Categories
Sales & Marketing Sales process Sales tips

Making Changes

Is it good to change?Why make changes when ‘we have always done it that way…..’

I regularly remind people to set aside some time to work ON their business.  They are busy digging in their business trenches and moving forward, but how fast are they moving, and are they moving in the right direction?

To extend the analogy, I compare my training and coaching to the action of getting my clients to stand and take a look over the edge of the trench, to see the bigger picture and to check they are going in the right direction.  I then give them some sharpened tools to help them move forward more quickly. 

This big picture view proves useful in many ways, and in some cases it can change their whole approach to their business.  In most cases it is about making some small but significant tweaks that together make a big improvement in income, profit, growth, job satisfaction and even all-of-the-above.

In one particular case I remember helping a lady who was running a business involved in finding long lost relatives and researching family trees.  She was running this business for two days every week. The rest of the week she was teaching ‘to pay the bills’.  During one of the Salient ‘One-to-One Coaching Days’, a few tweaks were made and then one key question.  She realised that her answer to this would change everything.

She had the courage to take that decision and make that change.  Her business is now full-time, she employs a large team and gives talks about her business all over the world.  That question, and her subsequent answer, she told me had ‘transformed my business’.

If you are prepared to make large, or small changes to your business approach, your practices and processes, then you will reap the rewards.

It is a simple matter of being open to change.

Is it good to change? ‘But we have always done it that way’, cannot be an excuse for not trying a potential improvement.  Most changes are reversible so there is no excuse! If you would like to investigate what can be done, what tweaks or changes can be made to move your business onward and upward, I am always open for a chat.  Salient has helped many businesses and business leaders to make changes and to grow their businesses.  How about yours?

So, what are your thoughts, is it good to change? Are there any changes you’ll be making moving forward? I hope I’ve been able to give you a little more clarity on these questions.

And if you’ve got any further questions, why get in touch? You can do so by HERE or by Email directly!

*Image Credit: © Neil Moore – moore-photographics.com

Categories
Sales & Marketing Sales process Sales tips

Smart Networking

On a scale of 1 to 10, how good are you at networking?

Difficult to estimate?  Here are a few questions you could ask yourself:

  1. When people ask, ‘what do you do’, do you state the facts, or do you impress them as to the value you give if they used your product or service?
  2. Do people regard you as an attractive business proposition?
  3. Do you take time to ask them about their business?
  4. How many contacts do you make from a networking group of say 20 to 30?
  5. More specifically, how many contacts do you make with whom you have agreed a follow-up?

In answering these questions, would you still give yourself the same score?

I have noticed during my recent forays into new networking groups, that some people are still hesitant about networking.  This may be due to their lack of experience, or it may be that they are still feeling a little insular after the covid lockdown years. 

Confidence is key; that and a simple method of approach.

When you venture forth into a networking situation, a little preparation can make a big difference.  It could mean the difference between a zero result and 3 or more useful contacts. 

Some of the key preparation questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I offering? – lack of clarity here can scupper your efforts to attract new prospects.
  • What do they need/want? – find out how you can help them
  • What added value can you give? – have you something up your sleeve to sweeten the deal?
  • Can you give them something to read? – taking something away will help to reinforce their memory of you and your business, even if it’s only a business card!

Networking can take a lot of time, and sometimes a large subscription.  It is worthwhile investing in yourself to make sure you become a smart networker and make it a profitable experience.

If you would like some help and guidance in networking, I am holding a double workshop on Thursday 20th June ’24, at Bowman House in Royal Wootton Bassett.

In the morning, we will start with ‘Selling Yourself’ – important skills in making a great first impression and attracting interest.  In the afternoon we will have ‘Smart Networking’ as a great way of using these skills to the best and most profitable effect.

Full details can be found HERE or you can get in touch by Phone or Email.

*Image Credit: © Neil Moore – moore-photographics.com

Categories
Business management Events

Salient Inspiration

Are you looking forward to the coming year? Are you all ready to grow your business in 2024?

If you have signed up to ‘Salient Inspiration – growing your own business’, then you are not only thinking about how to increase your turnover and profit, but you are also actually ready to do something about it.

‘Inspiration’ is a monthly sales idea generation and support programme from Salient.  Those who subscribe will receive access to the Salient Gems – 2–5-minute videos with a sales skill, technique or idea in each.  You will be invited to join a monthly reality-check zoom meeting, and a monthly face-to-face morning session where you can meet all members, exchange ideas, and learn new ways to boost your sales. 

