Setting Sales Targets and Objectives

Too often people scoff at the idea of sales targets. They claim that it makes no difference whether they have a target or not. This is no way to run a business.

Every business owner, irrespective of the business you have, needs targets. You probably need targets in different areas of this business like Sales, Wage Costs, Operating Costs, Energy Usage, Wastage etc.

They do not take long to set in place and they can be invaluable in the following areas:

  1. They enable focused conversations to be held with the team
  2. The facilitate discussion on improvement and change
  3. The enable standards to be raised because they give you a reason to improve standards
  4. They enable your business to grow.
  5. They will put more money in your pocket
  6. They can put more money in your team member’s pockets

There are numerous ways to set targets as follows:

  1. Decide what turnover and profit that your business will have in the year, establish any seasonality that you may have in the business and then break down the target into weekly and monthly numbers. This exercise on its own is very worth while because it will get you to ask:
    1. Do I have the resources that I need to achieve this
    2. Do I have the skills required to achieve this
    3. What specifically do I need to change in order to achieve this.
  2. Share the Targets with the team and assign any targets to them specifically
  3. Design a solid reporting system visible to all in the business – how are you doing on a weekly and monthly basis. This is important and you need someone who will do this work diligently on a weekly basis.
  4. Have a weekly/monthly reporting system that will enable people to be held accountable, that will enable corrective actions to be take, to learn lessons and take different actions.

If you need help setting targets and improving communication with the team – get in touch – 087 222 0720


Why goal setting on its own does not work…

Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the past 15 years, you start to see patterns emerge. Patterns connected to success, achievement, struggles & failure.

We work with clients on creating plans for their business, setting goals and objectives. We work with them on ensuring that their teams also have goals and objectives.

We then help them implement strategies that should deliver on these goals and objectives, testing and measuring as we go.

Many are very successful but some fail to get off the ground at all. And we wonder why and look for a pattern.

The most common pattern that I see emerging is that the people who succeed place a greater meaning on the success, it means something to them, they can visualise it and see it. For the less successful ones, the goals and objectives are set because that’s what they are supposed to do.

Don’t get me wrong – they do want to achieve but they have not connected what that really means to them and what it will help them achieve.

People blame lack of discipline for not achieving their goals.

Its more likely “not having a big enough reason to achieve”

When you are planning your 2017, make sure that every goal is accompanied by a big enough reason for you, that will mean something for for you and your family.

So, dont give up on the plan, the goals or the objective – spend more time establishing the reason why you want it in the first place.

If you need any help – call me.



Marketing for Tradespeople

Setting out your stall… Why would someone buy from you?

If I ever hear that someone lost to a competitor based on price, I think there is more to the story. People rarely lose on price alone.
That’s where marketing comes in. Most people think that marketing is all about generating the lead or enquiry. They think it is all about advertising and promotion.

contractorAdvertising and promotion does form part of marketing but its where marketing starts – there is so much more. Marketing your business correctly (and living up to your marketing promise) will help you make more profit and have a better business. You will have happier customers and you will not have to spend as much on Marketing. It’s the opposite of a vicious circle.

If someone has connected you for a price or a quote on a job, there is a high probability that they will also Google you. They will look at your website but they will also look for reviews of your business based on independent feedback. Also remember that they are looking for the horror story more than they are looking for the good news story. We all know how popular TripAdvisor is for people looking for accommodation. The same exists for your business.

Does your website reflect the business you do today. Does your business reflect current information. If not, then you need to work on this.

What do the reviews say? If negative, can you rectify, respond or defend? If not then you need to work on getting more and more recent positive ones.

When you do submit a quote or a proposal – what do they say about you and your business. Is it all about the price or have you taken the time to turn the quote into a proper action plan for that customer? This does require some additional effort on your place but if the average value of what you are proposing is him then surely this is worth the effort. This is also marketing and you can use it to link them to positive things and people.

When you do issue a quote or proposal, who good are you at following up and helping people to buy. This again requires a system and routine. This again is marketing because clients are judging you and they are becoming emotionally connected to you.

If you lose on price and this is the only reason given, there has been limited connection and your marketing probably does not work too well.

If you want to review how you currently market and win business, get in touch with me today.


How to differentiate yourself in a market where price seems to be the only thing.

