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Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

Do you have a can do attitude? Here’s how to develop one

In a mentoring session today with my top mentor, he made an interesting observation. He said that one of the things he has observed and admired about me is my ‘can do’ attitude. This got me thinking about our general attitude towards business amongst women entrepreneurs.

When it comes to finding new business, resolving client issues, keeping suppliers on track and upskilling staff, do we show a can do attitude?

Being an entrepreneur is tough and you’re going to face daily challenges. How you manage these challenges are entirely up to you. If you choose to have an attitude of “I can do this” then your success level will be higher than most.

Somehow displaying an attitude of anything is possible places you in the right mind-set and now it feels like you can take on the world!

Here are a couple of tips to help you on the path of facing business challenges with success and aplomb.

  1. Believe in yourself. Confidence starts with you. You absolutely need to believe in your capabilities and your ability to manage anything thrown your way. You can develop your self-confidence by being open to learning and growing. Be ready to take on a mentor, read business books daily and surround yourself with like-minded people.
  2. Do not compare yourself to others. Instead of putting yourself down by thinking you could never be like them, rather ask yourself what can you learn from them and start implementing immediately. To be successful we need to emulate what successful people do. Don’t begrudge them, don’t compare yourself, however, rather use this as an opportunity for personal growth and development.
  3. Develop a strong inner voice. You know that inner voice that criticises you? Let that voice go! Replace it with positive thinking, daily affirmations and the belief system that anything is possible. If you don’t know how, Google it, YouTube it, ask a fellow business owner or seek guidance from a successful businessperson in your particular industry.
  4. Step out of your comfort zone! Oh yes, my favourite one this! If you know me, you’ll know that I often talk about becoming comfortable by being un-comfortable, because growth starts in the un-comfort zone. If you stretch yourself, you force yourself to face a challenge head on and this places you completely out of your comfort zone, therefore it necessarily follows that your confidence will soar. This is where the real magic happens.
  5. As always, remember to have fun. Learn to see potentially stressful situations as an opportunity to showcase your can do attitude, as an opportunity to learn and grow. Keeping it fun makes it easier to come up with creative solutions.

Bringing it together

My personal mantra is anything is possible. If I don’t know how, I’ll learn. You can do the same. It boils down to having the right mind-set and attitude. Always be open to learning, in this way you’ll keep growing as a business person and you will very quickly find out the kind of gold you’re truly made of.

You’ve got this!

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Boosting your Confidence with Daily Productivity Tips

Are you a slave to your inbox? Do you find yourself procrastinating and working on tasks that really don’t need your attention right now?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact there are entrepreneurs out there, if they’re honest with themselves, where this happens to them on a weekly basis. It really does happen to the best of us!

And we know what it’s like. We allow ourselves to become inundated with everyday life, and we tend to do the little things thinking that if we get them out of the way first then the rest will receive our full attention.

Let me share with you a quote that I’ve been repeating daily to myself and other entrepreneurs including my team since I learned of it:

“Eat the frog first thing in the morning!”

What does this expression really mean?

Do the task that you dread the most first thing every day. You are the most energised and motivated first thing in the morning. The longer you put off this dreaded task, the more you end up procrastinating with all tasks, and then you end up not getting anything done.

This “most dreaded task” if you want to call it that, could be to do sales calls (I know how some of you feel about this!), or respond to emails, or to type up that list of snags that the web dev team needs to sort out on your website.

Whatever it may be, get it done, right away! Procrastination tends to have a snowball effect and you’re going to become despondent over time, the more you put off certain tasks. Or, if you’re great at delegating, hire an assistant, do what you need to in order to check that task off your list!

Right, so now that we’ve dealt with that little devil called procrastination let’s see how we can help you become more productive. Because you know, that if you see tangible results from your productivity, your confidence in yourself and your business will be boosted!

Your daily productivity tips:

1.    Get on top of your inbox

You do realise that your inbox is someone else’s to do list for you right? Don’t become a slave to your emails! Prioritise your emails into folders, such as urgent, done and FMI (for my information). Check emails 3 times a day. Move the emails into the relevant folder and perhaps take 2 hours at night to respond to emails. Your system may look something like this, however, you can obviously tweak it to suit you best. The idea though is get on top of your inbox, allocate only so much time per day to it and focus on other things. I bet if you had a system in place and you used it for a solid week, you would start noticing where you spend your time and realise that you could be far more productive.

2.    Exercise exercise exercise

I know, this may sound silly, because how is exercise related to productivity? Quite simply, if you start your day off right, with some form of exercise, you will release endorphins that assists you in feeling energised and therefore more prone to tackling that “frog” first thing in the morning. You’re welcome J

3.    Be cognizant of time spent on each task

There’s a great app I like to use called Tomato that has a 25minute timer. There are other apps, I’m sure you’ll find your match through some research. The idea behind this is to start the timer and focus on one task only with the aim of completing that task within the allotted time period. Now you’ll probably discover how easily distracted you are with everything but the task at hand. This nifty app holds you accountable and your conscience will also play a part on keeping you on track. One task at a time ladies! Do it fully present, do it well, and don’t do it over.

4.    Keep it fun

My greatest value is to have fun. And there’s no reason not to have fun while working in your own business. If you’re not having fun, then it’s time to change things up! In order to be productive it is a good idea to enjoy what you’re doing and have fun whilst doing it!

This is a tough journey at the best of times. Continue to surround yourself with amazing people that inspire you, motivate you and help to keep you accountable. Keep reading great business books and blogs, and apply what you’ve read in your business.

Here’s to a productive week and year!