This session will include an expert speaker covering a topic either directly or indirectly related to sales and business growth.  The first session is all about ‘Doubling your Sales in 2024’.  My favourite topic!

Besides this, subscribers will be able to arrange a one-to-one call with Andy Entwistle, trainer, coach, author, speaker and all-round expert in growing sales. Andy will be happy to help with sales-related problems, issues or barriers to growing sales.

A group of well-dressed business people enjoy a networking event - for blog: salient inspiration

The aim of ‘Salient Inspiration’ is to make sales and selling easier, more effective and more fun. So, if you would like to double your turnover in 2024 and maintain a solid customer base, then subscribe to Salient Inspiration.

Subscription is only £30 per person per month, or £320 annually, that’s 12 months for the price of 10.

To find out more or sign-up, please call or email Andy on 07941 041364, andy@salientsales.co.uk

And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter, you’ll be kept up to date on the Salient happenings, including event reminders and upcoming speakers for Salient Inspiration events.

Join the Salient Business Growth Team!

Categories
Business management

Eggs & Baskets: The Risks To ‘One Market’ Businesses

It is not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket…

It is not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket…

It is not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket…

This was one of a number of statements made that proved to be untrue.  In fact, as I soon found out, they had over 70% of the business firmly in the telecoms market and their supporting industries.

I spent the next two to three years working hard to broaden the customer base and was successful in winning business from other markets.

But… What happened next?

However, as I learned later, this was not enough and when the ‘telecoms crash’ happened in 2002, we still lost more than a third of our business almost overnight.

While I was experienced in sales, I was less so in the matter of running a business, and what was not realised was that we were ‘below critical mass’ as a company. 

That is, our overheads remained too high to sustain the existing business, and we needed to make some dramatic changes.  Little was changed until the debts were too large to be properly funded. 

In short, I left the company, lost a lot of money, and the company folded two years later…

I learned many useful lessons from that painful experience.

A man holds his face into his hands, avoiding looking at his computer screen, he is clearly stressed. - for blog: one market businesses

Beware One Market Businesses…

The most important lesson is not to rely on one market.  I know some businesses that rely on just one or two customers!

The risk of this approach is HUGE.  There are many economic and other influences that can destroy markets overnight, as with the telecoms crash.

Internal management decisions can destroy individual companies in a very short time – these could be companies that you are relying on to provide you with substantial income.

What can you do?

Take a look at your customer base.  Is it nicely spread over a number of markets, or at least over a number of customers?  If not you run a serious risk of losing your business if theirs collapses.  Believe me it can be very financially painful!

What is a good spread of businesses?  There is no hard and fast rule, but at least 6-8 customers with similar levels of spending will ensure that the loss of one will not kill your business.  If you can serve a number of different markets DO SO! 

Such a spread of customers will mean that the risk of losing one customer will be tiny and your business would be guaranteed to survive. And do not forget that new markets will require different sales approaches, different marketing messages, different priorities and so on.

Don’t fall into the trap of one market businesses. Build a broad customer base, keep your business secure, and give it the best chance to grow!

If you want some more personalised advice for your business – get in touch!

Categories
Feeding the pipeline Sales Planning

Give Yourself Time To Get It Right

Working quickly is seen as a normal requirement for businesses these days… But maybe there’s room to give yourself time to get it right

While we rush through life at this crazy pace, we often forget the benefits of forethought, care and accuracy.  Spelling and punctuation are fundamental to understanding and appreciation of what is written. 

If I see something that has been written in haste and full of errors, what impression does that leave?  Clearly, I will suspect that they run their whole business in this careless and unprofessional way.  In short, they will not win my business

When did you last read what you had just written? Do you still use a spell-checker, or does it slow you down? 

Slow down and focus on your copy - for blog: Do you give yourself time?

What does your Physical Evidence say?

There is an alarming number of posts and articles appearing on the internet which are poorly worded, crazily spelt and sometimes make little sense, simply because the ‘author’ has not bothered to read it back to themselves, carefully and considerately.

For example, you do not have to look far on Linked In to see poor spelling, grammar and jumbled sentences.  I will not quote any of these as some of them are written by my contacts and friends!

