Without sales, there is no business. You can have the best products and services but if no one buys them all you have is inventory.
So as business owners we sell to get the business going and then we hire others to sell into the marketplace to grow the business. As this sales team grows, you as the top salesperson in the company not only take on the continuing effort to sell but also are now required to manage other salespeople. This process continues until one day you decide to hire or promote a person to be a sales manager.
This transition does not always come easy and many times the conflict of doing the sale your way vs. another way can get in the way of progress. There is no question that as the lead owner in the business your passion and your word carry a lot of weight with prospects. Your actions can affect the closing of a sale where your staff using the same approach get shut down or delayed.
For these reasons, you need to have a sales process which can be followed to bring a higher number of qualified opportunities into your organization. As the owner of the business, you may or may not have had some prior sales management experience but with whatever tools you have, they have worked to initially grow your business. That does not necessarily mean it can be repeated consistently going forward.
This week take a look at your sales approach – not the marketing and advertising side of the opportunity creation but from the step of identifying a meaningful qualified lead to the point of making a prospect your longterm customer – closing the sale. The entire sales pipeline can be cultivated more effectively and efficiently by having a defined approach and system for qualifying and investing company resources into an opportunity.
In your business, there is the process of managing a specific sale and there is the process for managing all of the sales and future revenues for the company. Some salespeople are great at managing their own individual sales but fail or flounder when being placed in a management role to manage the sales pipeline for the entire company. In one case the person needs prospect interpersonal skills and in the other, they need both prospect skills and internal company team skills. Motivating a prospect to buy is different from motivating other salespeople to sell.
Unfortunately, I have witnessed too many company owners promoting their best salesperson to be a sales manager only to have them fail in that role. Once this happens, your best salesperson typically can’t stay at the company as a salesperson as they may be looked at as having failed or been demoted. They then go to sell against you at the competition. This can and has been successfully navigated by companies JKL Associates has worked with by having a complete upfront understanding of expectations and the exit plan should it not work out. Both parties are kept whole and both understand the value of each role in the success of the individual and the organization alike.
Looking at your sales team and needing to reflect on potential changes? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to navigate to an effective strategy.
As business owners, we should be in touch with the pulse of our organization. We use metrics to let us know how we are doing. We measure such things as Profit & Loss, productive hours, return rates, turnover and many other indicators of how well the business is doing. Based on these indicators, decisions are made for investments, changes, expansion, growth etc. When the metrics are good then positive actions take place. When the metrics are weak or trending in that direction then we view them as potential symptoms of other issues which need attention and plans to correct.
It all just seems to be part of the natural running of a strong business.
The question then must be asked – why then do so many business owners not take the time to get the same metric input regarding their personal health?
Each year starting in August, many businesses start the annual process of business planning for the upcoming calendar year. They look at the first 7 or 8 months and trend a forecast as to how the business will end up on December 31 of this year. The effort to plan out strategies for 2019 begins with re-evaluating products and services. Possible outside influences of the industry and of competition get factored into the plan and so on. Business plans and strategies emerge into a set of both tactical and strategic actions to bring a defined result to the future of the business. This annual analysis of health checkup takes place and is considered a proactive way to build a stronger organization and profit.
As logical and natural as this set of steps are to the running of the business, the owners or lead resources in the company do not take the same effort or energy to protect one of their most valuable assets –
As critical to building a successful business as having a defined “Promise Culture” where purpose, passion, and promises provide a solid framework to growth, so
This week take the time to schedule your annual physical if you have not already had one in the past 12 months. Yes, it takes a short time away from the business and maybe you really don’t want to hear the doctor say this or that about your health, but it is better to know the indicators of
Although we at JKL Associates are not in the medical profession, we are in the business building arena. Why build it if you can’t enjoy it or perpetuate it into value for your future portfolio. Need help with the business planning portion of building your business? Call us at (313) 527-7945.
Most of us know the story of the Three Little Pigs and their three houses made of straw, sticks, and bricks. The first two pigs which quickly built their houses of straw and sticks laughed at the third pig because their houses were completed very quickly and they could then sing and dance while the third pig worked diligently on the building of the brick house.
Ultimately, when the big bad wolf came along and destruction came to the first two houses and the pigs needed to seek shelter from the third pig in the brick house is when they realized there short-sighted view of building their houses.
