Your Business Attitude to Training

Most small business owners invest very little time or money on training themselves or their employees. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • The benefits of doing it are never measured or quantified.
  • The time that it takes may not be available to many small business owners.
  • The cost of completing it can be prohibitive.
  • Fear of losing an employee having invested in them.

Ongoing training for employees and managers should be mandatory. If only in the area of sales improvement, service and over all attitude.

Consider this example.

A furniture shop has 1000 visitors to the store in a month. They are no greeted or engaged with unless they request help. When help is provided, it is careless and indifferent. Only 100 of the customers buy and they each spend €500. No loyalty is created and none of the customers are enthusiastic about visiting the shop again. 10 of the deliveries are late and end up being cancelled. Total Value of Sales – €45,000 in the month

Why would this company spend money on advertising when it should be spending money on training? Imagine if it did some simple customer service and sales training.

Again, 1000 customers visit the store. They are all greeted warmly, allowed to browse, Little-Gold-Bookcoverconfident that there is a friendly person available to assist them. They walk around comfortable in the store. The store is well presented because the team have been trained in merchandising. Customers can see what products would compliment other products they may want. 250 of them buy products and with help from the team, they spend €550 each. There are no late deliveries and all the customers would consider returning to the store. Total Sales for the month – €137,500 – Cost of Training – About €1000

Why would people not implement an ongoing training policy?

Training can be a great way to reduce your customer acquisition costs and increase your value of each transaction. But training delivered once and never revisited will not deliver. Training needs to be ongoing – if only for 10-15 minutes a week. What works well – is everyone doing this the same way. What does not work so well – Are we trying to eliminate this from our process?

As a manager or owner of a business, training needs to form part of your weekly mantra to your team. Believe it or not, training will make your life easier and will deliver better returns to your business.

As a team member, request training as much as possible, also self train, read and watch as much material as you can on your own development.

Call me today to start the process of ongoing improvement in your business.



In Business? Good is the enemy of Great

Do you have a good business or a great business? A Great Business could be described as follows:

  • 1. Excellent Growth Prospects
  • watch your thoughts2. Good Margins
  • 3. Repeat Business
  • 4. Very Well Differentiated in the Marketplace
  • 5. Excellent Leadership throughout the company
  • 6. Committed Team at every level in the organisation
  • 7. Fully Systemised
  • 8. Where customers sing your praises unprompted.
  • No Ball ever dropped

There are lots of “good” businesses out there as well. Good could be determined as:

  • 1. Decent growth prospects
  • 2. Margins in line with the industry but a good deal of price sensitivity
  • 3. Some repeat business but not as much loyalty as one would like
  • 4. Facing competition in the marketplace but holding own
  • 5. Leadership being demonstrated by one person doing most of the work, one person being the face of the business, over dependence on one person
  • 6. A good team but underdeveloped and unchallenged
  • 7. Some systems in place but very dependent on people being there
  • 8. Good deal of referred business
  • 9. On occasion, some customers are left disappointed.

We would all like to have a great business and we all talk of the frustrations associated with the good business, its overdependence on the owner to be there, slower growth than one would like, cashflow challenges, and too many hours being worked for the return being generated. And this is a good business?

So whats the difference and how does one attain greatness?

It starts with a decision. A decision that you want to have a great business. A decision to make the necessary changes in your business. A decision to implement the changes required and a decision not to settle any longer for good.

Its the difference between the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.

To support the decision, you must also have a dream. Why exactly do you want to have a great business, what would it mean to you and what would it mean not to have it?. Is there sufficient difference to get you to make and stick to difficult decisions or will you be back, basking in the warm glow of a “good” business? What is your dream?

To fulfill the dream, you must set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, results massive actionorientated and have timescales attached. They are generally short term and can be assigned to people.

How you achieve each of the goals requires a decent and thorough plan that people can understand. It has to be broken into specific parts.

Do deliver on the plan you have to take massive action.

When is now the right time? A coach like me helps clients get their business from good to great. Call me when you are ready, now.


Facebook and Irish Business – Does it work?

Everyone talks about how important it is to be on Facebook, especially if you have a business. And that’s often where the advice stops – So you have to figure it out for yourself facebook good or badand very often the decisions taken can be wrong and costly.

Here are some observations about Facebook for business…

1. Facebook can be a great way to build your brand and make people aware that you exist. This will only work for you if you have someone who maintains your Facebook account properly and that you engage with your customers. Just having a Facebook account with friends and putting something on there once per week or month is a waste of time.

2. Facebook is not the place to try and sell things directly or advertise products for sale – Its not why people use Facebook and its too “in your face”. If you do this continuously, people will start to hide your feeds.

