Every business needs sales. They need someone who will buy whatever it is they produce or whatever service they provide. And if you want to successfully take your idea to $$$$s, you need to find someone who can sell your product or service or you need to sell it yourself.
Different ways of getting $$$$s
- Promotion or as many people describe it marketing. Unless you promote your idea by some form of advertising, article, direct contact or flag waving, no one will know you exist. This includes blogging (all forms), article writing, interviews and any other form of getting the word out to the wider world. And if no one sells your product or service, if no one talks about your product or service, NO $$$$s will be made.
- Get others to promote or sell your product or service. This is what the big guys do. Coke Cola sells to retailers, restaurants and other outlets their product and those places then on-sell to the consumer. Sony, Sanyo, Toyota and all the major manufacturers have thousands of sales people around the world selling their product to the end user. MLM and network marketing companies get lots of people to buy into their program and sell it to others. Franchise operations get others to sell their wares according to their manual.
What can you count on?
One of the many challenges for every business owner is to convince others to sell their product too, as well or instead of their own.
If you look at someone who offers you affiliate programs, a franchise, a PLR what you are looking at is a business owner who wants a sales man. And unless you sell their program neither one of you can make money. The difference though is that they may have “hundreds or thousands of you” in the market and a few are keen to sell their product for them.
You can only count on yourself but if sales is a weak area for you then you need to find people to sell for you. And recognize that the incentive for them to do it has to be good otherwise, why should they.
And why will they sell your product? Because they know people who need your product. They know people who will buy and if they are not willing to buy, they will find another product. They want an easy job of selling.
BUT – does what does that mean for your idea?
If you are selling other people’s ideas, you are NOT selling your own.
Yes you can make dollars but are those dollars certain. What happens if the company goes out of business? What happens if for some reason they stop paying you? What happens if suddenly negative press means prospects stop buying.
Think for a moment of instances, you know either personally or anecdotally, when payment or sales dropped because of some external reason.
Your idea works when you prepare, plan and execute a strategy.
Your plan may be to sell someone else s product or service and if it is that is good. If you are creating your own eBook, information pack or course or service then you need to understand that SOMEONE needs to sell it.
- Someone needs to do the promotion, the follow-up and get the money in and deliver. They need to set performance criteria.
- Someone needs to talk to people and convince them that they wants your idea and get them to part with the $$$$s. They need to know what to say, how to represent you and how to collect the money
- Someone needs to write articles, blogs, website, promotional materials and then someone needs to follow-up. And all of this comes with lots of performance criteria and measurability.
Having the idea without the strategy, key performance indicators, the prospects, and the sales channel (which includes delivery) will never ever, ever result in you earning $$$$s.
If you need help with the strategy, the systems or the promotion, remember that is our area of experience and you can sign up for the webinars, forum or mentoring to help you turn your ideas into $$$$s.
To your success
What happens when someone calls you about a problem they are having with a service you offer?
Does dealing just with the problem rather than the person actually help the client feel that you care? Does it build a relationship?
During the last week we moved house. We set up all our technology and found that the internet provider had yet to set up the service because of a backlog so we waited two days for the internet and were told that we would receive a call to tell us the internet was up. The internet came online 32 hours later (40 hours after the phone went live) and four hours before the due time for the call that never came.
48 hours later, the internet was gone again. Now began hours of phone calls to find out that it appeared that the modem had died. Since the box was less than six months old, we could get a replacement within the next week. Yikes, a week without internet. So we went to buy another router. And after a few hours fiddling, and a couple of phone calls we were back online.
Now that Netgear router replacement can serve as a backup unit – oh wait, the paperwork to return it and get a new one has still not arrived. More phone calls required
Most people I know seem to expect things to work when they need them. When they plug in that new appliance or even the old one, they expect it to work. When they turn the key to start the car, they expect it to start. When they turn on their gadget, they expect it to work.
And when they fail to work, they expect to get help and support easily.
Training for Customer Service
The training of customer service people has come a long way but…they forget that there are emotions attached to the problem. Customer service training teaches staff to ignore the emotion and get the problem fixed. And then move on.
Customer service training says,”the problem’s solution is all that matters”.
And to a certain extent they are right.
