Monthly Archives: April 2012

Sales Lessons You Can Learn From Scooby-Doo

How many of you would like a 100% “Capture Rate” in turning prospects into customers?

Well, Scooby-Doo and the “meddling kids” DID capture 100% of “prospects.”

Yes, I know it was a cartoon.  But, if you watched closely, you could take away some lessons that might just increase YOUR ability to convert prospects to customers.

Lesson #1:  Have a Strategy to bring the prospect to YOU, even if you feel a little intimidated.    The kids never really caught these “scary monsters” by chasing them.  Instead, the team created a strategy to get the creature to fall into a trap they had set.  Now, I am not saying that you need to “trap” your customers.  But, I am telling you that you are far more likely to get a sale if you LEAD them to you based on a defined plan.  Will it work perfectly every time?  No.  However, you have a much greater chance of success if you have a strategy for them to want to chase YOU.

Make yourself interesting; ask a lot of questions; and create more compelling marketing than “we have provided great service at reasonable prices for thousands of years” (see Why Most Marketing Copy is Terrible).

Lesson #2:    Your prospect is not a Monster; they are just a person.  You do not have to be afraid to prospect.    Interestingly enough, even though EVERY time the “monster” turned out to be some crook in a costume; these kids acted like it was real the next time it happened.    The kids in the “Mystery Machine” never seemed to connect the dots.  But…YOU CAN.  Many of YOU will not prospect because you have mentally put your prospect into a monster costume.   You are afraid of the terrible consequence if they say “No.”  But, as a former VP I worked with once said, “They can’t eat you.”

Lesson #3:   Find out what your “Scooby Snack” is; then use it.  I do not know what was in those things, but they must have been amazing for a dog AND a person to be willing to face mortal danger in exchange for a couple of bites.   Of course, most of you are not facing mortal danger; but, you DO face the unknown.  So, maybe you need to listen to a favorite song, a motivational CD, speak some affirmations to yourself; read some previous customer testimonials, or get someone to “pump you up” before making your sales calls.  Whatever you need to do, it it perfectly OK, and even recommended (although, I cannot recommend that you eat dog treats for strength..unless it works for you 🙂 ).

Lesson #4:   Watch for clues, and then be open to information and inspiration from those clues.    If you watched Scooby-Doo, there was always some point at which Velma would say “Jinkies”; because, suddenly the clues added up.  Not only would she have an idea of the “who,” but also the “why.”  For many of you, if you do your research, your customer will leave you clues as to whether they are the ideal candidate for you.   Also, with the proliferation of Social Media, websites, and online reviews, and the expertise of companies who can do research for you; you can discover specific factors that will help you create more targeted marketing, as well as be far better prepared when you are prospecting and presenting.

Many companies spend very little time researching their markets’ and their customers’ specific needs; then wonder why their marketing is ineffective and their prospects are “shopping” them and then negotiating on price.

As a side note, CONTINUOUS research is essential.  Just because your product/menu/service were the perfect solution 6 months ago does not mean they are still appropriate. 

Lesson 4.5:  Relax and watch some Scooby-Doo this week.  Give your brain a break. 🙂

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Are the “Monsters” of the Economy, unmotivated team members, and/or cash flow stresses chasing you and your business?   Take the Mystery out of having a business that makes you more money with less stress.    Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

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Business Lessons I Learned Caddying for my Grandfather

When I was young, I used to get up very early in the morning to caddy for my Grandfather.    We used to head down to City Park in New Orleans, meet up with some of his friends, and I would get to ride in his cart and hand him whatever club he asked for.

And, my Grandfather was an EXCELLENT golfer. When he was much younger, he had been invited to be a Pro Golfer; but he chose to work in the Post Office  (he eventually had 8 children, and golfers did not quite make the money in those days that they do now.  🙂 ). In his 60’s, he could shoot in the 60’s or low 70’s.  I would watch him hit straight drives, chip in shots from bunkers, and make long putts.

So…I thought golfing was easy.  All I had to do was watch what he did, and then imitate it.   How hard can it be?

