8 keys to a bigger, better business. Key number 2 …

K91LZQUBJI (4)Here it is … key 2 of my 8 keys to a bigger, better business. These keys are aimed at ambitious business owners, those looking to create something of significant value both in terms of what you offer and in terms of what your business is ultimately worth financially. Getting bigger and better isn’t necessarily easy, but if you’re up for it, read this key and think about the exercise at the end before the next blog.

Key Number 2.  Create an asset not a job

If your business is dependent on you for its survival, if it can’t survive for more than a few months without you being there to keep it going… and you haven’t got a plan to change this over time… you haven’t created a business, you’ve created a job.

The difference between an owner operator and a wealthy entrepreneur is that an owner creates a job whereas an entrepreneur sets out to create an asset.

An asset is something that will feed you income even when you are not working… which means it has to have value. A business that is a true asset has to generate profits without dependency on you, and it has to grow value over time so that someone else would want to pay you significantly more than you’ve invested (including your time, sweat equity, opportunity costs and money) in it.

So if you are serious about building a bigger, better business… you have to ask yourself now, have you created a job or an asset? Where is the real value in your business? Is it you and your talent and your skills? Or have you created value through systems, product and team?

And you have to ask yourself if you are willing to make the necessary changes. Because doing what it takes to move from a small business to bigger business, one that has true financial value, takes a shift in mindset. Are you willing to do what it takes to make this shift or would you rather stay inside your comfort zone?

The answers to these questions will determine whether its worth you reading my next 6 keys on creating a bigger, better business.

Exercise

Answer the question honesty: Have you created an asset or a job?

If its the former… you are on the right track, so what needs to happen to increase the value of your asset? Write down the 5 key strategies you have in place to ensure growth.  (Keep reading my keys… we’ll cover this).

If it’s the latter… do you really want to change this? Think about your comfort zone … how willing are you to get uncomfortable in order to grow? In my experience, only those willing to make changes in mindset will do what it takes to create a valuable business. It isn’t for everyone but it is worth it.

As always feel free to email me at laura@liber8u.com with questions or ideas on this topic, or leave a comment below.

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The 2016 Elev8or Group is coming soon!

For ambitious business owners who want to create an asset not a job.  Only 10 business owners will be selected to join … are you ready for it?  Click here for more information.

 

 

 

Does your business ever feel like a life sentence?

My early mentor in business was Robert Kiyosaki. I studied with him all around the world, long before he wrote the Rich Dad Poor Dad books.  One day, at his business school in Hawaii I was sitting next to him at dinner.  We were talking about finding your life purpose and building a business around this.  I asked Robert how to find my purpose, my passion.  He replied, “Laura, you’ll find what you love by looking at what you hate most.”

This thought stuck with me and over time, as I’ve worked with and talked to hundreds of business owners, I realised that what I hate is seeing small business owners becoming slaves to their business – after setting out with a dream of creating their own destiny, being their own boss, running their own lives, they find themselves chained to a business that doesn’t pay them enough, works them too hard and impinges on their quality of life.  It’s not supposed to be like this.

The team at Liber8 are committed to setting small business owners free.  To help them create businesses that are not dependent on the owner for survival, that can grow and prosper and pay the owner back handsomely for all their hard work.

Are you ready to turn your business into a valuable asset?

We’re running our 2015 Acceler8or Programme with a workshop kicking off very soon – designed to help you build an asset not a life sentence.  If you’d like to know more about it, email me laura@liber8u.com and we’ll send you some information.  It’s for a small, select group of business owners how are ready to build the business that sets them financially free.  Are you one of them?

Be free and happy!

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What’s the best weapon for world domination in business? A brilliantly simple tip…

DictaphoneCylinderGuest story with Mike Brunel

How did we take a small Wellington based radio sales consultancy business and turn it into a global success story servicing 400 worldwide markets and selling to 320,000 people?  It all started with a Dictaphone. In the early days we worked out that we could show radio media companies how to move advertisers from a small two week campaign into a 52 week commitment.  I watched my business partner in action and realised that he always did the same thing.  He said the same words, made the same offers and got the same results.  I spent a week watching him, recording him and taking notes.  I created a sales system around what we did, with manuals clearly outlining every single word and action taken.  We then packaged up the system and began selling it to other media companies… all around the world.  In effect we turned a commodity into a system.  Now my business partners and I live in Wellington, our CEO is in Atlanta and we have offices in four different countries… all doing things exactly the way we would.

