consultant, entry level employee, mother, spouse, neighbor or other ‘character’, you will benefit from being skilled at influencing others in an ethical manner. Being able to make it easy for people to understand your point of view will allow you to create more meaningful, productive and even profitable relationships in life.

These four ideas are simple, yet truly effective if implemented with the right (read ethical) spirit.

1. Less is best
Have you ever been bombarded by a pushy sales person who talked and talked and talked until you found yourself not even listening to them? Have you ever been guilty of that yourself? Talking too much will bore people. It will likely alienate people. It will shut them down and shut down the possibility of your idea as well. Focus on the points that are most relevant to the person with whom you are speaking.

2. Create interaction
This tip is closely aligned with the previous one. The more you can get your prospect, boss, spouse engaged in the conversation, the more they will feel like they’re a vital part of the process. Additionally, the more they talk, the more you learn. And the more you know, the better you’ll be able to appeal to ther needs.

3. Laughter leads to listening
When people are having fun, they pay more attention. Their minds are more open to what you’re proposing. They feel happier in general and more positive about you and your ideas. Sometimes the topic may not seem to warrant having fun, but if there is anything you can say that might put a smile on their face, do it. Smiling will relax and open their heart and their mind will follow.

4. Selling is not telling
Genius selling is asking. I once heard a multimillionaire business owner say that her goal is to ask so many of the right questions, that her prospects convince themselves they need to work with her.  Skillful questions capture the attention of your potential partner. They create interaction and supply you with valuable insight.

And here’s a magical concept…when you get people agreeing with you throughout the conversation, when it comes time to make your ‘pitch’ and ‘close’ them, they’re already predisposed because they’ve felt like they were in agreement with you all along!

People love to buy. They hate being sold.

So next time you have an idea, concept, project, service you’re striving to enroll someone in, remember…and implement these simple ideas.

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How to Network to Improve Your Networth

Networking is a great business-building practice.

The problem is that many people confuse networking with prospecting.

Prospecting is an activity you do when you’re looking for leads and customers or clients. You tend to have sales conversations with them.

This is very off-putting at a networking event. Most people there aren’t looking to buy anything on the spot and sales conversations are just plain annoying in those venues.

Here are my three best tips for profitable networking:

1)      Be helpful.

Find out what people need and offer solutions, tips, advice, resources. It’s best not to try to engage them in a sales conversation on the spot even if you’re a good resource for them. If you think they are truly a hot lead who is interested in what  you do, ask them if it’s ok for you to connect after the event. Then schedule a sales meeting with them later.

2)      Be a connector.

Introduce people to each other that might not know each other but should. They will appreciate you for being selfless and interested in their needs.

3)      Act like you’re the host/ess.

Some people avoid networking because they are shy and hate meeting and talking with strangers. When you put on your ‘host’ hat, you’ll feel more confident. You’ll be free to approach other people who look uncomfortable and engage them in conversation.  As the hostess, you’ll always be on the lookout for someone who needs to be included. So don’t stay in conversation with one person the entire night. Reach out to as many people as possible with the intent to have them feel more welcome and comfortable.

Do these simple tips and you’ll feel like a champ and other people will enjoy networking with you.

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7 Factors for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Growth

I’ve been working with several private clients on building their businesses more effectively.

One of the things they applaud is how must more productive their activities have become. They cite things like having a plan, being held accountable for implementing that plan and improving the quality of their marketing message as critical components of their success.

These aren’t rocket science concepts, yet in the day-to-day chaos that sometimes consumes them, plans and good intentions fly out the window.

What is it that has some business owners increase their businesses while other struggle?

I’ve uncovered 7 critical components.

1. Establish short-term and long-term goals
I wrote about the value of goal setting a few weeks ago (Read the article). Goals for both time frames are critical. Goals give you something to work toward and also make the path to get on more clear.

2. Assess
How prepared are you to do the work required to get to your end goal? Do you have what you need or do you need to learn something, hire a consultant, reorganize work duties? Maybe you have to shift your thinking, expand your sense of possibility. Adopt a more empowering belief system that says “I can do that!”

3. Identify stumbling blocks
There are reasons you haven’t yet reached your goal. The assessment phase may have brought to light tools and resources you need but don’t have.  If you keep saying, “If only I had “x then I could market my company better”, it’s time to get off the dime and take care of that. It’s costing you money!

4. Lay out your roadmap
Once you know where you’re going and what you need to get there, you can start laying out the steps it will take and the milestones you’ll  have to reach along the way. Knowing the intermediate steps will make the realization of your goal more feasible, certain even.

5. Be proactive
All the best laid plans will produce naught if you don’t get off your duff and do something different. You can’t expect to continue with your old, comfortable habits and expect that magically they’ll turn into more clients and more profits.

When people hear about how painfully shy I was as a child, they always ask ‘What did you do to get over that?’ First came the realization that I could not accomplish what was in my heart and mind being a wallflower. Then came decisions to put myself in front of people, speaking to groups (which petrified me at the time) and to continue doing that until it became a now favorite activity.

6. Track your progress
This is an important step that most people don’t bother with. They may make to-do lists and cross things off, but it’s hard to track your productivity over time by just reviewing crossed off lists. You can’t see trends of things you’re doing well and things you’re consistently avoiding. Plus tracking your activity makes you WAY more conscious of and accountable for what you’re getting done.

7. Get support and master your psychology
No matter how driven you are, having someone or some ones in your corner, watching your back, giving you honest feedback, encouraging you when you’re down, brainstorming with you and opening your eyes to new possibilities while pushing you to think bigger, will go a long way to you reaching new horizons, more clients, happier clients and more money in the bank.

Implement these 7 factors and watch your business grow!

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