Monthly Archives: June 2012

DON'T Take The Summer Off, Perfect Your Business Planning

A lot of my clients, entrepreneurs, people thinking of launching their own business and business planning, job seekers, and owners of established businesses have been telling me that they begun to or are planning on cutting back their efforts as we head into the July 4th weekend and will cut back their efforts over the summer in a “wait until Fall” mindset.

Their thinking is, since we are still trapped in a global recession, our kids are out of school and heading away to camp, they are going to take the summer to regroup by slowing down their business planning and wait until Fall to re-engage.  THAT is the worst possible approach and a recipe for disaster. Now more than ever we should be aggressively looking at our planning and strategies to make sure we’re on the right path.
Here are just a few critical business issues we should be diving into right now to ensure the long-term health of our businesses:
* Do I have the right people in the right positions?
* What am I doing to find, recruit, hire, retain, motivate and reward TOP talent? HINT: If you answered “pay them more” you missed the boat completely.
* Is my strategy still appropriate for the current economic climate?

* Do I REALLY understand my market? Am I adequately positioned to serve the right customers? * Do I have a deep enough understanding of my ideal prospect? * How well have I analyzed my customer base? * Am I focused on serving the right customers? Do I have that Pareto principle down where I’m focusing on the clients that are most valuable to me…today and tomorrow?

* Is my sales in perfect alignment with my marketing…and product development? Speaking of marketing…while my competitors have been cutting back for several years now, now may be the ideal time to ramp up my marketing spend.
* Is my marketing well aligned with my ideal customer profile, most profitable prospects and situated to convert highly qualified leads into customers.
* Do I have a client appreciation/loyalty/retention AND referral program?
* What new services/products can I offer? Which products need to be discontinued?
* Am I embracing social media the right way?
How do I track my social media performance from an ROI perspective (HINT – the tools now exist to measure ALL your online branding/relationship-building activities.)
The list goes on and on, but the point remains the same for EVERYONE. For entrepreneurs, start-ups, small to mid-sized businesses and global corporations alike…now is the IDEAL time to make significant changes so you are positioned to eat your competitor’s lunch. After all, we’re not the Post Office, right? For us entrepreneurs and small biz owners, one of our greatest strengths is in our smaller size, so we should be able to adapt quickly to change in order to seize on opportunities. NOW is NOT the time to bury our heads in the (BEACH) sand.

We need to be aggressively figuring out what has worked for us, what hasn’t worked, what is and isn’t working, and what we need to change in order to be successful in the future. In today’s globally connected, wired, Internet-based world, we are truly competing 24x7x365. So get going! I for one am scheduled to have foot surgery in a month.  Right now I’m in the process of completely re-designing my website to reflect the fact that I now will coach/consult entrepreneurs and small business owners, I’m cutting back my teaching engagements, aggressively promoting my speaker services and training/professional development programs. I’d LOVE to slow down and take time off, but time favors the bold. Opportunities don’t come knocking. Seize the opportunity your competitors are giving you by them slowing down. Fix what’s broken and find what’s working. Hire a coach…take a course…revamp your networking strategy.  Test an entirely new marketing tool.  Launch a client appreciation luncheon…conduct an employee town hall.

Now is the PERFECT time to race ahead, while your competitors are standing still.

Cold-Calling Made Easy

Business Growth

Cold Calling Made Easy

How come cold calling scares so many people? Whether you’re facing thee prospect of calling on on someone to inquire about a job opening or you’re looking to sell them your products/services to, the prospect of calling a complete stranger could be very daunting.
Fear of rejection? Nervous what you’re going to say? Easily irritated by the people who try to prevent you from getting through from your intended target? It doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience! Start by researching the person you are going to call. Learn as much about them as you can. Know where they graduated from school, what jobs they held in the past, what professional trade associations they belong to, etc. Then, understand how their role fits into the overall strategic plan of the organization.

What products and services do they manage. What brands, products, services does her/his team oversee? Ask the really big question: “What challenges keep them up at night?” Then find people that worked for them, worked in their organization, worked for them in the past, or know them through professional networking circles. The ideal goal would be to ask for a personal introduction if someone that you know knows them.

The next step in the process entails figuring out how you can provide solutions to the key business challenges that they face. Once you have completed your research, you are ready to write a call script which you will rehearse before you call, so you feel comfortable calling them. Your script will follow this structure: INTRO: Hello Ms. [Last Name] My name is [xxx]. I see that your organization is facing the following challenges: CHALLENGE ONE CHALLENGE TWO CHALLENGE THREE I’m in a unique position to help you because of my background in: SKILL ONE SKILL TWO SKILL THREE I would like to schedule some time to meet with you in the next week or two, to discuss your current challenges and how I can provide you with a set of solutions. This may sound overly simplistic, but it works! The single most important aspect of this approach is to create a compelling message based on providing a set of unique solutions to their biggest challenges.

Check out these great Cold Calling resources: Cold-calling tips Your first cold-call article Cold-calling “How-to’s”Cold call cheat sheet of great practices.