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

The Importance of your Online Presence as a Business

In the old days if we were looking for a shoe repairman or a new fridge, the first place we would turn to were the classifieds or the yellow pages. Remember those times?

Nowadays you bring the world to you by means of your mobile phone. Isn’t great how we can search for a curry restaurant, a new stove, a boating holiday and a friend’s contact details all in one place, on one device?

Now imagine what your business looks like from the outside in. The same principle applies. If you don’t have an online presence or a strong one at that, what kind of message are you sending out? You surely want your business to be found when your prospective client is doing an online search.

I know that if I want to change my hairdresser the first thing I’m going to do is go online to source a list of hairdressers in town, but more than that, I want to read great reviews in order to help me choose a new hairstylist.

Gone are the days of only taking your friend’s advice when it comes to purchases or finding new suppliers, now you’re counting on thousands of opinions online to help you make a choice.

At a recent event I was speaking at, someone in the audience asked me this very question, why your online presence is so important. Here are some of the reasons I gave them and I hope you find it of benefit too:

  1. Accessibility : By having a strong online presence you increase your accessibility. With the help of a great website you provide clients and leads a summary of the pain you solve, where to find you and what makes you great at what you do.
  2. Trustworthiness : Through social media and blogs on your website you establish yourself as a trusted source of information. Building trust and credibility with your audience certainly will enhance the longevity of your brand and thereby a sustainable relationship with your clientele.
  3. Cut marketing costs : I know that startups will really enjoy this one. And I’ve probably mentioned a million times (okay, maybe a few times 🙂 that you can do no to low cost marketing thanks to social media. Essentially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is giving you the opportunity for a free and easily accessible online presence. They give your business credibility. And, if you’re just starting out (read : no marketing budget) these are great platforms to market your business with, and define the pain you solve to masses without breaking the bank. You’ve got to love it!
  4. Build your tribe : After a few years in business one of the most important things I’ve learned is to first build your tribe. With an online presence you can now reach a far wider audience than ever before. You can build a loyal tribe who are the best spokespeople you’ll find. Your tribe will watch what you do, share it and talk about it to everyone creating a greater following. Tribes are loyal and will stick with you through thick and thin. They will wear your badge with honour and recruit on your behalf. Don’t underestimate the power of a tribe.

Bringing it together

Embrace the power of having a strong and effective online presence. Make sure that your website has call-to-actions and that the content converts. Share great content regularly. Establish yourself as a thought leader. Build trust and credibility. Do all of this online and you will soon see how powerful this can be to the growth of your business. Your authenticity will shine through and at the end of the day that is one of the greatest things you can do for your business.

Harness the power of a strong online presence!

Why you are failing at sales

Why you are failing at sales

Oh the dreaded word for most people. That lingering bad aftertaste associated with this noun is as bad as asking most people to speak in public. They quiver at the thought!

I love sales, dearly. It’s been a close companion of mine over the years, and even though we’ve had a love hate relationship we do have conversations on a daily basis. Sales has been good to me. Sales has taught me to be tenacious, to be persistent, to grow resilience and best of all, how to engage with others.

Sales should be seen as a great communication tool above all else.

How can improved sales skills make your business better?

Communication tool

Well for one, having sales skills means that you enjoy people and you are great at communicating. Wait! Surely that isn’t the definition of sales?

To be honest, over the years sales has been given a bad rep. Now’s the time to improve its reputation and perhaps even place it on a pedestal.

There are too many businesses, particularly start-ups that fail and my belief is that one of the reasons this tends to happen is that they don’t hunt sales. They don’t have a sales plan or budget in place. Yes it’s great to have a marketing plan, but what’s the point of getting all these great leads, creating brand awareness and a digital footprint if you don’t close the deal?

It’s time to start using sales as a great communication tool.

Perception

We need to actively start viewing sales in a better light. Our perception of what sales is and how it works needs to change. We need to embrace the power of this little noun. Without sales your business is dead. I know that sounds harsh, however, don’t fool yourself. Your lovely business that you’ve been focussing on for the last 5 years is not going to grow if you don’t have a sales plan in place. Start changing your perception of sales and see your bottom line grow.

Risk taking

Sales does involve taking certain risks. You need to be comfortable putting yourself out there, presenting on a daily basis, possibly even facing rejection at every turn.

But isn’t this what makes us stronger? Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Learn to take risks. Place yourself in “danger”, in the sales zone. Growth only happens outside of your comfort zone.

Now turn off those voices in your head and go out & sell! You’ll thank me for the constant adrenaline rush!

 

Why Outsourcing Is The Hottest Trend For Business Success

Why Outsourcing Is The Hottest Trend For Business Success

Thanks to the increase in technology, apps, devices and innovative thinking, the way we run business now is streets away from how it was done just a decade ago.

Outsourcing is fast becoming the norm and stats indicate that by 2020 more than 65% of work will be outsourced to remote workers.

I know that there are still business owners who struggle with the idea of outsourcing work to anyone who is not physically located at their office.

And then there are those who run an entire business on an outsourced model.

The idea behind this article is to show you what you can outsource, so let’s get you comfortable with the idea of what you can outsource and to whom.

1.  All things admin

Whether you are a solopreneur, or run a medium sized business, you can take advantage of outsourcing admin tasks. This can be anything from a full-time PA to a client liaison who responds to online inquiries on your behalf.

Who can do this for you? An experienced Virtual Assistant. Scour the internet to understand the business behind a Virtual Assistant and soon you’ll discover that there is a world of possibilities waiting for you.

Finding a reputable Virtual Assistant is pretty easy and I would recommend starting your search on LinkedIn. If you’re not sure of the calibre of the VA or her capacity, ask to do an hour trial run for instance. Trust me, you’re going to thank me for this! Do more of what you love and outsource the rest of the admin tasks to your trusted Virtual Assistant.

2.  Marketing campaigns

What is the one thing that is usually cut when a business owner starts feeling the pinch? Marketing of course! And yet, without marketing you cannot fill a decent sales pipeline. Granted, there are quite a few marketing activities you can do on your own. With a reputable marketing agency not only will you save time, but you also get to hire a team who understands how to leverage marketing to convert website visitors and the like into quality leads.

Interview a few marketing agencies, ask for sample work and client testimonials. Look beyond the pretty marketing collateral and listen to your gut on this one.

3.  Certain Sales functions

Do you love sales? If not, then you need a sales team! And if you aren’t particularly keen on hiring a sales division, outsource this function. But know this, the best way for your business to grow is to have sales. Referrals and walk-ins will only last so long, and then? If you’re not particularly comfortable with selling or it’s a task that you just don’t enjoy, outsource this sales function to a lead generation company.

Again, do a lot of research, as there are a ton of lead generation companies out there. Ask the following questions:

  1. Do they specialise in my industry or are they generalists?
  2. How long have they been around? (In other words, what kind of experience do they have?)
  3. What kind of results have they achieved for their other clients?
  4. Can you find your shortlist on the internet? (If they have an amazing web presence, then you can rest assured they have created a great web presence for their clients).

The list of what you can outsource is pretty much endless, from graphic design work to tech support and everything in between. The trick is to find an agency that aligns with your vision and has a culture that you can work with and enjoy.

Happy hunting for great outsourced companies and enjoy the freedom that comes with outsourcing certain business functions!

 

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

We’ve all heard it before, how the marketing department just cannot see eye-to-eye with the sales department. And how the sales department thinks the campaigns designed by the marketing department is never going to work.

It’s 2017 – time to set aside those differences and truly understand how these two departments are quintessential to the growth of any business.

Yes it can be done. It is absolutely possible for these two divisions to work together harmoniously. And this is the year to do it.

Why? If we can better understand how important a great marketing campaign is, we can better utilise it in growing our sales, month-on-month.

The best way to do this is to get these two silos’ to speak with each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate or a solopreneur, the bottom line is, marketing complements sales. Simple.

7 Steps to understanding Marketing

  1. Business Vision– What is your business vision? That is, do you know your business? Why did you build your business? Does your vision align with your strategy? First and foremost, by having a clear vision of what you want, then how you’re going to achieve it will follow automatically.
  2. Determine Target Market– In order to design a great marketing strategy you truly need to understand who you are speaking to. What does your ideal customer look like? Where are they located? What are their interests? Where do they hang out in the social media realm? By understanding the buying persona (or client avatar), you’ve just made your strategy building so much easier.
  3. Look At Your Competitors– Chances are there is already a business doing what you’re doing. But never fear! Now is the time to understand what differentiates you from your competitors and make that your slogan, your driving force. Look at what they are doing and do it better.
  4. Act Like A Media Company– You absolutely need to commit in creating as much great content as possible. There are numerous articles available on the web describing where buyer attention is focussed. Find out where in your niche they are and cater to them. In other words, if you’re selling beauty products then it makes sense to share gorgeous editorial pics on Instagram, to do how to videos on YouTube and to share daily cleansing tips for instance with live feed on Facebook. Get creative and keep churning out quality content.
  5. Set Out Marketing Goals– Take the needed time to set out your marketing goals for the year to come and break them down into achievable monthly milestones. The better your goals are outlined and adhered to, the easier the sales process becomes.
  6. Create A Marketing Calendar– Create a workable marketing calendar for the rest of the year. Look at ways to launch new products or services, create monthly themes and weekly action steps. Become creative with your posts, however, do cater to your target market and keep in mind the medium that you’re sharing on. Look at the time of day and the day of the week that you’re sharing content to ensure that you maximise engagement and convert those leads into sales.
  7. Put A Budget In Place– There are times that you’re going to spend money to make money and marketing is one of those places. The beauty of social media and blogging is that you can grow your audience organically and create a loyal following without spending a cent. Other times it is essential to throw a bit of budget behind your marketing campaigns to ensure that your conversion rate is high and attainable. You want to see tangible results from your marketing campaign, so make sure that the right people are seeing your content at the right time.

 

Why a Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur’s best friend

Why a Virtual Assistant is an entrepreneur’s best friend

“Grow your business without growing your staff” – now wouldn’t that be the ideal way to build and grow your amazing start-up.

And the best part? With the help of a Virtual Assistant or as we are more fondly known as, VA’s, it is now completely possible and within reach.

Your VA should be your next best friend! Here is someone who doesn’t need to be micromanaged, will get tasks done to your exact requirements and treat your business as if it were her own. A Virtual Assistant is a gift that each and every entrepreneur should have.

Fill gaps where start-ups fall short

Just because you started this business and have been running it for a year or two doesn’t mean that you have all the skills to fulfil each role. In fact, you more than likely excel in a specific field and try to make up the short fall. With a professional VA by your side you can now focus on what you are good at, namely growing the business, and she can take care of the other areas that you’re not so brilliant at. You know like paying the accounts, or taking care of the admin, filtering emails or organising your diary.

Get more time

Your focus should be working on your business, growing your client base and ensuring that your service offering is perfected. For this to take place you need time. How do you find more time? By outsourcing all the tasks that don’t require your specialist skill to your new best friend, your VA!

One point of contact with access to a pool of skills

By working with a VA agency for instance you have access to a myriad of skills with a single point of contact. You delegate your tasks to your VA and she will take care of the rest by assigning tasks to a Virtual Assistant who has those specific skill sets within her team. You can now carry on with your creative projects safe in the knowledge that your business is being run smoothly and professionally by a team of experts.

