Category: Reputation (page 1 of 2)

Get More Clients – How To Get Clients To Come To You

Sharon GaskinI am indebted to Sharon Gaskin for this post – Get more clients. Sharon is the MD of The Trainers Training Company – Helping Freelance Trainers Create Successful Businesses. This post ticks lots of boxes for me and the clients I would like to work with hence it’s inclusion into our blog roll. Than you Sharon.

A recurring theme for me this week has been the value of getting clients to come to you rather than you having to continually chase business. I remembered the first time this happened to me. The morning after one of my live Webcasts I had a call from an organisation asking me to go and run a Workshop for their members.
So how do you do it? How do you get clients to seek you out, call you and say they want you and must have you!!

Get more clients

1. Be brave – be different – make sure you stand out! Have a look at your business card, for example. If you gave it to someone at a Networking Event would it be a talking point? Would people remember it? What makes your card different from all the rest of the freelance trainers out there?

2. Get known for doing one thing, do it consistently and really well. The most successful freelance trainers I know are the ones who specialise in ONE area. Someone said to me the other day, does anyone ever ask you if you know a really good generalist? The answer is No!

3. Position yourself as an expert. That’s why it’s vitally important to specialise. You can’t be an expert in hundreds of different areas.

4. Be visible. Get out there – both on and off line.
Be consistent with your networking activity. 10 minutes a day on Twitter, Linked In or Facebook is better than 1 full day once a month. By doing this both your name and what you do slowly drip feed into people’s consciousness.

5. Be authentic. Be yourself. Accept that some people may not like you, but hopefully most will. People buy from people who they know, like and trust. People are also attracted to people who they feel resonate with them, who are genuine and clear about what they stand for.

6. Build up a following and an army of fans! If you are doing all of the above this will happen naturally and before you know it more and more people will be ringing you and asking you to do do business with them!

Sharon Gaskin is the Founder of The Trainers Training Company helping freelance trainers to create successful and profitable training businesses.

Make yourself scarce

Exit signMake yourself scarce

No, I don’t mean go away. I mean make what you do or who you are a scarce resource and see what happens next.

It works for me. Too many times in the past I have made myself a commodity and then wondered why no one was prepared to pay a premium. If I delivered copy writing it generated little in terms of value. If I delivered marketing advice it had the same impact. Why? Because they were generic and there are so many others out there promoting a similar service.

I like it rare

So I changed my offering that reflects who I am and what I want to be. My personality, background, training, education, experiences all add up to make me unique. And that uniqueness is where the value is. Because what people buy in the coaching, mentoring, knowledge industry is a point of view. One that is interesting, insightful, worth hearing.

By focusing my offering on my uniqueness I am being authentic and in doing so make it easier to be found by those people who value my point of view.

Slow down a moment

Before you go finding out what makes you unique in the hope of making a fortune there is another part of the puzzle to solve. Uniqueness or scarcity is not enough. If I were an underwater basket weaver I will most likely be alone in my skills sets. But I will not justify high fees because there is no need for this service, no matter how good I am at it. (If I am wrong, let me know and I will start the training to become one.)
The other factor that determines value is the ability to make a positive difference. If your uniqueness makes a real difference in another’s life then they will pay for it. The bigger the difference the higher the premium.

Compare and contrast these two offerings.

One is the ability to rework the formula in a spreadsheet so that it is error free. That is worth paying for if it matters to the person who owns the spreadsheet.

The second offering is the ability to negotiate the best exit strategy for a CEO of a multi-million pound company. This too is worth paying for.

The question is – who gets more? I suggest that it is the latter who gets the bigger paycheck.

So make yourself scarce and make a positive difference and then see what happens next.

Brand loyalty – mistakes that are frequently made

Here below is a synopsis of an excellent blog post by Randy Bowden. He argues that most business owners miss the point when it comes to building brand loyalty

“Customers want a business they can come back to again and again for the things they need, that they feel comfortable purchasing those items, knowing they are getting the right items. It is, however, easy to make mistakes when building brand loyalty that may haunt a business the rest of its days.

1. Forgetting What The Customer Wants

It is important to keep what the customer wants in mind as a business owner builds loyalty. Business owners need the loyalty to go deeper below the surface.

2. All Hype, No Substance

It is easy to think about customers are object you are trying to attract them and forget they are people. So, avoid making claims about the business without the substance to back it up.

3. All Sell

One of the worst things a business can do when building brand loyalty is focusing on the next sale. It is like being bombarded by telemarketers. No customer likes that.

4. No Engagement

Engagement can simply mean a conversation or acknowledgement that the business heard their words and will take the appropriate action. The strong emotions, such as humour, connects them to your brand and encourages loyalty.

5. Poor Customer Service

No matter how well you do everything else, how those behind the counter treat the customer is still one of the best ways to build customer loyalty. So, never forget that your brand extends beyond the physical.”

As the saying goes, there is no second chance to make first impression. Working hard on ensuring that the client or customer has a smooth path through the purchase is probably the best way to build brand loyalty.

Jettison the ballast and soar!

“I haven’t got the time, Rob!”.

“In your dreams, Rob”.

“When am I supposed to do this? I am working 10 hour days”

What would your response be if you had to increase your workload by 20%. Would you tut and go back to the day job? Would you reflect longingly at what life would look like if you could increase the time at work? Or would you do the following?

The Ditch List – jettison the ballast

Business coaching Bristol Bath and South WestWrite down on a set of Post It notes everything you spend your time on. Get it all down first, we will work on it later. Then add in the non-work commitments.

Once you have emptied your brain, take a break and enjoy a hot beverage or glass of wine because now comes the hard bit. Put all the notes in a long vertical line, the most important things you spend your time on at the top and the lesser items at the bottom. You can do the next bit weekly or monthly, it is up to you. But what you need to do is to calculate how much time you spend on each activity.

Add up the time per task as you go down the list until you reach 80% of the time you want to work. Anything below that should be outsourced, discontinued or delegated. Be ruthless!.

Why do this exercise?

Because you need a minimum of 20% of your working time to run the business. That’s right at least 20% or one day per week of quality time to ensure the business vision, goals and objectives are being met. All too frequently we find as business coaches that senior business leaders spend too long on non essential tasks to the detriment of their business.

So what would you jettison if you had the time?

The ONE Thing book review

I cannot recall how many times I have started my blog posts with something along the lines of “Being in business is hard” or “Being successful in business demands intense focus”. So I was intrigued when I come across a book that promises to help.

The One ThingIt is the One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan that has the expansive text on the front cover “The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results”.

In essence I liked the book, it is easy to read and has some nuggets to take away. It uses a formula based on what they call the Focusing Question. Using solid theory such as the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule, they expound how to make the most of your time. Good stuff.

But I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. I reflected and concluded that it ultimately doesn’t work, not because there is anything wrong with the initial premise, the logical thought processes etc, but it doesn’t  work as it starts with an incorrect assumption. The assumption they make is that by knowing what I need to focus on as single mindedly as they make out, I can then JDI – just do it. If I was an automaton, then fine, but I am not. I am a fallible, inconsistent, unpredictable human being and this kind of artificially induced rigour doesn’t work as a game changing model of behaviour.

I did pick up some useful titbits and a few insights but to boil all the complexity of being a human in the complex environment we call business into ONE Thing just leaves me cold.

What do you think?

Social media in a B2B setting doesn’t work

Social media - is there any point?Let me clarify. B2B is business to business where one firm is looking to sell to another firm. B2C is business to consumer where the firm is seeking to engage with a consumer directly.

Social media is any on line promotional platform whereby firms seek to engage with other firms via platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn etc.

The goal in social media is to engage more with the personality than with products or services. It’s all about personal branding, ego and demonstrating who you are and not what you do or the benefit that you offer.

Social media in a B2B setting does not work

Why? Because businesses buy products or services. They are not interested in personality, personal branding or ego. They just want to buy a solution to a problem, to scratch their itch. They seek solutions by looking for the closest thing they can to a solution and then fine tune it when they have a few options. But they certainly wont be buying based on an on line personality.

Only the very smallest firms might buy through social media connections, and one could argue that is more a B2C transaction as they are in essence buying for themselves and not as an officer of the company.

4psSo my view is that if you want to sell to established businesses, focus more promoting what you do in terms that your audience understands. Make it clear what you are selling, the benefit the users get from using you and the process that you will use to make it happen.

Any thoughts?

 

Let the Chimp out

How often do you find yourself in a situation where the other person in the conversation seems to be ranting, or on an emotional tsunami? Or have you been in a meeting where one or more of the delegates seem to be off message but still transmitting?

Well, there is an explanation and if you know what it is then you can deal with it

Chimp Paradox

It’s called the Chimp and is described in the book the Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters. He helped guide the British Cycling team to glory at the London Olympics.

In the book he describes the human brain as having 2 key parts. One is you, the real you. Logical, rational. The other is the emotional you. The one that feels rather than thinks, that sees in black and white and has catastrophic thoughts.

Does that sound familiar? If not for you it might explain the behaviour of some of the people you interact with. It is their Chimp that is transmitting, not the real them.

The secret is to let the Chimp have their say no matter how irrational, emotional or off message. Once the rant is over, it calms down and goes to sleep allowing the real person to appear. Sound too simplistic. Maybe, but it works.

Try it next time. Just let them get it off their chest. No interruptions, not engagement, don’t take it personally and remember that it is not the real person talking. Then when they have calmed down, then do the talking. It really works

Game, Set, Match – get them in the right order

To win a tennis match means winning a series of games. The games won will then turn into sets that will then turn into matches.

Balls win matches

“Isn’t that insulting my intelligence?” I hear you rant at the screen. “I know how to win a game of tennis!” Agreed. How about winning in business though?

I come across a lot of business owners who want to win matches but don’t accumulate enough games to win the match.

They are too busy doing the other things assuming victory is theirs as a right. Using the tennis metaphor they will be writing their victory speech or reflecting on the press conference rather than getting on with the grind of winning games.

In business a game could be completing the marketing collateral, writing the job specs, filling in the expenses, doing the budgets, reviewing client satisfaction ratings. Al the small but essential tasks that need to be done and done well.

Do enough of them and you will see progress. The equivalent of a set perhaps. Persist and the match might be yours. Time for you to grasp the racket and head for the base line.

New balls please …

Keeping cashflow under control: Top 5 tips

Paid InvoiceAccording to a survey carried out by Reuters in April, nearly half of SMEs are concerned about cashflow issues impacting on their business over the next year.

The time between sending out an invoice and receiving payment can sometimes seem like an immeasurable and uncontrollable variant which impacts on many other aspects of the business, but here are some tips to keep problems at bay:

Clear payment terms

Make sure that your payment terms are clearly set out on all invoices. It can be helpful to set a clear time frame, such as ‘within 7 days’, as this allows you to communicate with the client how long they have left before the payment is overdue, or exactly how long overdue it is. Including the due date on the email you send with the invoice also sets a clear precedent for payment time.

Chase early and methodically

Don’t let the payment terms drag on before chasing. Once you have chased once, follow up periodically, reminding the customer how overdue the payment now is. Ensure that your language is formal but polite. Some good templates for invoice chasing messages can be found here.

Communication and clarity

It’s important to communicate about cashflow and payments – people can be reluctant to ask their clients for overdue payments, and this is prudent as relationships can be delicate. But it is important to be open and upfront; everyone understands that cashflow can become an issue, so don’t be afraid to communicate. Being open from the beginning can prevent loss of relationships later on, when you may be forced to withdraw your services, for example.

Spread out payments

Giving clients the option of paying in instalments can prevent the mental block of not wanting a lump sum to leave their account, and aids their cashflow as well as yours. It also helps to have a mix of client payment times, some paying on longer term contracts, and some shorter term.

Know your expense timetable

Every business has expenses which leave the account at a set time each month, and these are just as much a part of the cashflow issue as payments coming into the account. Make sure you account for when payments are leaving and work your invoicing timetable around this wherever possible.

Freebies are priceless

giftsWith the internet’s wealth of free content, we are all used to getting something for nothing. Whether it’s sharp insights from a blog, a song streamed through Spotify or a tutorial watched on YouTube, you can get most things for free somewhere on the internet (though quality might not always be guaranteed).

This culture of free access to information is not limited to the internet. Actually, giving something away for nothing (think loss-leaders and taster products) has been a tried-and-tested part of the sales process for a very long time.

But why, you might ask, should you waste valuable time giving your services away for nothing? You might have plenty of paying customers, but if you don’t have more in the pipeline, offering a freebie can provide a great boost.

You build trust

A free use of your services builds trust with the customer and gives them an opportunity to ask you any questions which might be preventing them from buying. They can experience first-hand your expertise and see exactly how the product works.

They get to try something new

Giving your customer the opportunity to experience your service for nothing offers the perfect excuse to step outside their comfort zone and try something new. The freebie offer is particularly useful for things which people are unsure about or don’t quite understand. Showing is far more effective than telling.

Start building a relationship

Most people understand that they will be required to give something, whether it’s their email address, feedback or something else of use to you, in return for their freebie. It also gives you and the customer an opportunity to see you’re the right fit for what they need.

Engage with a wider audience

Hand in hand with relationship building, the freebie gives the customer a chance to engage with you and vice versa. Eve

n if they don’t become a customer following their freebie, stay in touch using your newsletter and social media, in case future offerings will be better suited to them or their contacts.

Try it:
Perhaps you could offer a free consultation, if your business suits this concept, or hold an event to display your expertise in a certain field. Make sure you get at least an email address for anyone you meet with and keep in touch!

Practising what we preach: We offer a free 90-minute one to one meeting to gauge how well we’ll work together and what we can do to help you achieve your business goals. To see how well our freebie works, get in touch and book your one to one now, by emailing alexh@businesscopilot.co.uk or calling 0117 317 8147. 

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