Top 5 Most Asked Questions About Working With A Business Coach

August 7, 2009

1. How often should I meet with a coach? – The ideal coaching situation is weekly sessions for 8 to 12 months.

2. Why 8 to 12 months? – Let me put it this way, it has taken you years to become the person you are today. A lot of habits and ways of thinking won’t change over night.

3. What will we be working on? – We will focus on whatever your needs are. All coaching plans are customized for our clients. However, we will focus planning, sales, marketing, and customer retention as core pieces of our sessions.

4. How much is this going to cost? – Look at it like this, what is it going to cost you not to do it? Our average client invests between $1,000 and $3,500 per month with us. For that, our average client earn a 432% Return On Investment. Some clients have seen as much as a 5,000% ROI. The best part is that we teach you skills that you can apply for life. The ROI should be endless. One last point, if you have a degree, how much did you pay for it? And what is it returning for you? Our coaching is directly applied back to your business each week. No wait for a return on this investment.

5. So how do I get started? – Simple. Just call us today (636-577-5005) and schedule a FREE Session. In that free session, we will review your business, sales, marketing, and your goals. We will then brainstorm some ideas and if it makes sense, we will get you started that day with some strategies to start working on.

One last thing, you won’t be alone anymore. We will be right there for you to help you every step of the way.

12 Proven Strategies to Boost Your Business During a Recession – eBook

July 7, 2009

Times are tough for many business owners, but here is a little secret. They don’t have to be. Here are 12 proven strategies that will get your business humming during any economic climate.

1.Give the best value – Never sell on just price. People want the best value and are usually willing to pay for it.

2.Market to your customers – Current customers are 7 times more likely to buy from you than someone who doesn’t know you.

3.Get a website that works – If you don’t have a website that works, you are missing out. 60% of all consumers in America search the web before making even the smallest purchases these days.

4.Business networking – Get out and meet other business owners. It’s not who you know in business as much as it is who knows you. Meet people and provide value to them. They will return the favor with business for you.

5.Customer service – I have done business in over 80 countries. The one thing I hear most in those countries is the need for customer service. An extra smile, a cute note on a bill, or a simple “is there anything else I can do for you” go a long way.

6.Create a business plan – I’m not talking about a 30 page proposal for a bank. I’m talking about a 2 page action plan with weekly steps toward your business goals. Always know where you are heading.

7. Collections – Make sure you are on top of the money people owe you. Show some concern and be fair but firm.

8. Focus on your strengths – You’ve probably heard this one all your life, but are you doing it? Do what you do best and beat all the rest.

9. Keep your business tidy – Chaos repels customers and the best employees. Make sure you keep things neat and clean at all times and you will attract more business.

10. Know your numbers – You need to know your break even on the day, not just the month. Have sales targets per day. Understand where you are at any given point in the month.

11. Get some training and help – The best business owners and sales people go to 3 or 4 training sessions per year or have business coaches they meet with regularly.

12. Social Media – Learn how to connect with your clients on their terms in a setting that suits them. Facebook, twitter, and wordpress blogs are a great place to start.

The 3 L’s of Leadership

March 26, 2009

The 3 L’s of Leadership.

A while back I learned these 3 principles of leadership.  I have to say that these are just the foundation.  Being a strong decisive leader is important, but without the foundation, you miss out on the best parts of being a leader.  Not to mention the most rewarding.

Here are my 3 L’s of leadership:    Love, Listen, and Lead

Love – Love your team enough to listen.  A great team is so key to your success as a business owner or leader.  I find it essential to learn to love your team.   Love the great things about them and really express your gratitude for the work they do.  Love the things you learn from them and the challenges they present.  A great team will not only support its leader, but challenge the leaders character and help the leader mature.

Listen – Listen to every word with your full attention.  When I’m with my team, I focus on every word they say.  Turn off the phone, email, TV, blackberry, or anything else that can distract you.  Look your folks in the eye and repeat things back to them so they know that 1.  You are listening to them, and 2. You understand what they are saying.  A great leader will ask more questions than anything else.  Ask them how they would like to solve their problems.  Ask them what they want out of life.  Ask them how their kids are doing.  Ask them if they need anything.   Ask them if they have time for a walk or lunch with you.

Lead – Care enough to lead them by setting an exceptional example.  The best leaders Love their team, Listen to everyone on the team, and LEAD by example.  They step in and do a task no one else wants to do without asking for a volunteer.  They step up for what is right every time without fail.  Their integrity can’t be questioned because everyone knows how they play the game.  They may not lead without fear, but they lead in the face of fear.  They are the first ones to step up and make a decision when no one wants to make one and they are the first to work out a favorable solution that benefits the whole team.  They set family first as a priority and they stick to that priority.  Great leaders always mean what they say and say what they mean AND follow through on everything they say.  You can count on them to step up in any situation, good or bad.  They share the credit and shoulder the blame.

5 Ways to leverage your time

March 22, 2009
Your time is your most valuable asset. How are you investing it?If you are like me, your time is worth a lot. If you are like most people, you are spending quite a bit of your time and investing little of it. Here’s 5 ways you can leverage your time for what it’s really worth.

1. The Early Bird
Get up at 5 AM every day. Get out of bed and get moving before the majority of the earth is. That will enable you to get so much more done while the rest of the world sleeps. The key here is that no one can break your concentration if they are all asleep. And focused energy is amazing. A single interruption can cost you up to 35 minutes of wasted time.

2. Get Driven
Find someone to drive you around. Whether it’s a limo driver, your assistant, or your out of work cousin. The average person wastes over 2 hours a day in their car. And those of you who think you can use the phone, take notes, read a map, read a book, eat, and drive the car are living on the edge. Imagine making phone calls, setting appointments, closing deals, and working on your laptop in the car on the way to your next meeting. A driver allows you to concentrate and put 100% of your effort into all you do in the car.

3. Phone Power
Many people are still avoiding phone meetings these days. We need to embrace the phone more. The phone allows you to focus and get to the point. View your phone as an ATM machine. The more time you invest in the machine, the more money comes out of it and into your bank account.

4. Sell the Television or get TiVo
Either sell the television or buy TiVo or some other digital device that allows you to record and skip commercials. Reinvest your new found television time with your family, self, or personal development.

5. Decide and Commit — This one is key.
A business owner must be a great leader. In order to be a great leader you MUST be able to make quick decisions and commit to them. You can work with any challenges from your decisions down the road. The key here is investing your time by being decisive and not floundering over a decision for hours, days, or weeks. I’ve found that the 80/20 rule applies here. 80% of your decisions can be made in less than 5 minutes. 20% of decisions should take hours or longer to decide.

12 Mistakes Salespeople Make

March 22, 2009
Today’s post is brought to you by my good friend Marcus Kroek. Marcus is a Master Business Coach for the world’s largest coaching firm. He is located out of Australia.

1. Badmouthing the competition – There’s only one industry where badmouthing the competition is an accepted practice – professional wrestling. So unless you’re Hulk Hogan, you will reek of amateurism the moment you start the mudslinging. Its okay to draw intelligent comparisons and demonstrate why your product, service and company is superior to the competition’s – just be sure to do it professionally.

2. Pricing without confidence – If you sheepishly tell the customer what your price is, or give a wordy, qualifying preamble before quoting your price, customers will interpret your actions as a lack of confidence on your part. They will think that you don’t believe that your product is worth the price you’re quoting. And please, for goodness sake, never use the term “asking price.” By doing so you’re giving them “the price that stupid customers pay” and are inviting price negotiations.

3. Talking too much – There’s a misnomer that talkative people make great salespeople. In reality, nobody likes a chatterbox. Focus on listening so that when you do talk you’re honing in on the customer’s hot buttons. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that proportion.

4. Acting desperate – If you’re begging for appointments or orders, you’re doing a bad job in getting the customer to appreciate the value of your offering. Have some dignity for crying out loud.

5. Guessing – If you don’t know the answer to challenging customer questions, don’t make something up that you think they want to hear. Instead admit that you don’t know the answer but you’ll find out right away. Customers will appreciate your candour and professionalism.

6. Vanishing after the sale – If you provide great service throughout the selling process and then disappear after the contract is signed, you’ll leave the customer thinking, “Did that guy just run off with my money?” You’re not a 19th century snake oil salesman who skips town with a pocketful of cash. You’re a 21st century sales professional. Service the heck out of customers – even after the sale – and reap the rewards of valuable referrals.