Firstly, price is never the only thing. If you think that it is, you will always be challenged to make money in your business because you are focussing on a single factor, when in fact there are many more. In fact, that you have great control over. Let’s look at how you can differentiate:


1. Understand all the factors in play with your customer. Yes, price is important and it always will be but there are other factors as well:

    a. Your reputation versus your competitors – what do you always do that your competitors do not. Could be seen as a positive by your customer. Do they know that you do this? How much would this be worth to the customer if they did know.
    b. Your experience – maybe you are a better problem solver than your competitor. The more complex the job, the more important that this becomes. However, for your customer, they may be purchasing your service for the first time. They may be completely unaware of the challenges faced in setting up your product or service and they may be equally unaware of the consequences of these if left unresolved.
    c. Your team – not everyone has a team of people capable of doing the work. How would you rate your team? This can even include sub-contractors. If you regard them highly, then you need to be able educate your customer on the value of same.
    d. Your ability to differentiate. Yes, you know why you are better, why you are different, why it should not be always on price. Wht does the customer not know? Because they may have not purchased your service before. Its up to you to educate them. How well do you do this.

2. Understand that you have a role to play in helping someone to buy your product or service:

    a. What does your website say about your product or service?
    b. How well does your quote stack up? Did you put enough time and energy into its preparation?
    c. How well did you present your quotation to the customer?
    d. How well did you follow up.
    e. Would the customer have been impressed with every aspect of your preparation, right from the first email, phone conversation, right up to when the decision was made.
    f. If you did lose the business, how difficult was it for the customer to take it from you?


Business Tips for Trades Business

I have been working with people who have trade businesses for the past 15 years. From blocklayers, electrical contractors, plumbers, windows and doors professionals, civil works and building contractors. While each business is different in its own way, there are many similarities.

Here are some pieces of advice that apply to them all.

        1. Whatever stage your business is at, you should be generating more than 50% of your business from referral or repeat business. This reduces your advertising costs but it should also be a reflection of the fact that you deliver a good service and people are happy to recommend you.
        2. Most trades businesses rely on new business each week and month.If that’s the case with your business, then you need to get good at marketing and selling your business. In most cases all trades businesses are under pressure to win business based on the lowest tendered cost. This is fine if you are still making your target margins but very often trades businesses are working to keep people in jobs and keep the bills paid – this is not a good strategy. There is more to selling than just price.

3. All trades business rely heavily on the skills and abilities of the team. However, not every trades business owner has experience in hiring developing and retaining the right people. Equally, they are even less skilled at removing dead wood from their business. If your business relies on your team, you need to develop your leadership skills.

        4. Knowing your costs in your trades business is critical to your success. Running a lean business allows you to win business and make a margin. The key to running a business in a lean manner is systems and most have very few. Its just now how the business is run but you need them to grow. Implementing systems is easy but not always straightforward.
        5. Understand what business you are in. In most instances you are the problem solver. Your skills and abilities have a value. Most people sourcing your services do not understand what you do so they negotiate on price. Its your jobs to do some education.

Over the next few weeks, I will be issuing a series of documents on running your trade business.


The 5 Ways to Maximise the Profits in your business…

At ActionCOACH, we have used the same chassis of business for over 25 years. That’s because it worked then and it works now. And more importantly, it works with any business, anywhere in the world.

More worrying is the lack of understanding by business owners about how a business should maximise its profits.

Most people think that of you want to increase turnover and profits you simply increase your marketing and sales activity.


Many people assume that the secret to more profits is working harder and longer hours.
These are popular mis-conceptions. Don’t get caught up in the same.
If we take the formula:

Lead Generation

XConversion Rate
= Customers
X Average Spend
X Number of Transaction
= Turnover
X Margin
= Profit

I have highlighted Lead Generation because its probably the area we know least about and it’s the area that is likely to cost the most money and probably deliver the lowest profit return.

Its also the one area that is external to the business and the one where you can least control the result.
What if you focused your efforts and money on things that you could control. What if you focused on Conversion rate and improved the way that you sold to your clients.

What if you implemented systems where your existing clients bought more off you – They will if you do it right.

What if you actually used your database to stay in touch with your existing clients – they may buy more from you.

What if you addressed your margins and attempted to run the business in a more cost effective way – Do you think it would make a difference?

The numbers are staggering and when we apply them to business owners in Ireland, they are staggered by the potential that exists in their business.


What to do when you have too much to do…?

As a business owner, it is very easy to get caught up in trying to do everything in your business. You do this for a number of reasons:

image11. You believe that if you do not do the task it will not get done.

2. If you do not do the task, it will not be completed correctly.

3. If you do not do the task, it will not be done fast enough.

4. You could not possibly ask a member of the team to do this particular task.

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There is a saying that

“if the dog chases 2 rabbits, he catches none”.

