The 5 Smart Ways to Grow Your Business
How do you step up and begin moving your business to better results? Well first of all you need to make some changes. That means taking a couple steps to the edge of your comfort zone and sometimes going right out there to the edge. Growth requires change. That’s why it’s called growth.
Number One. You need to spend more time on money making activities. If you’re not prospecting, contacting, meeting with clients or creating sales opportunities, you are not going to get more sales. Set an alarm on your smartphone to go off at random times throughout the day and make a note of what you are doing at that moment. Is it the $100.00 per hour work or the $10.00 per hour work? What you are doing will determine how much you’re going to make.
Number Two. Move your least profitable accounts to others. If you have sales people or a sales assistant, reassign the bottom of our account list to them. This can be the most effective way for you to grow. Those accounts will get better service from someone else and you’ll be able to spend your time on your most profitable accounts and your big hairy audacious dream account list.
Number Three. Prospect for bigger fish. You do have big, hairy, audacious dream accounts, don’t you? In my career, I was able to work with huge accounts because I was either brave enough or stupid enough to call on them, to research them, to provide ideas for them. One major account took me nineteen years to land but it became a seven figure per year account for me. I believe you should have ten big dreams that you are working on at all times.
Number Four. Create a STOP DOING LIST! Everyone likes to brag about their long to-do lists. Having a Stop-Doing-List can be much more profitable. You need to stop doing the things that are not paying off. Activity may make you feel better but unless it’s getting profitable results for you, it’s time to stop it now. See number one above.
Number Five. Increase your average order size. If you’ve moved your accounts that are doing small orders to others and you’ve begun prospecting for bigger fish, you have a good start on this. Become a specialist in higher end and higher ticket items. Sell programs and sell into programs such as wellness, trade shows and other areas where you can get bigger orders. It takes the same amount of overhead, same amount of effort and the same amount of time to sell a small order as it does a giant sized one. Make it worth your while.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be setting yourself up to grow. But you need to stay disciplined, you need to risk turning over small accounts so that you have time to develop bigger ones and you need the courage to go after your dreams.
What will it take to get to Amazing?
Many promotional products professionals are really getting beat up on price and see the industry’s products as becoming commodities. Many people tell me that their customers are demanding them to match or beat impossibly low prices. What is happening out there?
The answers lie in the fact that if you are not growing, you’re dying. It’s brutal, but true. Buyers assume that you will give them quality, service and a low price. The assumption is that you will deliver goods as pictured or promised on time done right. This is the first level of a transaction based sale between a buyer and a seller.
When you raise your performance and give more, you gain a happy customer who expects that you will perform and provide them with peace of mind. Your customer expects and trusts you to make them look good.
What if you can get your client to be impressed? What would you have to do to impress them? Perhaps you’ve anticipated their need. You may have researched their market position and brand and created some really custom, personalized and “wow-worthy” design. Your client is impressed. They will tell others.
But if you want to move to the fourth level of customer experience? What will it take to amaze your client and seal your partnership? If you want to be an integral part of your client’s business, to be the go-to resource and problem solver — you need to be nothing short of amazing. Amazing is hard work. Not everyone can be amazing. Can you?
These are the four levels of customer service.
Here’s the thing. What customers are amazed by today will just impress them tomorrow and by next week they’ll expect it and by next month, it will be assumed.
Creating value and being the best is a journey. You need to get up every morning and ask yourself. “How Can I Be Amazing?”
Without People, Brands have No Meaning.
Brands are so much more than a mark, a color or a familiar phrase. Brands are the combination of all of the sensory messages that they consistently send and the emotions and memories the audience receives. Because of this, brands not only derive meaning from people, but people derive meaning from brands. Because of this engagement phenomenon, brands are built over time but can be destroyed in an instant.
This is why is it critically important to realize that branding is all about people. And it begins at the inside of an organization. In his best-selling book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink describes the shift taking place from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. A major component of this paradigm shift is the new importance of meaning in business and in all aspects of our lives. In addition to explaining the traction that the environmental movement has rather quickly generated, the importance of meaning further explains why corporate social responsibility has become a top issue in executive suites around the world. And this is why branding takes place from the inside out.
A more holistic approach to business is taking place. Integral business or conscious business is focusing more on the building value through getting in touch with people and the unique human values that they bring. Maya Angelou’s famous quotation, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” has relevance to building brands today. Whether it is how your employees make them feel, how you make your employees feel or in the type of messages that your brand delivers — marketers need to be taking a holistic or integral approach that connects people in meaningful ways.
Remember to sell emotions. Sell meaning. Ask your clients how they want the recipient to feel. You’ll make better recommendations. You’ll make better sales. You’ll build stronger and more lasting, loyal relationships.
Are you over the recession excuse yet? If you’re still waiting for the old pre-2008 days, you’ll be waiting a long time. Welcome to the new normal. It’s time for you to let go of the past and get going again. There is a market of around $20 Billion Dollars for what you’ve got to sell. Most of us would be very happy with just a few crumbs from that table. So what’s holding you back?
Get going and get growing. Write the happy ending to your story. Actively pursue your dream accounts and figure out ways to create value for your unique services. Treat your job as a relationship builder, a trust builder and a problem solver. Never settle for good. Be great. Specialize. Don’t just be a little different. Be distinctive.
Make this world a better place. Make this industry a better place. Make your home a better place. You can do it. Starting with you.
A few years ago, I lived in downtown Chicago and joined Michigan Avenue Toastmasters. This was a diverse group of interesting people all dedicated to becoming better speakers and helping each other elevate their skills. I took the #3 Bus up to the Magnificent Mile and cut through Water Tower Place to the Hotel Seneca every Tuesday evening. It was exciting, inspiring and motivating. When I moved to Grand Rapids, I joined a Tuesday night Toastmasters Club that met at the same time but in a retirement home and with a handful of people and very little of the energy or excitement to which I was accustomed. When I whined about this to one of my Chicago friends, he replied, “Well, it sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.”
