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How to succeed in business [warning the how will surprise you]

By | business start ups, Established business, Marketing, Uncategorized | No Comments

Learn to dominate your market

How to Succeed in BusinessIt doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, if you want to know how to succeed in business I can tell you this…

You’re going to have to get to know your competition and know that they’re going to be worthy.

There’s always going to be someone who’s going to be better than you. And yes, let’s get real, there’s usually one or two of them who are creaming it in the market as a result!

There’s a brand with a better domain name, a blog that’s got more readers, an e-commerce site with more customers,  a consultancy with more consultants, accreditations and certifications, and so on.

Am I right?

Now, it’s tempting to think they got there just because they got lucky. And, whilst fortune just might just have played a role in their growth, you and I both know that their continued success isn’t about luck. Instead, it’s because of several key things – one of which is this:

They’re better at marketing than you!

BAM! I said it!

Those who win in the game of business aren’t necessarily the best at what they do, but they’re perceived as being the best at it and it’s usually on account of having better marketing.

You can bet that they’ve also got the best value propositions and they know how to use them too.

So let’s get real for a moment….

What makes you valuable?

This is key.

People won’t ever buy from you if they don’t understand why they should. In other words they’ll only pay attention to you if you’re communicating a strong value proposition.

Now I don’t want to lose you with marketing terminology (it’s a bore), but in case you’re wondering what a value proposition is, I’ll fill you in.

A value proposition is a sentence or a paragraph that includes a believable collection of the most persuasive reasons why your target audience should notice you, and take the action you’re asking for.

Here are 2 examples:

1. We deliver high quality face-to-face appointments with key decision makers in target accounts that you’ve selected, on a performance basis i.e. you pay only for the appointments you get with the clients you want. No set up fees, retainers or expensive daily rates.

2. We deliver the maximum cyber security protection from your spend on a control. And we prove it.

Once you’ve got your value proposition figured out, you can use it as the basis for all your marketing messages.

So, I’ve got to ask you this….

What’s your marketing message?

Before you answer, let’s look at an example. I’ll use a consultancy and scenarios I see time-and-time again.

Watch the video or skip if you prefer.

If your consultancy has the run-of-the-mill service portfolio, standard prices, average lead times, reasonable customer service, and a static website, why would anyone buy from you? Surely there’s a competitor who beats you in at least one of those aspects? Nothing stands out above average.

However, if your consultancy has the most highly accredited consultants but the other things are just average, then the buyers who value using highly accredited consultants have compelling reasons to buy from you.

Apple doesn’t have the largest product selection.

Amazon isn’t the most prestigious.

Aston Martin’s aren’t the cheapest. (hear me sob)

I hope you’re getting the message!

My point is this:

You don’t have to be the best in every way but if you’re the best in at least one way, you’re going to be the best option for the buyers who value that aspect. And, you’re going to stand out from the crowd, which makes it easier to sell to the buyers who value that aspect.

Remember buyers buy from you or your competitors for a variety of reasons. Something has to make you the best option for your target market otherwise, they’ve got no good reason to buy what you’re selling.

So, in order to maximise your opportunity you’ve got to know what your target market – your avatar – wants from the start, and then you have to deliver it to them impeccably and exceed their expectations. Furthermore, as I said in a former blog ‘Warning Business As Usual’as an experience.

So start always from the view point of:

  • What do my clients need? (needs)
  • What do they want? (wants)
  • What do they have to have? (desires)

If you’re not sure on these points just ask some friendly target prospects or tap into the places they hang out and you’ll be sure to gain some valuable information. For example, are they on Twitter,  LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc? Do they belong to any groups? Do they blog? Are they featured in the press? Summarize your findings.

And, if you’re lucky enough to get in front of them, here’s a great question you can always ask:

“What keeps you up at night?”

Now I want to hear from you…

Tell me what your thoughts are on how to succeed in business. Do you have any great tips? Please share your stories and experience here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here.

Thanks for being a sport and participating!

With love and gratitude – as always,

P.S.

Finally, if you know someone who’d LOVE the insight from this how to succeed in business post, please send them a link. You’ll find solo entrepreneurs, consultants and yes, even sales and marketing managers who manage people who’ll be interested to hear about this.

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P.P. S.

If you want to learn how to grow your business, then I’m promoting Marie Forleo’s B-School right now, and as part of this I’m offering an exclusive bonus. The details will be revealed very soon.  Click this link if you want in on the action.
 

How to tame self-doubt and gain confidence

By | Mindset, Uncategorized | One Comment

Screw self-doubt. Give me self confidence! 

