Posts Tagged ‘coaching’

What value do you put on the advice you get from your business mentor?

And how do you show respect to your business mentor?

 

I was very interested to read the James Caan article in the Guardian newspaper recently (http://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2013/aug/28/business-mentor-tips-james-caan) about taking notice of your business mentor.

The first thing that sprang to mind is “I wonder how he defines mentor”. So many people seem to use the term interchangeably with coach and business advisor. (See my take on the differences here http://www.thebusinessbloggingnetwork.com/2011/03/should-you-choose-a-mentor-an-advisor-or-a-consultant-to-help-you-in-your-business-or-all-3/

It always amazes me how some businesses invest a lot of time, effort and their hard earned cash in paying for help/ support/ advice and then completely ignore it. Or don’t share the knowledge throughout the organisation, so one area will be making great changes and the rest of the business fails to keep up with them. 

 

So who or what qualities make a good mentor for you or your business?

Turning networking into business

Are you looking to get more business from your networking efforts?

Are you wondering whether you are wasting your time and effort at networking events?

Are you struggling to really see a Return on Investment?

If the answer is YES! to any of these questions then you need to consider these three key ingredients – Commitment, Consistency, Contribution

Plan your time for success

As it is the start of the new year there are many people talking about planning and visions and goals.

As you probably know by now, I love to help people to get a great return on investment in their networking – to build relationships so that their business can grow and they can have fun doing it. There is a question that I am often asked that fits in well at this time of year as we are planning our diaries and our projects for the year.

How often or how regularly I suggest or recommend that people go networking or how much time to spend networking?

Stop, Collaborate and Listen!

One of the 4Networking Directors, Tim Johnson, caused a little bit of an outcry not that long ago when he announced to members that one man bands do not work. Now I can understand why his members were initially upset, after all most networking groups are built upon one man bands. Yet what Tim actually meant was that most one man bands will always, at best, struggle. However, if business owners are open minded and look at collaborating, then their potential for success and longevity massively increases.

Needing Inspiration?

I was having a chat with a good friend the other day and we were discussing things that really inspire us when we are in need of a little motivation. Naturally, most people are motivated to keep working for one or all of the following; their family, money, status, professional satisfaction etc but when times are tough and you are feeling low and demotivated, how do you get re-inspired?

I have gone through a period of needing motivation and inspiration and during that time, these are some of the ways that I re-energised myself, it’s like giving yourself a kick up the backside.

Are you a busy fool?

Do you run around here there and everywhere, mobile phone in one hand, documents in the other? Do you hear yourself telling everyone you are ‘too busy’ to do something or that you ‘haven’t got enough hours in the day’? Are you working from morning til night, and even on weekends?

If this all sounds like you, I don’t think you are alone. I’m not sure if its down to the economy and people being desperate to survive, or if it is a competitive thing that has got out of control, but more and more I see people just like this, people who leave you feeling exhausted after just a few minutes in conversation with them.

If this is you, do you really feel, at the end of your 16 hour day, that you are achieving? My view is that people like this are busy fools, people who convince themselves they are really busy but in actual fact are just avoiding making time for the things they really should be doing.

I have known people who spend the week plodding along in the office, making regular cuppa’s, going for a stroll and then they moan that they have to work all weekend. It’s like a form of self flagellation. Instead of knuckling down and methodically working through their ‘to do’ list, they prefer to work all hours so that they can tell people how busy they are.

But surely it has the opposite effect? People wont think ‘wow you’re busy’ but are far more likely to think, ‘you haven’t got time for me’. In a business sense this can be very damaging as potential clients may perceive you are at capacity and then decide to go elsewhere.

At times we can all be busy fools, I know I have run around like a headless chicken convincing myself that I didn’t have time to stop and think about what I really needed to do next, it becomes a hamster wheel that is very difficult to get off. The most important thing is recognising this and addressing it before it damages your business and maybe even your personal life.

