Tag Archives: Increas Profits

Coach Roger’s Business Growth Excuse “Hall of Fame”

As I boarded my flight to Ft. Lauderdale this morning (heading to our Franchise Conference – no beach for me, because we spend all of our time learning), I was once again impressed by the efficiency and friendliness of the team at Southwest
Airlines.  Sure, it’s not the same as the private jets I flew on when I was working on restaurant turnarounds at KFC and Joe’s Crab Shack; but Southwest reminds me that a “big company” can still provide great personal service.

So that’s my inspiration for today’s post: Coach Roger’s “Business Growth Excuse Hall of Fame.”  These are the top reasons business owners rationalize for not taking massive action to grow their businesses (tip: trying to get more “word of mouth” referrals does NOT count as massive action).   If you recognize any of these in yourself; then my coaching to you today is to take out a piece of paper and write down a one paragraph “action plan” to make a change (you are not making an excuse to avoid this, are you?).

#1 – “I do not want to grow too fast, because that would limit my ability to provide great customer service.”   Sorry, but if Southwest Airlines can get thousands of planes across the country to ferry millions of passengers, while still having friendly flight attendants and on-time performance; this one does not work for you.

#2 – “I do not have any time to work on my business.  There is so much to do.”  I am going to have to call you on that one.  What this REALLY means is that you have prioritized other things in front of growing your business.  (Or, perhaps you need to read my previous post “5 Ways to Free up at least 5 hours/week”)

#3 – “The economy is tough.”  Well, yes it is.  But many of the most successful companies (like FedEx and General Electric) were founded during recessions/depressions.  Those companies were started by people who had VISION, and the COMMITMENT to succeed.

#4 – “I do not have any money to spend on marketing.”   There are hundreds of ways to promote your business without spending tons of money.   All it takes is a little research, the willingness to try new things, and the discipline to measure results to see what works (and walk away from what does not).

#5 – “What I have been doing has worked to get me here; so I am not going to change it.”  That is perfectly fine, as long as the markets/ your competitors/your
prospects do not change.  But, if you wear shorts all Summer when it is 90 degrees outside; is it wise to keep doing that when it falls to freezing just because that worked for you for several months?   Rather than wait until your business is freezing by a surprise “cold front”; take action now to stay ahead of challenges and changes.

#6: “I have tried everything, and nothing seems to work.”  Here is where the wheat is separated from the chaff: how willing are you to persevere; even if nothing seems to work.  Colonel Sanders heard thousands of “no’s” until a Utah businessman named
Pete Harman said yes, and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.   And Colonel Sanders was not exactly a “spring chicken” (pun intended) when he started out.

I would love to read comments from you if you recognize any of these in yourself, and have
written out your Action Plan to make a change.  Also, feel free to share YOUR favorite
excuses.  Maybe your comments can help others.

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Coach Roger’s 9 Question Business Checkup

Just like your body, your business needs to undergo regular checkups to ensure peak performance.  Whether your business is large or small, you must review the overall health of your business at least once every year.

Here are 9 questions you should answer for your “Business Checkup”

