In my opinion, the present is the only place your dreams can become a reality. It is where you actually DO the things that move you forward.
Are you a procrastinator? That prevents you from making progress. It can drain your energy and weigh you down since it’s on your mind. Often fear (acronym – author unknown – was said to be F=False / E=Evidence / A = Appearing / R=Real) is one possible cause as well as doubting your abilities to do the task at hand. If the task seems daunting, take small bites out of it – do a little each day. Guess what? It will then get completed. How will you feel then? Go to that feeling initially and get it done.
Og Mandino (author of The Greatest Salesman in the World) said “I will be the master of my emotions”. When you live in the present and are aware of your thoughts and which ones will serve you, better choices can happen. You need to be in the present to go there.
I believe having a structure to get things accomplished will serve you. Pick a time of the day where you will work on something you might find distasteful. Often accomplishing it first thing in the morning is advantageous since the rest of the day is then “gravy”. Allow roughly one hour and determine how many days need to be set aside for your project. Get moving! You can do this!
I venture to say your self-esteem can increase as you realize you can and take on different and difficult tasks more effectively.
After you called someone who was referred to you or gave you permission to contact them through social media (steer away from cold calls please), you describe what your company does and offer proof to your claims. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is through telling a story of how your company helped someone in a similar business to the person you called. You want powerful results you can report.
What do you say? How do you organize it? Keith Eades in The New Solution Selling suggests telling a brief story describing the issue you tackled for a company like theirs, what was needed (which you provide) and the result obtained.
You want your prospect to admit pain. People buy more and faster due to pain than pleasure. You can pursue pleasure but solving pain is something acted upon immediately if framed in the correct way. From here, write up for yourself ways to respond to the various common problems admitted by the prospect. If you are prepared and wrote something powerful you can utilize when speaking, you have a chance at another phone call or in-person meeting.
Remember you must be interested in them and their company. It is often said that we do business with people we like, trust and respect”. Be that to your prospects and develop a relationship where they will stay with you long term.
Please write your comments below and what worked for you to get that initial appointment.
1. Ask Current Clients for Referrals
Is your business stagnant? Are you out of fresh ideas? Let’s explore… One of the first priorities – ask your current clients for referrals! It’s amazing how many business people miss that source of contacts. Some people feel it’s a bit pushy or not-so-nice to ask your current clients for referrals. Why not? Are you giving your current clients value? They must be happy with you or they would have taken their business elsewhere. Consider giving incentives for referrals. Perhaps a reduction in your rate, a book you believe would be of interest, or some promotional item. Always send a “thank you” note too. Send an email card on a birthday or a small gift to a special client.
Ask your current clients to write testimonials on your behalf. If they have trouble articulating their thoughts in writing, or they don’t have time, ask them to share how they feel about your service and then write it up for their approval. Whenever possible, use the full name of the person but do get their written permission first. It is much more believable than putting two initials or aliases after a testimonial. It’s terrific if it can be videotaped. More people will watch it than read it.
3. Short Satisfaction Survey
You can also ask them to fill out a short satisfaction survey after you’ve rendered your service, Make it simple, ask them to rate your service on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. Leave room for additional comments they might want to add. This will not only help you understand your clients, but will also identify areas that might require improvements. Have them email it to you or provide a stamped self-addressed envelope.
4. Give Presentations
If you give presentations, invite them to bring a guest. You might give the client free admission (or credit his/her account later) in exchange for referring a paying guest. The possibilities are out there. Grab one that feels right for you.
Personally, when I started networking I was a bit shy and awkward. I felt it was selling (not my favorite thing to do and something we don’t do now). Then I came from a different mind place. I had value to give someone. We would partner to help them make their business and professional life more successful.. So, I came from a place of joy. Working with a coach could be life changing. . I imagine you know by now you need to be a giver and good things will come back to you (power of attraction). I now want to go to networking activities. It’s a great opportunity to meet people you may have never touched before. So go to events in which you feel comfortable and enjoy. Get involved – be part of a committee. Remember six degrees of separation – even if the person you are speaking with doesn’t need your services, they know many people who would love to connect with you. Go for it! Let me know how it works for you.
There are many ways to grow your business. These are some basic ones. I certainly have more advanced strategies as well. What has worked for you? Please let me know below.
Most business owners send cards or gifts during Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/or other religious holiday events. It’s a time where it can go unnoticed since they are being contacted by many. I suggest you consider Thanksgiving or other holidays so you stand out and get noticed.