So how can you stop being a busy fool and become more productive? Here are a few ideas:

Making Your Mind Up?

It’s Okay, I am not about to burst into that Eurovision classic, I am simply reminded that sometimes it is really hard to distinguish individual customer personalities.

Should this be an integral part of the sales process?

Do we think about it unconsciously or do we simply walk out of a meeting or put down the phone and think two thoughts.. lovely or moody?

Which one of those two are best?  or are we selling our selves short by not taking the time and effort to understand how our customers buy from us?

When we have been faced with a difficult customer, have we walked away or thought logically about how to handle the situation and the personality concerned.

I have seen so many different comments over the years where colleagues have left notes on the CRM system, suggesting  certain customers personality traits – most of which have been  unfavourable.

Why do we do that? why do we make assumptions about people ? They may have been having a bad day, or been stuck in traffic. Maybe they are genuinely cantankerous – but believe me there is always a way of dealing with clients with any personality type.

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

I’m Not Sure, What Do You Think?

 

Friedrich Nietzsche once said: You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

 

Over the years, I have met thousands of people- it’s one of the joys of working in retail. One thing I’ve learned to pick up on is how people process information. Mainly because, if they don’t process in the same way you do, it can be quite frustrating- for both parties.

 

Here’s an example that happened to me the other day; stood in our local wine merchants comparing bottles- country of origin, grape, price, what I’m eating that evening. Choice made. End of. Paid for. Home.

 

At the side of me, a couple were debating the same thing- they were mid-conversation when I arrived, weighing up their choices (same as mine). She asked what I thought: I gave my opinion, they asked the lad restocking the shelves:  he gave his (far more informed) opinion. When I got to the till, the cashier asked what I had recommended- apparently my choice was the same as hers, whom they had also asked.

 

They may still be there now, debating the choice available, accosting random strangers for their opinion.

 

The fact is we all process information in different ways, and we all make decisions in different ways based on our different processes. There are no right or wrong ways- just different.

 

In business, the trick is not to communicate in the way that works for you… but in the way that works for your customer. We’ve all met the “Pushy Salesperson”, but sometimes, they are not pushy; they are just overwhelming people with information, using jargon, telling the customer stuff that they are not interested in.

Once Upon a Time…..

This post is by Julie Hayward

 

ONCE UPON A TIME Pictures, Images and Photos Everyone loves a good story. It doesn’t matter if you are 4, 44 or 104. As soon as you start to hear a story you mentally snuggle down ready to listen and let your mind take you to some far off land.

 

Regardless of your business you need to be a good storyteller. You want your customers to go with you on a journey to the land where your product or service ‘saves the day’ and becomes the hero.

Lord Sugar and the Telegraph corner shop

As a marketeer I’m always on the lookout for inspirational ideas and stories about how businesses and business people are successful in marketing their products and services.  Few business people will fail to recognise the face of Alan Sugar, even fewer will fail to acknowledge the value of reading his autobiography – What you see is what you get. I’m currently about half the way through it and thoroughly enjoying the read. Apart from it giving me an insight into the man, it is also challenging a key tenet of my belief about the value of low pricing as part of a marketing strategy. The Amstrad strategy was always built on “stack them high and sell them cheap” and without a doubt it was a successful ploy; the company made millions that way. In my marketing workshops I advise small and medium sized businesses to avoid this strategy and to focus on quality and customer care because only the big boys with massive buying power can win in a low price war; it’s a well documented marketing theory and one that’s easily understood. Once the undercutting begins, only the player with the biggest and deepest pockets can win out.

Writers Block? Effective Sales Letters.

This post is by Anita-Clare Field

There always seems to be a block when it comes to writing sales letters or sales literature. I have witnessed people staring at blank pieces of paper for hours without any idea of how to present their ideas into a sales led document.

Can't find the words?

Selling on paper is an art and a science, so here are some pointers if you are staring at your blank piece of paper right now: