12 Disciplines Of Every Successful Company

October 14, 2011

A common daily question that business owners have is:  What should our company be doing better?  I literally hear this every time I meet a business owner.  Initially, I thought the answer to this question depended on what that business did, or their industry, or maybe several other factors that were unique to that business…  BUT what I’ve found after studying this for several years now is that almost everything you need to do to improve your business will fall into the following 12 Disciplines.  If your company can master these and constantly work on them, you will see tremendous results.

So here are the disciplines and a brief outline of what I’m talking about for each.  More info to come on each of these in the future….

1. Optimizing – Most people are great at starting new things or doing stuff the same way forever.  But to build a truly amazing company, you must have a focus on improving and optimizing what you are doing.  I like to focus on a couple of areas first.  I like to work on current promotions, tracking leads and opportunities, and expenses.  These areas can have a fast impact and boost your bottom line quickly.

2. Team Building – If you want a strong company that operates with or without you, you need a team.  The foundation of the team is your leadership team.  The core of your leadership team is built on communication, mindset and beliefs.  Your building blocks for making it all work together are your Vision, Culture, Integrity, Accountability, and Systems.

3. Sales Process – Map it out from first impression to a closed sale.  Use a CRM!  This is a nonnegotiable.

4. Sales Scripts – What do you say and when do you say it in the process?  What phrases work and which ones cause problems during a sale?  Know this stuff and teach it to EVERYONE on your team!

5. Overcoming Objections – Start by making a list of common objections.  Address common objections during the sales process to minimize them at the end.  Position all your interactions with the prospects so they expect the sale…

6. Customer Service – How do you treat your customers?  Do you survey them?  Do you have standard response times?  How about WOW factors?  What information do you gather about your clients so you can impress them?

7. Knowing Your Ideal Client – Know who you like to work with and who you don’t.  Know who’s a good fit for your company and when you are forcing a round peg into a square hole just for a dollar.  Have a set of criteria that you use to accept a client.

8. Telling Your Story – What makes your company special?  What problems does your company address for the industry.  What makes your product/service better than the rest?  What are the real intangible benefits to working with you?

9. Perfecting Your Follow Up To Current Customers – The first sale is only the beginning of the relationship.  How can you keep your customers coming back over and over again?

10. Hiring – A bad hire will cost you as much as 60K.  Learn how to find, recruit, screen, and train good talent.  It will change your business from the inside out.  Very powerful.

11. Strategy – This is the long-term piece of your planning.  Thinking and planning 5 years or more out, creating a roadmap, milestones, and targets.  Involves thinking about what you want to accomplish and working your way backwards to the present day.  Also includes thinking of ways to accomplish more with each move you make.

12. 90 Day Planning – The strategy is great, but if you don’t get out the business every 90 days and clear your mind, review where you are, and get down in the details, you are going to be in trouble.  This is a key part of growing and maintaining an amazing business.

Want to know more about these 12 disciplines?  Want to Master them?  I have a 6 month training series coming up on this soon.  Email me  michael@michaellejeune.com and set you up with all info…


Mike’s Top 10 Ways to Grow Any Business

October 5, 2011

I get asked all the time about how to quickly and easily grow a company.  My short answer is that there are NO silver bullets!  It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there’s no single way to jump your sales overnight.  And there’s really no way at all to do it effortlessly.

That said, if you want tried and true ways to grow literally any business on planet, read on…

Here’s a list of my personal 10 favorites that work in literally every situation I’ve ever been in.  And by the way, that ranges from advanced business solutions to manure farmer (Yes, I’ve actually coached a manure farmer).  I’ve used this in all situations and they flat-out work!

Mike’s top 10 ways to grow any company

  1. Reach out to past leads that didn’t close and see if they are now ready to buy. – Most sales are lost for lack of follow-up.
  2. Reach out to current customers and see if they could use an upgrade or cross sell them into another product or service.  What if every one of your customers purchased just 10% more from you?
  3. Ask everyone, past clients, current clients, people who don’t close in a demo; for a REFERRAL!  People will give you referrals if you ask.  Even if it doesn’t work more than 10 or 20% of the time, that’s better than 0% which is what I bet most of you reading this are getting right now.
  4. Increase your prices.  If you are worth it, charge more.  Cheap = you get what you pay for.
  5. Review your promotions and discounts to find ways of adding value instead of just giving discounts.  I recently reduced the cost of a promotion for a client from $15 to $9 (a savings of $6 per sale).  We reduced the plain cash discount to $5 cash off and a product that cost him $4 but had a perceived value of $10 (still a $15 value to the customer).  Doesn’t sound like much until you hear that he sells 200 of these deals per month.  That equals 200 sales times $6 or $1,200 per month/$14,400 per year.
  6. Review your marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t.  Cut what isn’t working and redirect those funds to what is.
  7. Pick up the phone and call all your customers just to see how they are doing.  You will be amazed at how many will refer business or let you in on a need they have (that you can help with) if you just communicate with them regularly.
  8. Invest 1 hour a week honing your sales skills, presentation/demo, etc.  Get better at closing!
  9. Implement a multi-touch sales and marketing system so that every lead gets “touched” a minimum of 20 times before you give up on it.
  10. Be authentic! – It’s not enough to be funny, cute, or original.  People want to see how real you are.  Show a real side to who you are and what your company is about and more people will buy.
Bonus 11th and 12th Tips…
11. Implement KPI’s in each key area of your business.  Tracking is actually a strategy that will improve your performance.  This one is highly underestimated.
12.  Implement a CRM into your sales process.  There’s no excuse here.  Zoho.com has an amazing free system, Salesforce.com is superb.  This step will increase your sales departments effectiveness by 40% or more.

For more strategies and tips on how to grow your business, email me at michael@michaellejeune.com

Have an interesting tip or strategy you want to share?  Send them in.  I’d love to share with the world!


Your Net Has a Hole – A Story About How To Optimize Your Business For the Holidays

September 24, 2011

Did you know that for some businesses, the holiday season is where they generate 60 to 75% of their income for the year as well as 50% or more of their new customers?  I was a little shocked at first when I learned this, but when you think about it, it’s very accurate.  The main holiday season in the United States is about to kick off and will run right into the first week of January.  After that, business usually slows down for many industries right through spring time.

In a traditional business model, most people are gearing up for the holiday season and looking at ways to make it better than last year.  But let me challenge you with this.  How many of you are looking past the holiday season and how you can make the hard winter months of January, February, and March more successful?  I’ll bet the answer is very few.

If I could show you a way to make your slowest months of the year better, would you take me up on the advice?  What if that advice could set you up to generate 20 to 50% more sales in those months?  Would you listen then?  What if I told you that some people will double or triple their business in those months next year if they continue to take this advice year after year?  Do I have your attention now?

I want you to imagine something for a minute.  Imagine you are fisherman and you are using a net to catch fish.  Your whole livelihood depends on you catching as much fish as you can, selling some at market, and feeding your family with your catch.  Now imagine that your net has a TON of holes in it.  Some big holes, some little holes, but just a ton of holes in it.  Now remember, this net is how you catch your fish and your whole world is depending you catching fish.  Before you take off to sea for your fishing trip, wouldn’t mend the net and fix all the holes?  I know I would.

This is a problem that most business owners have.  Their net is full of holes.  Some big, some small.  The problem is that most people don’t even know there’s a problem.  I’m here today to tell you, THERE’S A PROBLEM!

Here’s the problem…  You are thinking short-term sale instead of lifetime value.  You see, in the winter months people are thinking how they can close each sale and how if they just do a good job that will bring the customers back.  WRONG!  It will bring some back, but let’s get real for a minute, how many people come back over and over again.  If you are really honest, very few unless you have a system in place to bring them back time and time again.

So without any more delay, here’s how you should be thinking.  Yes, the short-term sale is great, but what can I do at the point of purchase to (1.) Position the client to come back soon and (2.) Get them to tell their friends.  After all, the power of the referral is something you really want.

So let’s take a retail jewelry store for example.  If someone comes in your store and places a custom order for a piece, how do you normally handle this?  You make a sale and then tell them you will call them when it’s in.  If you are good at what you do, you send them a thank you card.  But MOST people don’t even do that.  When the piece is in, you call them, they come check it out, pay the rest of the fee and then they are off and possibly out of your life.

If you are superstar, this is what you WOULD do.  Someone comes into your store and while they are making a purchase, you strike up a conversation about them, their family, and eventually get into other pieces they would like to have some day.  You even help them build a wish list with their 2 or 3 favorite items on it.  You ask about birthdays, anniversaries, kids, etc and if there’s a significant other, you get their details so you can “remind” them of those special occasions.  When you are wrapping up the sale, you give your new client a simple postcard that asks them to rate their experience on yahoo or google under your business profile [note to self, make sure you have a business profile on both] and that their review will entitle them to a free cleaning/or other service if they bring the card back with a date of the review on it.   [Please note that this is just the beginning  J]

Next, you do send a thank you card.  Make sure it is hand written, in your authentic style, says more than “thank you”, and DOES NOT promote your business [i.e. and here’s a gift certificate for xyz].  [By the way, you can pick up boxes of these for pennies at discount stores, close out sales, and end of season clearance – requires you to think ahead…  See the theme here?]

Here’s a cool step.  When their piece comes in, call them and tell them you can show it to them online in an interactive fashion.  Tell them you do this for your customers so they don’t have to fight the traffic and the mall/parking lots, etc and view this in the comfort of their home.  Build up the benefits of this and how cool it is and customers will love it!  At the end of the online presentation ask them if they would do you a favor.  You can do it like this.  “So what do you think about using the internet to see your piece?”  Most will say that it was awesome.  Your next question should then be, “It would mean the world to us if you would share this experience with your friends.  Would you help us out by spreading the word?”  Again most would say, “sure”.    You say great, and then ask them to “like” your Facebook page and put a quick comment about the online presentation.  [Note to self, Facebook isn’t a joke and I need to create a page immediately…]

But it doesn’t stop here.  This is just where the relationship starts.  From here you can start a whole plethora of contacts and touches about their wish list, new pieces in your store, and even interacting with them and their friends via Facebook.  But that’s a story for another day…

To wrap this up, let’s bullet point what we accomplished here for our new client by thinking ahead.

  • We learned about them, their family, what they like, and key dates
  • We thanked them for their business in a super nice way
  • We made an impression on them that we are unique
  • We introduced them to a time-saving way to interact with you through the internet
  • We got them to rate our website via google or yahoo
  • We got them to like our Facebook page
  • We got them to tell their friends about us
  • We set ourselves up to speak to them again and again

If you want more cool ideas for your business, you can email me directly at michael@michaellejeune.com

I also want to hear your success stories from using these ideas.  Please send them so I can share them with the world!