3. People use Facebook to communicate with friends, to be entertained and to share information. Many businesses have tried to “muscle” in on this and effectively “doorstep” people into buying your product.

4. If you do have a produce or service that people crave or love or can get emotionally attached to, then informing people on Facebook is a good idea. If your product is more functional or just carries out a normal service, then pushing it on Facebook will be a slow and arduous task.

4. If you are spending time on Facebook when you should really be talking to customers, or prospective customers, then it can be a really costly to your business. Nothing beats personal contact and personal recommendation – Absolutely nothing.

5. Facebook can serve you well but bad news or negative news can also spread like wildfire so be care what you post and be careful about who you authorise to post for you.

6. Building a profile on Facebook, as a business page or friends page takes a lot of time and this has to be done continuously. Outsourcing it is too expensive because the ROI simply is not there for small businesses that do not have a brand like Coke or Nike.

7. As for advertising on Facebook on the right hand side of the page, it is proving to be very difficult to get a return and the reason for this is being given as “users of Facebook do not start with a commercial intent – where they log on to purchase something” – think about this before you part with your hard earned cash.

Just some thoughts… I’m not saying do or don’t  – I’m saying that you should understand it first and make your own decision relative to your business.



Hiring Sales Professionals made easy

Excellent Professional Salespeople are an extremely rare breed. So rare indeed that if you feel you have one in your organisation, you should be prepared to hold on to them at all costs.

Most people assume that sales is easy and being a sales professional is not a worthy profession. The fact is that being an Excellent Professional Salesperson is very worthy and while they may make it look simple, its not easy.

Its true to say that when sales jobs are advertised, the number of applications is generally quite high. The challenge is that the calibre of candidate is often poor and many people who pass themselves as sales people are no more than freeloaders moving from company to company buying time and taking advantage of the fact that a field based sales person is difficult to manage.

An Excellent Professional Sales person should possess the following attributes in abundance:

  • A Commitment to Excellence
  • A Determination to succeed
  • A Hunger to Win
  • A Can Do, Never Give Up Attitude
  • A Willingness to go the extra mile
  • A belief in their own ability, backed by experience, training and self development
  • A value system associated with success, achievement, wealth and results.
  • An organised focussed approach to getting the job done.

Some of the above attributes are natural to some people, all of the above attributes and be learned and developed by the committed individual.

In a normal interview, it is nearly impossible to determine if the person sitting in front of you possesses them because it is very easy to articulate the face that you do and wax lyrical about the success you have achieved, quoting percentages of growth rarely if ever seen in real life.

It is important to devise a list of sales person specific questions which draw out real life examples of the challenges, successes, setbacks and learnings that sales people encounter when doing their job.

A personality profile will assist. Use a tool like DISC or similar – again, it will not tell the complete story but it will guide you.

Look for tell tale signs of ability: How good are they at listening, at taking on board information, at getting to the point, at summarising, at working under pressure. More recently we have begin to introduce role plays to interview processes. While not always a reflection of real life, it can give good insights.

Getting other team members involved in the process is also good, because the one question that everyone asks about a potential sales person would be: Would I buy from them? If the answer is no, we would need to understand where this gut feeling came from.

Taking the time to hire the right person can be frustrating but equally, you do not want an unsuitable person representing your company in the wrong way.

Call me on 087 222 0720 if you would like help in developing your organisation with a team of committed sales professionals.


Sell the Sizzle not the Steak

At ActionCOACH we define selling as “Professionally helping people to buy”. Its based on the principle that people hate to be sold to but they love to buy things.

The most common mistake that people who go into sales make, is that they think that they have to be great at talking and that they have to talk all about their product and the features of their product or service.  The reality is that the customer probably does not actually want the product or service that you are offering but they may want what the product or service delivers. i.e when a person asks for a drill bit in a hardware store, do they really want a drill bit or do they want a hole in the wall?!!

I recently witnessed a presentation on a product which “featured” a lot of technical detail. I observed that the sales person had lost the crowd within 2 minutes because he was blinding them with technical information. The product he was selling could help the same business really increase their sales and profits but he missed the point and missed the sale. If he had asked them first about what they expected from the product and how they would measure their return on investment, he would have had a greater degree of success.

If your sales approach needs to change to reflect today’s market then take action now. Call us on 065 707 9873. You may not want to have a business coach but you may want what we can deliver – increased profits guaranteed.

How Resisting Change Can Kill Your Business

Your ability to embrace change, make decisions and take massive action will directly affect the progress your business takes in the next 3 months.

In fact it will have a greater effect on your business than any external force such as recession, people not spending, people being scared or people looking for cheaper goods and services.

To counter these external influences, we as business people must react and we must react in a way that will have a positive effect. Simply doing nothing is not an option, but that is what most people are doing. And they are doing this out of FEAR. Fear will kill your business.

You see, a business is like a tree, its either growing or dying. If you business is not growing or it is stagnating, then you must make some changes today.

To assist you in making these changes, we suggest that you start off with a plan. Where do you want your business to be in 3 years time and what will it look like? Then where do you want it to be in 1 year?  Then where do you want it to be in 90 days from now? Where is it right now? The steps that you have to make to get it to your 90 day objective should be obvious Its just a matter of putting them into practice. one at a time.

If you decide to make one change per week in your business, it will probably be done

If you decide to make 2 changes in your business per week, they will sometimes get done

If you decide to change 3 things in your business per week, they will rarely get done.

Choose to change one thing every week.

“Coached Businesses Grow Faster than Business without a Coach” – According to a study carried out by Cogent Research in June 2011.


How consistent is your sales effort?

Business resembles sport in so many ways. While talent is important, its the application of the talent, coupled with the right attitude and the right level of work that win out every time. In the first instance we have to practice what we do through classroom training, on the job training, role playing, feedback and review.

Then we have to really implement what we learn and also do this on a consistent basis.

This is where many businesses struggle. While they know what to do and they know how to do it, the fail to implement it on a daily consistent basis. Any that is what leads to problems for so many businesses.

Business owners forget to embrace the “sales cycle”. They fail to understand the gestation period that exists from  initiation of lead/enquiry right through to cash in the bank. Therefore it is important to keep the marketing machine in operation 100% of the time.

By default, very few business owners choose to be salespeople and therefore, its often the area that gets neglected when the business gets busy (or quiet) and this leads to the see-saw effect in business.

To avoid the see-saw effect, call your business coach Derek O’Dwyer today on 087 222 0720.


What’s your conversion rate?

If you currently spend any money on advertising, STOP. What’s your conversion rate?

Your conversion rate is the number of new clients/customers you get compared to the number of enquiries you get. For example, if 10 people contact your business and you do business with 2 of them, your conversion rate is 20%

Consider this…

If you knew how to increase your conversion rate you would automatically improve the effectiveness of your advertising. In the example above, if you managed to get your conversion rate to 40% or 4 out of 10, your advertising costs would halve.

Here are some simple ways to improve your conversion rate.

1. Ask for the sale. Too often, we have the new customer or new client but we fail to ask them for the business. Sometimes, they will leave and you may miss out on the business.

2. Remove the risk. Especially in 2011, businesses and consumers are nervous and if the detect any risk at all in dealing with you, they will take their business else where. Is there any risk associated in doing business with you? Are you really sure? Would you buy from you? The easiest was to eliminate risk is to provide a guarantee.

3. Train the team. If you knew that your fellow team members were not as good at winning new business as you, would this make you feel great about yourself or would you be concerned about the sales being missed. Either way – its your responsibility. The simple solution here is to carry out some sales training for the team. Even 10 minutes per week can be very effective.

4. Follow up. In some cases, sales are made by providing quotes or people take some time to make up their mind. In 83% of sales situations the follow up from the supplier is extremely poor in that they do not follow up or the follow up is weak. Why is this? Fear of rejection is the answer so the easiest thing is to stick the head in the sand and hop the business comes in. By the way – it does not work this way.

If you want to improve the conversion rate in your business, call Derek O’Dwyer. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! 087 222 0270



Excellent Team Members

“The staff that I have are no good”

Very often, I hear this for business owners. And I immediately say “Well, you get the staff that you deserve”. Business owners react in different ways to this comment. Some negative, some positive.

Either you hire bad staff or the good staff that you hire get bad from the moment they are hired. Either way the responsibility is yours.

The six keys to a winning team are as follows:

1. Strong Leadership – Please rate yourself and if its anything under 6 – you need to work on it now.

2. A common goal – most team lack direction and often more specifically, they are not clear on what is expected of them.

3. Rules of the Game – The common misconception is that people dislike rules – quite the contrary in fact, people like rules and work better where rules exist. same as playing a game.

4. An Action Plan – same as planning a journey, planning an event. Teams within a business need an outline of what they need to work on over a period of time.

5. Support Risk Taking – If the team work within the rules and toward the achievement of the Action plan, then decisions they make must be supported. If not, they will stop making decisions and dis-improve in terms of motivation and commitment.

6. 100% Inclusion & Involvement – Get the team involved, share the vision, lead them. Work together.

Call Derek on 087 222 0720 if you need to improve your team and your business profitability…