Taking your business to the next level is a well used phrase but strategies need to be put in place to allow this to happen. Here we present the necessary elements to build a successful growth strategy.
Give me five! …. 5 reasons why disability awareness will improve your business
Embracing disability awareness can positively impact the development of an SME in many ways – here are 5 reasons why disability awareness improves business…
1. Expanding your market
It may shock you to learn, that ignoring the needs of people with disabilities as a potential customer base, costs UK businesses around £1.8 billion per month. This is largely due to a lack of awareness and can be changed by making a few minor adjustments to the way your business operates. By understanding and removing your organisation’s barriers, implementing staff training, and making a few physical and technological adjustments- your business will certainly begin to appeal to those spending the purple pound.
2. Customer and employee loyalty
Further to increasing your customer appeal, being a disability aware business will also mean that loyalty is enhanced- by both the customers you target and the staff you employ. People with disabilities are typically loyal to inclusive organisations, so if your company has made clear adjustments, both as an employer and a business, customers will return and staff retention will inevitably improve.
3. Improving publicity
Being an inclusive organisation will enhance your brand and bring many positive PR opportunities, allowing you benefit from openly displaying your dedication to disability awareness. However, on the other hand, negative publicity due to a customer service blunder can have catastrophic effects, resulting in negative publicity and huge damage to your brand, especially if your business relies on good customer service.
4. Accessing a new talent pool
Becoming an inclusive organisation will inevitably allow you to access a whole new pool of talent. When you consider that 18% of working age adults in the UK are disabled, it makes sense that your business appeals to such a vast portion of the population.
Then there is staff retention. Given that the loss of output and the logistics of the recruitment process can cost as much £30k, poor staff retention can undoubtedly have a significant impact on a business. Not only will an inclusive workplace allow you to appeal to a wider number of higher calibre of candidates, it will also mean you are more likely to retain staff members with a disability, as your business provides an empathetic, understanding and fully inclusive working environment.
5. Improving understanding, morale and productivity
Currently 13.3 million people in the UK have a disability, and vast numbers of people have what are known as ‘hidden disabilities’ including sensory disabilities, a range of mental health conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cystic fibrosis- to mention just a few. So, it could well be that as a company, you already employ someone with a disability, that you don’t even know about.
Furthermore, it is also worth considering that disability is something that can occur – in fact, only 17% of people are actually born with a disability, 83% acquire it later in life. In total, 780,000 people become disabled every year, therefore it is impossible to think that disability won’t ever affect your business.
Being an inclusive organisation will allow the people who work for you to feel comfortable in disclosing a disability- as well as generally make them a more understanding and empathetic workforce.
Any staff with disabilities -both seen and unseen- will be more likely to remain with the organisation if the company’s team has strong awareness, and people with disabilities will also have an enhanced opportunity to fulfil their potential, gaining a closer understanding of their goals and aspirations, being more productive, more efficient and generally happier staff members.Read the full article
The Value Proposition
Do you trade on price or on Value?
I have often been described as the consummate networker. Over the years I have connected with hundreds, no thousands of business owners and I find that a very large percentage of them share a common flaw: They do not understand the difference between trading on price and trading on value.
I want to explain the difference and explain how I charged over £11,000 to produce 5 x 3-page documents resulting in my client warmly thanking me and shaking my hand, exclaiming that he could not thank me enough.
When you trade on price you make yourself a commodity and if you are always trading on price, there will always be somebody who is prepared to do it cheaper. There comes a point where the price becomes so cheap you might as well cease trading. There are very few businesses that are successful trading on price (I suppose the £1 Shop is the exception).
In the days when it used to be popular to blame the Poles and other East Europeans for stealing English jobs by under-cutting, I remember a self-employed plumber, on national radio, bemoaning the fact that, after running his own business for a number of years, he was being constantly under-cut by the East Europeans, that he couldn’t compete and now he has to go back to being employed in order to earn a living.
Let’s think about this more carefully. You say you can’t compete because they keep under-cutting you, so you work for an employer who not only has to cover the cost of paying your wages but make a profit as well. Clearly the employer is charging much more than you were? So, how comes they can be more successful, being more expensive and can compete with those who are trading on price but you could not? You were trading on price and your employer is trading on value:
“We are well established, having traded for many years. We work to the highest standards and provide genuine guarantees that provide the peace of mind that the job is going to be done professionally and you will have years of trouble-free plumbing, etc., etc. But when something does go wrong, you know you are in safe hands and that you have the backing of a well-established company that will always be there to put matters right.”