Although this story can have many meanings, this week as you focus on the building of your business, you need to look at the foundation and framework your business is being built upon. A weak framework and foundation cannot withstand the daily challenges of a marketplace which demands great things of a business. You end up building and rebuilding your business after each and every change in the marketplace. In other words, you continue to work in the business rather than work on the business to build it better. The third pig, who started out taking time to build a solid structure, can now work on the house doing improvements to build it even better rather than having to rebuild it from outside threats.
The foundation of your business is not your unique product or service that you ultimately deliver to your customers. It is the purpose, culture, and core values that are the foundation of how the business is to be conducted. Your products and services will change and evolve with the demands of the marketplace. Your foundation you build your company on must be as solid as the brick home the third pig built.
This week as you build your company, look at some of the recurring issues that are taking you away from building and pulling you back into repairing your business. These are symptoms of issues which are far more central to the growth of the business. Like building with sticks and straw, if you don’t take the time to address these fundamental issues, they only create more and more downstream problems for the business. The first place you must look at is yourself. Ownership does not automatically translate into leadership of the business. More frequently than one might think, the business owner is a contributor to the chaos. Dictating and demanding, yelling and screaming, ranting and raving to your staff is not acceptable. Employees tolerate it for various reasons but eventually, they disengage and performance drops dramatically. This only infuriates the owner and more of the same behaviors take place. Muck like the big bad wolf, the owner huffs, and puffs until all the good employees are blown away to the competition.
Interested in having a business scan of your organization done to see what are symptoms and what are actual issues? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 to start building your business of bricks.
Recently this past July 16th, online retailer Amazon had a “Prime” day. They offered up various deals for their “Prime” members to participate in. The privilege of being a “Prime” member comes at a cost of membership. The membership touts free 2 day shipping on Prime products plus other member benefits etc. For those avid Amazon shoppers, the cost of admission to be a “Prime” member can be cost effective when you add up the price of shipping the goods to your home or office.
This same benefit to “Prime” members also has become the marketing attack point for various other retailers who compete with Amazon. For example, you may have seen the ads for Walmart and how their 2 day shipping is also free and there are no membership costs. Other retails have followed suit to talk about their free this or that with out having membership fees. On that magical day in July for Amazon Prime Members, many other retailers took that opportunity to chime in on their free – no cost services without having to pay membership fees.
Now many of you are not in competition with Amazon or Walmart but you do have direct competitors who are always looking to take business away from you. In fact, many of JKL Associates clients must grow their revenue stream, not with accounts that are new to the marketplace but are currently receiving services from some other source. Most of the marketplace is saturated with various product or service providers. Most mature businesses already have a supplier list and generally are loyal until some event takes place which causes them to seek a new supplier.
It is these moments that your marketing efforts must be in place to potentially capture a new client to your business. These moments are not necessarily easy to identify or predict. Therefore your marketing efforts need to keep your products and services top of mind with your potential customers. In the case of the Amazon “Prime” day, this was a well-publicized event and competing retailers took full advantage of trying to separate themselves from membership fees.
This week, take a look at your Top Of Mind awareness program (i.e. marketing) and what it is or is not doing for your business. Are your efforts attracting your target consumer? Does your “Brand” resonate with the clients which would be best serviced by your products or services? What paths are you taking to put your best light in front of your customers – social media, direct mail, trinkets, and gadgets? Do your proposals and quotes reflect the commitment your business will make to your prospect?
The key here is not to help your competition beat you but to raise the bar so your competition has to rethink their approach in the marketplace. While they are rethinking you can be poised to take advantage of this gap in time. This only works if you are Top of Mind with your prospective customer.
Need some objective review of your business strategies – call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and let’s get started.
In the business world these days there is an overabundance of taking and not always giving. This is true for client/customer/company relationships as well as employee/company relationship and extends into company/vendor relationships. It would be impossible to frame up how we arrived here in 3 minutes so I’ll leave that up to your imagination for now. Suffice it to say that, over a period of time, repeated transactions were without reciprocity.
As part of “Promise Culture,” your organization defines it Purpose, Passion, and Promises to those relationships which enable you to be at your best. Those key relationships with people are what separates your organization from the next. In today’s online market presence, there is already someone providing the lowest cost, fastest delivery or any number of other technical differentiation tactics. When the technology all works right, everyone is happy. It is when that technology goes sideways and human intervention must step in to support a client need that your relationships are either tested for a good result or identify areas of challenge.
In looking at your organization key relationships, you need a standard by which to conduct yourselves and then to evaluate how the company interacts with each of those customers, clients, vendors, employee relationships etc. Part of the standards are your company’s core values. What your business will or will not do when interacting in business transactions. It is these core values which sets the tone for the employee to employee transaction and then to all customers, vendors and the marketplace in general.
If in your core values the aspect of reciprocity is not intertwined amongst the intended intent of how relationships are to be done then your core values model has fallen short of a solid framework to build your business upon.
This week examine your company’s core values. What message are they sending to your key relationship stakeholders? Do stakeholders have a clear picture as to how you want them to conduct transactions with all the various relationships your business is engaged in? By executing to your company core values is there an energy of reciprocity to provide value in the transaction for a reciprocal transactional value? Do your core values elicit a providing for value attitude vs. a taking for-profit only mentality?
As you explore your business this week look for situations where reciprocity shows itself both internally and externally. Believe in the power that reciprocity can have on contributing to your organization’s overall growth and stability. Interested in having a better incorporation of reciprocity and core values in your business? Give JKL Associates a call at (313) 527-7945 or visit our website www.jklassociates.com for more insights.
In past articles, the discussion about having a consistent and everpresent employee attraction plan is critical to your organization growth and customers satisfaction sustainability.
Much like having a set of strategies and tactics to attract new customers to your business, you need the same level of focus when it comes to the recruiting efforts to attract future employees to your organization. Far too often leaders become comfortable with their team makeup and drop the ball on attracting new talent to their business. They will likely complain about how much time it takes when someone leaves or is terminated to replace them. Yet this pain does not motivate them to keep a constant recruiting effort in motion. They end up losing an employee for some reason and then are thrown back into the employee search and rescue mission.
This approach may have worked in years when talent was amply available but that is not the case in today’s marketplace. Each and every talented person who wants gainful employment has real access to get it. Most all of the best talent is already engaged in some employment and not waiting around for you to find them.
Look at the parallels of this attraction process much like obtaining new customers/clients. Unless you specialize and have the unique ability to find all brand new start-up business who have no vendor relationships then you are in the same mix of finding new customers who already have a vendor or supplier. The same is true for finding the best employees. Top shelf employees are working somewhere. They may not be happy with their present employment situation but they are already gainfully employed in the marketplace. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to constantly be recruiting the best talent for your business.
As a business owner, when you have a performance issue with a vendor, it causes you to potentially look at replacing them as a supplier to your business. This same situation takes place daily with employees both in the marketplace and potentially at your business. Some event takes place and the employee becomes disenchanted with the work or business and begins looking for a new employer. If you have marketed your business in the right places to recruit employees then your organization would be top of mind as a potential new place of employment.
This week, look at your business and ask yourself if what you offer as an employment package is inviting? If not, then you need to start there. If yes, then ask how you are marketing your business not to attract customers but to attract future employees. Do you have a budget to market for these future staff members? Is it a proactive approach or reactive when someone leaves?
Wondering where to go from here – call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 and let’s start the conversation on how to move your business to a more strategic approach for growth and prosperity.
Each day as leaders we are involved with various decisions – hiring employees, buying supplies, engaging with clients and vendors and the list goes on. These transactions reflect your leadership style. Your staff and your clients see these actions and formulate an impression about how you go about running your business. They might not see or know the whole picture but regardless they form an opinion of your capabilities and the capabilities of your organization.
So what do they see?
The picture in this week’s insights, we see a very majestic reflection of the mountain tops on an almost glass still lake. The reflection is an almost perfect replication of the actual mountain range.
This image is a baseline for you and your organization to reflect a consistent picture within the business and equally to the outside world you service. Does your business project a positive image of your capabilities? Does that image contribute to your “Brand” awareness? If you were to ask your best and worst customers, would they have a similar picture of the reflection of your organization?
This week have some conversations both internally and externally to get input about what image you are reflecting in the marketplace. Are your actions congruent with your core values? Do you regularly acknowledge staff for their behaviors that reflect these values? If your answers are unknown or not up to your business standards then what your staff and customers see is impacting your business growth.
In a hyper-competitive marketplace, you cannot take your brand image for granted. The outward portrait your customers see through your employee’s actions screams volumes. This along with social media, online reviews and a whole host of other outward facing images are the real reflection of your organization’s capabilities.
Need an objective third party assessment of your reflection? Give JKL Associates a call for your initial conversation.
As always, your questions and feedback are appreciated and can be directed to our email or by calling one of our offices.
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No, it is not perfect but the USA is a beacon of hope for everyone who genuinely understands and appreciates the freedoms we too often take for granted.
