Failure doesn’t mean you stop trying

October 2, 2011

There’s one horrible trend that I see in a lot of entrepreneurs and it’s simply that they quit very easily.  This is especially true when it comes to marketing, hiring, and their sales process.  Now I know what you are thinking…  Most entrepreneurs you know are the kind of people who never quit.  They never give up and they will fight to the death to make their business succeed.  While that it is true on the surface, this article will dig a little deeper into this epidemic.

This all starts from a recent conversation I had with a lawyer client of mine.  I asked him about what marketing had worked in the past and his answer was, “nothing”.  Seriously???  So I dug deeper and asked how he got his past clients.  The answer, “I did some networking, some post card mailers, and a couple of ads in the paper”.  So as I was scratching my head with confusion, I asked this, “So if nothing worked for you, how did you get those clients?”  His response, “well it worked once, but it hasn’t worked since”.  My response was simple, “so how many times do you think you’ve tried it that it didn’t work?”  The answer was kind of funny [to me, not to him].  His answer, “at least once or twice”.  Wow…  So I guess that’s a good reason to stop trying.

Follow my train of thought here.  You may not remember when you learned to walk, but I’m guessing you tried it more than once and I’m guess you failed several times along the way right?  What if you had just stopped trying to learn to walk the first or second time you fell?  You’d be in a wheelchair right now!  What about this major milestone in every person’s life, learning to successfully use the toilet.  Did you get that right the first time?  What about the second or third time?  Probably not.  It probably took weeks if not months of trying to get it right.  Imagine your life without learning this little skill…  I don’t care how smart you are, how talented in sports you are, or how charismatic you are, if you are 30 and still going in a diaper [because you are lazy and don’t want to learn to do it right] no one is going to hang out with you!  And that’s a fact.

One of the sad facts here is that learning to walk and going potty are probably the last times in your life where you were encouraged to keep trying NO MATTER HOW MANY MISTAKES YOU MADE!  Am I right?  Maybe riding a bike ranks in there with these, but then it stops there.  What if your networking skills stink the first dozen times you try it?  What do you think is going to happen?  Someone is going to come along and give you this pearl of wisdom, “why don’t you try something else?”  And of course that will make sense because networking is hard for many people and your brain goes into protection mode and says, “look, this yahoo said you should try something else.  That sure would make you happy.  Let’s just quit?”

Sometimes we just need to smack ourselves for listening to that little voice in our brain that is trying to hold us back.  It reminds me of the cartoons when I was a kid.  You know, the one where Sylvester the cat has the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.  That voice in your head is the devil saying to take it easy.

Back to my Lawyer client….

So I asked him this, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how good do you think you are at networking, marketing, etc.?”  His answer was a 2.  So I fired back with this, “Do you think if we worked on those skills and got you to a 5 or 6 out of 10 that you would be successful using those strategies to get customers.”  He answered with a resounding, Y-E-S!  So here’s the magic follow-up question, “How long do you suppose that it’s going to take to get from a 2 to a 6?”  He thought about it for a minute and said, “At least 6 months.  Maybe more.  Just depends on how fast I catch on.”  That was a brilliant answer.  You see, you can’t possibly the know the answer.  It depends on many factors like how fast you learn, what learning style works best for you, if you are an intellectual or if you are more hands on, how much knowledge you already have in this area, and your mindset or beliefs around the skill.  Another question I asked was, “if it will take you 6 months to get to a 6 out of 10, how long do you think it will take you to fully MASTER this and be a 10 out of 10?”  He thought for a minute and said, “probably a couple years.”  Again, right on the money…  A couple of studies I’ve read say it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to MASTER something. Which would take you just under 5 years if you practiced 40 hours a week.

I had one final question for my client…  “Are you committed to just 6 months to learn this or however long it takes?”  You see you have to be committed to however long it takes.  In his case, he said he was committed to eventually being a master at it.

