Christmas is just around the corner – really. Chances are you’ve already heard your first Michael Buble track (the human Advent calendar). Decorations have probably started to crop up in your local pubs, and coffee shops seem to think it’s Christmas Day already. While the slow trickle of the season may have already begun, the floodgates of the Christmas season really open up on the newest of British holiday traditions: Black Friday. Will you be ready? Do you care? Is there a different way?
A lot of effort, time and money is spent on finding new leads. But looking after and nurturing your current leads, your past clients and new clients they could refer you to, could be a lot more valuable to you and more profitable to work with than any brand new people.
You’ve probably thought at times why is my bank giving a better deal on a mortgages or savings accounts to new customers than me when I have been with them 20 years? A lot of companies still put new clients first at the detriment to their current clients. It’s the leaky bucket syndrome – however many new clients you bring in, if you don’t look after them once you have them, they leave and go elsewhere. Better to fix the leaks first and make sure you have a good client retention programme. Have you?
Companies are starting to realise this and pay attention to retention as well as new clients. Trusted selling rewards loyalty – clients who are currently with you as well as new ones should benefit too.
But let’s assume you have done everything you can with your current list of ideal clients and you’d like more people to know about you. When the referrals and the word-of-mouth business starts to dry up, that’s when a lot of clients come to me for ideas on how to drum up new business. [Read more…]
I put this together for my own benefit but thought I would share this with you. Have I missed any critical ones out? What would you add to this list?
Leave your desk as you would like to find it!
Don’t leave any important tasks sitting on your desk. Finish them before your holiday, so you don’t have the distraction of a nagging to-do list in the back of your mind. Clean out your inboxes, voicemail, and physical paper piles, too, so you can come back to work with a clean desk and fresh attitude. That makes the world of difference.
That “organised chaos” you see before you makes sense now but will it make sense when you’ve been away for days or weeks!? In the past I have run JUST GET IT DONE days for myself and my clients to boost productivity by working through a to-do list as a group and being accountable to the group. It works wonders. [Read more…]
How do you feel when other people ask you to give a testimonial?
Are there any contradictions there?
One very powerful way to make your business stand out from the crowd is to use testimonials. After all, you can go on about how great you are until you’re blue in the face, but, let’s face it, you’re bound to say good things about your business – it’s expected. Even businesses with the most appalling service will tell you how great they are!
However if someone else talks about how good your business is – it is instantly more believable. That is one reason it is so important to collect testimonials from delighted customers.
Last week I talked about ways to ask that didn’t feel icky, but another reason to remember is often clients are so pleased with the service, they are only too pleased to give you a testimonial. Think how good you feel giving them to people you really appreciate. [Read more…]
It is standard business practice to ask for feedback on service or products and we’ll look at practical ways of doing this in the next blog. But what if you find that icky, or uncomfortable or feel like you are just fishing for compliments?
Well let’s think about what we are asking them to do. If they have benefited from working with you and are feeling grateful and appreciative, then they will probably be happy to be given a structure and a platform for sharing that.
If you don’t feel they have benefited from working with you, or it hasn’t gone as well as you’d hoped it is still worth asking as you will learn from their answer (a) what went wrong so you can do differently next time – no such thing as failure, only learning (b) you might be pleasantly surprised that it was not as bad as you thought.
So ask with an open mind and an open heart to hear what it is they have to say about working with you. Here are some ways you might find easier than what you’ve tried before. [Read more…]
I have been to a lot of networking meetings over the years and I hear a lot of people describing what they do or what they sell but without really telling me why I should care or what’s in it for me (WIIFM). All too often I hear details about the FEATURES of a product or service, e.g.
- we are open 7 days a week,
- it has been endorsed by the medical profession,
- I’m in the insurance business,
- I sell leading-edge, top of the range skin care products etc. etc
But I don’t really care about the features until I know the BENEFITS of your product or service e.g. [Read more…]
Why using the phone is so scary.