And so my tip for business owners who want to decrease reliance on you and create a leveraged business is to take time to document exactly what you do.  Use the microphone app on your iphone/android and record yourself as you go about your day… every single little thing that you do and say. Then get it transcribed and turn it into a manual… paper or computer based, whatever works for you.  It may seem laborious – and it is – but this is ultimately what will set you free.  Turn what you do well into a system.  Then train others to use it.

Mike Brunel is co-owner of NRS Media, currently working with over 400 major television, radio, and newspaper companies in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, the United States, South America, Canada, South Africa, the African continent, Australia, and Asia, NRS Media has offices in London, Atlanta, Toronto, and Sydney and employs over 175 staff. Mike is available for sales training and consultations, email mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com

 

From the desk of Liber8me.  Small business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business:  The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free

 

What 10 questions should every great sales person ask?

soldIn sales you should be listening for 80% of the time and talking for 20%.  If you ask the right questions, you will find out your prospect’s real needs and find a way to sell your product/service as the solution.   When selling, follow the steps below with every question:

 

  1. Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Re-affirm (show that you’ve heard what they say… sometimes as simple as just repeating back to them what they’ve told you).
  4. Provide solution

The following exercise helps you prepare your check list of 10 questions to take to your sales meeting/call with you.  Promise yourself to ask ALL of the questions.

Questions 1 – 6:  Uncover needs

Ask open questions (note: open questions typically begin with a ‘w’ – what, who, when, why?) to discover how your prospect feels about their current situation.  Find out who your competition is and what they are doing right/wrong.  Find out the frustrations your prospect has.

Write down 6 ‘needs based’ questions relevant to your product or service.  Here are some samples:

Would you mind telling me about your current situation?

Who do you currently use for this service?

What’s working for you?

What’s not working?

What are your main frustrations?

What would you like to change about things?

 Question 7: Invitation question

 This is where you ask your prospect if they’d like to know more about how you could answer their needs.

Here’s the example invitation question:

“From what you’ve told me, it sounds like (your offer) could really make a difference to you.  Would you like me to give you a brief description of how it works?

Have your description ‘sales pitch’ ready.  As soon as you get the go ahead, give a brief, concise and enthusiastic description of your product/service (trying to steer it towards the needs you have just uncovered).

Question 8:  Leading question

 Here you are leading your prospect to an affirmative response to your final offer.  It goes like this:

“Does this sound like something that can solve your problems/make you feel better/address your issues?”

Questions 9 and 10:  The most important questions of all  … asking for the sale

 The last questions you should ask should be the ‘close’ or ‘asking for the order’ questions.  You start with a positive clarification statement then quickly follow with a way the client can buy from you. These are the questions you must make yourself ask.  You are not allowed to leave a sales meeting or call without asking for the order!

Make sure you have a way of taking their order/letting them pay with you.  It’s often a good idea to offer them a choice…

“I feel really good about this, I know this is going to work well for us.  What’s the best way to get things underway?  I could email you an order when I get back to the office… or I could just get it from you now.  What works best for you?”

 Notice there are two questions in one.  The first implies you are going to make the sale now.  And the second gives the client choice on how to do it.

If it isn’t appropriate or possible to ask for a sale there and then, be ready with to make an agreement with them of another sort.  Offer to send them something – to do something helpful for them, and make sure you follow up with it the minute you get back to your desk.

And finally…

 Asking these questions doesn’t mean you have to come across as pushy – no one wants to be that.  So have fun, be friendly, get to know the person and walk away feeling that you’ve had a really good chat.  If you’ve asked all the questions on your list, you will know so much about them and even if you can’t get the sale immediately, you will be able to build a good plan to win them over time.

Happy selling!

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PS. The above is an excerpt from my new book “The Liber8 Disciplines: A hands on guide to mastering the eight most important skills in business” To be released soon.

 From the desk of Liber8me.  Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business:  The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free

 

Business tip #85 – For the best sales person for your business, look in the mirror

Here’s a question many business owners grapple with as they contemplate their growth goals… “Should I hire a business development/sales person?”

My answer is usually ‘no’.  And here’s why…

Typically you know your business better than anyone else.  You are more passionate about your product or service than anyone else.  You have more at stake than anyone else.  You probably can’t afford someone senior enough to target the bigger clients you really need in order to create significant growth.  You are the one that needs to be out there moving and shaking and creating relationships with prospective clients.  You are the one who can get into see the senior people in the business companies.  Why?  Because you are the owner and you are the best.

Bringing in ‘sales’ people is a good idea if you have a simple, saleable commodity and your business planning clearly shows a sales force as part of your overall strategy.  But if you are selling services and you want to land good sized long term contracts (which should be one of your growth strategies by the way), then you are the one to lead the way.

You are better to hire more people to deliver the service so that you can get out there and bring home more bacon, than you are to stay in the office hoping someone more junior to you will do the selling work for you.

If you want some advice on this subject, feel free to email me at laura@liber8yourbusiness.com

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

 

Business Mentor tip #82 – How to save money attracting new clients without cold calling

Another great sales tip from guest entrepreneur Mike Brunel

With the cost of acquiring new customers mounting, many companies’ customer bases are shrinking, due to loss of confidence of advertisers and consumers alike.

What you will learn in this month’s Sales tip is the secret to understanding the power of client’s referrals.

Referrals are often one way to get your additional sales without too much additional work.

 

Why ask for a referral?

  1. It cuts down your prospecting time – The traditional way to build new prospects is to cold call. With referrals it can basically eliminate cold calling forever.
  2. It builds trust – If you get a referral from a client you work with, then that is a signal to you that they trust you, they are prepared to put their faith in you with another friend or business acquaintance.
  3. Helps you build a network – The buzz word these days is networking, this may be true, but by creating a referral programme with your advertisers you have a built in network at your fingertips.

What is a referral?

A referral is when one of your existing advertisers provides the name and contact information of another advertiser. In my experience, and there are also studies to prove this, this is the one area that most sales people fall down in.

3 types of referrals

There are basically three simple referrals systems we use, I will outline what they are and then talk about how you can action one straight away, today.

  1. Direct Referrals
  2. Direct Endorsement
  3. Implied Endorsement/Referral

 DIRECT REFERRALS

I am going to discuss direct referrals in this blog and touch on the other two in the near future.

A direct referral is a request to your clients to direct you to a potential client who they know that may also like your services. It’s an endorsement, a reference from a client to another friend or business. This is usually the most common form of referral and usually the easiest.

Most sales people and business people  understand this one – many use it sporadically and often by chance.

 3 ACTION STEPS

Here are 3 action steps to get a direct referral that will increase your call rate and closure rate very quickly.

  1. Choose your top 10 clients you want to target. In other words who are you going to ask for a referral?
  2. Set a time every day to go and ask those clients the following using these scripts as a guide

“I’m building up my client list and I wanted to get a referral from you. When we met last you said that you were pleased with my work. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in _____________ (what you do). May I leave these extra business cards with you?”

or:

“I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else in your circle of business acquaintances who might be interested in marketing or promoting their business as well as I have for your business.”

TIP: Be specific with tying down the client’s area of influence. It’s no use asking a client something like “Is there anyone you know?” it’s too big a circle to think about. Get really specific.

With any scripts make them your own. George Clooney uses scripts but once he is familiar with the content he makes it his own.

3.  The final step is to create this system for your top 10 clients, businesses you deal with over a 30 day period. This will set a habit in place that will most certainly benefit you for the long term. Once you do that with your top ten, then move onto your next ten, and so on and so on.

TAKE ACTION!

It’s time to ACT: Here is what to do right now to get an immediate result. Call two clients and let them know that you will be coming to see them for a referral. Mentally visualise them giving you that referral. Write the goal in your diary or on your weekly planner.

Remind yourself every day that your goal to more sales and easier closing rates are referrals.

Is there anyone you know that would like to get more information on how to be a great media salesperson? Please feel free to refer them to wwww.talkingmediasales.com.

­­Good selling, Mike

Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million. Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer. Contact him at mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com Mike offers a limited private consultancy for selected clients. For more information contact trishs@maygrovemanagement.co.nz

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor Tip #73 – If you build it will they come? @drrobadams

 “If you build it will they come?” is the title of a new book by Rob Adams.  I attended a workshop taken by Rob last week and was impressed enough to make it my next business mentor tip.  Forgive me Rob if my interpretation of your material in any way undersells it!

The key to successful business is having a product or service that enough people will buy to meet your financial targets.  Many (dare I say most) business start out with what Rob calls the ‘ready, fire, fire,fire, aim’ approach which typically goes like this.  Think of a product/service idea that you think people will love, get it ready for market, dress it up in the way you believe your target audience will find attractive and then attempt to sell it.  When sales don’t meet targets you re-visit your sales strategy and try again.  And again.  Sound familiar?

Well think again.  Surely a way to increase your chances of selling people what they want will increase if you ask them what they want and then deliver it to them in the way they want to receive it?  Or in other words as Rob Adams says … ‘ready, aim, fire’.

This is called market validation.  In essense this means that you go out to your market and find out what their problems are first.  Then you develop the product or solution that will meet those problems better than anything else out there.  You get it right before you invest in development and marketing.  It sounds so logical doesn’t it?