The same applies to everything in sales and running a business.  The sales process needs to be complete to be effective. If you leave any stage out, or even attempt to shorten it, you run the considerable risk of losing that business 

In marketing terms, consider ‘Physical Evidence’.  Consistency, congruency and accuracy suggest a good level of professionalism.  Fall down in any of these areas and it adds a question mark to your professionalism in other areas.

Tak a step back and really focus on your copy, quotes, social media... All of your client focussed communication - for blog Do you give yourself time?

How do I ‘give myself time to get it right’?

Likewise, you may have developed a great ‘shop window’ for your business, your website and marketing material being very attractive, but if your business quotes or proposals are full of spelling and grammar errors you risk losing that business. 

In the sales process, if you have provided the best presentation, and a perfectly written quote or proposal, but have not bothered to follow this up in good time, then the business will likely be placed elsewhere. 

If you feel you are unlikely to spot these errors, then I would recommend a proofreader.  I use Popple Services for the important written work.  If you need to check and improve your sales process to make sure that nothing is put at risk, then please make contact. 

Losing business by omission or carelessness is unprofessional and can be costly.

SLOW DOWN   –   CHECK IT    or   GET SOMEONE ELSE TO CHECK YOUR WORK AND YOUR PROCESSES.  It can win you more business.

Some may say these are old fashion values.  I say that if all else is equal then care and attention to the written word can be a god indicator as to the care and attention their customers can expect.  What do you think?

Want To Take This Further?

In the meantime, Salient Sales & Training offer both 1-to-1 mentoring and team training to helpful you refine your approach to sales and technical sales. Why not get in touch to discuss you options.

Categories
General Sales Ethos

Inward Investment?

What do I mean by inward investment?

Yesterday morning I attended the Thames Valley Chamber, Swindon Business & Economy Breakfast.  The presenter, Rhys Herbert, economist at Lloyds Bank, spoke at length about the state of the economy and painted a future showing slow improvement over 3 to 5 years.

He identified one of the main drivers of the speed of recovery as inward investment, the lack of which is too prevalent in this country.

When things get tough in the UK, inward investment slows or even stops completely.  I have written about this before, noting that middle and far-east countries will invest in, and train their staff during a recession. 

That way, when the economy improves, they are at the top of their game and well placed to win a good share of business.  Not so in the UK I’m afraid, as was confirmed by Mr. Herbert.

Invest in yourself with appropriate training or coaching and you can return to the top of your game.  Growing your business as the economy improves is the best win-win you can get. 

However, without such inward investment, others will likely overtake you and your future success may be in jeopardy.

When did you last invest in your skill set?

What’s Next?

At Salient Sales & Training, we offer both team as well as 1-to-1 sales and technical sales training. Get in touch today, so we can discuss your goals for growth.

Categories
General Sales Ethos

Internet Overwhelm

Internet Overwhelm? Are we becoming swamped by emails, posts, articles, newsletters, offers, opportunities?

My recent blog referred to the various comments I had received regarding how business attitudes appear to be changing.  After writing that, I had further conversations relating this specifically to the internet.

Apparently, some feel they are being overwhelmed by the level of communications coming to them online.   It appears that they receive so many communications, instead of filtering, deleting or otherwise blocking, they are selecting only the shortest or most brightly-lit (attractive) reads.

Have you been feeling internet overwhelm? A woman sits typing on a laptop, surrounded by post-it notes and paperwork

Then it occurred to me, I think I have developed a similar habit.  It seems I tend to ignore some emails or posts, depending on the subject matter, headline or length. 

Unfortunately, this can apply before I have checked out if it might be useful. 

I have found that long-standing contacts are also doing the same.  I have sent an email outlining the status of a project and just one of the four recipients has actually read it.  ‘Must have missed it’ is a popular reason given. Is this a subconscious filter in action? 

Is the internet now so overwhelming that we are losing our discipline in filtering and selecting the most useful communications, favouring instead the ‘easiest read’?  Are we ‘saving it for later’, but never actually returning to it?

I suspect we are now moving so fast that we are forced, consciously or subconsciously, to be selective in our attention.  Could counteracting this experience of internet overwhelm be as simple as slowing down to consider more fully, or forcing ourselves to read rather than scan a written document or article?

Is it simply a matter of slowing down?

What’s Next?

At Salient Sales & Training, we provide team and 1-to-1 sales and technical sales training. Get in touch today, what are your goals?

Categories
Sales Planning Sales process

Adapt or die

When times become difficult in life, it is important to be able to adapt to change.

