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.


What gets measured gets managed

If you have ever played a game, be it football or tiddly winks, you will most probably have kept score. The same is not true in many businesses and consequently business struggle and fail to take corrective action quickly enough – because they are often unaware of subtle changes taking place.

There are financial measures and there are non financial measures in every company. It is easy to measure turnover, and cashflow and wages etc. It is not easy to measure and then understand the activities that lead to the turnover, cashflow and wages. And it is this lack of information that leads to many business mistakes.

For example, if business A had a turnover of 100,000 and business B had a turnover of 80,000 we could easily assume that A was a better business. But we cannot tell anything from turnover.

If Business A had a Net Profit of 10,000 and Business B had a Net Profit of 9,000, we would again think that A was a better business.

But what if Business Owner A had to spend 15,000 to get that level of sales while Business Owner B only Spent 1,000

What if Business Sales Manager A required 10 inquiries to get every sales, where Business Sales Manager B only required 2 inquiries.

What is business A had a gross profit of 40% while Business B was making 55% while selling the same product?

What if Business A realised that no enquiry over the past year had come from his website, despite spending thousands on its development?

What if business B realised that 20% of all his enquiries were as a result of one happy customer singing their praises?

What if the receptionist at company A always informed inquiries that they would be called back but never passed the message on?

What if one sales person in the business was visiting 10 customers per day and the 2nd sales person was only visiting 5, struggling but unaware of what they should do?

What if the supplier for company A was actually charging them 5% more than their competitors because he knew he could get away with it?

What if company B had a wage figure which was 15% higher than their immediate counterparts.

Imagine if you had every available piece of information about how well or poorly your business was doing. Would some of your decision have been different and would you have focused more on sales and customers and less on rules and regulations.

We call all of the above Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Do you have yours?

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…

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Whose job is it to motivate the team?

Can a manager actually motivate a team member by having a chat with them about where the business is headed – the vision and mission of the business?

How long would that “motivation” really last in the mind of the employee?

How many times has it been heard that the team members are not motivated and that the management brought in someone from the outside to motivate the team.

Well, even Tony Robbins does not call himself a motivational speaker. Probably because he knows that the majority of the motivation that anyone needs must come from within. And yet few few people have ever taken the time to look at themselves, to discover their true motivations and desires.

When working with business owners who struggle to get the best from the team, our objective is to help them to understand the team member at a deeper level, to understand their true motivation, to understand what really drives them. What they need to do then is to link the vision and mission and objectives of the company to the employees true motivations.

Sometimes there is no connection and thats where the employee needs to be challenged, especially if occupying a role where being highly motivated matters to the success of the company.

In small business today, there is no room for team members who just want to exist and do the bare minimum. Yet, they do exist because owners and managers do not equip themselves with the learning and tools necessary to lead an manage people properly.

Too many people (owners and managers) stop at the simple skills level when it comes to motivation. They need to learn about the level called beliefs, the level called values, the level called identity and then look at the overall environment within which they exist. To get to beliefs, values and identity takes time and effort and to change these areas also takes time and effort. This is time well spent because the changes are far more permanent than an ad in a paper or a promotion that runs for a week.

Given that such a high percentage of every small business’s turnover goes in wages, it is so worth while investing your time to get the most from the team. Getting the most from the team, while helping them to get the most for themselves is also hugely rewarding and where you truly become a leader of people.

Call me on 087 222 0720 if you would like to start in the journey to being a super successful business owner.


Dealing with Insubordination

It can be very frustrating for business owners when team members simply will not do what is asked of them. This frustration is compounded even more when this attitude spreads to other team members and the business owner is fearful of the the team. This happens often – its a form of bullying. And the team member uses the threat of Employment Law as a tool to beat up on the owner.

So what can be done about this? The answer is lots but it does require some learning, some discipline and a measure of assertiveness.

Step 1. Understand the law and how it is also there to protect you. Take the time to read the Employers Guidelines that are written by ISME (Irish Small & Medium sized Enterprises Association) or the SFA (Small Firms Association)

Step 2. Make sure that every employee has a written Job Description that allows you some scope to change the role as your business changes.

Step 3. Give people clear goals and objectives either weekly, monthly or annuallly or all of the above.

Step 4 – When asking someone to do something in the business, be very clear with the instruction, set a timescale for completion and request that any problem with it be flagged early

Step 5  – Introduce accountability and check that work is being done

Step 6 – If the work is not being done having completed all the above, start issuing verbal and written warnings and make sure that the employee understands the seriousness of their actions.

Your objective is to drive the business in a particular direction. Your teams objectives should reflect this. If they choose to drive the business in a different direction you must take immediate action.

Sounds Simple – It is, but its not always easy. It gets easier if you persist and get outside your comfort zone. If you need help – call me – 087 222 0720

How to Increase Your Sales in 2012

If you need to increase your sales in 2012, make a commitment now to doing 2 things:
1. Measure your conversion from enquiry to sale
2. Spend more time getting in front of prospective customers.