Simply knowing what you are getting into at the beginning is an important step in maturity, but also success.  You see if you know going in that there will be mistakes, but that each one is a milestone that gets you one step closer to success, you treat the mistakes much differently.   When inventing the light bulb Ben Franklin made over 1,000 failed attempts.  His famous quote was, “I now know 1,000 ways it won’t work and just need to find one way to make it work.”  Are you willing to fail 1,000 times to get to success?

Let me leave you with this final point.  Each time you try, you INCREASE your percentages that your next attempt WILL WORK!  This not only applies in marketing and that sort of thing, but in prospecting as well.  I tell all my clients that you have to keep making calls, sending emails, and direct mail to your list at a minimum, 20 times.  Anything less and you’ve wasted all your efforts.  Yes, some will take action right away, but most people need you to keep reminding them about your business until they buy.  My famous line is, “I’m going to keep after them until they are a client or they get a restraining order.”  My clients and I always have a chuckle at that, because I would never cross a line that would cause something like that, but the point is real.  I keep after and just don’t give up.  As a result, I need much fewer prospects than the average person because over time I close 6 times as many.

Got a story of how your persistence paid off in learning something?  Please share it…


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!


How to Get 10 times the impact out of every marketing dollar you spend

July 19, 2011

Want 10 times more impact from every marketing dollar you spend?  If so, check out these 9 key factors that will allow you to maximize your marketing budget and dominate your competition….  These 9 keys are ideally meant to work together, but you can start with just one and add the other in later.

1.       Is my marketing aligned with the strategic objectives of the company?

First off, if your company doesn’t have strategic objectives, you are in trouble!  Worse than that, if your marketing isn’t aligned with where you want to go as a company, you are just wasting your marketing dollars.

The first key here is establishing clear objectives for the company.  Get this done at the beginning of each year.   But just get it done.  Your next question may be, so what’s a strategic objective look like?  If so, here are a few for an ink and toner remanufacture business:  We want to capture 50% of the market share of small businesses in our company who buy ink and toner.  We also want to position our company as locally owned and operated experts in our market.  We also want to educate our clients on the environmental impacts of not using a service like ours.  We want to increase our revenues 25% over last year.

Those are just a few strategic objectives for that business.  I suggest between 10 and 12 per business per year.  But understand the impact of having this on your marketing.  Once you understand what you want to accomplish, you can then build your marketing campaigns around those objectives.  This puts your marketing and your business in harmony and allows you to be more effective.

2.       Do I communicate the SAME clear message through my:  Marketing, Business, Customer Service, Website, and Staff?

This one is pretty simple.  Do you have the same message being broadcast in all the areas of the business?  The odds are that every area of the business and even each marketing piece are all selling something different.  One of the most important keys of marketing is having a clear message.

For example, if you are Jewelry Store and you want to sell diamond rings, your direct mail needs to focus in on diamond rings.  Your website should educate buyers on the value and how to properly select diamond rings.  Your website should mention the direct mail ad directly or indirectly and connect with that message.  Your staff should talk about diamond rings with everyone they meet and your business should have strategic objectives around how you will sell more diamond rings.  One more, your customer service team should be TRAINED on handling diamond rings, cleaning them, and educating the customer in even greater detail on the great purchase they made.

3.       Do I engage my customers the way they want to be engaged?

This is where most businesses completely veer off track.  If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this.  Just because you can put a cheap ad in the paper or hit 10,000 houses for dirt cheap with direct mail — doesn’t mean you should!  You have to understand HOW your buyers want to be communicated with and then engage them PRIMARILY in that way.  The secondary way/s are also very important and I cover that in my next point.

So how do you know the best way to engage your clients?  The first thing you can do is poll your current clients.  Ask them how they like to be communicated with.  And start with your best or top 20% of customers first.  These are your ideal clients and the ones you want the more of.  So talk to them and find out what works best for them.  The next thing is to study your ideal client by making a list of their characteristics.  Then you move on to practical things like testing your theories.  It sounds much more complicated than it is. 

My main point here is that if you want to be successful in business, you will find out HOW your customers want to be engaged and then you will do it!  Because I can guarantee you one thing… If you choose NOT to engage your buyers the want they want, they will find another business that is WILLING to engage and communicate with them they way they prefer.  In this global economy, even the local jeweler isn’t the only game in town.  People are one google search away from 20,000 businesses who do what you do and one of them is bound to do what they ask.  It might as well be you. J

 My Top 6 ways to engage clients:

  • Through an ACTIVE referral program
  • By Phone
  • Webinar
  • Direct mail
  • Website
  • Social media

 4.       Do I engage my customers using 5 or more methods with my message?

This is what I call a complete marketing strategy.  It’s when you send a piece of direct mail that has a link to your website, facebook, twitter, and blog on it.  The customer then goes to any one of those online places and finds out that you have some great educational pieces they can download after they enter in their contact details.  They can also email you or signup for a webinar with you.  If this person gets your same direct mail piece and chooses NOT to go to your site but rather search for your product or service, you have done some SEO work as well PPC and you SHOW UP in the search research!

The takeaway from this section is that you need to use multiple methods to reach your customers with the same message.  Mix it up and have them all touting the same message.

5.       Do I educate my clients with my marketing?

Doing what I do its inevitable that I wind up reviewing countless marketing pieces each month.  And the there is one they all seem to have in common.  They talk about all the reasons they think you should buy from them.  As an FYI – that only works for the people who already know they want your product and are just shopping for the best supplier.  Which winds up being about 1 to 2% of the population.  So that means for every 100 direct mail letters you mail out, you will AT BEST only appeal to 1 or 2 people.  Starting to understand the conversion rate of direct mail?  Makes sense doesn’t it?

So let’s look at the education based marketing approach.  Education marketing is designed with 2 things in mind.  The first is obvious.  It’s designed to educate the market.  But the second thing that isn’t as obvious is that this marketing method is designed to interrupt the daily  patterns of your buyer and build a case for why they should consider getting this education.  In short, it’s designed to get your first sale…  Which is getting them to read your material, attend a webinar, download your free report or take a free consultation.  Whatever it is that you are going to use to educate them.

Here’s an example of a plumber that I worked with.  His original marketing was to restaurants and his pitch was of course about him.  So every 100 calls got him 1 or 2 appointments.  We changed up the phone pitch and it went something like this, “Did you know that are 7 key problems in every restaurant that cause 87% of your downtime?  Do you think it would be helpful for one of my engineers (not plumbers – engineers sounds really professional) to drop by this week and do a walk through your kitchen with you and educate you on these 7 areas and how to avoid any downtime?  Much better than, “hi, I’m Joe at ABC plumbing and I think you should use us for your next job”.  CLICK…  DIAL TONE….  REPEAT 99 more times to get an appointment…  OR my education based marketing approach where you get 3 appointments for every 8 to 10 calls.  Your choice…

6.       Do I have a system in place to follow up with prospects, current clients, and past clients?

I’ll keep this brief.  If you don’t plan on doing any follow up, just quit your marketing all together.  You’re wasting time and money.  You can read more on this in my article on why your marketing sucks by clicking here:  https://michaellejeune.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/the-single-biggest-reason-your-marketing-sucks/

7.       Does our marketing include more than 16 touches?

This piggybacks a bit on number 6, but since it’s about follow up…. So it’s worth repeating. J    Understand that most buyers don’t even recognize your marketing or brand until they have seen it at least 6 to 10 times.  Some surveys say it takes as many as 20 touches.  It just depends on how bad you want the client and how creative you can be.  I’ll give you a personal example.  It’s taken me nearly 7 years of emails, phone calls, and letters to multiple departments and many staff at Tony Robbins to finally get through and get myself aligned with that organization.  But I did it!  And I’m only 1 of about 60 people in the world vetted and trained to work with their business clients now.  That’s huge personal accomplishment for me to be in that type of elite group of coaches and consultants.  But most people would have stopped after an email or two.  How bad do you want your dream clients?

Remember this, anything less than 10 touches (emails, direct mail, phone calls, letters, etc) and you have wasted all the rapport, time, money, branding, and effort that you have put into your marketing.

Think about it this way.  With each additional touch you add to a campaign, you significantly INCREASE your chances of getting that client. 