But every problem has a person or people involved and people have emotions and they often feel pain and frustration because of the “failure” of the service.
Is there an alternative to “solving the problem”?
Yes and it lies in “what will the world be like when the problem is solved?” Keeping in mind what the vision is for the solution to the problem, can ease the frustration that seems to arise from the problem.
When you provide service, you build on the relationships that help you succeed in business. But you need to deal with the whole person. You find that people remember how they felt that the problem was solved rather than the fact that you solved it.
I may be wrong so in the comment box, please share what matters more to you – just getting the problem solved or getting the problem solved by someone who cares that you may be suffering some frustration, possibly even anger, because the problem occurred.
Have we become too PC to recognize that anger and frustration are emotions that affect us as much as love and warm fuzzy feelings?
Relationships take ideas to $$$$s
- After all, everything costs more each year so we need more income.
- Our desires increase so we need more revenue.
- And most of us just want MORE because we want more.
But do you know the 3 things that may be preventing your business from growing?
A Tale of Lost Vision
Once upon a time there was a business that had enjoyed a steady growth each year. They had more clients and made more and more money each year. They began to focus on new markets and they succeeded more. They took some shortcuts and cut some corners and made even more money.
And then one day the market changed.
And when it changed they discovered that their shortcuts and sloppy service reduced their competitiveness. They discovered that their lack of investment in staff and the loss of the vision by the General Manager and the Director, meant their staff generally just wanted to do as little as possible to collect their pay check each week.
And after 20 years in business, the business limped to its demise. From a successful small business it suddenly was no more. It’s assets were stripped and it faded into “has been land”.
Another Tale of Lost Focus
There was a brilliant man who developed a camera back in 1888 which changed the way we capture images forever. As a result of this invention a company was born and grew and grew and grew.
The company grew in areas that were not related to film and cameras. It purchased several companies totally unrelated to image and films.
Then the market made a shift to digital and the company no longer was the innovator but found itself running hard to catch up with the changes in image capture and storage.
And last year, this 110+ year old company declared bankruptcy. It stopped because it stopped focusing on the needs of its original clientelle.
A Tale of Shiny Object Syndrome
This tale is about a self employed person who keeps looking at the next shiny object to solve their problem. They have spent hundreds (thousands) of dollars on products, training, software packages and dozens of other different tools to build a business. They have downloaded hundreds of eBooks, whitepapers and other educational material.
Of the materials and resources and contact people they have met, they have NEVER completed any program to implementation.
On any given day, three or four new promises are presented to them and at least once a week, they buy the next object.
They have done hours of training, have certificates for completing training but what they never seem to complete is implementing it into their business and then looking at how the next shiny object will enhance their business.
They keep looking for the shortcut, the answer to a prayer that will magically flip the switch and make the money flow. They know what to do. They advise others what to do but they FAIL to do it themselves.
And as a result, they survive and persist but they never thrive and grow. And while most of the time they have fun. the financial burden can become wearisome and holiday time never mind sick time, just never happens for them.
What Stops Growth?
- People without vision, passion and purpose. People who lose their way and forget what buyer needs they are meeting.
- People who forget to focus on what they do well. People who think of the business growth rather than their buyer needs and the market changes as technology changes the way needs are met.
- People who look at the shiny object or the next quick fix. Growth is slowed radically when you are constantly looking for the next solution and never fully implement or follow through on the most recent. A good mentor or coach can help you chose the right path and stick to it. But the challenge for many business people is to have the flexibility to consider new ways with the discipline to implement their strategy and plans and meet their current target market‘s needs fully.
While there are more things stopping growth, these three are often the keys.
To grow you business you need to:
- Keep your vision and purpose alive. Fuel your passion to meet the needs of your clients and the community you work in.
- Keep focused on the needs of the people you serve. And remember their needs keep changing so be agile but focused.
- Implement one thing at a time. And listen to the people you hire to support you. Ask them questions. Challenge their thinking and together you can both grow. But first implement and incorporate the whole. Do one thing well instead of 10 things poorly.
Grow, turn your ideas into $$$$s and always have some fun, earn some funds and stay fit, agile and alert. Life is lived on purpose and today is the one that really counts so make it a good one.