What incredible advice! It echoed the sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.” We spend so much time fretting, worrying, complaining about things we don’t like. Instead, do the one or two small things that you can that will make a difference.
We have unlimited power to allow ourselves to create beauty, love and art in the way that we live. You can be that creative force by doing one thing — BE YOU NOW.
Your gift is to be yourself — fully, fantastically and consciously — in this moment. Of course, you must love yourself to share yourself.
You have everything that you need in this moment. So why should you worry? Worry is a fantasyland that you’ve made up and are suffering in even though it does not exist. If you believe that you know the future, life has not yet taught you just how quickly your life can change. You can believe in now. Indeed, it is the reality that there is and it is perfect.
The past is just as fabled. It is gone. It’s yesterday’s wind. Living with regrets, or worse, living with grudges, resentments or hatred over past events diminishes you and causes suffering. Let go of the negativity from past events and discover the grace of forgiveness. It is something you do for yourself, not for the object of your negativity
We get to choose our thoughts. We get to choose our attitudes. Choose wisely.
Learn to love and to live with the awesome power that love gives you. Fear is the opposite of love and fear is learned. Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”
If you don’t love what you do, why are you doing it? You only get to go around once in this life, so make sure you’re doing it right. There is no dress rehearsal. This is it. You can create a better world, a better industry, a better company, a better family, a better you. Choose to create beautiful moments through your every interaction, your every choice.
Do you know your “why?” Why are you doing what you are doing? Please don’t tell me to make money. Money is a result of what you are doing, it is not the why. Your “why” is your purpose. When you find your purpose and live it, you discover meaning and you get to do what you love. When you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
When you find your passion and your purpose and live out your “why”, your work becomes a labor of love. Work is what we do by the hour, while Labor sets its own pace. Living out your mission, you tap into a creative stream that allows you flow — an intense focus and crisp sense of clarity that others notice. Simon Sinek has a TED video with more than 12.6 million views on YouTube in which he explains the importance of finding your “why”. He points out that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
What is your cause? What are your beliefs that drive you and get you out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care? Most of us can explain what we do. Most of us can explain how we do what we do. But can you articulate your “why”? Are you passionate about solving problems? Are you driven by continuous improvement? Does helping others succeed drive you? Are you trying to make the industry more professional? Do you love being part of the creative process and watching an idea germinate, blossom and flourish? Find YOUR Why and live it courageously. Steve Jobs said, “the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. Don’t settle.”
It is your responsibility to discover your “why”. Once discovered, center your life on it and allow it to flood meaning into your life goals and daily activities and become an everyday source of integrity and pride. Your purpose should be rooted in love, not fear; aligned with your fundamentals, your passions and desires; something that moves you emotionally and not just mentally; be energizing and nourishing; inspiring and worth building a life around.
Here are two ways to help you find your “why”.
2. You’ll find it by working at finding it. Steve Pavlina suggests that anyone can do it in about twenty minutes. Begin with an open mind and a commitment to work at it until you get there. On a blank piece of paper or a new document file if you’re more of a computer person, write “what is my true purpose in life?” Write the first answer that pops into your head. Now repeat that with each new answer that you think of. When you get to the one that makes you cry, you have found it. It could take you one hundred, two hundred or even a thousand answers but when you hit one that hits every emotional nerve in your body, you will have found it.
Will finding your “why” help your business? It will if you make the decision to live it, love it and be it.
You are a marketer and you are a sales professional. If that is a true statement then you use words to market and to sell. Words have power and you need to use them properly. Weak words equal weak results. Powerful words create powerful results. Choose your words carefully whether spoken or written. Here are three that you should use and use to their full effect.
There was a day when my world fell apart. Exploded or imploded might be a more accurate way to put that. A series of events beginning with the death of a best friend, the end of an important professional chapter, the start-up of a new chapter, the suicide of a business partner and then, the end of a thirty-three year relationship. The last event came unexpectedly and suddenly and I was on the floor, my legs wouldn’t hold me anymore. Fortunately, the man I called was calm with the most profound and important piece of advice. “This is a defining moment, Paul,” he said. “What you decide to do with the moment will define who you are and who you become.”
My journey from that moment became one of self-discovery and one of a strong commitment to certain values that would become my rules. I made commitments to make certain things happen and for certain outcomes that were important to me. Yes, my faith was important to me as I recognized certain things such as my friend’s advice that I can only describe as “grace.” The “grace” of forgiveness was another discovery. I also discovered Eckhart Tolle whose “A New Earth” helped to understand my new consciousness. Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is” helped me to not just accept but to love everything life brings and to question my thoughts to cleanse away any negativity. Another teacher who came to me was Don Miguel Ruiz who described “The Four Agreements.” For me these have become Four Rules for Living Now and In the Now.
Here’s the deal. Problem solvers always make money! No matter what the industry. No matter what the economy is doing. No matter what. If you can get out of the product selling business and into the problem solving business, you will always be in demand and you will always be able to make money. Here are five problems that you can solve.
If you’re willing to commit yourself to continuing education by spending an hour per week of research and reading, to attend the great education and professional development being offered by your regional association, by PPAI, by ASI and even your suppliers, and by logging in to the many available webinars around these topics, you can become a problem solver. If you choose just one of these five problems and commit to becoming the best problem solver in your world, you will rock your world. You will rock your sales and you will rock your income. Find the Pain. Be the Aspirin.
Paul A. Kiewiet MAS CIP CPC