Extension of your team

A VA really is a team member and even though she works from a remote location, she forms an extension of your business and is therefore a valuable asset. With her dedication to getting things done she will align with your start-up’s vision and ensure that you are able to keep driving your business forward.

We as entrepreneurs are so fortunate to have access to a lot of amazing people and skills. Take action and grow your business with your new best friend!

 

Why a Sales Strategy Workshop can help your Business

Why a Sales Strategy Workshop can help your Business

Over the course of the last few years I’ve had the honour and privilege of hosting several Sales Masterclasses and Sales Strategy Workshops.

Why are they so effective?

As entrepreneurs, founders, businesspeople, we are always looking for new ways to grow and develop. We are knowledge seekers looking for new and amazing ways to do business, improved ways to increase our skillsets and to better our service offering.

So the best place to have access to information like this is at networking events, workshops, masterclasses and the like. Here you get the opportunity to rub shoulders with likeminded people and to learn from the best.

It’s effective because the course material has been tailored to you. You walk away feeling that you have gained so much benefit and you are now armed with an actionable sales strategy for your business.

Why should you host a sales strategy workshop?

What better way than to get an expert to teach and train you and your staff on better ways of doing business? You can get the trainer to completely tailor the workshop to accommodate the industry you work in, your sales cycles, the needs and objections faced by your clients, your staff capabilities in terms of delivering services in time, etc.

By hosting your own sales strategy workshop you determine exactly the quality and quantity of information your staff receives, the duration and whether this will be an ongoing exercise.

If you are looking at ways to develop your sales and service teams, a workshop can do the following:

Ø Understanding the business vision and mission, and how to align this with the staff’s vision and input

Ø Getting to grips with the pains your clients experience and how to marry your solution to their pain

Ø Building confidence within the team so that everyone becomes your Brand Ambassador

Ø How to stand out from your competitors

Ø Objection handling, presentation planning and development, closing the deal

These are just a few ideas of topics to be discussed in your Sales Strategy Workshop.

Get the ball rolling today, develop your team and they will help you grow your business.

 

The power of a Virtual Meeting and how to make it part of your Business

The power of a Virtual Meeting and how to make it part of your Business

We have come such a long way from those notorious hour long boardroom meetings and booking physical meeting rooms. Nowadays we have the luxury of hosting a meeting anywhere in the world at any time, as long as we have our laptop or mobile phone with us, we’re good to go!

And this is what I absolutely love about running remote teams. Wherever I find my laptop and mobile phone, that’s where my office is for the day.

I want to show you some platforms that you can use to host a Virtual meeting on and then take you through the benefits of conducting meetings this way.

Here’s a list of virtual meeting room apps

Some of the virtual meeting rooms you’ll be familiar with.

1.     Skype :

This is hands down the best known app for virtual chats and meetings. It easy to use and is free.

2.     Zoom :

My favourite virtual meeting app to date. We use this for all our virtual meetings. It’s reliable, stable, can host multiple users, record your meetings and you can screen share. You can also use this app on both mobile phone and laptop.

3.     Webex :

WebEx is a Cisco service and allows you to have unlimited online meetings with up to three people absolutely free. You can record meetings and use the app on your mobile phone and laptop.

4.     JoinMe :

You can use this app for both online meetings, screen sharing and it allows you to switch control of the screen among meeting participants.

5.     Google Hangouts :

In order to activate a Google Hangouts meeting all you need is a Gmail address. You can do a video call and at the same time view and collaborate on Google docs.

The benefits of meeting virtually?

  • You have the flexibility to meet at any time, no matter where you are, as long as you can access either your mobile phone or laptop.
  • It saves time. Now you don’t have to sit in traffic and drive to a meeting.
  • You can host 15min meetings one after the other and in this way fit more in your day.
  • You can record the meeting and start building a client meeting audio library for you and your team to refer back to.
  • If you’re running a remote team, it’s an easy way for everyone to join the meeting.

I do understand that in South Africa our culture is a bit different and we want to meet in person, especially for the first meeting. We love the human touch and granted virtual meetings don’t always offer that.

So why not compromise and meet with your prospective client for the first time in person and arrange to meet virtually thereafter?

Make virtual meetings a part of your business and watch your productivity soar!

 

Networking – the easy way to grow your business

Networking – the easy way to grow your business

How do we go about attracting, converting and retaining a prospect into a valued long-term client?

When you first start your business (and we’re all guilty of this) you’re not too concerned about who your clients are, what they do or the kind of support they need.

As your business grows, your client base increases and things start stabilising, you’ll start to realise the type of client you prefer working with. The tasks you enjoy doing and those that you would rather outsource.

Now that you’re established and found your feet, it’s time to get out there and seriously start networking!

One Way to Grow Your Business

Networking you may ask? Well, yes, what better place than to have a captured audience to “pitch” your business to in just 40 seconds?

Most networking events give the guests a slot to introduce themselves and add value to the group. Until you’ve done it a couple of times, it can be rather daunting to speak in front of a room full of people.

Make sure you choose the right networking event that is a great match for you and your business.

Perfect your Pitch

This is the ideal time to perfect your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch typically has an introduction, a short splurb on what you do (identify the “pain” experienced by others) and most importantly how you can be of service to the person you’re speaking to (that is, solve the “pain” you’ve identified).

In your introduction remember to give your name, as well as your company name!

Basics, yet small things that we tend to forget. During your pitch you want the audience to sit up, take note and think, hey I can relate to that. You want a call-to-action, so you definitely want to be remembered and more importantly for prospective clients to speak to you after the formalities of the networking session has taken place.