7. Premature Closing – Closing the sale should be like a traditional marriage proposal. By the time you get to that point in the relationship, the close is simply a rhetorical question because both parties realize the benefits of getting together. Just like a guy wouldn’t give a diamond engagement ring to a new acquaintance at a singles bar, you shouldn’t go for the close until the prospect thoroughly knows how wonderful your offer is.

8. Overpromising – When you tell a customer that the product will ship in five days or that you’ll be there at 9:30 or that your system is 25 times faster, you had better deliver. Nothing destroys trust and generates scepticism more quickly than a salesperson’s broken promises.

9. Treating prospects like numbers – There’s an old saying that sales is a numbers game. Whether you subscribe to that notion or not, it is never acceptable to treat a customer like a number. Without customers, your company wouldn’t exist. Instead of treating customers like the umpteenth person you’re speaking with today, treat them like the important human beings that they are.

10. Knowing it all – You might be an expert on your product. You might be a recognized authority in your industry. But customers are the only ones who are experts on their unique situation. Don’t jump to conclusions and draw assumptions about your customers’ predicament. Let them tell you about it. Ask great questions to draw it out of them. Then apply your expertise to deliver the solution that best fits their situation.

11. Stepping on the little people – Salespeople strive to meet with high-level decision makers because they are the ones with the authority to write cheques. Although the big shot is the one making the decision, your chances for closing the sale increase if you build rapport with the underlings. Receptionists can block your calls. Mid-level managers can make recommendations that steer executives away from your offering. Earn buy-in from underlings but negotiate only with the senior exec. Remember, you can’t lose an election by getting too many votes.

12. Acting like a prima donna – If you’re flashing your Rolex watch, answering your cell phone in the middle of meetings and constantly telling people how busy you are, then you’re turning customers off. Be humble. Be modest. Be polite. Focus on the other person, not yourself. Besides, I am much busier than you are anyway. (See how it feels?)

My thanks to Marcus for this information.
To contact Marcus. Ph: 02 4305 2326
Mobile: 0412 313 733
Fax: 02 8569 2021


How to Grow Your Business During a Recession

March 22, 2009

This blog comes from down under.  A good friend and excellent business coach Marcus Kroek writes…

The problem with the recession is 99% of what I hear from ‘experts’ about preparing for or solving downturn in business is simply about cutting expenses. I’ve got news for you, for most businesses the expenses shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Good financial management would have your expenses all functioning as investment which gives return anyway. So what most people are doing is simply taking some form of financial control of their business because the economic situation has forced them to do so.

BUT, you won’t grow a profitable business through cutting expenses, and I certainly am focussed on growth with my clients rather than just survival.

Here’s the analogy. Imagine you are going on a holiday and you’re flying in the plane taking you to your destination. First thing you have to do is know where you want to go and what sort of holiday you want to have. Then you need to  fly on a plane going to that destination.

As the plane is flying toward the destination the navigator will check speed and altitude and do some calculations to determine if you are going in the right direction and how far along the path you are.

Imagine that the navigator finds out that you are not on course. What if the decision to fix this was that you would need to lighten the load so you had enough fuel for the passage. The crew throw some bags out and then a few more until all the bags are all gone. The problem here is that it does not matter how light you make the plane to improve fuel consumption IF YOU DON’T CHANGE COURSE YOU WILL FALL FROM THE SKY.

So in your business and life right now do you know the destination: your personal dreams, your business goals and targets? Do you know  the targets for the business for the coming 12 months and for each quarter? Do you have a clear map and set of directions to get you there?

If you don’t or it has been more than 90 days since you have carried out planning, you need to stop, review and refocus. Set your goals, your targets and the actions to get you there.

Marcus Kroek

The Difference between Focusing on Problems (Challenges) and Focusing on Solutions

March 22, 2009
Case 1
When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens wouldn’t work at zero gravity (ink won’t flow down to the writing surface). To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees C. And what did the Russians do…?? They used a pencil.

Case 2
One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty. Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly! line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soapbox went through the assembly line empty. Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent an insane amount to do so. But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution. He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

Moral : Always look for simple solutions. Devise the simplest possible solution that solves the problems. How do these two stories apply to your business?