  • How do your year-to-date sales compare to those from the last couple of years?  Don’t be satisfied if you managed to match prior years’ sales; because, if sales have stayed the same, then you’ve achieved zero growth.   Given the impact of inflation, this flat growth line is a warning sign for more trouble down the road.
  • What  percentage of your business is from repeat customers? This is important to know because the estimated cost of getting a new customer versus retaining an existing one can be as much as five to one.
  • How long has it been since you offered a new product or service?  Loyal customers like to see you changing and progressing with the times.  If
    you’re stuck for an idea, ask your customers what they need.
  • Have you evaluated your marketing and advertising expenses?  How you look at the money spent in these areas affects your willingness to spend money at all.  Would you look at prescriptions as a waste of money?  Marketing is really about investing in you, your vision, and your company.  The old adage that you must spend money  to make money is true; but you must spend it wisely.  Spend it on ads that are pulling responses and orders; and, if they’re not, maybe you need to change tactics.
  • Do you  know what PR is and how to use it to positively position your business in  the media?  I’ll bet that at least one of your competitors does.
    Nearly every mention of a company or business in the newspapers and magazines is a direct result of publicity efforts.  Being quoted or featured in an article speaks volumes to your clients and readers; who are your potential prospects.  A good PR consultant can do that for you, and show you ways to extend the shelf life of that publicity beyond its publication.
  • Do you do anything special for your regular customers?  You should.  If your customers don’t feel special when coming to you for products of services, why should they remain loyal to you?  Have a customer appreciation day or a special invitation only sale for your regulars.  Create a mailing list of your regulars.  Send occasional post cards or greeting cards for special events or just to keep in touch.  Learn to recognize them on sight and greet them by name when they visit you.
  • How long has it been since you really talked to one of your customers?  Just as you appreciate when your Doctor takes time to talk to you, your customers will appreciate you if you take an interest in their needs.  If you have a service business; have lunch or coffee periodically with some regulars – even if they only contact you once or twice a year.  The personal touch in an impersonal world will be remembered.
  • How is your business doing compared to your competition?  Every company, no matter what the size, has competition – even home-based businesses.  Is their business growing or downsizing? Is their pricing or service better than yours?  If so, what can you tell potential customers about the price difference?  Think about how you can improve your service to meet or exceed your customers’ expectations.
  • Are your employees happy?  Don’t ask them directly; but observe them throughout the day.  Watch, listen and learn.  Employees who like their jobs don’t
    watch the clock for quitting time, aren’t habitually late, don’t have poor body language, don’t spend time on personal phone calls, and don’t look like they never smiled.  Observe how they interact with customers.  Be aware that not everyone is a match for direct contact with the public; so make sure you don’t have an employee who is driving business away.

In the end, you must give your business “regular checkups” to make sure it lives a long, healthy life!

Why you should stop trying to be better at Customer Service

You need to stop trying to be better than everyone else at “Customer Service.”

Is THAT a bold statement?  Yes!

Do I mean it?  Well…partially.

My point is that too many business owners talk about providing great “customer service,”  but fall into one or both of the following traps:

  1. They look at their “customer service” as some generic thing that happens because the owner “cares deeply” about their customers. However, EVERYONE says they offer the best customer service; and how they care more about their customers than anyone else.  But THAT, my blog-reading friends, is a mathematically impossibility.
  2. They set up a customer service differentiator around something that is EXPECTED.  For example,
    1. A mechanic who guarantees that your car is fixed right the first time.
    2. A restauranteur who promises that your fried chicken is hot & fresh.

Both of these are basic expectations, and NOT differentiators.

So what SHOULD you do?

Create a differentiator around your customer service that is:

  1. Specific
  2. More than expected

What are some examples of specific and more than expected customer service?

    1. The auto mechanic who doubles the manufacturer’s warranty.
    2. The restauranteur who guarantees that you will enjoy your meal (even if you are ordering something new).

So, it is not that you should not try to have great Customer Service; rather, you just need to make sure that you can clearly define how your customer service is better with something more than your prospects would expect.

Why You Should Give Your Product Away For FREE

That’s right, I am telling every business owner that their product should be FREE.

HOWEVER (were you hoping I had one of these?), you need to charge for what you do FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS.

How many of you have heard this; but still sell your product and not the benefits?

5 Signs you might still be selling your PRODUCT, and not BENEFITS.

  1. Your price is:  Product Cost multiplied by some number.   This “cost-plus” strategy is clearly product-focussed;
  2. Your customer “flinches,” and you immediately offer a discount.  If you are selling on benefits; then you can be much stronger standing up to this often-used tactic;
  3. Your “Unique Selling Proposition” is your “service” (more on THAT in future BLOGS, so you might want to subscribe);
  4. Your price is what your competitors are charging.  Of course, if you are providing exactly the same benefit as your competitors, then this could be true.  But, if that IS the case, you should change that;
  5. You do not know how you could raise your prices in “this economy.”  When you sell on benefits, raising your prices is a matter of increasing the benefits you provide.