To your success
Do you and your business suffer from seasonality?
Some Examples of Seasonality
The farmer plants his crops, often borrowing money to buy the seed and fertilizers, hire equipment and workers against a crop that will come in three, four, five or six months later. What do they do if the crops fail or the weather devastates a crop?
Colleges enroll students at one or two times of the year. The students pay upfront and then the college must use that money wisely over the entire year so that they have the money to pay their bills and payroll and maintain the facilities. And what happens if they have unusual expenses or less (or more) enrollment than expected?
Holiday camps, resorts and venues operate 12 months of the year but are often only open for 8 weeks in a year? How do they manage to pay their bills all year round?
Ski fields open when the first real snowfall happens. But what happens when there is no snow or only ice? Yes the snow making machines help but are they the answer to seasonality? And what happens when one year has a six week season and the next an eight week season and the next a four week season and then a twelve week season. What does that do to staffing and other resources?
The less obvious seasonality challenges
Seasonality affects every business in some way. The examples above are obvious examples but what about the following examples:
- Slow down for holidays when business to business trading can cease for up to three months in parts of the world.
- Changes in time, money and resources at budget time.
- Staffing issues when unemployment is low and finding good people is a challenge.
- Finding and outfitting premises when there are few properties available.
- An unexpected disaster or demand that affects the business operation.
- Planning for change and the circumstances of that change are different than expected as happened with the global financial crisis.
Dealing with Seasonality
Since all business experience some seasonality, they need to do the following to manage their seasonality:
- Manage cashflow, always keep a reserve for the unexpected.
- Make decisions quickly to take advantage of opportunities but do a risk management analysis of what happens if it fails.
- Have good insurance cover for business disasters and keep it current and relevant.
- Have a good support team to discuss ideas with, coaches, mentors or masterminds.
- Remember that this too shall pass and if you have to change than change is required. And business is always about responding to change: changing needs, changing conditions, changing products, changing expectations and changing conditions.
- The man who fails to adapt will be out of business quickly
In the comment box, share how seasonality affects you and what you have in place to support the seasonality of your business.
To your future success
No one cares about your business except you but if you fail to do your duty to care about your prospects, clients and customers, you will lose your business.
Have you seen the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall? The movie pits duty and loyalty against technology and greed to show the audience that there still is a place for old fashioned values and service.
What is Service?
Listening to an audio tape in Teaching Sells this morning, Sonia Simone reminded me that unless our business helps people achieve what they want and makes a difference for them, our prospects are unlikely to buy from us. Our clients and prospects do not care about us. So service is about taking care of the needs and wants of others and making a difference for them.
- Service is not servitude.
- Service is not enslavement.
- Service is genuinely offering another person the fulfillment of their desire within the scope of your offering.
Business is about exchange of service. You get something and you give something.
I meet Your need or want but you meet mine too. The exchange keeps the whole thing working. Without the exchange NOTHING works.
What is the duty of a business?
James Bond never does things in a conventional manner. He is never obedient. He never does what is expected but he understands that his duty as an 007 is to protect the realm and so he does whatever he believes is right to eliminate the bad guys, He does his best every time. He never regrets. And he keeps his word. He never assumes only calculates the odds and looks at the patterns and trends. And he never takes anything personally. And that means he rarely if ever doubts himself and his ability to serve Queen and country.
James also knows that the people giving the orders are not always right. He knows that he often has different information than his bosses and he weighs up the information given with his experience and strives to achieve the objective. He responds to the situation.
In business, you need to respond to the situation.
The recipe for business success involves a pinch of responsiveness, a smidgen of anticipation and a healthy dose of preparedness and flexibility. Mix together with keeping your word, doing your best, assuming nothing and taking nothing personally and remember that regret is unprofessional (according to M) and even when things fail to go according to your plan, you will sleep well and enjoy life.
What next for your business?
2013 is days away. But your future starts today.
- Your future is about doing duty and serving clients, making a difference in their lives.
- Your business will survive because you meet the needs of your clients and make a difference to them.
- Your business will thrive and prosper because you offer something that makes a difference to your clients lives.
- Your future is about doing your best, being impeccable with your word and continually learning, adapting and moving forward.