Training is the tip of the iceberg

Tip of the icebergI used to be a management trainer with a consultancy both in the United Arab Emirates and in the UK. Everything went really well and we conducted lots of training programmes for a wide range of companies in everything from customer service to quality programmes. Then one day our best client came along and said “We love your training, everyone comes out full of enthusiasm and ready for action – BUT, after a while they seem to go back to doing things the old way and end up on the same programme again next year. How can we change this?”

Getting the most from your team

chinese-whispersWhen the Board or senior management team establish the corporate objectives that’s only the start of the journey to achievement. Unfortunately, the journey often stops soon after that, simply because the communication process isn’t geared to success.

Marketing in one hour a week without leaving the office

3 and a half steps imageMost people know that marketing online is a) powerful and b) mostly free – but don’t know where to start, or have tried a bit and found it gobbles up hours of their precious time. There is a simple system that can make it easy, the secret is in investing a little time setting up and the discipline to schedule in an hour a week to run it.

What do you need to make it work?

Do You Want to Build Your Business?

This may seem a strange question to pose on this site, especially when most of the blogs posted are on topics which will help you to Build your Business.

However, I have come across hundreds of business in the past 12 months and I have to say that I question around 75% of them in relation to this question, because I see little evidence that they want to grow and build their Business!

It may seem a strange statement to make, but honestly, I have come across more “social” businesses in the last twelve months than I have actual trading functioning businesses, especially in the networking circuit.

What I mean by a “social” business, is one where the owner is aspiring to run a business, but not needing to make it pay as their partner is out working and paying all the bills. 

Therefore they are using the “business’ as a social gathering tool and going round networking meetings making contacts. or rather harvesting business cards to populate their e-mail lists, but really NOT running a business.

In these circumstances I question if they want to grow their business at all – and I am not alone in this view, just ask the networking event organisers!

But then the other businesses which I have to question their intention and will to grow, are usually established businesses.

Most are in the service sectors and have been around for years.

They have enjoyed the monopoly of their service, and seen many come and go in terms of competition, but they tick over, they don’t really grow.

Is that because they don’t have the ingredients to grow? Probably not and let me give you an example:

I had to take my car to the garage to get the back brakes replaced. I rang up the garage and the first piece of information they asked me for was my vehicle registration. This allowed them to bring up all my details and history on their database.

I took my car in at the booked in time and left them to run up a bill for me! When I came to collect the car and pay the bill I asked when my MOT was due as I was sure it was around this time.

The man tapped into the database and informed me it was due in two weeks according to their records. I said to him, if I had known that sooner I could have got the MOT done at the same time as the work on my brakes.

Now this doesn’t seem like a big deal and it was only £45 for the MOT, but the principle here is that this garage lost out on £45 of business where it could and should have cross sold me the MOT as well as the brakes!

What should have happened was that the garage should have an adopted mailing policy where they inform customers, via the information on the database, at least 6 weeks before an MOT is due to remind them and to get the booking / business.

If they didnt do that the least they should have done was have the MOT flagged on the system that when they accessed the database to book me in for the brakes, they should have said at the time on the phone, “would you like us to do the MOT at the same time” and they would have had an additional £45!

the reason they did not cross sell or up-sell to me was NOT because they didn’t have the tools – all the information was on the database. it was because they had no systems or processes in place to utilise the information to look for additional work / sales and therefore they didnt get the additional business.

But more of a worry is the fact that the owner of the business has not made the time, or had the inclination to put these things in place, and I question how much he wants to grow and Build his Business. Perhaps he doesn’t want to, or he’s too busy to look at this.

It is probably the classic business mistake of working too much IN the business rather than ON the business development at play here. The owner is in overalls with the other mechanics fixing the cars at this garage! So who’s driving his business forward???

Not every Business wants to Grow! Every Business has the potential to grow and be built, but lack of knowledge, understanding and most of all vision and desire to grow is what stops most businesses achieving their potential.

Perhaps these ramblings will help you to look at where you are with your business, do you actually WANT to Build your Business? Are you making the TIME to Build your Business and get in place the systems and processes to allow you to grow?

Customer Service R.I.P. !!

I recently read an article on Forbes – ‘The Winning Approach to Customer Service Just Common Sense’, and it is amazing that with a lot of businesses in sales, this goes out of the window to make a sale at any cost.

Well they may have taken that one order and in probability that is all it will be one order. They obviously do not want that customer to come back in the future with further business.

Doing Nothing About Bad Behaviour… Poor Choice for Branding

I recently blogged about how employee behaviour over the internet can damage a business’ brand, and why setting expectations around such behaviour is so important. Today’s blog also touches on damage to branding, this time with a “green” tinge.

For those of you who know me, I am fairly passionate about the environment, our planet and all of the citizens of our planet (not just the human ones) and how we really should be looking after all of these things better.

I recorded this blog while driving south along the M3 from Newcastle (thank you to my awesome transcriber Janna). I’d been following two traffic control vehicles driven by employees who had obviously finished their shift for a Friday afternoon and were heading back to the workshop in Sydney.  The passenger in the vehicle that I was immediately behind threw a plastic Coke bottle out of the window onto the side of the road.