8.       Do I track and analyze my marketing campaigns?

This one is pretty basic, but most people don’t measure anything.  By simply measuring how many letters you send out, what the response is, and what the revenues are, you can better run the business.  This makes your marketing predictable and affordable because you know the results it produces.  It also lets you know what works and what doesn’t.  It sure beats doing marketing and guessing about its effectiveness. 

 9.       Do I make it Super Easy to buy?  This is HUGE!

This sort of goes along with all the others a bit.  You have to understand that if you sell a product that people want to buy at 2 am while surfing the web in their underwear, you better have a way for them to do that!  After all, the customer is in control these days.  And again, remember that if you don’t allow the customer to buy at 2 am because your store requires them to call during your hours, there’s another guy somewhere in the world selling the same widget who has a customer service rep online at 2 am (maybe even working from home in their underwear).

The point is, if your customers want to buy online – Sell online.

If your customers want to get on a webcam with you and see the details of your product before placing a big order – Have a way to do that.

If your customers want to pay via credit card – you better accept them all.


The Single Biggest Reason Your Marketing Sucks!

July 19, 2011

Simply put… Your lack of follow up!

You may think you follow up enough, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t!  How do I know this?  Because I have YET to meet a single business owner, sales person, or marketing “expert” that follows up enough.

But because you may still be skeptical, I’ll put my theory to the test.

How many times on average do you follow up on a lead that doesn’t call you back before you quit?

The AVERAGE answer is 2 to 3 times.

The BEST answer….  As many times as it takes to reach them or until they get a restraining order…  That may sound extreme, but is it really?

The SECOND best answer is 20 times.  Want to see your conversion rates quadruple?  Follow up like you’re getting paid to do it.  Wait a minute…  You are getting paid to do it!  So follow up!

Here’s just a few more reasons why should follow up more:

  • Leads are expensive and follow up will increase your conversion rates and reduce your marketing costs
  • Your product or service is NOT the center of the universe for your prospects.  So even if they ARE interested they have other things going on in their life that are more important.  You have to consistently and repeatedly get in front of them
  • It takes a prospect 12 to 18 times of hearing your name, seeing your emails, listening to your voicemails to even recognize your brand.  So anything below 12 marketing touches is a complete waste of time and money unless you are just plain lucky.

One more quick test for my theory.  Suppose you get a hold of the person and they are not interested.  Do you follow up?

The AVERAGE answer is no.

The BEST answer is YES.  And not only do you follow up, you build a case over time with valuable data of why they should be interested.  You find out what their objections are and you probe for valuable data that you can use to fine tune your sales process and be a closing MACHINE.  No wait, you don’t do that.  Your answer was no…you don’t follow up….

Getting the picture of why your marketing probably sucks?

….Here’s the good news….

If your company is currently in this position and you are still surviving, a few simple changes to your follow up and you could be THRIVING!

Here’s just 2 things that I would implement right away.

  1. Create a 20 week campaign minimum that includes email, phone calls, and direct mail follow up
  2. Shorten your pieces.  A big mistake people make is trying to tell a prospect 100 facts about their product in the very first touch in hopes that all that data will get a sale.  The problem with this is that you overwhelm the client and you don’t leave anything of value to share with them after the first contact.  Leave them wanting more…

The 7 Reasons People Don’t Follow Through and What To DO About It

May 20, 2011

After working with hundreds of business owners and countless business coaches, I’ve found a common thread in all of them that stops people from following through on their word or plans.  Now most so called “experts” will tell you that its because of FEAR or Self Sabotage and that sort of thing.  But its really easier than that.  Fear and that sort of classic excuse is what people use to fall back on when they don’t really know the real reason people don’t follow through. 

To be very clear, I don’t share these things so that you can have a new set of excuses.  I share these things because once you know the ROOT cause for the behavior, you can get the proper prescription to help cure this problem.  But understanding the root cause (or psychology behind the actions) is essential in fixing the problem.  That said, here are the reasons I’ve found that are the most common. 

