Train your team in sales – It pays off

Have you ever considered the cost of missed sales opportunities to your business? Now add to this the cost of advertising for all those prospects that you did not convert. Now multiply this by the number of years you are in business. How much opportunity have you and your team missed.

We call this your conversion rate. Very simply, out of every 100 prospects, browsers, quotes issued – how many do you turn into customers of your business.

Whatever the number is, there is an opportunity to improve and increase it and thereby increasing your turnover and profit. In many cases this can be done without even spending one cent.

Here are a few suggestions on how to improve your conversion rate:

1. Measure your conversion rate. believe it or not, simply measuring will make you and your team more attentive and your sales figures will increase. Measurement can be done in a number of ways depending on what business you are in but remember this – everything is measurable and no excuse is acceptable.

2. Write sales scripts – Again a very simple way to improve your sales. Write out what you would like your team to say and get some consistency in their approach to customers. Some words used in sales are a turn off for customers, some motivate them to buy. Identify the ones that work and dont work and encourage all your team to follow suit.

3. Role play – either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, carry out role play training with your team and get others to listen and observe. OK its all staged but it gets people thinking and it takes them outside their comfort zone – they will sell more out their comfort zone.

It is also a good idea to record role plays and replay them for team members. They will learn from them and their sales will improve.

4. Provide feedback for the team. No sales person or customer service person worth their salt will like to see customers leave without buying. As part of the process, make it acceptable to give constructive feedback on anyone’s sales techniques. With their permission, you can listen, observe and give feedback to them and their sales will improve.

5. Challenge beliefs – people lover to buy but they hate to be sold to. What are you and your team doing? Selling or professionally helping people to buy. There is a huge difference and when you and your team start to see what their role really is, their attitude and approach to customers will change and your conversion rate will improve as well.

Need a conversion rate improvement? Get in touch today…

Team Rule 1. Hire good staff and keep good staff

In business, your team will be one of the biggest factors in determining your success. They are your responsibility.

To hire good team member it is important to take the following steps:

  1. Decide in advance what the role and duties would be
  2. Decide on the type of person you need, skills, attitude, beliefs, values, ambition etc
  3. Devise a list of questions for the interview that will help determine these.
  4. Get other peoples opinion on the person before you hire – the oerson who met them at reception, your fellow interviewers, fellow team members. Give them all questions to ask
  5. Always check references and do background checks

Most skills can be taught, attitude, beliefs and values take more time. Are you prepared to invest the time.

To keep and develop good team members you need to focus on the following:

  • Be the best leader you can be for your organisation. Learn as much as you can about leadership in small organisations and try to understand how effective leadership could help your team.
  • Have a common purpose or goal and communicate this to the team – make sure that every team member know where the business is headed and make sure that each team member knows how they can affect the success of the business. Remember if you allow for mediocrity that’s what you deserve in your business results.
  • Have an action plan – make sure that all your team are aware of the things you are doing every week on the business and make sure there are actions for them to complete as well within agreed timescales.
  • Have some rules – We like to call it a culture statement – what are the generalised principles that every team members understands and adheres to.
  • Support risk taking within the team. If the team members are working towards the common goals, on the action plan and within the rules of the business, then decisions that they make and risks that the take have to be supported. When people are criticised for making mistakes, they stop making decisions and the business will not grow or it will grow as a result of massive effort from the business owner.
  • Get everyone involved – not just the talkers – everyone has a contribution to make to your business. Just allow and encourage them to do it when they work for you. Your business will benefit.

Remember, you team is your responsibility. You can make them successful. Learn how today…

Add Mobile Marketing to your business

Where Google goes, the money flows… Mobile Marketing is fast becoming the most powerful marketing platform for marketing. In just one year (2011), there were more iPhones sold than in 28 years worth of Mac Sales. Google realise this and just recently the bought Morotola Mobility for €12.5 bn. They know they need to be a mobile marketing giant.

So… What does this mean for the Irish Small Business?

50% of Mobile searches lead to a purchase and people now feel comfortable using their mobiles for purchasing. 25% of the population has 2 or more mobile devices. There are 5 times as many mobile phones as there are computers.

As you are out and about, you see everyone accessing their mobile phone, communicating, browsing, searching – Often for something local.

Fact: 90% of Emails are spam and less than 10% are opened. 97% of texts are opened and less than 1% are SPAM.

The recent explosion of Apps now allows your business to have a physical presence in the most prominent location in history – The Apple Itunes Store

In the first instance for Irish Small Businesses:

1. Make sure your website is up to date with new content

2. Investigate how easy it is to make your site mobile friendly

3. Look at your current database – as we have heard before, the money is in the list. Not so true. Historically, the key thing was to build an email database list. The big money however is in the mobile list. We suggest that you move with the times and build your mobile list as well as your email list. Mobile is where the biggest numbers are right now. Most local business owners, have no clue on how to build a mobile database. In the future, this will be a critical asset.

That’s why I’m calling myself a Local Mobile Superhero. Every business owner now is looking for FAST Return on Investment. We help business owners get a fast return on investment. We will show you some of the details on how to build a mobile superlist.

What will become more prevalent in list building will be text broadcasting, text sms coupons, text auto responders, and text coupons and more.

Historically, email lists were built using opt ins and manual add ins. Its much easier to build a mobile list. Mobile has 9 times the ROI over email marketing. That is huge for Small Businesses in Ireland

Simple text is fine but there is also much more that you can do as well.

If you want to take advantage of Mobile in your business, talk to me today. 087 222 0720


How to conduct a job interview properly

Most people have very few interviews throughout their lives and therefore can find them quite daunting. Equally, many Small Business Owners have not conducted many interviews either and they can also find them very difficult.

If your company needs to hire someone new, then you should have some process or structure to follow. Here are some simple guidelines to get you started.

1. Write a clear description of the type of person you want before the interview. Detail about skills, attitude, qualifications, work experience all need to be written down and agreed by all on the interview panel.

2. You dont have to selecet on of the candidates that you interview – if they do not fit your profile, then select other to interview. Remember, that in a small business, each team member can play a huge role – therefore, selecting them should also be a big decision.

3. Ask someone who does not work in your compnay but whom you respect as a business owner or leader to sit in on the interviews. This adds a different perspective.

4. Prepare some questions in advance of the interview. We find the best questions to be situation based questions as follows:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer? How did you deal with it, what was the outcome and what did you learn from the experience.
  • Tell me about a time when you were under time pressure and felt like you simply had too much to to. How did you handle it, what would you do differently?
  • Tell me about a time when you had a problem with a fellow team member – how did you handle it.

There are lots of similar questions designed to elicit real life examples to test and see if the candidate has actually experienced these. You need to establish if they have been in pressure situations, if they have ever been responsible in previous roles, if they have the ability to solve problems on their own.

In addition to the interview, we also recommend some form of profiling which agains makes the whole process fairer and less reliant on a single interview.

It is important to rate the candidates based on your predefined criteria and be as objective as possible.

We also suggest an intense trial period which is good for the candidate as well as the employer.

If you feel you need to grow your team or to change some of the personnel on your team and need some help, then call Derek on 087 222 0720 today of fill out the form below for a free consultation…

[insert_ajaxcontact id=392]



Applying for a Job by Email – Tips

If you are currently seeking new or alternative employment, the most common what of applying for a job is via email. The quality of email applications is quite frankly very poor and it often means that the CV does not even get looked at.

If you are not being asked to attend interview, then your CV or your application letter probably sucks and its time to take corrective action.

Here are some guidelines.

1. Reference your Job in the Email Subject Line. Some companies may have more than one position advertised at any point and they often receive all the applications into one email address. By including the Job Reference Number in the Subject Line, your email is easier to find and sort and will not get overlooked.

2. Say something in the body of the email. I received over 100 applications for roles in the past 2 weeks and more than 40 had simply attached a CV with no greeting, note or anything else. They may have been good candidates, but they often get deleted out of frustration.

3. Put your name in the title of the attached CV. Too often they are called MynewCV.doc or december 2008cv.doc or similar. Again this makes it very difficult for the recruiter to sort and file the documents and they may again get deleted.

4. If you are applying for a job that you may not have the exact qualifications for, then your cover note needs to be excellent. Make it brief, relevant and have some carrot for the interview. Remember, the CV and email applications role is to get you to interview.

If you are not good at writing covering letters for Job applications – get some professional help. If you cant spell properly – and believe me – the quality of spelling is dire – get help and do not rely solely on the spell checker.

5. Fonts and Colours – If you are copying and pasting and changing the details on your covering letter, make sure that the font and colour is the same – Sometime, I get applications and there is so much variation, I immediately thing “this person is lazy” and I do not interview. It is your responsibility to stack the odds in your favour.

6. Follow Up – Sometimes a quick follow up email can assist in the process because it demonstrates a certain amount of persistence and willing – don’t become a pest but it can lead to a conversation at least.

Next post will include some tips on the interview itself….


The 2013 Business Excellence Awards

Announcing the 2013 Business Excellence Forum and Business Excellence Awards!

This year, three separate Business Excellence Forums will take place on three different continents, and global awards entries will be accepted on a regional basis in the Americas, the United Kingdom/Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Which event do you want to attend? Call me on 087 222 0720 to find out more… or visit


How would you rate your Sales Process?

Oh, I’ll just hire a bunch of sales people and we will be fine…

If you are in business you will understand that sales are the lifeblood of any business. And more importantly, profitable sales. You will also be aware that securing profitable sales can be challenging to say the least. If your business has grown to a level where you have a sales team, you will be acutely aware that managing this team to deliver consistently is critical to the success of the business. Yet very few people try to understand and improve the sales process. And the result of this can often be poor sales, frustration and driving your business without clear focus.

When we work with business owners, we like to establish or clarify their sales process. You  see, like any other function in the business, sales is a process. For the most part, there is no fame or glory in the process but without a process it can be very difficult to measure results, analyse whats working or whats not working, implement improvements, focus in on specific areas for improvement, give one to one coaching to a team member or general training to the entire team.

You many need a process for new business and repeat business. For the purpose of this article we will focus on new business sales where the prospect or customer does not already have a relationship with your business. In this instance, quite an element of the process may be about generating leads, fostering interest, building awareness of your organisation, establishing a need, identifying a problem in the business that you can solve, identifying the key people you need to influence, building or raising your own profile with them and eventually meeting them. Once this meeting is arranged, we then have a process for the meeting, where, if followed properly will lead to sales being concluded properly with each party being clear on where they stand and if a benefit for both has been established as part of the meeting, the next stage can be agreed.

Too many sales people take the easy approach – no planning, hope for the best, rely solely on their sales patter and personality. In many cases, this will work, but this is very difficult to manage and even more difficult to replicate.

As a business owner or sales manager, understand that you must develop a proper process if you are to drive sales up in a continuous manner. Hiring a coach can accelerate this process – My number is 087 222 720.