It’s easy for me to say to my clients ”pick up the phone and ring 5 contacts”. I don’t suffer from telephonobia which is actually something that about 2.5 million people in the UK alone suffer from. I had no idea! It is similar to glossophobia which comes from a fear of having to engage an audience, and the associated fear of being criticised, judged or made a fool of. (like public speaking)
But I think that more than that, fear of making phone calls is associated with the fear of being thought a nuisance, interrupting people’s lives. At least when you are giving a presentation the audience have turned up of their own accord.
There is also the lack of body language resulting in people fearing they will lose control of the conversation and misunderstandings will occur. Sufferers typically report fear that they might fail to respond appropriately in the conversation,or find themselves with nothing to say, leading to embarrassing silence, stammering, or stuttering. [Read more…]
In my Facebook Group, “Nicci’s Trusted Sales Club” the first monthly challenge is to contact 5 people to see how they are doing.
Why have I set that as the first monthly challenge?
- It’s achievable – just one phone call a day (most people can manage that) although I do recommend batching all your calls together on one day so you can get in the right energy and frame of mind for it. It can be exhausting getting into full-on-communication mode in between doing your accounts or writing a blog
- It focuses your attention on serving others, helping others and sales happen when you focus on service.
- It builds sales confidence to do this. Not enough of us use the phone to really connect and it can be very welcome when working at home alone all day. There is no pressure to sell, you are genuinely interested in how they are doing. If during the conversation it turns out they have a problem you can solve with one of your products and services, that may be just what they need. But the purpose of the call is to be of service.
- It keeps you in the forefront of potential clients’ minds. If they do have a problem you can solve, they are going to feel comfortable and confident that you will do what you say and contact you rather than someone else.
- Phone calls can create real connection in a time efficient way (as opposed for arranging to meet for coffee) and so much more memorable and meaningful than a text or email or social media post.
- It is a forgotten art. When I visit professional sales teams in companies I’m shocked at how QUIET it is. Just the sound of tapping keyboards. When I was a sales director we had our sales teams on the phones all the time, all over the world. It made for a lively, dynamic atmosphere and we got appointments set up for visits, agreements made, misunderstandings resolved a lot quicker than through a chain of emails.
I recently ran a survey among coaches and one of the top issues they suffer from, and I’m sure a lot of other business owners suffer from, is not being able to convert prospects to clients.
It’s all very well having a wonderful looking website, free offers, free coaching calls, great online and offline marketing campaigns, lots of followers on social media but if underlying all of that is the fear or the confusion or not knowing how to turn all those leads, all those prospects into paying clients, ….then you have a very expensive hobby rather than a business.
Sales skills is probably THE most important skill to invest in when setting up your own business. Even learning how to create a website or writing regular emails are not going to bring in more business unless they have a compelling call to action and a conversion tool.
And that conversion tool is usually your mouth! Actually talking to clients about what their issues are and finding out if they are a fit for you is THE best way to convert prospects to clients.
So what’s stopping you converting prospects to clients?
Is your inbox full of messages telling you the ONE thing that will bring you wealth, health, success, ..etc? Do those Facebook ads pop up on your screen telling you to invest in ONE programme that will take your business to the next level?
If there really was ONE thing we’d all be doing it. Instead I believe there are numerous ways to create success for yourself if you know and trust yourself and you know your options.
Knowing and trusting yourself
This may be easier said than done and many of us take personal development seriously as we want to understand ourselves on a deeper level. You will probably know by now that one of the tools I use, Talent Dynamics is a great short cut to months or years of self awareness and having the language to articulate your strengths and talents.
Another related tool is the Wealth Spectrum which assesses where you are on the path to wealth. Taking your answers to a series of questions it will place you on one of the 9 coloured levels of the lighthouse as illustrated below. The higher up you go, the wider your world view and the more revenue streams you become aware of.