  1. Lack of understanding – What I often find is that people don’t know how to do some of the simplest tasks in their business.  Like getting their financials in order, putting together an email blast, writing a sales script, meeting with an employee, etc.  This lack of understanding quite often stops or at a minimum delays them from taking action and ultimately they will just get distracted by other things.
  2. Don’t know where to start – This is one of the first questions clients usually ask me…  “where do we start?”.  The reason is because even simple tasks usually have multiple moving parts.  And when you are making decisions in a business or even in a household for that matter, you have to consider other people and the impact of your decision on external forces.  So not knowing where to start will often stop people from ever starting at all.
  3. Overwhelmed with details – So let’s say someone understands what to do and even knows where to start… Some people get that far, but get bogged down in the details of how much there is to do and wanting it to be perfect.  Perfectionist are quite often only perfect at one thing…  Being late to the party.
  4. Lack of Value and Expectations – Here’s a massive one.  If someone doesn’t understand the value of doing something they just won’t do it or they will stop.  The classic example is the karate kid.  Young Danielson didn’t see any value in wax on, wax off.  He expected to learn karate not how to wax a car.  So he was very frustrated with the experience.  Now because it was a movie, he put up with the training (also because he had his coach watching over him all day).  But in real life, people just walk away from the task or never start it.  The other part of this one is expectations.  By taking on a task, you have to have expectations around it.  What do you want the outcome to be?  If you aren’t clear on the outcome it makes it hard to pursue the task.
  5. Priorities – A lot things happen in a business every day and knowing your priorities is very important.  This spills over from item 4, but realize if you don’t know the value and expectations of the task you are about to take on, it makes it hard to prioritize in your day.
  6. Out of control with their time – This is one of the ROOT causes I see a lot.  When I work with people I always look for ways to fine tune their schedule.  Even if they don’t ask for that…  Reason being is that this is often the first excuse… “I didn’t have enough time”.  And for that person — in that moment, that’s a fact.  So it has to be addressed.
  7. Stress – While this is just an excuse, stress is very real and often debilitating.  And it is often compounded by items 1 through 6 on this list not being answered for the individual and that ultimately creates more stress.  Stress is not only a distraction it can result in a depression and other paralyzing behavior that makes a person stop caring.

 9 things you can apply right away to overcome this…

  1. Make sure you set clear goals and objectives for each task you take on.  And if multiple people are involved, make sure they are CLEAR and can repeat it back to you.
  2. If assigning the task to a client, make sure they understand the task.  To do this, don’t just ask them if they understand, I ask them to explain it back to me so that I am SURE they understand.
  3. Have a clear starting point and milestones.  Getting started is the hardest part.  Once you get someone started, its much easier to direct them.  It also gets them involved and its hard to quit once you invest your time into something.
  4. Get them involved in the creative process.  Thanks to Brendon Burchard for this quote, “People support what they create”.  If you want someone enrolled in the process and to take ownership of it, get them to help create it.  You can’t just assign tasks to people, they need to be involved in coming up with the tasks.
  5. Get clear on the value of the task at hand.  Attach it to their goals and dreams and HOW this task plays a pivotal role in accomplishing those goals and dreams no matter how small a part it may be.  The bigger the task, the more time you need to invest in understanding the value.
  6. Set expectations…  Not just for the task, but what you expect will come from this short and long term.
  7. Be clear how important this task is.  If you need to, make a list of other things going on this week and rank where this task lands on that list.  Know how important it is.
  8. Get control of your time by making lists.  Break down tasks on your list by categories.  I have 3 categories.  The first is money making activities (represented by a $ sign), the second is client relationship activities (represented by a smiley face) and the third is just “stuff” (I don’t have a sign for that one).  Money making activities are first, followed by client relationship activities and then finally all other “stuff”. (My thanks to Mike Michalowicz – The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur for that one.)
  9. Talk about and deal with the stress.  It’s real and you have to deal with it.  Just addressing it can make a big difference.

What are KPI’s and why are they important?

May 12, 2011

One of the most important factors in running a business is actually one of the most overlooked areas of business. I know this because I talk to hundreds of business owners every year and I only find about 5% of them that have a clue about KPI’s.

So what are KPI’s?    KPI’s are Key Performance Indicators. These are the specific numbers that tell you what’s going on in your business and enable you to make educated strategic decisions to improve your business.

An example of KPI’s could be: sales, number of calls received, close ratio, amount of sales per product or service, amount of hits on your website, average AR days, etc. These are just some of the KPI’s you should be tracking in your business. Some of these should be tracked daily, some weekly, some monthly, and some quarterly.

Each business needs to customize their KPI’s to fit their business and start by selecting the most important 5 or 6 to start tracking immediately. Over time your list will grow as you learn what numbers you need to know.

So why do you want to pay attention and implement KPI’s? Simple… If you want to learn the fastest and most effortless way to grow your business, you need to master KPI’s.

Here’s a simple example of KPI’s for a Hair Salon.  For this example we will use just two KPI’s:  Average clients serviced per day and average sale per client.

Now those are just 2 KPI’s, but let’s see how this could be helpful to that business….

Let’s assume that the average clients serviced per day is 4 with an average sale of $45.  If this person works 5 days a week we can come up with estimated revenues of $900 per week (4 clients per day times 5 days in a week times $45 average sale per client).  Let’s also assume that these numbers are the same for 10 stylist that you have in your business.  So now the revenues are $9,000 per week ($900 times 10 stylists).

Now to put these KPI’s to work for you, let’s assume you can come up with 1 strategy for each KPI that will increase it by just 10%.  That brings your average clients serviced per day to 4.4 and your average sale to $49.50.  Doesn’t look like much until we multiply it out.  Now our weekly revenues per stylist are 4.4 customers times $49.50 in average sales for a new total of $1,089 per stylist or 10,890 for your whole team of 10.  When you look at it over time it’s even more attractive.  That extra 1,089 per week turns into 56,628 over the course of just 52 weeks (1 year) and over $283K over 5 years.  That’s a lot of money if you ask me.

But here’s the fun part.  If you know your average client visits per day and your average sale, it doesn’t have to stop here.  You could continue to work these numbers and improve them dramatically just by adding a single strategy here and there that will increase both areas.

Another KPI for this type of business is called, “Frequency of Purchase”.  To some people it can be referred to as average number of transactions per year, but I like frequency of purchase.  Think about this for a minute.  If your client visits you once every 8 weeks that winds up being about 6.5 visits per year.  Not bad, but if I know this number I can now work to improve it by implementing simple strategies.  So lets say I can reduce this to visiting me every 7 weeks.  I now go from 6.5 visits per year to 7.4 visits a year.  Again it doesn’t sound like much, but what if you have 1,000 clients like most hair salons?  You’ve just added over 900 visits at about $50 each to your bottom line.  That’s another $45K just by getting clients to come back a little more often.

These are some great practical examples that I actually use for a hair salon client of mine. 

Just remember to start small with a couple of KPI’s and build from there.  I like to start with 5 to 6 KPI’s at first and build up from there.  Just think about the numbers you need to know to manage your business and over time others will show up.  Also, be sure to monitor these weekly.  After all, you don’t want to wait until the end of the month or end of a quarter to spot a trend and make adjustments.  You want to make adjustments quickly so you can maximize your efforts and reduce loss of possible revenues.

If you have questions or want help setting up your KPI’s, just send me an email at michael@michaellejeune.com and I’ll setup a free KPI coaching session for you.  Just act fast because I only have 3 to 4 sessions like this open per week and they will fill up.


Why Should I Hire a Coach?

April 25, 2011

Quite often when I’m interviewing a prospective client I get asked in one way or another why they should hire someone to do what I do.  And simply put there are a lot of reasons why you should hire a coach or consultant to help you grow your business.  But before I get into the reasons why you should hire a coach, I think its important to know what kind of questions you may be asking yourself during this process and some answers you should be looking for.