At the end of the pitch you should always repeat your name and your company name. And make sure you have enough business cards at hand!

What’s next?

Prepare your 40-second presentation, and practice it as often as you can. In the mornings when you’re showering, on your way to work in the car, every moment you get, practice, practice, practice until it flows.

Your confidence will ooze as you speak about your passion and in this way you’ll create an excellent first impression.

Good luck!

Mastering the art of Listening can lead to improved Sales

Mastering the art of Listening can lead to improved Sales

“Learn to listen, opportunity sometimes knocks very softly.”

There is a major difference between listening to answer and actively listening. When you are actively listening it means you’re putting in the effort to really understand what your client is telling you. This activity also involves reading and listening to non-verbal communication like body language.

To be a highly successful salesperson you need to learn the art of actively listening. So how do you do this?

Avoid wanting to hog the conversation : Try not to dominate the conversation especially when it’s a topic you know a lot about. Remain open minded and be willing to be receptive to new ideas or a different perspective. Allow your client to finish speaking before you give your input. Let them make their point and follow the conversation from there.

Don’t feign attention : You may think that what your client is saying is boring or you’ve heard this a million times before, however, be an attentive listener at all times and keep eye contact. Convey interest with simple gestures like nodding or leaning forward or interject with “That sounds interesting, please tell me more”. This shows genuine interest, that you truly are involved in the conversation and reassures your client that you are actively listening.

Pay attention to non-verbal language : Not only should you be listening to what your client is saying but also understand the gestures and motivation behind their words. Understand the tone of voice, posture, conviction of verbalised words. Often a whole lot is being said without it actually being said and if you are an active listener not only will you pick up on this but you can also use it to help swing the deal.

Be quick witted : There are times that you may get frustrated or impatient with your client’s way of speaking, you may find it to be too slow for your liking. Why not use the time to silently review their main points so that when he is finished speaking you re-iterate these points and ask them whether you understood correctly what was said. This is a great way to avoid any possible misunderstandings going forward.

Being an active listener in a sales meeting means that you can hear the client’s objections and questions, you won’t miss it when they say yes and finally, you won’t have the opportunity of speaking yourself out of the sale. Listen and listen well.

How to Develop Your 2018 Sales and Marketing Strategy

How to Develop Your 2018 Sales and Marketing Strategy

In this post I’ll take you through 5 steps that you can implement right now to help you get your sales and marketing strategy on track for 2017.

1) Analyze Your 2017 Sales Trends

Take a look at where your sales and revenue come from in 2017. Did your company revenue come mostly from new or existing customers? How long is your average sales cycle? What were your best sources for new leads? Did you closing rate improve over time? Did you lose customers and do you know why?

Document the lessons learned and start strategizing on how you can improve them this year.

2) Analyze Your 2017 Marketing Trends

Do you know how much traffic your website received in 2017 on a daily and monthly basis? How many leads were converted, both online and offline? Did you notice whether certain blogs performed better than others?

These insights will help you define your “client avator”. This also indicates who your target market is and what appeals to them so that you can start sharing more of that kind of content.

3) Define Your Business Vision for the next year

What is your vision for your business for the next year? Where do you want to be financially? Write a one-pager of what things will look like 12months from now, be very specific and then reverse engineer how you’re going to achieve those results.

4) Set Your Business Priorities and Goals for 2018

Is there anything standing in your way of achieving your business goals? Were there projects outstanding from last year that are still lingering? If so, then you need to look at what setbacks you experienced and why. Look at how you will measure key metrics this year and what goals you want to achieve in the first quarter of 2017. Then put an action plan together to start achieving this!

5) Review and Update Your Ideal Customer Profile and Personas

Look back at your best customers and make sure you identify the characteristics that make them profitable and enjoyable to work with. Make sure your ideal customer profile and buyer personas are accurate and reflect the kinds of customers who will help you reach your growth goals.

These are just a few steps that you can start actioning now to ensure great sales and marketing success for 2018!

How to be more productive with Dan Martell

How to be more productive with Dan Martell

Have you heard of Dan Martell, the highly successful serial entrepreneur that has built and sold 3 multi-million dollar startups?

If not, be sure to visit his website and his weekly vlogs – he has the most amazing tips.

This brings me to this week’s blog. I was watching a video by Dan on how to be more productive and his 4 tips really struck me.

These are tips that all of us know, yet most of us aren’t implementing in our daily lives. Typical of most entrepreneurs we want to do everything ourselves as we believe we’ll do it better and faster.

Yet this kind of mindset is holding us back. In another vlog Dan speaks of delegating your inbox to your assistant. He maintains that you shouldn’t be dealing with your inbox at all. Your assistant should filter all your emails and have a process in place where you only deal with critical emails.

Obviously this will help with being more productive. In his productivity vlog, Dan speaks of the following 4 tips to help improve your productivity.

  1.  Have a mission. The moment you know where you’re going it is easier to reach your destination. Make sure you have a mission and vision for both your business and personal life, this will certainly give you more direction.
  2. Plan.Yip, you need to plan every moment of every day. Plan your day, your week, your year. Dan maintains he can immediately tell if you’re successful or not when he takes a look at your calendar to see how planned you are. This planning includes play, family time and spiritual time, not only business planning.
  3. Schedule everything.If you’re working on a project it needs to be in your calendar. Why? It holds you accountable and will force you to work with intention throughout the day so that you can accomplish so much more.
  4. Share your mission.Speak to absolutely anyone and everyone about your life and business mission. The more you speak about it the more it is a top of mind activity and helps give you clarity on the direction you’re taking.

We all want to be more productive and we all dream of having more hours in the day, so why not apply these “Dan rules” and literally watch your productivity soar?

At the end of the day only you can action this and make this happen. Take ownership of your time, your day and value where you spend your energy. To be successful you need to start thinking like a successful person.

Read more about Dan Martell, his successes and great business tips here : http://www.danmartell.com/

Did you know that Sales is for you, you and you?

Did you know that Sales is for you, you and you?

Are you faint of heart? Then sales is for you!

Say what?! Are you the kind of person that wants to hide under a rock when you hear the word ‘sales’? Then this article is just for you!

If you had to summarise sales in a tweet (a whole 140 characters) what would you say? You probably would include the words ‘pushy’, ‘obnoxious’, ‘forceful’, ‘too salesy’ in there.

I want you to take a step back and look at sales from a different angle. What if I said to you that sales is first and foremost about communication, about negotiating, building relationships?

Negotiation skills

Let’s start training our brains to see sales in a far more receptive and positive light. I always reference a portion of sales to that of being a parent. If you have children you more than likely spend a lot of your time negotiating with them – when to bath, to finish their homework, to put down that mobile phone. You have become a master at negotiating! And isn’t negotiating the crux of sales?

A master at communication

When you write an email to a client, answer queries from your website, respond to LinkedIn requests, you are communicating. Wouldn’t you say that is the next vital part of sales? Being able to communicate succinctly is key to sales success. Being able to bring your point across in a sales conversation, a powerful presentation, a one-on-one meeting makes for a great communicator.

Understanding that sales is made up of different parts makes it easier for our brains to digest. Sales shouldn’t be considered this daunting thing that strikes fear in your heart.

Instead we should see it as an art form to embrace, a skill to hone and share with others. As a business owner you need sales to grow the business. If you’re just starting out sales is dependent on you, therefore this is something that we need to embrace and become really good at.

Practice makes perfect

So how do we become good at something we fear? Practice. Practice. Practice.
Get comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. How did you learn to use a computer when it just came out? How did you learn to drive a car? By practicing of course!

We strive for perfection but settle for excellence. The only way you’re going to become great at sales is to keep doing it. Keep in mind the different aspects of sales. It is a sum of different parts. Learn to write great converting emails, become comfortable speaking with confidence on the phone, be assertive when asking for the deal.

I know you’ve got this! You can absolutely do it and I am your greatest sales ambassador. I know you have it in you, it just needs to be discovered and finely tuned like a beautiful musical instrument.
Now go out and conquer the sales world!

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

You may run a highly successful sales division for a corporate company or you could be an early stage start up, wearing multiple hats. Either way, you are fully aware that sales is core to the success of your business.

Here are a few tips on how to put together a basic yet winning sales process.

Begin client outreach right now

Gather all your wits about you and start calling. Yes, pick up the phone! I promise you, the phone will not bite you. Don’t feel alone though as most people dread speaking with complete strangers on the phone. What I can tell you is that the more you do it the more confidence you’ll gain. This method is the best way to field objections, understand business challenges and even get feedback on your offering, all in real time.

Start Role playing

Walk through the sales process right until close of sale with a colleague or business partner. Once you start feeling more comfortable with going through the whole sales pitch start role playing with someone out of your organisation. These scenarios can give you better insight on how to identify possible gaps, whether it’s in your approach or your product / service.

Establish your qualifying criteria

By establishing a list of sorts to pre-qualify your clients you will better understand what pain your product / service solves, whether you are a good match or not for a potential client, if they can afford you and so forth. This is vital information to have as it could prevent your sales cycle from being lengthened unnecessarily or possibly mismatching your offering with a prospective client.

Build a sales conversion funnel

You need to learn to reverse engineer, not only in business, but also within your sales process. So begin with the end in mind and then reverse the process until you get to where you currently are in order to better understand where you want to go and how you are going to get there.

For example, when we speak of a sales conversion funnel, we typically refer to a sequence of events, like first do a cold call, then send a follow up email, do another outreach activity, then pre-qualify the prospect and close the deal.

Ask yourself how many deals you would like to close in one month, then break that down to how many prospects you should have in your pipeline, the number of quotes you should have out, your daily number of cold calls and include your marketing strategy into the mix. This will help with understanding your desired conversion rate and what your sales pipeline should look like on a monthly basis in order to achieve the close rate you’re looking for.

Keep going, keep growing

If it this process is showing results work hard on developing it. It may be working now however it is imperative to keep testing your process to find better ways of doing things. As the founder of the business or sales leader it is important that you are actively involved in developing the company’s sales process.

There’s a great quote from Steli Efti :

“Lack of iteration is what prevents companies from making a good sales process great!”

Keep moving forward and looking for a winning repeatable process.

 

 

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

Building your brand on a shoestring budget

What really scares me (yes, scares me!) is the moment a business runs low on cash or experiences a lean month, the very first thing they do is either cut or slash the marketing budget! Why oh why?

Surely our thinking should be of such a nature that marketing (and by default brand building) is the last thing to go, after all, without an effective marketing campaign it can be quite a challenge to get sales, well for most sectors that is. And wouldn’t you agree with a strong brand in place that sales will become easier? Think of brands like Coca-Cola, Virgin Atlantic and Nike. They have done the hard yards with brand building and marketing. In fact they have done such a great job, if they didn’t market for a year for example, their brand would still carry their sales.

What if you are a startup, or run a SME, and you really do only have a shoestring budget available for marketing?

I want to say never fear! With some creativity and out of the box thinking we can think of ways that will make a very small budget work. Heck, even if you don’t have any cash-flow there are ways that you can market for free.

It is important to remember that branding is not merely a cute designed logo, an eye-catching website or a great looking letterhead. Your brand is so much more than that.

Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. – Jeff Bezos

With great marketing comes great brand building, so let’s take a look at some effective ways you can market to build your brand:

Landing pages

Create hype around your brand by using something as simple and effective as a landing page. If you don’t know what a landing page is, think of it as a mini-website, therefore it’s a one-page “website” either hosted as a page on your current website or on a SEO keyword rich domain, for example, www.customdesigns.co.za . The goal with the landing page is to build your brand by getting the visitor to take an action. This action could be to watch a video, to download an ebook or to complete a form. Remember, the key to an effective landing page is that it focuses on one goal only, one product or service only. The end result is further engagement with your brand.

You can design this landing page for free yourself or you can ask a web designer, at a nominal fee, to put this together for you. You even have cost-effective lead page platforms that will assist you with this. One of the more popular sites for this is Leadpages.

The power of testimonials

Word of mouth took on a whole new meaning with the advent of the digital world. With powerful testimonials your current clients are a testament to the value of your brand. Believe me, it always sounds better if the praise is coming from someone else’s mouth. And because information is so easily accessible on the web, by a click of a button, prospective clients can visit your website and social media platforms to take a look at what your clients are saying about you.

Content is still King

You may up until now not taken content very seriously. I beg you to do so! Content is here to stay. The best thing for you to do is to embrace it, own it and make it work in your favour. And it’s free! Yay! Content can take so many shapes, including blogs, social media tweets and posts, vlogs, effective images and so much more. The more content you put out the better. The better content you put out the greater your brand reach becomes. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being active on social and blogging for the sake of being active, or doing so with a strategy.

Take a week to prepare a proper content calendar for the next 3 months. Identify 3 key platforms that you know your audience hangs out on and strategise your content for each platform. The goal with your content is to create brand awareness, brand trust and then new clients.

Bringing it together

From this blog you can tell that you don’t necessarily require a huge budget to start building your brand. Or at the very least you require a small budget. If you don’t have the writing or other creative skills to get this done, now is the time to cash in on favours, barter with fellow startups, but do what needs to be done in order to start your brand building. This kind of activity takes time and I think 2018 is a great year to start with this. If you are already doing it, good for you, now is the time to ramp it up and make the brand building work in your favour.

Ask yourself, what is your ultimate goal with building a brand? Take the answer and reverse engineer to get to your starting point. This goal gives you motivation and helps with better planning.

Happy brand building!

Building sales confidence with a winning mindset

Building sales confidence with a winning mindset

Being an entrepreneur automatically means that you keep learning. You keep developing your skillsets, understanding new ways of doing business and applying new methods to make your business better.
The same principles are applied to sales. If you want to be a better salesperson, with the understanding that all entrepreneurs are salespeople, then you need to keep honing your skills and developing your mindset to have a winning attitude in sales.

How do you do this?

Well, I want to share some surprising ways that you can boost your sales confidence to achieve in business what you’ve always dreamed of achieving.
1. Exercise – generally a great way to unclutter the mind
2. Have fun – remember that from your childhood? Don’t ever lose it.
3. Smile – it automatically gives you a mental boost and makes everyone around you feel good
4. Take a walk – taking a walk changes the chemicals in your brain and encourages more creative ways to deal with problems
5. Compliment – they say you should give 5 genuine compliments a day. When last did you compliment someone on their shoes or the way they handled a certain situation?

Then there are other ways to create a superstar sales mindset :

· Stay hungry. Every entrepreneur I know is driven. They have a high work ethic and high energy levels. In the face of rejection or economic downturn, these are the people who keep going, no matter what.
· Be prepared. With every sales call that you make or sales meeting you attend, make sure you’ve done your research on the prospective client, understand what they do and how your service or product will benefit them.
· Be your authentic self. People buy from people, and people buy from people they like. In sales likability does matter for a sustainable business relationship. Bottom line, be yourself!
· Believe in your product. Your passion should always shine through, whether you have a product or service based business, let your clients see your passion, let them experience it. The confidence you have in your products and services is a motivation for your clients to continue buying from you and ultimately become your Brand Ambassador who will shout from the rooftops about your amazing business.

Telling is not selling. Develop your mindset to really understand the problems your clients are experiencing in their business and how best your product or service will solve that particular problem. At the end of the day, a great sales transaction is the collaboration between two businesses that mutually benefit each other.

People love authenticity and passion, so let that shine through with every sales interaction. Be yourself, be confident and have a great mindset about everything in life!

How Sales People can sell better to CEO’s

How Sales People can sell better to CEO’s

There may come a time that you’ll need to sell to the C-Suite, the high-ranking executives of a business. These are the likes of CEO’s, CFO’s and CIO’s. Or perhaps, like Salesforce your entire sales strategy is based around selling only to CEO’s. Whatever the case may be, let’s help you get more prepared for that sales meeting. How to win over executive buyers? You need to enter their mind set and be absolutely prepared at all times. In order to get this right you need to:

Do your homework on the prospect

Scan the prospect’s website, scour the internet to find what you can on that particular CEO. Really understand the kind of content the CEO likes to share on social media and know where they hang out digitally.

How well do you know the prospective company?

Do you as a highly effective and successful salesperson take the time to go to LinkedIn and Facebook and do in-depth analysis on this company that you want to pitch to? Take the time to understand how well their business is doing, the pain their business is solving. Do as much research as possible.

Have an agenda

As we all know time is money and C-levels are exceptionally busy. So don’t go into a sales meeting wasting their time. Come prepared with an agenda, account for every minute in that boardroom. Arm yourself with relevant case studies and testimonials. Try to think of any objections the CEO may throw your way and come up with solutions prior to the meeting. Be agile on your feet as you will be thrown a curveball. Be an active listener and really understand how your solution will fit into the prospective company’s vision.

The magic of sales lies in the follow up

What happens after the meeting is just as important as what transpired during the sales meeting. Remember to follow up, this responsibility lies with you. Make sure you have a game plan in place for your follow up. Remember that more than likely these CEO’s are hounded on a daily basis by other salespeople vying for their attention. You need to do your homework, show up and definitely ensure that you stand out from the crowd. And above all else, listen to what is being said and also to what is not being said. The most successful salespeople have learned the art of listening.

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

Accelerate the Growth of your Business with a winning Sales Process

You may run a highly successful sales division for a corporate company or you could be an early stage start up, wearing multiple hats. Either way, you are fully aware that sales is core to the success of your business. Here are a few tips on how to put together a basic yet winning sales process.

1.     Begin client outreach right now

Gather all your wits about you and start calling. Yes, pick up the phone! I promise you, the phone will not bite you. Don’t feel alone though as most people dread speaking with complete strangers on the phone. What I can tell you is that the more you do it the more confidence you’ll gain. This method is the best way to field objections, understand business challenges and even get feedback on your offering, all in real time.

2.     Start Role playing

Walk through the sales process right until close of sale with a colleague or business partner. Once you start feeling more comfortable with going through the whole sales pitch start role playing with someone out of your organisation. These scenarios can give you better insight on how to identify possible gaps, whether it’s in your approach or your product / service.

3.     Establish your qualifying criteria

By establishing a list of sorts to pre-qualify your clients you will better understand what pain your product / service solves, whether you are a good match or not for a potential client, if they can afford you and so forth. This is vital information to have as it could prevent your sales cycle from being lengthened unnecessarily or possibly mismatching your offering with a prospective client.

4.     Build a sales conversion funnel

You need to learn to reverse engineer, not only in business, but also within your sales process. So begin with the end in mind and then reverse the process until you get to where you currently are in order to better understand where you want to go and how you are going to get there. For example, when we speak of a sales conversion funnel, we typically refer to a sequence of events, like first do a cold call, then send a follow up email, do another outreach activity, then pre-qualify the prospect and close the deal. Ask yourself how many deals you would like to close in one month, then break that down to how many prospects you should have in your pipeline, the number of quotes you should have out, your daily number of cold calls and include your marketing strategy into the mix. This will help with understanding your desired conversion rate and what your sales pipeline should look like on a monthly basis in order to achieve the close rate you’re looking for.

5.     Keep going, keep growing

If it this process is showing results work hard on developing it. It may be working now however it is imperative to keep testing your process to find better ways of doing things. As the founder of the business or sales leader it is important that you are actively involved in developing the company’s sales process. There’s a great quote from Steli Efti :

“Lack of iteration is what prevents companies from making a good sales process great!”

Keep moving forward and looking for a winning repeatable process.

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

Why Marketing is so essential to the success of your Sales goals

We’ve all heard it before, how the marketing department just cannot see eye-to-eye with the sales department. And how the sales department thinks the campaigns designed by the marketing department is never going to work. It’s 2017 – time to set aside those differences and truly understand how these two departments are quintessential to the growth of any business. Yes it can be done. It is absolutely possible for these two divisions to work together harmoniously. And this is the year to do it. Why? If we can better understand how important a great marketing campaign is, we can better utilise it in growing our sales, month-on-month. The best way to do this is to get these two silos’ to speak with each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate or a solopreneur, the bottom line is, marketing complements sales. Simple.

7 Steps to understanding Marketing

  1. Business Vision – What is your business vision? That is, do you know your business? Why did you build your business? Does your vision align with your strategy? First and foremost, by having a clear vision of what you want, then how you’re going to achieve it will follow automatically.
  2. Determine Target Market – In order to design a great marketing strategy you truly need to understand who you are speaking to. What does your ideal customer look like? Where are they located? What are their interests? Where do they hang out in the social media realm? By understanding the buying persona (or client avatar), you’ve just made your strategy building so much easier.
  3. Look At Your Competitors – Chances are there is already a business doing what you’re doing. But never fear! Now is the time to understand what differentiates you from your competitors and make that your slogan, your driving force. Look at what they are doing and do it better.
  4. Act Like A Media Company – You absolutely need to commit in creating as much great content as possible. There are numerous articles available on the web describing where buyer attention is focussed. Find out where in your niche they are and cater to them. In other words, if you’re selling beauty products then it makes sense to share gorgeous editorial pics on Instagram, to do how to videos on YouTube and to share daily cleansing tips for instance with live feed on Facebook. Get creative and keep churning out quality content.
  5. Set Out Marketing Goals – Take the needed time to set out your marketing goals for the year to come and break them down into achievable monthly milestones. The better your goals are outlined and adhered to, the easier the sales process becomes.
  6. Create A Marketing Calendar – Create a workable marketing calendar for the rest of the year. Look at ways to launch new products or services, create monthly themes and weekly action steps. Become creative with your posts, however, do cater to your target market and keep in mind the medium that you’re sharing on. Look at the time of day and the day of the week that you’re sharing content to ensure that you maximise engagement and convert those leads into sales.
  7. Put A Budget In Place – There are times that you’re going to spend money to make money and marketing is one of those places. The beauty of social media and blogging is that you can grow your audience organically and create a loyal following without spending a cent. Other times it is essential to throw a bit of budget behind your marketing campaigns to ensure that your conversion rate is high and attainable. You want to see tangible results from your marketing campaign, so make sure that the right people are seeing your content at the right time.