As business leaders, we are provided great opportunity to venture out and build a business for growth, employment, social matters etc. This is not true in all places around the globe. Our capitalist system along with our constitution provides our “Republic” unique access to letting us chase our dreams.
As you wake tomorrow and go forth (no pun intended) take time to give acknowledgment to our forefathers and the insights they had to design and execute a set of standards and rights that after 200+ years still are the envy of the world.
You are in business to generate a profit. Part of the business is having the best products or services which your sales team can sell to your customers. The question is – what makes “Best” products or services. What you think your customer wants or what your customer needs? Simple questions but not necessarily easy to accomplish.
Over the years a lot has been written, spoken about and delivered in various training activities about knowing your customer. Marketing research to gather, decipher, analyze and craft a product or service plan are excellent to get a solid understanding of the customer needs. This moves a guess or hunch into a tangible fact-based definition of the products or services the particular marketplace requires to accomplish its objectives. It outlines what your company must deliver in order to solve a problem the customer can’t fix on their own. If they can solve the problem on their own then making the sale is far more challenging.
Your customer buys from you for a variety of reasons. Do you know what they are or are you assuming what they are?
Assuming is a risky business model. It places at risk your business asset for the sake of hoping you are correct. Maybe you have lots of extra income you can just toss into the wind but most organizations take a more defined approach to understanding their customers. When we speak of understanding the customer we need to look beyond the apparently obvious. If they dig holes for a living then they likely need a shovel. The larger question is – what type of holes are they digging and what size shovel or even piece of heavy equipment do they need to be most productive.
To understand your customer you first need to understand the business they are in. What are the problems they face on a daily basis? What impact do the industry and regulations have on their ability to be productive? Are there other internal factors such as the culture of the organization? How might the age of the business or the age of the leadership impact the relationship?
If your business has been around for more than 5 years then you might be resting on your historical customer profile. This model could be eroding your profit model because the business your customers were in has also changed. Many of us more senior business people had heard the talk about the horse whip going away as a result of the advent of the automobile. That change took place over multiple years. Today, change is happening at a radically quicker pace. Trends, problems and the products or services to fix them can be outdated in as short of time as 12 months.
This week take some time to evaluate if you genuinely understand your customer. Their needs, wants, industry dynamics and culture. How is their business changing and how should yours change to stay current with their demands?
Curious about how your business stays current on customer demands? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to start some open dialogue.
As leaders, one of your most important jobs is to replace yourself with a resource which is not as good as you but better than you. To do this you must develop your replacement. It starts with giving your team the ability to make choices.
This can be a scary action when there may have been little focus on the process of making choices in a person’s life. As young children, our guardians (parents etc.) make many choices for us. From the food, we are exposed to and the clothes we wear to the places we live and the schools we attend. We start being given small amounts of choice. As we mature and hopefully begin to demonstrate decision-making skills, the effort results in positive choices.
The reality is that for the past few decades, less and less positive choice development has been consciously provided to our youth. Guardians have abdicated their roles to third-party resources such as day care staff, school teachers, athletic coaches etc. These third-party resources do not have the same vested interest in the future outcome of the youth. It is not that they intend to do them harm. The issue is that at the end of the day, event, a cycle of time the youth moves on and the role to help in positive choice making falls back into a void. The fundamental learning process of spaced repetition is lost and thus the process of choice making is left to wither away.
With the absence of this process of positive rearing of the youth, the now young adult moves into the workplace. Employers are now faced with the need to invest in taking a partially formed attitude about making choices and craft a process which will enable the person to navigate the many options available to come to positive choices.
As leaders, it is our responsibility to take this challenge head-on. Leadership comes with the responsibility to create a culture and environment where positive choice development can take place. This means allowing for planned failure! For it is through trying and failing that some of the best lessons are not just learned but cemented away in the minds of future leaders so they do not repeat again.
This week take the time to look back on your own choice development skills. How was your decision-making process formulated? Did your leaders allow you to try and fail only to pick you up, dust you off and let you learn from your choices? Evaluate your organizations’ culture. Does the culture allow for people to take risks and be rewarded for positive decision making when the end result might not have turned out as originally planned?
Your future and the future of your business is dependent on you replacing yourself. The time to develop choice skills is already in motion. Take the time to make sure you are allowing for that development to take place in your company.
Are you leading by empowering? Time to call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 so you can move to providing a culture where positive choices are part of the environment.