I have to say I was quite shocked…. You just don’t see that sort of thing happening anymore because people nowadays are so much more aware of the environment and of what’s ‘cool’ and what’s not ‘cool’. And let’s face it: throwing rubbish out of the window of a car on a freeway is NOT cool at all!

Who is your ideal client?

Niche IDI ask my clients this question quite often and the answer is often ‘everybody’ or ‘small business owners’ or something similar. When I ask them to describe the detail of this ideal client – they can’t; nobody can it’s much too general.

If you’re saying ‘I knew that’ then you should be able to describe your ideal client:

Internet rage – is your business at risk?

My website was hacked recently. I’m really quite ignorant when it comes to all things about my website, so when I received an email from my host telling me that they’d had to pull the site down until I fixed it (me, fix it? are you kidding?) I confess to being quite shocked and upset. Particularly as the wording of the email went along the lines of “you agreed when you signed up to being hosted that you would not cause any disrepute to our site”. Of course I agreed that and was rather upset that they felt I had knowingly done something that would. Anyway…

I duly spent a small amount of money to subscribe to a security firm in the US that was affiliated with the host, then a larger amount of money to pay to have the malicious code (“malware”) removed line by line, which apparently wasn’t part of the smaller subscription.

Two days after I had been assured that it was now over and I could breathe a sigh of relief, I received an email from a young guy in the UK that he had sent through the “contact us” capture on the website. Let’s call him Josh, since that was his name. His email went along the lines of, “stop sending me emails” and signed off by referring to me as a “c*!%”.

Most language doesn’t offend me, I’ve worked in heavy industry for too long. Of course when it’s directed at me it’s never pleasant, but the “c” word really does bother me whenever it’s used. So, I duly responded to Josh, asking if it was really necessary to use that language and apologising that he had received spam but my website had been hacked.

Step out of the ordinary

RockChoir imageI sing with the Rock Choir and we’ve been learning ‘Proud’ (Heather Small) this term. The lyrics made me think:

‘Step out of the ordinary; You can feel your soul ascending’

How often do you actually do this – step out of the ordinary?

Sell More Successfully

In this economic climate, a lot of SME businesses are struggling to get their customer base increased and are lacking in sales. Yet, their competitors are not always in the same position. So what is it that Makes A Difference, and one business ticks along and the other gets increased sales?

Well, after many months of talking with small to medium sized businesses, I have developed and I am ready to launch in May, a new series of workshops which I believe will help accelerate your Sales. The suite of workshops comes under the banner of “Sell More Successfully!”

In this Blog, I am going to share with you the 4Cs of successful sales. These are expanded on more fully in the workshop series, but below is a brief overview of each:

1. Communicate

What do you sell?

This is a question which I ask every client at the beginning of any project and invariably I get we sell so & so widgets or service, which is the reply I expect.

BUT, and it is a ‘big but’, that is what your product IS and not what your customer is purchasing from you.

Invariably I get a get a look from puzzled to ‘this guy is nuts’!

 

So do you know what you sell?

 

Is a LinkedIn endorsement as valuable as a recommendation?

LinkedIn has recently introduced the endorsement feature making it very easy for your connections to endorse you for the skills you have in your profile, which raises the issue of having a great profile and making sure your skills are complete and prioritised but we’ll talk about that in another post.

Now I use LinkedIn to source leads for my businesses, but it is also one of my major sources of good suppliers for me. And I use it to find out more about he businesses I work with before a project starts.  So I’m a little sceptical about the benefit of these endorsements on your profile.

I am a huge fan of good recommendations. Not the ones that say “I met Philippa at a meeting and she was lovely” – which are great for the ego, but they don’t really help me when I want to find a new service provider, or to learn about the people I work with. 

Managing employee behaviour – video

For something different I thought I’d pop in a video interview that gives a very brief overview of performance / behaviour management in the workplace. Please click on the link below.

 Employees behaving badly – performance management

Please let me know if the idea works for you as an occasional blog entry!

Random posts v. online marketing strategy

ConversationsTwitter, Facebook and the other social media channels can be addictive! It’s so easy to post your thoughts from desk, tablet or phone and there are some people who feel quantity is the way to get a foothold in the social media-sphere. However, having talked to quite a number of people who are running businesses, it’s astonishing how few actually have an online marketing strategy.

Is motivation all you need?

In my last blog I wrote about keeping motivation up for long periods of time.  But is this going to guarantee success? No.

There was an article in the business insider online magazine that was quite blunt about it, if motivation or visualisation was all we needed why was everyone not millionaires and happy? Because if you don’t have something else then your chances of making it are slim.

I have been talking about this thing for years, it is skill.  You can have all the motivation in the world but if you do not have the skills you need you are probably not going to make it.  I say probably because there are a very few cases in which someone makes it by chance but can they replicate that success over and over again, no. Those who can replicate success are those who have both the drive and skill.  Drive is just another way of saying that their motivation is high.