Make a plan and work your plan. Make a yearly calendar. Each month, write a holiday down or way to give your prospect or customer something special (article, newsletter, complimentary time with you-alternate who will get the time if your availability is limited and there are many to contact). Of course, the way you write up this offer to make it exciting and a must-have experience is vital. You want to get interest and make it a must-have experience with a limited time offer so they go into action soon.
I suggest putting a value on this consultation (worth $___), tell them what will be accomplished (within 15 minutes, you will ______, and expiration date. It’s good to test things. So send this out to about 10 people and see how many responses you get. Often, you need to follow-up by phone call or email since people are busy.
When a call goes well and you want to extend the conversation or deepen the relationship, how would you do it? You will want a budget for this strategy. For example, what do you do to make a good impression on a potential customer? You can send flowers if appropriate, invite them to a meal (or a lunch and learn session where you provide a simple lunch and present a problem they are having in their business – not sell- and give valuable information about how to solve it. You mention your company at the end and first ask permission to present info about your company which might serve them. Make that much shorter than the overall discussion. This needs to be done expertly. I do this with my clients.
Let me know below how you would handle this opportunity. I will give you some pointers.
In my previous blog post, I discussed how Tim Templeton in his book, The Referral of a Lifetime, suggested how to divide your database into categories (A, B, C, D) based on their likelihood of referring people to you. To move people from one level to another (from B to A for example), you will want to keep in touch with them. Invest time and money on this group. This is well worth it. They will want to refer you to people in their world. People believe what others say about you more than what you might say yourself.
Templeton suggested perhaps the owners of your company write to previous clients. Thank the person for his/her previous business. That owner would then introduce you as someone in his company (if you are one) they could call as well as himself to see if they had any questions or comments. You state your associate will call in a few days to check in with them.
In a few days, you call and have a warmer call. Also, ask if you could follow-up with them periodically just to see how they are progressing, share some valuable articles and see if there was any way at all you could help them reach their goals. This ended up as a successful way to generate more referrals without even asking. It’s about relationships.
It’s suggested that you develop a follow-up program. Use a program like Infusion Soft, to automatically send out articles, and items of interest you develop for your database. You might also use “Send Out Cards” which is a reasonable way to keep in touch with a group of people rather inexpensively.
What ways do you use to keep in touch with special people personally and professionally?
Please write your comments below. I will respond.
It’s time to develop systems!
What would happen if you became ill and needed to leave your business for a few months or longer? Would your business fold? Would revenue increase? For most small businesses, survival would probably be difficult without systems.
A system is a series of steps that produces an expected outcome. Anyone in your business can follow them. Even when you are fine, you have freedom to soar to new heights when others are helping you provide services that are excellent and consistent. Have your employees work on daily issues. You concentrate on growing your business and enjoying some free time. There are actual monetary savings when using systems. Do what only you can accomplish and delegate the rest.
It’s important to have a marketing system so your pipeline stays full and referrals flow to you (see my blog entry on getting referrals). Think about such things are pre-paying your services for a discount should they enlist your services for an extended length of time. Put an expiration date on your offers to get them to go in to action.
A system for payment of your invoices could start out as follows:
-payment is made the first of each month.
-an invoice is generated the 15th of each month prior to when payment is due.
-they will be sent via email
This way there is no ambiguity. You should not be interrupted concerning questions in this area. How many systems can you develop in your business? How would it help? Please post your comments below. I will respond.
Should you look at your staff’s shortcomings or assets?
Researchers found by focusing on the positive, talent and creativity as well as better relationships are fostered. The researchers’ book, “Positive Organizational Scholarships” explores ways a company and staff excel, per Kim Cameron from the research team and professor at the University of Michigan Business School. She felt these companies were more profitable, increased productivity and had better ideas as well as improved ability to keep customers and staff longer than most companies.
They talk about centering in on successes and positive things employees contributed. Make certain staff members are aware of your feelings as well as upper management. Cameron stated “…the highest performing senior-level teams use five times as many positive comments as negative comments, whereas low-performing teams use three times as many critical or negative comments.”
Be certain to applaud a job well done. Encourage the traits you are looking for, such as, integrity and trust.
Be fine with some errors as long as they “fail forward” – learn from this new experience.
What do you find helpful in growing your staff? I would appreciate hearing your thoughts below.