Can you grow your business when many around are shrinking?
I think you can, and I wanted to share my ideas with you.
My last blog suggested ways of adapting to market needs and I explained how I had added to the Salient range of offers by promoting courses on Zoom (or other platforms). Are there other ways of growing your market? The first four major areas you can consider are:
- Market Penetration
- Market Development
- Product Development
The Ansoff Matrix shows clearly how these are related: (Igor Ansoff – Harvard Business Review 1957).
Market Penetration means selling more of what you offer into your existing market.
Market Development is selling your present range of goods or services into new markets.
Product Development describes selling new products into your existing markets.
Diversification involves selling new products or services into new markets.
As an example of market development, my sales modules and programmes are now fully recorded and available to purchase from the Salient website (here: https://tinyurl.com/y44gahlg !)
I am promoting and selling my existing courses, general sales and technical sales, into a new market. The new market comprises those businesses and individuals who prefer to learn and experience in their own time and space, rather than attend at specific times and locations which can be inconvenient to their own businesses.
Product development can be achieved by adding something that compliments or is a relevant addition to your existing range of products and services. Ideally, this should be something you have identified by asking the market what else they need, or at least your existing customers!
Market penetration in simple terms is finding more ways of selling what you have in the market you presently target. For this I would recommend revisiting dormant customers and making contact with ‘lost’ business. Business previously lost may be looking again for a new supplier and we may only have lost it by a small margin.
Diversification can be fun! Lateral thinking can result in some great ideas for additional products and services which will attract new interest in your business. I caution you to prepare well and to do some useful and effective market research prior to this. It is essential you know what your potential customers want and need before committing time and funds to developing new products and attacking new markets. However, the rewards can be high as ‘out-of-box thinking’ can make a significant difference to your turnover and profit.
Finally, the fifth way of growing your business, and a less risky alternative would be Collaboration, again with much preparation and due diligence. You would halve the cost of any such growth plans by working with another trusted business. However, you may halve the risk, but you will also halve the profit made!
Your first choice is whether you try and ‘ride-the-storm’, or, work smarter and develop your business. If you choose the latter, your second choice can be made from a number of options as outlined in the matrix above. When the ‘new norm’ arrives, if you have used the time wisely and prepared for growth, you will be much more secure as a business than those that have relied on rationalisation and hope.
If you are interested in hearing more about our ‘applied sales’ courses, in general or technical markets, then please contact Andy on 07941 041364, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to learn more about the Salient recorded sales training programmes, visit the offers on our website here: https://tinyurl.com/y44gahlg
A bit dramatic I know, but this does reflect the present position of most small businesses.
Darwin would be fascinated with the choices facing business at the moment.
At the start of the pandemic we all hoped it would be over in a few months and we could get back to ‘normality’. Many small companies simply ‘battened down the hatches’ intending to ride the storm, if you will pardon the mixed metaphors.
Unfortunately, it did not happen. We are likely to be looking at many more months yet and most are realising that the ‘normality’ we anticipate may be somewhat different from that pre-covid.
In the last few weeks, I have gained some new customers who have admitted they felt they could hold back no longer and needed to move ahead, otherwise their customers would go elsewhere. In fact, due to the scarcity of active businesses, they would now have to work harder just to stand still.
To maintain Salient’s position in the market and to adapt to the present situation I have had to change my approach. Fewer customers wish to have strangers in their offices presenting training courses. Having said that, recently I have presented my Technical Sales Programme on-site, distanced, masked, sanitised and very successful!
With fewer opportunities to train and coach ‘in-the-room’, I have added to my training, coaching and mentoring offers. Becoming adept at running Zoom meetings I can now run any course or session on-line.
I have also used the extra time available to record my complete sales programme onto a video platform. There are general sales and technical sales training versions for large and small businesses, and all will be available to purchase on line within the next two weeks. I have also added small business group support and growth sessions called ‘Adapt, Survive and Prosper’, and these can be delivered with some in the room and others on Zoom.
By adding to my range of offers, I am now able to deliver:
Sales, Marketing and Business development
1/ courses or sessions in-the-room, as before
2/ courses or sessions on Zoom, or
3/ course modules recorded for more convenient viewing
By adapting to the new market needs I have ensured that all prospective customers can be served by Salient, whatever their circumstances.
This is what I have done. What have you done to maintain or even grow access your available market and hence grow your sales? Have you adapted? Most such situations can be overcome with some thought, ideas and application. If you have not addressed this already, perhaps now is the time. Clever use of the internet and some lateral thinking are called for.
Take the lead from Salient; Adapt, Survive and Prosper!
Details of Salient Small Business offers are here: https://tinyurl.com/y5ptl27f
Recorded courses - coming soon.
Some rules of emailing, yes, we’re still making the same mistakes.
How often do you receive and email and have objected to the contents? The objection may be mild, it may be significant or it may be something in between? Too many times
How many of us have written one straight back, assuming our interpretation is correct, and damaged that relationship? Too many of us.
They say that the art of letter writing is being lost due to the convenience and speed of texting, emailing and the like. Speed and convenience is a strong incentive to use these modes of communicating, however, make it too fast and it can be dangerous to your business.
- ‘Hearing’ a tone of voice that changes the interpretation
- Making a sarcastic comment that is either inappropriate or taken literally
- Sending something which no-one has proof-read; which is poorly spelt and constructed
- Only answering one question and ignoring the other three
- Assuming familiarity and making it too informal for the contact
Some simple rules which should overcome these dangers and pitfalls:
- If it reads as though it was written with attitude, leave it and come back later. Try and read it with a smile on your face, it can sound so different! THEN respond accordingly.