Most business owners and team spend so little time actually marketing or selling their business, it is amazing that they survive at all. Very little real time is given to sales and marketing on a consistent basis and many people will avoid it at all costs. Yet they will complain if they are quiet and they will attend functions and rallies to speak about the economy.

Participate in your own rescue. Meet people who can purchase your product or service and understand how best to position your product or service with them.

People also overestimate how good they are at Sales and they claim that they have very high success rates. In fact the real success rates are much lower. Solution: Measure your rates of conversion, establish 3 or 4 ways to improve your conversion and then train your team.

Both of these suggestions cost little or nothing to implement but they will increase your profits. Call me on 087 222 0720 for a FREE consultation about your business today.

Do Business Plans Really Work in Real Life?

If you speak to business owners all over the world, you will hear the following:

“I prepared a business plan which got me a loan but did not reflect how the business fared at all.”

“Most of the assumptions that I made in my business plan were wrong and the plan did not work”

“My business plan lacked any real insight into what really happens in business”

“you cant plan for my business – its too un-predictable”

“I have not got time to do a plan – I’m too busy (not making money)”

And these are the reasons why most people fail to plan. Too often, plans are too broad brush, too long terms and fail to cover the specifics of what has to be done, today, tomorrow, next week and the week after.

If you would like to get down to the nitty gritty, to identify the top 10 things that you must do in your business in the next 3 months, then you need to attend GrowthCLUB.

Book your event today in Galway on January 9th or Ennis on January 16th

If you you like to work on a personal business plan outside these dates contact me today.


How to get more sales in your business

If your business is suffering from a lack of sales, you have a number of options:

1. You can work more hours!

2. You can get better at selling!

Which option carries the most appeal for you? When you consider that the number 1 reason for business failure is burnout, it would seem that far too many people opt for the “work harder” approach. Why is this? Is it because they are afraid to look closely at themselves and their approach to selling and marketing. Are they in danger of getting caught in a rut.

If you own a business, your mantra should be:

“work harder on myself than I do on my business”

If you adopt this as your approach to business, it will cause you to learn more, challenge yourself to explore better ways of doing this, cause you to consider leverage in your business, stop you from being the busy foll and ultimately will lead you to success.

Many business owners make the fatal mistake of not improving their business as time goes by. They may change their products and they way the make the product but do they change their approach to customers and sales, their approach to their team. The answer is no.

If your business needs more sales, ask yourself this question. – How many sales do we make from every 10 enquiries that we get for our product or service. Ifs its less than 6, then you need to work on your sales process.

If you business need more enquiries because your conversion rate is great, then thats all about marketing and understanding who you are targeting and how to get to them.

To make sure that you maximise the return that you get from your marketing and sales, contact Derek on 087 222 0720 today.

If you have poor team members – what do you do?

So you’ve got a team member that you wish you did not have. One of the following has  happened:

1. Your hiring system did not pick out the flaws in the character of the individual

2. You did not provide sufficient training for the individual

3. You did not provide the correct leadership for the individual

or it could be a combination of all three. Either way, its your problem and you have to deal with it.

Before you hire your next team member, decide exactly what it is you are looking for, decide on specific goals for them and decide who will manage them. To manage a person properly, you should first understand your own management style. There is no point getting a team member in who like a lot of coaxing and encouragement if you are the type of manager who just wants to issue the instruction and get the response. Its not fair on you or them.

When a new team member starts, they have to be shown the ropes properly and you have to take the time to induct them properly. Otherwise, they will make up their own rules and they will become troublesome. Not their problem but yours!

Most people who for for an employer or manager do so because they want to be a follower rather than a leader. Thats your job and if you are not a natural leader, learn as much as you can about becoming one. Most of the leadership strategies can be learnt, but most people invest little or noting developing the skill. If you are a good leader, giving your team members, clear objectives and guidelines and proceed to hold them accountable, your team will react. They will either react positively or leave quickly – either way you win.

If you want to find out more about building a winning team call Derek on 087 222 0720 today. By the way – there is an old saying “You get the team you deserve” How true is that for you?

Suffering Sales Rejection – Build your “Rut”

As a professional, have you ever been rejected using the “time” excuse? Even if what you are offering seems way better than where they are right now. i.e.

Build your Rut - Attend the Next Growth Club

“I don’t have the time for this right now”

There are 3 reasons that you may get this excuse:

1. They genuinely do not have the time to consider an alternative – Thats a problem in itself.

2. The Time Excuse is a natural defence mechanism to new things and is often bandied about –

3. They do not think that you have something to offer them that would justify their time.

In any of these situations, the problems is yours because you have not made a sale. Here’s how to deal with these objection.

Build Your “RUT” first – and what we mean by RUT is your routine. We often call is a positioning statement. Many of your existing happy customers may also have felt this way prior to working with you. And working with you has been good for them. So you need to start your sales “RUT” with the following:

Before I was involved with this service, I was way too buy in my job, I did not have the time for anything, I used the time thing then as en excuse for myself so that I became untouchable and because the concept does take a few minutes to grasp, it was easy not to see value in something because I only gave it 30 seconds of my time. But what happened for me is this….

And off you go. Build Your Routine first, before you start to make sales…