Evolution set out the rules for this.  Those species that were unable to adapt to changes in their environment, be that climate change or the arrival of predators, would dwindle and disappear.

It is exactly the same in business.  Over the last ten years, and in particular have seen some significant changes to the way we operate, and specifically how we communicate.

I have written about this before, pointing out that the best way forward might be to agree a communications policy with a prospect or customer, involving the frequency of contact and the mix of media involved.

The questions are important, as are the answers to these questions.

For some, things have developed further. According to a number of good contacts, there appears to have been a significant drop in the availability of some people in business. Others have observed that their contacts arrange to communicate at a certain time and a certain way, but they fail to appear. 

When asked about it, they seem to be only mildly apologetic, not realizing that their counterpart has put aside that time specifically for that purpose.

Other observations related by my contacts:

  • Reliability is down – some are not doing as they say they would.
  • In interviews and meetings, no-shows are more common – apparently, they felt that not turning up was the best way to show they were not interested.
  • Ignoring communications as they are ‘too busy’.
  • No-one is making the tea – it is ‘below their pay grade’.
  • Commitment, belonging and responsibility appear to be going out of fashion.

These are just some of the comments I have heard along these lines.

I am not a total doom monger, and I know there are still a great number of good, helpful and hard-working people out there!  However, many appear to be disturbed by the increasing evidence to the contrary

Have you evidence or experience of this?  Is society changing along these lines?  I would be very interested to hear what you think!

What’s Next?

At Salient Sales & Training, we offer team and 1-to-1 sales and technical sales training. Get in touch today, lets discuss your goals.

Categories
Sales Planning Sales process

Timing in Sales is Essential

To pinch a line from the comedy archives; the secret of good business is… Timing.

Timing is very important during the whole sales process and in business development.

  1. When do you move from small-talk to focus on the business opportunity?
  2. When should you follow-up your proposal/quote?
  3. When do you attempt an Interim Close?
  4. When should you follow-up your communications?
  5. When is best to start ‘closing the deal’?
  6. When should you ask for the business?

These are just some of the useful questions you can ask yourself about the process of securing the opportunity. 

Following-up your proposal too quickly could jeopardise your chances of winning the opportunity.  Asking for the business too soon could upset your relationship with the prospective customer. 

The questions are important, as are the answers to these questions.

Timing is important.

What about the timing of your ‘Continuous Improvement’?  If you have not focused on making improvements to your turnover and profit then your business is likely to be stagnating, if not declining.

When is the best time to work ON your business as opposed to working in it; when should you plan to improve your own and your business’s performance?  The simple answer to this is when your customers are quiet. 

Do you experience a slow or quiet time in the summer? Perhaps that is the time to arrange training or coaching to bring you back to the ‘top of your game’?

You could be working on ways to find more customers and win more sales so that, come mid-September you are well prepared to deal with the flood of new business enquiries!

Think ahead and book some extra coaching or training now, so that you can find more and win more business.  Why not NOW!

…and if you are not sure of the answers for 1 to 6 above, get in touch with me

I can help. 

What’s Next?

Selling is not strange magic, it’s a skill which can be learned. Let me show you how it’s done.

Categories
Locating customers Sales Planning

How do you create positive business opportunities?

Well, that was unexpected!

A couple of weeks ago I published a blog which pointed out that Salient was experiencing a very quiet period, a long ‘lull’ with few takers for my courses and sessions. 

I checked and all was well with my communication, marketing, networking, products and my profile was high. 

I also checked with fellow business owners, and they too were finding it unusually quiet. I surmised that it was due to market caution, not knowing what direction the economy will take in the future.

Within the blog I offered some suggestions as to how best to deal with the situation and suggested we may still have some storm to ride.

The situation has changed. 

An Upward Trajectory

Within the last week, I have identified four new business opportunities.  More than that I have invoiced for one of them, I am agreeing training dates with another, sorting out final details with the third and arranging a presentation with the fourth. 

I am busy again!

How did this happen?

  1. It could be the success of my regular digital marketing.
  2. It could be because I increased the number of networking events I attended.
  3. Perhaps it was divine intervention, or karma.
  4. Perhaps that blog started people thinking that they needed some coaching.

On closer inspection, there appears to be no causal link between my blog and the four suggestions above.  Maybe they all contributed to the result?

My wife would tell me to stop analysing and just get on with it!

So that’s what I am going to do. ….and quietly thank everyone involved in all four causes!