If you went to a graphic designer wanting a new logo how much would you expect to pay? If you are a graphic designer and you were asked how much it would cost to provide a logo, how much would you charge? How do you work it out? Would you say £200, £500, £1000, £5000, £1,000,000? How much would it cost?
What if your client were to ask you what your hourly rate is, how would you respond?
If I were a true master at what I do and therefore, I can do the work you require to a high standard and quicker than somebody who is just very good at what they do, I would be penalised for being so good. That’s not fair, is it?
Conversely, if the job took longer than anticipated, would you be prepared to pay more? There has to be a better way.
BT wanted to change its logo in order to bring all the services they offered under one marketing umbrella. They paid a seven-figure sum to end up with 2 letters inside a circle and they thought they received great value for money. British Airways spent a similar amount of money to change its logo,only to be told that the logo they already had was perfect and should remain unchanged. They, too, felt they got great value for money.
If you saw an item branded with a tick, you would immediately recognise that as a Nike product. Now, as it happens, Nike paid next to nothing for that logo (how they did that is a different story) but if they went on the open-marketfor that logo, they would also have paid millions and regarded it as good value. So, how is it the everyday graphic designer can only charge a few hundred or a few thousand pounds for a logo but another can charge millions for a logo?
It’s all about the elegant and eloquent questions that you ask:
“So Nike, am I right in thinking that this logo is going to appear on all your merchandise, in all your marketing and in all your stationery? And am I right in thinking this is going to be used globally? So, it’s really important that we get it right because to get it wrong could jeopardise potentially £billionsof business around the world, right?” (I wouldn’t actually phrase it this way because these are leading questions. Better to get them to tell you what the risk is)
It’s all about the risk. Would you spend £1,000,000 to protect £1 billion of business? Are you beginning to see how you are now trading on value and not on price. Now, I am not saying that with this new-found understanding you can now take on the big boys. No, there is a lot more you need like history, infrastructure etc., before you can approach these guys but this extreme example illustrates how it is possible to trade on value rather than price.
I seemingly have an impossible business model. One of my businesses is debt management or as I prefer to call it, debt resolution, an FCA regulated activity. In other words, I have clients who, by definition, have very little money or no money whatsoever!
The first thing I say after breaking the proverbial ice is:
“Before I start, I want you to know there are other people, other bodies, other organisations who seemingly do what I do and don’t charge fees. You can go to Stepchange, National Debtline, Christians Against Poverty and Citizens Advice Bureau, amongst others and they all seem to do what I do and they don’t charge fees. I do charge fees and there are good reasons why people choose to pay my fee but what I am saying is you have choices; you don’t have to use me.”
And do you know what? The one thing that absolutely never comes up is any objection about the fees I charge. I make sure I ask the right questions so people understand the value I offer. Instructing me becomes a no-brainer.
An accountant referred me to a client who had a particular need. The accountant explained that the client had been talking to a chartered planner but realised, because of the conversation we had, that my remedy might be suitable for this client. What the chartered planner was advising was correct but having asked the right questions, I could see a far less complicated way of achieving the same objectives. The end result was that I produced 5 x 3-page documents and charged over £11,000. The client was delighted because he really understood the value of what I produced and the peace of mind it provided. In fact, if I had charged a few hundred pounds, as most people in my position would have done, the client would be concerned that it was too cheap, it wouldn’t do the job and he would not have instructed me.
In summary, ask elegant and eloquent questions that leads the prospective customer or client to identify his real buying motives, his objectives. Then do the same thing to get the customer or client to take ownership of the risks or costs if we get this wrong. Illustrate how your offering achieves the objectives and negates the risks and buying from you becomes a no-brainer.
Trade on value, not on price.Read the full article
THE 3 KEY STAGES – HOW TO HANDLE PRICE NEGOTIATIONS
Has a prospective customer of your services ever said to you:-
“Your price is too high or can you do me a better price”?
Giving a discount in the right way, may well be the most appropriate thing to do.
Conversely, giving a discount in the wrong way, can not only lose you a sale, you could also potentially lose all possible future sales.
If you said “yes” and immediately give a discount, what do you think that person would now be thinking?
1. That you seem desperate for the sale!!
2. How much further would they/you have lowered the price or worse, maybe they should have asked you for an even bigger discount.
3. The price they/you originally offered was not the real price. Are they/you tryingto trick them? Can they really trust you?
4. If I come and buy from you next time,I’ll ask for an even bigger discount.
The problem here is that you’re not setting a very high ‘value’ for your services if you are prepared to discount so quickly, in effect you’re agreeing that your price is too high!! Another thing to consider, is that you have given something away without asking for anything in return. You’ve just created a win/lose situation.
The potential client has “won” a discount and you have “lost” some of your bottom line. In addition to this, because you have lost margin it will over time result in you resenting the client for having discounted your offering and thus you may not want to go the extra mile for them which in of its self will result in them not purchasing again further down the line…
The bottom line is that in giving a discount you are training your client to expect a discount in all future dealings with you. Why wouldn’t they ask again?
You may even have damaged your credibility to the extent this person no longer trusts you or wants to do business with you again.
So what do you say when someone asks for a discount?
When someone asks for a discount, just reflect back and ask,
“Why do you want a discount?”
Listen very carefully to the response they give you. That will help you understand what is behind their request as you need to understand whether money really is the issue before you can respond.
When you respond, take the focus away from discounting the price to changing the value.
HOW TO HANDLE PRICE NEGOTIATIONS
Have a value discussion by using one of the following three strategies.
This strategy is to be used when money really is the issue i.e they really do not have the budget.
Instead of giving a discount, you lower your price by taking out something of high perceived value. This is a win/win choice. They get the lower price and you still maintain your price for a certain value bundle e.g.
1. 1. “If price is an issue for you, then perhaps we take out this particular element of the service.”
2. 2. “If price is an issue for you, is there an element we can take out to reduce the cost?”
What you are now doing is essentially training your prospective customers and clients that, in order to get a discount, they have to give up something of value. They need to understand that there’s a price for reducing the price.
With this strategy you maintain your price. You effectively say “If you agree to my price, then I will add in this service.” The service that you ‘add in’ needs to have a high perceived value by them and be a low cost item to you. This way it is a win/win.
“If you agree to my price of £20,000 for the whole service, I will also include this additional item.”
What are some high perceived value (low cost to you) products/services you could include in your offer?
With this strategy you reduce your price in exchange for a larger sale. You effectively say
1. “If you give me a larger commitment, then I will give you a reduced price.” That’s a win/win.
2. “If you commit to 1000 hours of consulting, then I’ll reduce my rate from £250 to £200 an hour.”
What are some financial commitments your prospects/clients could give you in exchange for a reduced price?
I hope you’re starting to see that when people ask for a discount, it creates a great opportunity for you to focus on VALUE.
The next time someone asks you for a discount, and money is NOT the ‘real’ issue, try increasing the total value of your sale.
In fact go one step further. Be proactive. Don’t wait for your prospects/ clients to ask for a discount, approach them with your own “If…then” offer to increase the value of the sale, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it can be to get larger sales with minimal extra effort!
5 REASONS WHY ‘PERSUADING’ PREVENTS SALES
Do you think selling is all about persuading and convincing?
Are you trying hard to get people to agree with what you tell them? If that is the essence of your sales approach, it will lose you sales. Here are five reasons why.
Reason #1: You will resist selling.
If you think selling is all about persuading and convincing, you’ll simply resist actively selling as you probably don’t enjoy the experience of having to get people to agree with you.
Doing that is difficult and can feel like fighting. You may also be concerned about what people will think of you. As a result, selling will be something you do rather reluctantly, and really wish you didn’t have to do at all.
If you resist selling, you are not going to be selling as often as you need to. Consequently, the less time you spend selling, the less sales you will make – plain and simple.
Reason #2: You’ll experience sales resistance from your prospects.
The moment you start trying to persuade or convince is the moment your prospect identifies you as a “typical salesperson.” As soon as they reach that conclusion, they go into protection mode to prevent themselves from being sold to. They put their sales resistance barrier up. When a sales resistance barrier is present, the chance of getting a sale goes down.
Reason #3: You will miss out on the larger sales.
If your prospect trusts you, it is fairly straight forward to make a much larger initial sale.
You can do this by giving them an option which assumes they will be with you for the long term. If they trust you, they will give serious consideration to this longer term, higher priced option.
However, if you are persuading or convincing your prospect, it is unlikely they will trust you. They’ll think that you care more about making a sale than you do about helping them.
When there is little or no trust present, your prospect will be very cautious about making a long term commitment to you. Hence, they will probably not be interested in your higher priced option.
Reason #4: You will miss out on the easiest sales of all.
The easiest sales of all should be from your current customers. However, and this is very important, if you acquired a customer through persuading and convincing, it will affect the trust between you and your prospect.
He or she will probably not be too keen on repeating the last sales experience with you. So next time they need something that you can offer, they may go look to someone else who cares more about them than about themselves.
Reason #5: You will have few referrals.
If your prospects and customers did not enjoy the persuading and convincing sales experience with you, they are definitely not going to give you referrals.
They will want to protect their own reputation within their network of friends and associates.
So what’s the solution?
Instead of thinking that selling is about persuading and convincing, approach selling as helping people to get what they want.
If you approach selling in this way – and use a sales process that matches it – then there will be little sales resistance on your side and from your prospects.
As you successfully build rapport and trust, your prospects will be more open to higher priced initial options.
Finally, you will get more repeat sales and referrals from your customers.
Starting today, stop persuading and convincing, and begin intently focusing on helping people to get what they want.
Both you and your prospects and existing customers will feel the difference. This simple change in your sales approach will result in more sales and greater customer loyalty which of course will ultimately grow a more robust business forever after…
WHAT IS AND WHY DO I NEED A SALES STRATEGY
It’s surprising how many people in business simply do not have a clearly defined and written strategy for how they gain new and repeat sales of the products or services that they sell.
In the boom years businesses could just about get away with this because there was so much business sloshing around that few people really had to work very hard to make a reasonable living.
But the world is a very different place since the pandemic and it’s unlikely to ever return to a less competitive environment which is why now more than ever, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a solid bullet proof plan of action to magnetise customers to you instead of your competition.
To begin we must start by better understanding what the main challenge is, before we can focus on developing a solution of building a sales strategy that works.
Noise, (competition and speed of life)
You are someone’s customer aren’t you? Think about your average working day and what runs through ‘your’ mind from the moment you wake up until your head goes back on the pillow…
Family, food, car, journey, office, e-mail, STUFF, phone calls, more STUFF, car, journey, gym, home, family, food, chores, TV, Bed……
You me and everyone have so much noise and ‘stuff’ going on in our lives each and every day that when it comes to buying stuff or services, all we want is someone who will make the buying process easy by giving us what we want at a good price and who will do what they say they will before we agreed to buy… Don’t we?
OK so if that is all we want, then clearly, this must be what everyone wants right?
Yet you know as well as I that despite every single company out there advocating ‘we promise great service at a great price’ very few actually deliver, so how are you at delivering the dream? Are you really any different?
This is where you have to have, a sales strategy that really is different to all of your competitors, one that starts differently, runs differently and does something they (your prospective customer) expects but is unsure they will receive … you’re going to have to ‘really’ deliver!, so that your customers can see, feel the difference that will have them become a raving fan and incredible referrer to other people.
A SIMPLE 6 POINT SALES STRATEGY
1. Start by making a list of every customer and contact that you know and have in your CRM system (Database) that’s the easy part…
2. Put your contacts into 4 groups
a. Mature clients – Those who buy from you over & over again
b. Clients – Those who have bought from you twice
c. Customers – Those who have purchased from you once
d. Prospective customers – Those who are yet to buy anything from you
3. Make a planned schedule to contact and meet them all if possible, beginning with your active clients. (This consistently builds both long term rapport to inspire repeat and referrals). Once this stage is robustly automated, gradually work out to the people you know least well.
4. Make a list of your contacts that sell products or services into the same target market as you, meet them & collaborate with them to share introductions & run joint marketing campaigns. Again always work out from those you know best, it’s easier and you’ll get faster results.
5. Plan to make at least 3 x Serving NOT Selling telephone calls every day to your people on your customer database.
Remember that sales is not marketing and marketing is NOT sales, if you want to make more sales you’re going to have to talk to more people, no amount of e-mails will ever generate the income that talking to and then meeting people will.
While this is a great ‘big picture’ overview of what a well defined sales strategy must look like to begin with, obviously you’re going to need to build on this to create a truly exceptional sales strategy, one that wins more business more often to create an extraordinary business that affords you the perfect work life balance.
There are thousands of books and training courses on building a sales strategy which seasoned sales professionals invest in to stay on top of their game which is why it is highly recommended that you invest in sales training at least once every year if you are to achieve your true potential in business.Read the full article