So how do you validate your market?  In Rob’s book ‘If you build it will they come?” he takes you through the methods and steps involved.  But before you rush off and buy it, I’ll share the tip he gave us at the workshop:

Before you launch anything new – a new product or service/a new brand or a new campaign – call up 100 people who represent your target market and ask them what they really need.   In Business Mentor Tip #63 – Gather Your Insights I gave you a list of questions that a someone developing a new business planning tool might ask.

In these questions you are looking for the problem to solve.  What frustrates people?  What annoys them with current options?  What are they trying to do that your product or service could make easier for them?  It’s all about easing pain.  Find the pain and offer the solution.  Ask questions that give you meaningful answers to help design your products and marketing campaigns to meet the need.

The added bonus is that people will pay more for something that makes them feel better.  If you can give them what they really want, they are happy to pay for it.

So… as you think about your product development and marketing from now on, remember, Ready, Aim, Fire!

You can buy your copy of Rob’s book here: http://www.amazon.com/You-Build-Will-They-Come/dp/047056363X

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

10 things you need to know about sales this week

Welcome to guest entrepreneur and salesman extraordinaire Mike Brunel for some more of his always useful tips on sales.  Enjoy…

1. Create a sales culture– In Laura’s upcoming book she talks about creating a great sales culture- it has to however begin with you changing your mind set around being committed to turning your company into a sales machine and not a hobby machine.

2. Train, train train- – According to the Harvard Business review, only 10 percent of the population has what’s  called “the learning mind set” These are the people who love to learn. Too many businesses fail to train and only do it when there is a crisis. Train your team or be derailed. In economic times like these,  products knowledge is critical.

3. Prospect for new business – prospect for new business 2 ½ hours a day. This is what one trainer told me recently, if you are a business how you are prospecting? This is often too hard for many businesses but it is critical to being successful.

4. Conduct regular workshop with your staff- get them to present a new product to the rest of the team. Ask each salesperson on your team to suggest some training and product presentation ideas.

5. Qualify the Buyer- what is their need, if you sell a product and have actually sold quite a few of them, why did those customers buy? They must have some sort of need satisfied. What was it? Are you asking them?

6. Build value into your business– Value is the secret sauce to everything. If you can add some type of value and not just be price driven then you will create more sales long term.

7. Are you a price seller- if that strategy works for you then great, in many cases businesses think it is all about the price? I think it is about the story you present. A story about your product sells why?

8. What is your story- If you focus on price then people will choose the price and not the person. If you position a story about all the great things your product does, then maybe, just maybe, the buyer might just be thinking.” I like this person I might buy them”

9. Become an expert – An expert gives me something, something that I can use. If you are perceived as an expert in your field then it puts you ahead just a bit of your competitors.

10. Finally, anticipation and reaction. If you start to anticipate what is going to happen then you a not a slave to crisis or reaction.

Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million.
Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer.
Contact him at mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com
Mike offers a limited private consultancy for selected clients. For more information contact trishs@maygrovemanagement.co.nz

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor Tip #67 – Practice persistently persisting with your persistence

Ok Ok, enough already!  But I have a point to make (of course) and that is this… you cannot succeed in business without the persistence chip well and truly embedded in your body.  I will use one oldie but very goodlyy example of how persistence pays off and then I’ll set you a challenge for the week.

My example is the often story of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  At age 65, after he had to shut down his restaurant business because a new highway was being built where his restaurant was located, the Colonel decided to franchise his chicken recipe.  He travelled by car and cooked his fried chicken on the spot for restaurant owners.  Legend has it that Colonel Sanders heard 1009 “no’s” before he heard “yes”.  Can you believe that?  He was turned down one thousand and nine times before he sold something.  Within a few years he had 600 franchises and today KFC is one of the largest food franchises in the world.  Talk about persistence!

And now for the challenge.  The next time you try to sell something… anything… an idea, a product, your pick for a restaurant for lunch… practice your persistence… don’t give up!

Business Mentor Tip #66 – No is spelt with a K

This tip comes directly from my book in progress, from the chapter on sales written together with Mike Brunel (www.talkingmediasales.com).

When someone says ‘no’ you can tell yourself that what they are really saying is that they want to ‘know’ more. What they are really telling you is that you haven’t convinced them yet.  Maybe you haven’t covered everything you needed to for them to make a decision.  You could find ways at this point to get them to be more specific about why they are saying no.  95% of sales people give up after the first no because it plugs directly into their fear of rejection.  But if you are passionate about your product or service and you genuinely believe the prospect will be better off with it, there is no reason to be frightened of the word no.  ‘No’ is really spelt ‘know’ and you can leave the door open to another visit or call with more information for the client.  And remember, every no takes you closer to a yes.

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business Mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.