Well, when I played my first round of golf, I did score an 81..ON THE FRONT NINE.  That’s only because I got to stop at 9 shots for each hole.

And that’s where we get Lesson #1: Just because someone else makes it look simple; does not mean you can just pick it by “role modeling.”   Yet, in many businesses, both the manager and the managed tend to believe that skills are learned by osmosis.  “Just watch how I do it and learn.”  All this results in is frustration when the team member does not perform as well as expected:  the manager thinks the team member is not paying attention, unmotivated, or incompetent; while the team member feels like the manager is unrealistic.

Have YOU ever wondered why your team does not work like you think they should?  Have you ever said, “My team is not motivated” or “My boss does not listen to me”?   Maybe it is because your training process is not well structured and systematic.  There is art AND science to team building (which is why the smartest companies PAY people to help them do it right).

Back to my caddying…

I always wanted to drive my Grandfather’s cart.  After all, what could be more fun than driving a slow, electric-powered vehicle on a pebbly path?

Finally, after I had asked for months, my Grandfather gave me a chance.  And……..the first time he let me have the controls, I drove it into the mud and we had to push it out.

So comes Lesson #2:  Pay attention to where you are going.  So many people in business are just trying to go as fast as they can; but are not watching where they are going.    They have no goal, but believe that all they need to do is “press the accelerator” of marketing and everything will turn out OK.  However, in reality, they do not have an idea of where they want to go; and so get “stuck.”     Many of my clients are very smart business people who have built million dollar businesses; but have gotten stuck.  When I ask them their goals, even for the current year, many lack a specific target as well as any specific plan to move forward.

Once we help them set goals, and begin following specific success paths, the results we see are rapid and extraordinary.   It’s like their wheels were turning; but they just needed me to help them push the cart out of the mud.

As for me, once I got stuck; it was a lot harder for me to get to drive the cart again.

Which leads me to Lesson #3:  When people (your customers OR your employees) put their trust in you; it is essential that you deliver.  It took me months to get the opportunity to drive the cart, and about 30 seconds to break trust.  It’s not like my grandfather stopped loving me.  But, all he had to go on were the results I produced.  That’s like many of your businesses.  You market, you follow-up, you negotiate, and you finally get that client.  But, without a plan, flawless operational execution, and a crystal clear customer satisfaction strategy; all of your efforts can go for nothing.  They may still LIKE you; but will not do business with you easily because you have broken their trust.

Worse yet, since unhappy customers spread the word these days so easily with online reviews and social media; great marketing with poor execution can do incredible damage to the health of your business.

Unfortunately, most business owners spend a lot of effort and dollars on marketing; but very little on team training and development, strategic planning, or execution process development.     Really great companies – those that survive recessions, and provide lasting benefits for their owners, their communities, their customers, and their employees – are those who realize the importance of doing these things.

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Are you trying to just “role model” success, and driving your business “cart” without a plan?  Get your business unstuck, or avoid the “mud” in the first place.   Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

5 Crucial Lessons the Marines Taught me about Business

Someone asked me the other day to help him with his thesis for graduate school.  His question was centered on what I learned in the Marine Corps that has helped me in my business life.

What a great question!  When I reflect on it, the Marines teach amazing business skills:

1.  Even when the challenges seem insurmountable; if you have the right motivation, you will find a way to overcome whatever you are facing.  Anyone who has experienced a USMC Drill Instructor in his ear when you’re tired and think you cannot go on, knows that you CAN find a way to go on with the right motivation.   It is the same for your business.  If you find yourself not doing enough to grow your business, it is usually because you have not given yourself the right motivation in terms of a goal.   It does not HAVE to be money.  In fact, if you’ve written down a dollar figure time and time again; but STILL find yourself not doing enough, then it is probably time to re-examine your goals.

2.  A good leader knows how to help people do what they sometimes do not want to do, by helping them see the bigger goal.   Contrary to what some people say, Marines do not all have a “death wish.”  In reality, they do understand how important their roles are in achieving victory.  This is essential whether you are leading people into battle; or leading a team in the corporate world.  As a consultant and coach, I see business owners constantly complaining about how their team is “lazy” or “unmotivated.”     However, usually this is because the team does not understand the vision for the company as well as how each team member’s tasks contribute to achievement of that vision.   Or, it is because you have hired the wrong person.  It is YOUR ROLE as the leader hire the right people, and then help them make that connection.

3.  Chaos and lack of success are YOUR fault; because you should have had a clear plan and done the scenario analysis in advance.  Great battles may look like chaos from the outside, and almost never go perfectly according to plan.  However, they are usually won or lost by the strength of the strategy, clearly defined goals and leadership set in place beforehand.  We had a simple saying we called the 6 “P’s:  Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (yes that is 5, because the 6th was censored 🙂 )

4.  Don’t wait for the “other guy” to do it; be willing to be first.  The Marines have a saying:  “First to Fight.”      As the first ones in, the Marines believe that their training, preparation, and leadership will allow them to overcome the uncertainty factor of not knowing EXACTLY what might happen.  In business, the roadside is littered with people who had big dreams; but did not have the confidence to move forward without perfect certainty.   To be clear: if you feel this fear, it actually may be well-founded if you have not taken the steps to train and prepare.  So, perhaps you do not hire people because you are afraid of the challenges of managing them.  Or, you do not invest in marketing because you do not understand how to write good copy, test, and measure results to maximize Return on Investment.   But, all of this can be learned.

 5.  Finally, know your information, your history and the lessons they hold.  On the first day of Marine Corps boot camp, we got a book we called our “Knowledge.”  It contained rules, regulations, and a lot of history about great battles and leaders.  Were they expecting us to learn the ENTIRE contents?  Actually…yes.     I am NOT saying that you should do everything like it has been done in the past.  I AM saying that, unless you understand history and the “rules of engagement,” you will tend to make far more mistakes.   MANY businesses fail because the owner has bought into the myth that the best teacher is the “school of hard knocks.”  Yes, that is the MOST EXPENSIVE school, but it is not the best.   If you want to grow a big business that makes money and does not require you to work 16 hours/day; then learn from someone who has been there and knows what it takes to help grow a big business (Yes, that IS me 🙂 ).

BONUS LESSON

These days, everyone sees someone in a Military uniform and is happy to say “thank you for your service.”   When you enter the military, you are essentially telling the world that you will do whatever it takes, to the point of possible giving your LIFE, so that others can enjoy the freedoms so many take for granted.  But, you must understand that, because the stakes are so high (especially for the Marines, who are going first), we do not leave success to “the School of Hard Knocks” or “Chance” or “Hope” or “Persistence.”  The Marines do not wait until they are in the war to invest in formal training.

Don’t do this with your business either.  Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

Proof that Most of You REALLY Do Not Believe in Your Business

I know what you are thinking. “What is Roger saying?  Of COURSE I believe in my business.  After all, why else would I be doing it?”

Well, to be honest, I really don’t know why you are doing your business, either.   Because, very plainly, the facts speak for themselves.

Here are four very clear signals that you just do not truly believe in your business (and NONE of these are that old-fashioned notion that you “would do it for free”):

1.  Your “pipeline” is not full of potential customers, and STILL you do not prospect enough.   Ask yourself this:  If you saw a burning building, and had a hose in your hand that would be guaranteed to put out the fire, wouldn’t you point the hose at the fire and turn it on?  So, if you are not prospecting, that’s pretty good evidence that you are not a real believer that your offering is a real benefit to others.   If you really thought it was amazing, you would do whatever it takes to find more people who need it.

2.  You discount your prices.   Let’s say the test results come back, and you need to have your knee replaced.  You go to the hospital, and they ask you who you want to have operate on you:  Dr. Joe, for $3,000; or his fishing buddy Mike, an accountant who has seen “House” a few times, and will do it for $2000.   That’s $1,000 cheaper!   Do you think Dr. Joe is going to buy your argument that, because Mike is $1,000 cheaper, Dr. Joe should lower his rate?  I doubt it.  Because he knows it takes skill, experience, and knowledge to do what he does.  If you REALLY believed that you have strong skills, experience, and knowledge in your business; you would not discount either.