Questions you might ask yourself while deciding to hire a coach or consultant:

  1. Do I really need help?  Do you really want to take your business to the next level?  If the growth of your business has not been what you wanted or you feel like there is so much more you can accomplish but just don’t know how… Guess what?  It’s time to hire a coach or a consultant to help step up your game.
  2. Can’t I do this on my own?  The short answer is: If you could have, you would have!  It’s OK to ask for help.  But unfortunately most people are so proud that they can’t bear the thought of asking for help.  And think of it this way, two heads are better than one. Don’t you usually get more done when you have help?
  3. I’ve already had several of these ideas.  Why do I need this guy?  So you’ve had the ideas before… What have you implemented?  It’s one thing to be an idea guy.  It’s another to be an idea guy that implements things.  Most people have a ton of ideas, but just don’t get things put in place, effectively measured, and optimized for maximum results.  That’s what a coach does for any organization.
  4. It’s a lot of money, wouldn’t it be better to hire someone to implement the ideas?  It’s not a lot of money when you look at the output.  For example, my coaching produces more than a 10 to 1 ratio on every dollar you invest.  So for every dollar you invest with me, you get AT LEAST 10 back.  My goal is even higher than that.  Who else produces that kind of return in your company?  One more thing on this, it costs a lot more to hire someone to do all of this for you than it does to work with a coach who will teach you how to be more effective and how to run your whole company like a machine.
  5. Is a coach really going to help me?  The success rates are through the roof with coaching and consulting clients.  A recent Harvard study says that companies that have a coach are 725% more likely to succeed that companies who don’t.  That same study also showed that 87% of the fortune 500 companies use coaches and consultants at one time or another.
  6. How am I going to make the time for this?  The great news here is that most coaches are highly trained on time management and can actually help you make more free time to implement new strategies and have more free time to do the things you enjoy in life.
  7. How am I going to pay for this?  More great news…  Coaching and consulting services are self funding.  What that means is that you may have to cover the first 90 days of the service in some cases, but after that your results should be paying for the coaching and turning you additional profits.

And now… 

The top 7 reasons Why You Should Hire a Coach…

1. Strategy – Most companies I run into are just doing “stuff” all day long.  They don’t focus on an overall strategy that accomplishes many things at once.  Imagine having a business strategy for every aspect of your business that allows you to achieve multiple business objectives with every move you make.  This saves a ton of time, builds brand and customer loyalty, and makes you more money than you know what to do with.  A coach can also bring up important things you need to consider that you would have never thought of and how these things can play into long-term decisions.

2. Experience – Ask yourself this… Have you ever grown a company to the levels you want to?  If the answer is no or if the answer is not on your own, then you’re in luck.  A coach has done this over and over again and has so much experience implementing strategies and growing companies that you are sure to succeed.  Experience is much cheaper than learning by trial and error…

3. Accountability – Who do you have pushing you each week to get things done?  For most business owners I talk to, the answer is no one.  Life is much different when you have a coach.  A coach is not only going to push you and hold you accountable each week, they are also going to be the most honest person in your business.  So if something needs to change, they are going to tell you… Especially when everyone else is afraid to speak up… Your coach will be right there to speak the truth.

4. Guidance – How many times have you needed to make an important decision about the business and not had anyone you could call for advice?  And I’m talking about real advice here.  Not the kind of advice that you get from your unemployed neighbor who has never run a business but happens to be your buddy.  I’m talking about great advice from a mentor who can see you through this decision?  That’s what a coach does for you.

5. If you could have, you would have – This one is kind of blunt but to the point.  If you could have grown your company to 1, 5 or even 10 million dollars by now, you would have!  So don’t sit around thinking about what you could do, get off your rear and hire a coach that will force the growth in you company and help you to enjoy your business and life like never before.

6. Ambition – If you really want more out of your business and out of life but aren’t sure how to get it… You need a coach.  Even if you know how to get it, but want to accelerate the timeline, hire a coach immediately!

7. Self Funding – This one is already mentioned a few times, but consider this.  If it pays for itself, why not do it?  You’ve eliminate most if not all the risk and the opportunity to double, triple or even quadruple your company is what’s at stake.

 All this said, I suggest whether you are in the market for a coach or not, you should take the time to meet with one.  At the very minimum, you’ll get more ideas and strategies to grow your business than you can imagine and get a sense for how working with a coach can help you.