If more than one of these applies; it may be time for you to review exactly what value you provide; and then re-evaluate your pricing strategy.  In future posts, we will talk more about specific ways you can improve your pricing power.

5 Reasons you may not always like your Coach

As a Business Coach who has worked with a lot of clients, I have to make a confession:  sometimes, my clients are NOT happy with me.  In fact, a few times a client has asked to quit before their initial agreement period is up.

But I do not let them.

In fact, these are most often my biggest fans when we are done.

WHY will you not like a good coach ALL the time?

Well, why do football players sometimes get upset with their coaches?  Or out of shape people get aggravated with their trainers?

1.  A good coach will ask you to work ON your business, and not IN your business.   Your coach will ask you to set aside specific times during the week to work on the long-term growth of the business.

2.  A good coach will give you assignments that are not “easy” – you should not be answering calls, ringing up customers, washing dishes, etc while doing your coaching assignments. And you should not be waiting until the night before to do a half-baked job on something that is so important to your future.

3.  A good coach will truly hold you accountable for doing what you agree you must do for your own good.  During your coaching session, you should be setting goals about what you will accomplish between sessions.   If you do not follow through, and your coach does not hold you accountable, then your coach is not helping you.

4.  A good coach will push you so that you MUST think differently.   Maybe this means you must improve your time management and prioritization; perhaps you need to get someone else to do work for you so you can go on vacation or even have dinner with your family; or it may be that you have to hire someone to do things for you, so you can focus on improving your business.

5.  A good coach will not let you quit, even when you give them all kinds of reasons they should “understand.”    The coach knows cash flow is tight, that you are busy, and that no one else seems to want to help; but that will not change unless you make a change, right?

When I first started coaching, I DID let some clients quit early.  And now, I realize what a disservice I did for them.  If you have ever watched the show “The Biggest Loser,” Bob and Jillian are trainers who really get on to the contestants.  And, there are times when the contestants are truly upset with the trainers; who are pushing them beyond what seems reasonable.  But, after the contestants have lost the weight, stopped taking half of a medicine cabinet every day, and have added years to their lives; these students are incredibly grateful.

The reason you work with a coach like me in the first place is to get results; not to like me ALL the time.   And, after you have gotten more time for your life, have built a more motivated team, and have significantly increased your revenues and profits; you will have that same amazing level of gratitude.

PS.  If you are one of those who I let quit, expect a call from Coach Roger’s office very soon…

Why You Should Use Affiliate Programs

For many business owners, creating multiple streams of income online or offline is one way of securing themselves as well as their businesses for the future.  Primarily, this is one way to minimize the impact of potential cycles that exist if you only receive revenue from one business.

Being involved in affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to develop multiple sources of income.   In the simplest affiliate program, all you have to do is to promote and resell the products and services of your affiliate on your site; and pass on potential customers to the merchant’s site.

In affiliate marketing, it is best to promote a large number of merchants on your site so that:

  1. Your visitors will have variety of destinations to choose from;
  2. You won’t experience crisis if one of your web merchants closes his/her program.

That said, you should choose only those affiliate programs that interest you; so that you can effectively advertise and promote them.  Don’t ever be tempted into signing up for numerous affiliate programs in the hope that one of them will bring income. Select wisely, and don’t try to sell products you know nothing about. Go with the stuff that creates enthusiasm for YOU; so your passion can capture your client by the nose and guide him/her to your affiliate link.

In the end, it goes without saying that the more streams of income you possess; the deeper and wider will be your money lake.  And THAT is one lake most people love to swim in!

Your Pricing Strategy (or lack therof) Could be Costing You Money

One of the biggest challenges of many business owners I work with is knowing how to properly price their products.   Too many owners believe that the indicator of a good pricing strategy is revenue; however, additional indicators are profit and cash flow.