This can be applied to the behaviours of many business owners and managers.

To alleviate the requirement on you to do all the tasks in your business, we work with you to ensure that:

1. Most tasks can be systemised and therefore delegated

2. A better system of accountability can be introduced so that people can be held accountable for the tasks.

3. A better system of reporting can be put in place so that we know when things are completed properly.

4. You have confidence that you do not need to complete all the tasks.

Your primary responsibility in the business is to lead the team and enable the business to grow. There is no point paying your team if you are not in a position to delegate more to them.

You can only carry one or 2 people but you can lead thousands.

Contact me today to discuss on 087 222 0720

Not everyone can make a sale, but everyone can lose one

How many times have you heard a team member say that they have nothing to do with sales? How many times have you heard people say that they are not sales people?

If you own or run a small business, you will be only too aware of the importance of every

Couple buying car at dealership and negotiating price with salesman

sale to your business. You will be equally aware of the importance of holding on to each customer and nurturing more business from them.

Because every business depends on their customers to repeat, it is highly likely that more people than the sales person will deal with the customer throughout the relationship and therefore, they too become responsible for ongoing sales success.

We all know that repeat business is more profitable than new business.

So why then do we allow team members to deal with customers? Especially when these same team members do not understand the importance of excellent customer relations and excellent service, when they do not understand that an adverse interaction with a customer can cost the business money. And its not just the money in that transaction, but the future money that your business could have earned from this same customer.

Winning new customers can be difficult, keeping them does not need to be at all.

The key to the continued success of your business is the education of your team on the importance of consistent, professional, common sense service with good commercial acumen.

This can be taught and it can be measured. This is your responsibility. This is where we work with clients on a daily basis and we can do this in your business as well.

If you are keen to grow your business profits by double digits in 2016, we probably need to schedule a call. Email me today to schedule a call.


Find more bottom line profit in your business

As a business owner, it is important to keep focused on building a profitable company (with integrity). Sometimes profit can seem elusive, and even when you do make a profit, it can be hard to see the money anywhere.

Some quick ways to improve profits and find the money:

  1. Review all purchasing agreements and look for overcharges on carriage, deals not adhered to.
  2. Review your margins – sometimes when we negotiate better deals with suppliers, the only one that benefits is the customer – Great that they can benefit, but you can too. Sometimes having formulas to work out your margins can be a bad thing.
  3. Return stock to suppliers where ever possible – If it is not selling, time to move it on and cash in.
  4. Look at all expenditure on Not For Resale items – can you make savings. Remember that every euro you save here goes straight to the bottom line.
  5. Know your numbers. Every business has metrics that they can compare, i.e Gross Profits, Wages to Turnover, Marketing Spend etc. If yours are out of whack, its costing you money. Why do you allow it.
  6. Add on sales – customers will buy more from you if they are aware that you supply it. Don’t assume that they know. Not every suggestion for an additional sale will work, but the more relevant they are, the better. i.e if you sell tyres, would you not automatically recommend wheel alignment. Of course you would. Non aligned wheels will destroy new tyres.

As a business owner, it is not ok just to accept what happens – You can affect your business positively every day.

Call me if you would like to find extra profit in your business. 087 222 0720

You are not the boss of me!

Small businesses with flat structures often suffer from this phenomenon. As a business gets bigger, it is impossible for one person to mange the entire team, nor is is feasible to introduce too may layers into the business.

When one person may be involved in multiple functions of a business, they may sometimes be required to ask or give an order to a fellow team member. This is often met with resistance in the cry of “You are not the boss of me, I only report to the owner”

And trouble ensues

And as the business owner, this is your problem

So how to address it?

Firstly, this is a common problem and it is also one that can be fixed by improving the communication within a business.

  • All employees must be clear about the direction of the business
  • All employees must be clear about their role within the business
  • All employees must be clear about the different inter-department relationships that may exist in any small company
  • All employees must understand that just because they are asked to perform a task by someone other than their line manager, that the other person is any different to them or superior to them.
  • All employees must be conscious of and open to the idea that they may be required to deviate from the norm at some point during their day or week.

Being flexible as an employee makes for a valuable employee because they understand that as part of the team, they may have to do something that they may not normally do.

Your job as owner or manager is to ingrain this culture into your daily and weekly function. This is best use of your time, rather than fire fighting and dealing with daily and weekly cat fights.

This is underpinned with a good employee handbook, a clear job description for all and a HR system that works.

If you would like to discuss your company structure, give me a call today on 087 222 0720