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I run my own business, which has its pleasures and its challenges.  I started to do what I do for good reasons, and I keep doing it for good reasons, but those reasons have perhaps evolved over time.  I recently worked out what is actually the most important thing to me – how I did it and how it’s helped me might be of help to you.

I was at a small independent networking group in Marlow (let me know if you want details – you might like it) and Helen Isacke of http://www.crowncoaching.com/ ran a great session on just this topic.

Helen provided us with a list of potential answers to the question, such as:

  • To maximise my income
  • To not have a boss
  • To manage people how they should be managed ... and so on.

There were about forty of them – not an exhaustive list, but a pretty good one.

We then went through a guided process to narrow down our top five, and then finally to end up with just one.

If Helen had started with simply asking what was the most important thing to each of us, it would have been a really tough question to answer.  By taking us through the process, we all ending up with one solitary item, we all enjoyed the process, and we all learned something about ourselves (and each other) along the way.

Thank you Helen!

And what was top for me, I hear you ask?  “Making money” was on my list, as was “Being my own boss”, but the one which came top was “Delivering value”.

Why? 

Primarily because I feel a huge burden of responsibility when working with clients.  They are entrusting me with their secrets, their worries, their dreams, in the hope and belief that I will help them achieve their objectives, whatever those objectives may be.  I need to charge for my services (mortgage, family and other calls upon my cash), so I don’t only want to help people, I want them to consider that the sum they pay me is more than outweighed by the return on their investment.

When I reflected on this afterwards, I came to the conclusion that if I achieve this, then the other things which are important to me also come to fruition. 

If you’ll forgive me saying so, I have a need for revenue.  If I deliver value, then clients will come back for more (more of the same, or services with a different slant), and that will result in more revenue. They will also feel more comfortable writing a LinkedIn testimonial, and in mentioning to business connections of their own that I provide a good service which could also benefit them, all of which can lead to additional revenue for me.

Running my own business is also a biggie for me. I like to go in the direction I want to go, and to do so in the way I want to.  To have those outcomes, my business needs to be financially viable.  So, delivering value leads to repeat clients and new clients, which leads to financial sustainability, which means I can carry on running my own business.

I’ve always tried to deliver value, as an employee and when running my first business as well as now that I’m running Enterprise Doctor.  Since I’ve been through this process, I’ve had more of an active focus on delivering value – I think I’ve perhaps moved from unconscious competence back to conscious competence, which I see as a step forward.

 

So – what’s top of your list? Or might you need help working that out?

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Posted by on in Sales

So, a nice man offered to link with me on LinkedIn. He's an accountant. Seemed a nice enough guy, relatively local, someone who might be able to use my services, someone to whom I might be able to refer people, someone who might be able to refer to me.

I accepted the connection request. And then I did what I always do under such circumstances (as some of you will know!), I pinged him a message asking what it was that had motivated him to want to connect.

He soon replied, with two key messages.

  1. They were able to deliver accountancy services at a lower price than my current accountant.
  2. They were keen that I should be aware of their specialism in the healthcare industry.

I did think about it, but then I pinged him the following:

"Hi xxxxx.

You really do know nothing about me.

The first thing you don't know is what I pay my accountant, so how do you know you'll offer lower prices?

Why do you think that your having lots of clients in the healthcare sector would be of relevance to me? Oh, you think I'm a doctor. How silly.

The other thing you don't know about me is that I don't believe LinkedIn is a cold calling tool. You really shouldn't connect with people out of the blue and then immediately sell at them.

Still, nice knowing you!"

Maybe I was a little harsh. Maybe being a little harsh has some validity! I really feel strongly that LinkedIn is not a cold calling tool, at least not a brazenly as he was using it. I wonder how many such connection requests he pinged out that day, and every day.

I really believe in the "know like trust" sales journey and I accept that I didn't know him and now I do. However, he hasn't made me like him. And the depth of his research was such that he thinks I'm a GP. If his accountancy skills are as strong, I don't want to do business with him.

What do you think? Am I right or am I wrong? Was I harsh? Was it justified??

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Thanks for visiting this blog, but I'm afraid you have one more click before you read it!

I know, like and trust Vicky White and she feels the same about me.  That's why she invited me to write a guest blog for her on the topic!  Please do go to http://outsourcepaservices.co.uk/know-like-trust-sales-journey/ for a quick read!

Tagged in: selling
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Posted by on in Sales

Many businesses I speak to bemoan the fact that they’re not selling enough stuff, be that stuff a product or a service.  Top of the list of their moans is that they talk to people who it turns out are not the right MAN.

Don’t worry – I’m not being sexist with the word MAN – I know women buy things too!  The capital letters are a clue.  It’s an acronym for Money Authority Need.

If the person (man or woman) you’re speaking to is nor not the right MAN, you’re wasting your time, and theirs.

Let’s say you sell gold plated coffee mugs.  Best of luck with that business – there may be a market out there – you never know!

Money means disposable funds, money they’re actually prepared to spend on what you’re talking about.  I probably could find £1000 to spend if I needed to.  I’m not prepared to spend that money on a gold plated coffee mug.  The money is simply not available for that purpose.  You can extoll the virtues of your product for as long as you like, I’m just not going to spend the money.  You’re wasting your time, and mine.

Authority means the power to make the purchasing decision.  There may well be a budget for a number of gold plated mugs, but it’s not me who decides.  All the time you spend convincing me that you’re my ideal supplier, who can deliver my ideal product, is wasted time.  It’s true that decision makers have gatekeepers, but the sell to a gatekeeper is a different sell.  You’re trying to sell them the concept that they should be letting you through the gate. You need to identify the decision maker, the person with the authority to buy.  You then need to secure access to them.  Only then should you try to sell to them!

Need should be fairly obvious, but I get countless approaches from people trying to sell me things I don’t need.  I regret to advise I just don’t need a gold plated coffee mug.  It will create the wrong impression of me and my business.  My china mug fulfils its purpose adequately.  I’m happy as I am, thank you very much!  Please don’t waste my time, or yours.

So, before you make that call, or visit that networking group, or kick off that social media campaign, think about the MAN you want to talk to.  How will you find them?  How will you ensure they are indeed the right MAN for you?

If you want some answers to those questions, please do get in touch!

 

 

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