I have done a LOT of work on both complex and simple pricing strategies.  The more you understand pricing, the better you will be able to actually MAKE MONEY from the products/services you offer.

To help you, here are some quick terms that you should understand; that many businesses owners do not:

  •  Reference Price – This is the price that your customer THINKS your product is worth.  If you are not careful, YOU could set this price incorrectly. For example, if you are advertising consistently with $10 off, 10% off, or some coupon; you could be setting up in your prospect’s mind that your product is only something they should purchase when there is a “deal.”

Or, if you do not know how to differentiate your product from your competitors; you may be stuck with the price THEY set.   For a long time, for example, a 2-Liter of Coke or Pepsi was 99 cents, because of the reference price these players set.

Caution:  once your Reference Price is too low, it takes a lot of education and marketing to convince your market that your product is worth more than that price.

  •  Cannibalization – For those of you that sell more than one item, your pricing for one item could “cannibalize” the sales of another.  If you charge too much for an entree, you may cut out sales of desserts.  If your cost for the shirts are too low, people may buy more shirts to get a “deal”; but buy fewer full-price and higher-margin pants (so you get sales, but your cash flow is low).  This is especially a danger for companies that run coupons and “specials,” as you may create cannibalization impacts that could hurt sales AND cash flow.
  • Stick – One of the easiest ways to get a quick sales boost is to raise your prices. However, because people make choices; not all of your price rise will flow through to the bottom line, as some people will decide not to buy.

 What you must understand with “Stick” is that: some people will immediately decide not to buy based on the price change; others will buy now, but do not come back; and still others will buy, but buy less or move to a cheaper item.  In these cases, your long-term “Stick” could be low, or negative.   Watch out for this especially when doing across the board price increases.  In the end, what is important is how much of your price change “sticks” over the long term.

The fact is:  price your products poorly, and you will find a huge disconnect between your marketing, your sales, your cash flow, and your long-term business success!

Next Post, I will give you a few more tips to help you improve your pricing strategy.  So, please pass this BLOG on, and encourage people to subscribe and learn this valuable information.

Enjoy Your Life: Change Your Point of View

“Two men look out through the same bars: One sees the mud, and one sees the stars.”- Frederick Langbridge, A Cluster of Quiet Thoughts

If you’ve placed second in a writing contest, will you jump for joy and push for better results the next time or will you be discouraged and find an excuse not to join again?

In life, you are always filled with choices. You may opt to have a pessimist’s view and live a self-defeated life; or, you may decide to take the optimist’s route and take a challenging and fulfilling life.

So why nurture an optimist’s point of view? And why now?

Well, optimism has been linked to positive mood and good morale; to academic, athletic, military, occupational and political success; to popularity; to good health and even to long life and freedom from trauma.

On the other hand, the rates of depression and pessimism have never been higher. It affects middle-aged adults the same way it hits younger people. The mean age of onset has gone from 30 to 15. It is no longer a middle-aged housewife’s disorder; but also a teen-ager’s disorder as well.

Here’s how optimists are in action and research that backs up why it really pays to be an optimist:

Optimists expect the best (by definition)

The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events, which will last a long time and undermine everything they do, are their own fault.

The truth is: optimists are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world. What differs is the way they explain their misfortune—it’s the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case.

Optimists tend to focus on and plan for the ‘problem’ at hand. They use ‘positive reinterpretation.’ In other words, they most likely reinterpret a negative experience in a way that helps them learn and grow. Such people are unfazed by bad situation, they perceive it is a challenge and try harder.

They won’t say “things will never get better,” “If I failed once, it will happen again” and “If I experience misfortune in one part of my life, then it will happen in my whole life.”

Positive expectancies of optimists also predict better reactions during transitions to new environments, sudden tragedies and any unlikely turn of events. If they fall, they will stand up. They see opportunities instead of obstacles.

People respond positively to optimists

Optimists are proactive and less dependent on others for their happiness. They find no need to control or manipulate people. They usually draw people towards them. Their optimistic view of the world can be contagious and influence those they are with.