- PROOF READ everything. Poor spelling, grammar, or punctuation can suggest you are not thorough or professional.
- Avoid humour, particularly sarcasm. If you want to include levity, an exclamation mark could help to signpost this.
- Read everything received more than once and you will find other things which need a response.
- Read everything before you send it, to avoid these classic blunders, and others.
- Why not pick up the ‘phone?! It is more efficient and effective; you can cover more points in less time; you can build better business relationships. Then summarise and confirm by email. This is far more effective and professional than a rushed email or text.
Avoid the traps of fast texting or emailing and build professional relationships; use the ‘phone, or, even better, meet them face to face.
KICKING THE HABIT – and adopting a better one
“Old habits die hard”. Very true that one.
Another, which is one of my favourite quotes, is known as:
Einstein’s definition of insanity: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.
This is very true when it comes to training or coaching. I’ll explain:
When training and coaching, we show the delegate(s) how they can do things more easily and more effectively, helping them to be more productive and successful. We encourage the delegate(s) to embrace the new ideas and embed them in their daily routine.
They say it takes at least 28 days of daily repetition for the new skills to embed and to fully replace the ‘old habits’.
So, the concern of every good trainer is that, over time, old habits will creep back into regular use. As expected, success obtained with the new skills starts to decline. With the year following any training or coaching, the poor delegate is back to square one. At this point it is not unheard of for the delegate or company involved to suggest that the training was ineffective, or even a waste of money!
Luckily, I have not received such feedback.
This is why the best trainers or coaches offer ‘refreshers’ on a regular basis, perhaps every 3-6 months, to help maintain the focus and to fully embed the new skills and techniques. As an alternative, I also offer the Salient Mentoring Programme; a monthly re-focus and target management system that keeps people on track, motivated and successful.
Unfortunately, not everyone goes for more than the single, deep plunge they get from dipping into Salient expertise. They feel that the short-term fix is all they need and for some this has indeed worked. Some have grasped many of the new ideas and skills and applied them with tenacity. These companies are seeing a marked difference in their sales results.
Glib though it may be, the saying that holds true in all these cases is simply:
‘If you want things to change, you have to make some changes’.
…and not let old habits undermine those successful changes.
- Those on a diet do not stop as soon as they reach their ideal weight; they work hard to maintain it.
- You may spend weeks or months achieving peak fitness. If you stop there it only takes a short time to return to ‘couch potato’ status!
- The best mentors have their own mentors to help keep them at the top of their game. Sales people not at the top of their game will lose focus, and lose business.
Get to the top of your game and learn how to STAY THERE by refreshing and adding to your skills!
STEERING THROUGH CHOPPY SEAS
- There are some people out there who just simply do not get what you are doing in business.
- There are those out there who will show interest in your products, services, and in you, but they will then drop from the radar and not respond to any of your approaches.
- There are those those who insist you drop the price or they will go elsewhere.
- There are those who use you to put pressure on their present supplier and, in reality, have no intention of buying from you.
“If you have been affected in any way by the content of the above four statements…...”
Seriously, there are many reasons that people will NOT place business with you, all of which can be overcome with careful application of recognised skills and techniques.
HOWEVER, political developments have added another issue to this list. We are to leave the EU. What comes next? No-one really knows, and because no-one knows, many businesses will cut back on their spending, buying only the ‘necessities’. If you do not sell their ‘necessities’, you are less likely, even unlikely to sell to them.
PROSPECTING AND SECURING NEW OPPORTUNITIES ARE LIKELY TO BECOME MORE DIFFICULT during the coming months.
More difficult, but not impossible. Certainly, we will need to work smarter and have plans which are carefully constructed, timed and focused. We will need contingency plans now more than ever, as we plough on into the political unknown.
To make sales; to make MORE sales in a difficult market requires new strategies, extra skills and techniques, contingencies, but most of all, it needs careful planning.
I have planned for this! I have a coaching programme called ‘2020 Vision for Business’ (what else?!) In this, we will work on sales and marketing plans, strategies and contingencies, taking sales to the next level and ‘scaling-up’ your business; to be the best while others may flounder.
Whether or not you book on the programme, you will need plans and contingencies for growing your business next year. Don’t leave your success to chance.
Plan and prepare now, to grow your business, despite political and market forces.
Whether you like or loathe the man, and there seems to be little middle ground Boris has always had a very focussed approach to Brexit. He has a plan and a strategy, rightly or wrongly.
Comparing this withe Sales Process, and there are many prarallels, he is attempting to obtain the best deal for the UK from the EU.
In every sale, the backstop; the very last option has to be a no-deal. In other words, ‘I am prepared to walk away and neither of us benefits from this relationship’. But to make that a useful negotiating tool, it must be an option available to you. If you are not prepared to walk away, no matter how much you want the deal, then the opposition will use this to their great advantage and to your disadvantage.
If they know that you are not allowed the option to walk away, the ‘no-deal’, then they will find it much easier to impose their needs and wishes over yours. It gives you a weak position from which to negotiate because they know that in the end, you will have to accept a deal that favours their needs.
Unfortunately, parliament do not understand this, or, they feel that the risk of ending up with no deal is too great. So, Boris’s hands were tied.
This point is similar to that discussed in my blog of March 2019 where the delegate was not allowed to walk away without the order. Here as well, his negotiating power was weakened and the customer had, and played the advantage.
This is not an easy line to follow. It may result in bluff and counter-bluff and a cool head is needed. However, simply believing that you have the power to walk away from the deal (even if you have no real intention to do so) may be enough to help strengthen your position.
Make sure they believe you have the choice, and then secure a better deal.