3.  You insist on “staying small.”     Again, back to the burning building.  You have the hose, the building is on fire; now would you just put out the fire on one part of it, or would you try to put out the WHOLE fire?  I’m hoping that most of you would put out the whole fire.   If you REALLY believed in your business and its ability to benefit others, you would try to build your business so that it could serve more people.  Or, is your talk about wanting to “help others” just a cliché’?

4.  You do not invest in a Coach/Consultant because it seems “expensive.”  This is a LOT of you, isn’t it?  So you are working 12 – 14 hour days; your sales are not as strong as you had hoped; but, you think you can “figure it out on your own,” “it is not the right time to make the investment,” or you “want to wait until you can ‘afford’ it.”   Given that independent research has shown that, if you really implement what you are taught, you get $5 for every $1 you invest in someone like me;  if you REALLY believed in the long-term potential of your business, you would figure out any way possible to make that investment.   Even the BEST investors rarely return $5 for $1.   So, your delay in getting help is just your belief that your business is not really a long-term solution.  In fact, waiting to invest is telling your subconscious that you want to “see if this business works out.”

Interestingly enough, if you do #4, I’ll show you exactly HOW to avoid 1-3.

I always welcome comments.  🙂

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Why Advice about Persistence is Bad for You

You hear it all of the time:  {Insert Famous Name Here} struggled, suffered, and failed many times; but was PERSISTENT and eventually succeeded.

And, because YOU have struggled and suffered, or find yourself deeply in debt because of poor cash flow; you are comforting yourself with the thought that “Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before inventing the light bulb.”  Maybe that will be you, you think.    So you just keep trying.   “One day….” you say to yourself.

But, for most of you, your interpretation of the value of “persistence” is not going to help you.

If you think I’m too harsh, then compare YOUR “Persistence” honestly  to Thomas Edison’s.  Are ALL of these true for you?

1. Have a DEFINITE, Crystal Clear, Goal.  Not some fuzzy, “I hope to be successful,” goal.  But a clear definition of success.    Whether you work with a billion $ company, or a startup, you must be crystal clear from the start as to how you will define success.   If you do not define specific success criteria IN ADVANCE, and are unwilling to compromise your accountability to achieve that goal, you will allow yourself to justify mediocre performance.

2.  WRITE DOWN the results of your “experiments.”  When you meet with a prospect who does not buy, for example, are you WRITING DOWN exactly what happened and what you will do in the future to get better.  You can’t just “think” about what you would improve.

3.  Open yourself up try different (sometimes dramatically different) approaches.  It is not as if Edison tried 10,000 times with the same approach; or that he was looking to make incremental improvements on a kerosene lamp..  He used different shapes, different metals, different processes;  Mr. Edison was willing to discard what did not work, and do something completely different.    But, how many businesses and individuals get wrapped up with doing the same thing over and over because of an unwillingness to be open to (or fear of) new approaches; always hoping that, somehow, their “persistence” will mean it will work “this time”?

4.  Strive to achieve MANY successes, not just one (even if that one is HUGE)     Thomas Edison invented much more than just the light bulb.   Among his numerous inventions were also the phonograph and the motion picture camera, which were pretty impressive inventions themselves.   In fact, he held 1,093 patents (ONE THOUSAND and NINETY THREE!).   Mr. Edison was not content having just one big success, and neither should you.

5.  Take ACTION.   Mr. Edison would never have gotten where he did without action.  I have said this before, and I will say it again.  You cannot spend all of your time “Getting ready to get ready.”  Stop spending hours on “your website,” meeting with “strategic partners,” and making unfocused “Social Media” postings; spend more time marketing to and meeting with your ideal target customers.

In thee end, “persistence” alone does not guarantee success; you must have a definite aim and a willingness continuously learn, think BIG, try new approaches and tactics, and do whatever it takes to get there.  Then, if you persist even in the face of challenges, you WILL succeed!

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I help people who have the mindset to build an AMAZING, Accelerating business.  Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.   Email my assistant Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com to schedule a time.