Optimism seems a socially desirable trait in all communities. Those who share optimism are generally accepted while those who spread gloom, panic and hysteria are treated unfavorably.

In life, these people often win elections; get voted most congenial and are sought for advice.

When the going gets tough, optimists get tougher

Optimists typically maintain higher levels of subjective well-being during times of stress than do people who are less optimistic. In contrast, pessimists are likely to react to stressful events by denying that they exist or by avoiding dealing with problems. Pessimists are more likely to quit trying when difficulties arise.

They persevere. They just don’t give up easily, they are also known for their patience. Inching their way a step closer to that goal or elusive dream.

Optimists are healthier and live longer

Medical research has justified that simple pleasures and a positive outlook can cause a measurable increase in the body’s ability to fight disease.

Optimists’ health is unusually good. They age well, and are much freer than most people from the usual physical ills of middle age.  Plus, they get to outlive those prone to negative thoughts.

You can choose to be an optimist today. And think positively towards a more fulfilled life.

Look forward to success in all your endeavors!  Be resilient! Like everybody else, you are bound to hit lows sometimes; but don’t just stay there. Carry yourself out of the mud and improve your chances of getting back on the right track. And you will inspire others to remove their dark-colored glasses and see life in the bright side!

Get More Sales Prospects to Say YES

You talk to HUNDREDS of prospects…

You get lots of appointments…

You’ve read all the books on selling…

Yet prospects never seem to say “Yes”

For many of you, there is a simple way for you to dramatically increase your conversion rate.

QUALIFY YOUR PROSPECTS 

I know how excited you feel when you get appointments.  But if you do not properly qualify your prospects, you may as well be playing golf during the time you have been spending with unqualified prospects.

So, whenever you meet with prospects, assign them a rating based on three questions:

 1) Do they have a motivation to buy?

2) Is there an urgency to buy now? and

 3) Do they have the resources to buy?

Rank each prospect on a scale of 1 to 10, and spend a lot of time only with your highest-rated prospects. You’ll find that by rating prospects right off the bat, you can quickly disqualify people and move on before you waste a lot of their time and yours. 

By meeting with only the most qualified prospects, you will naturally increase your “Yes’s” AND your income!

Coach Roger helps business owners determine WHO they should talk to, and get more leads, customers, and profits!  Call Coach Roger now at 281-937-7196 or email me at Rboneno@AdviCoach.com to see why my clients make more money while having more personal time. 

Meet with me today, but only if you ARE SERIOUS about making MORE MONEY and having MORE TIME! 

Check out my Client Testimonials and Educational Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/AdviCoachRoger
 

Convert More Website Leads into Customers

So you have a website.  You’ve even hired someone to get you on the “first page of google.” 

Well, in the B2C environment, most customers tend to do a bit of online research before actually placing an order, and the same is equally true, if not more so, with B2B customers. What this means is that even if your company uses marketing automation tools that allow you to identify potential customers and provide you with insight into the types of goods or services that they are interested in, if you don’t time your follow-up just right, you could risk either scaring them off or letting the lead go cold.

Much in the same way that Mrs. X might want to check with her husband before ordering the latest laborsaving device online, those who work in procurement often have to seek approval before placing an order, even if the value of the order isn’t huge. Calling a B2B prospect within a few hours of the prospect’s visit to your website, therefore, is unlikely to generate a sale.

In terms of the best time of day to follow up, experts believe that after 3:30 p.m. is most productive, because even though customers might not actually place an order at this time, they are generally more open to arranging a telephone appointment for the following day. Perhaps surprisingly, Mondays are the worst day of the week to follow up and Fridays are far and away the best.

Timing, as they say, is everything, and that is never truer than in the world of online B2B marketing!

Now that you know when to follow up, Call Coach Roger now to learn what to say when you DO call.  Simply dial 281-937-7196 or email me at Rboneno@AdviCoach.com and get my free report:  “7 Phone Objections that you must be ready to handle.”

www.RogerBoneno.com