Say goodbye to self-doubt and hello to confidence with entrepreneur Jane FranklandAre you struggling with that little voice of doubt in your head? You know the one that says, “why would anyone buy from me, when so and so are more experienced?”

Of course you are!

Well let me tell you a secret…so am I! And, so are millions of other highly successful entrepreneurs and career professionals! We all routinely go through periods of self-doubt.

The good news is … it’s normal! Self-doubt is a normal part of our human existence.

The bad news is…it’s something that goes on and on. You’ll never stop doubting your own ability. Self-doubt won’t go away the more successful you become either. You may not spend as much time doubting yourself but it’ll still rear its ugly head every now and again.

I can hear you sigh ‘Urgh’ and I’m right there with you too!

But here’s the worst thing…

If it’s not dealt with it will consume you, stop you from moving forward and sabotage your business. Why? Well unfortunately, fears and self-doubt are often more potent when imagined than realized.

[box]”When you doubt your power, you give power to your doubt.” ~ Honore de Balzac TWEET THIS[/box]

Every time you say, “why would someone buy from me when so and so are more experienced?” you’re giving yourself permission to fail before you’ve begun. You’re also subconsciously blaming others or using an external reason for why something won’t work. As a result you’re giving it your power.

Video Break (skip if it’s not your thing..)

Kerpow! Time to think like a superhero!

Let me ask you, did Batman, Superman, Daredevil, Spiderman, or even Neo from the Matrix go through periods of self-doubt? For sure, they did! And they overcame their self-doubt through the power of self-belief. Now obviously you’re not a superhero, but there’s no reason why you can’t perform to the best of your ability.

Tony Robbins is famously quoted as saing, “The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” Furthermore, “What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.”

And, this is why I say, “If you believe in yourself enough you can achieve anything” and why I need you to accept this fundamental entrepreneurship principle if you’re going to achieve great things with your business.

How to gain confidence: 4 simple tips

1. One of the first things you can do is to remember this principle: “no two things can exist in your head at the same time.” What exactly does that mean? Well quite simply that at any given moment, you’re either being of service to your market and in creation mode, or you’re disengaged and judging yourself – in self-doubt mode.

2. The next thing you need to do is to train yourself not to indulge in self-doubt. The easiest way to do this is to stay engaged and be present in the moment and so this means creating the work that needs to be done for your business!

Now this doesn’t mean that you have to become a workaholic. However, it does mean that you have to become conscious of what you’re doing and become aware of what triggers your self-doubt.

3. Practice! Just like any form of exercise, if you’re out of shape you’ll feel the pain as your body adjusts to regular work-outs. Your muscles may even ache for a day or so afterwards. However, as you progress you’ll improve and the aches and pains will disappear, until of course you ask more of yourself. Then you’ll repeat the whole process!

4. Have people around you to support you makes all the difference so either out and get a mentor, join a mastermind group or find an environment that will support you going through this.

Now I want to hear from you

Which of these four tips do you think you’ll use?

Or better, which of these four tips have you already used with success? Share your story in the comments.

P.S. If you know anyone who could benefit from these self-doubt tips, take a second and send them a link to this post. You’ll be helping me… and THEM!

With love and gratitude – as always,

 

 

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Website design check-list

By | business start ups, Established business, Marketing, Uncategorized | One Comment

Website design do’s and don’ts

This post follows on from the last one I wrote for website design: 7 ways to ensure your website is generating leads. When a friend asked me about her website and what was required, I decided to do some research and find out if a check-list for outsourcing your website design (or more accurately creation) existed. I was surprised to find that a guide didn’t exist. So, hence the reason why I’m creating a website design check-list for you here.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of websites, and so many miss opportunities for business development. It’s not necessarily their fault. Unless you have a good website designer who can help you, if you don’t know what you want, how can you specify. Increasingly I’ve found that website designers don’t know what’s effective for lead generation when it comes to a website design.  So here’s a short guide and check-list from someone who does know! If you’re outsourcing your website or even if you’re building your own website, this will be useful.

Website checklist for outsourcing or designing yourself

 

If you need help with your persona, avatar or ideal client, see my post on: the number one reason you lose sales:

Please let me know how you’ll use this and, also how you’re getting on with the website design you’re planning. If you have any more tips, please just add them in the comment box. Feel free to share this with anyone who might find this useful too. Until then….With love and gratitude – as always,

 

 

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Could your sales cycle be costing you money?

By | Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized | No Comments

3 ways to make your sales cycle efficient

Why use a sales cycle by Jane FranklandRecently I had someone ask me, how do you know when a prospect is good or bad and it got me thinking about the sales funnel, pipeline, sales cycle and marketing. What comes first and I’m not talking about the chicken or the egg! I’m talking about sales or marketing? For most people they’ll tell you marketing, but anyone who’s started a business from the ground up will tell you that it’s sales. And an understanding of sales and specifically the sales cycle is essential for marketing success. Why? Well, anyone selling goods and services—whether online or offline in person—needs to go through a process by which a lead becomes a sale, and a prospect becomes a customers.  This process is the sales cycle, and it’s the way that businesses both attain and retain customers.

Let’s say you’re a designer, or a photographer, or a coach and you’ve optimized it for your ideal customer or prospect, and your ideal customer comes to visit.  This prospect reads your content and decides to opt-in to your email newsletter, or download your offer.  They have just become a lead.

As a lead, your prospect is now just inside your sales funnel or pipeline—that place where they become purchasing customers.  You need to engage with your prospect, nurture them, and get them to refer others to you.  Paying attention to your prospect at each stage of the sales cycle helps to ensure that they get all the way through the funnel/pipe.

The process goes something like this:

  • Prospect for leads (find your ideal customer)
  • Contact and qualify (contact the lead by call, email, letter or in person to determine if they are likely to be interested)
  • Present the offer (sell your company—in person, through the site, in print)
  • Address objections (break down barriers to the sale, address pain points and challenges)
  • Ask for the sale (after the presentation and elimination of barriers, close the deal)
  • Follow up (offer a survey, service the account, ask for referrals)

How long does the sales cycle take?  Well there is no one right answer.  The truth of the matter is the sales cycle can take days, weeks, months or even years.  It all depends on what you’re selling, the industry, how many people are involved, the complexity of the sale, market conditions, the efficiency of your process, etc.

The goal of every company is to shorten the cycle, to close business as quickly as possible in order to maximize profits.  The efficiency of your sales cycle is a testament to how well you convert leads into sales, which of course translates into a healthier bottom line.  So, here are some tips to help you do this:

1. Pursue only qualified leads
Chasing after prospects that aren’t interested in you is a huge waste of time and resources.  If they don’t have the problem for which you are the solution, and then the money to invest in it in order to solve it, then it’s time to move on.

2. Remove barriers to enter promptly
Prospects sometimes put up barriers to enter, to change or solve the problem.  The reasons for this are varied but often it stems from fear of the unknown, which in this case is you and your solution.  If your prospect has an identified need for your products and services, you must remove their resistance and put them at ease.  If you do this early in the sales cycle you will shorten the time it takes to make the sale. The easiest way to do this is by offering guarantees.

3. Highlight and demonstrate value and make it measurable
Prospects must see the value in what you’re offering and they must be able to measure it.  How will your product or service improve their business or even their life?  By what percentage can they expect to see an increase in efficiency/sales/profits?  If you can’t answer these questions, the cycle will lengthen or simply fail.

The sales cycle is an endless loop of engagement, by which you identify interested potential customers and nurture them through the sales cycle process.  Efficiently and effectively guide your prospects and existing customers through each stage of the sales cycle sale and you’ll see a massive improvement on your marketing. Remember too, to stay positive throughout. Always listen, ask questions and address each and every concern your prospect or existing customer has. If you provide value and demonstrate that you care about your prospect or existing customer, your sales cycle will become the avenue to better profits and you’ll benefit from a healthier bottom line.

So I wish you well with this. Please let me know what has worked for you in terms of qualifying your prospects and shortening your sales cycle. Please share your experiences and feedback in the comments below as I’d love to hear. Finally, thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,

 

 

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Story tell like an expert in five easy steps

By | business start ups, Established business, New business, Selling, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Why it’s vital to become a good storyteller

Storytelling is an age-old tradition that we have been brought up on since being children. It has been the centre of many celebratory and social events for centuries. Whilst a truly great storyteller is blessed with a unique gift, it is possible for anyone to gain these skills and become competent.

[box]“Everyone loves to hear a good story, but the story is only as good as the storyteller.” TWEET THIS[/box]

Being a good storyteller is a vital part of what we do as entrepreneurs. Why? Well, when we do it well we get people’s attention and we gain their trust. And, when we have this, we make more sales – simple! We all love stories and we can all relate to people through them. So whether you are writing, video blogging or speaking you need to know how to communicate through stories because it’s a better way to engage with your customers and pull them in.

Here are 5 tips for storytelling:

1.   Include dialogue. It’s the key to successful story telling as it far more engaging than just telling someone what to do.
2.   Act it out and become the person you are telling the story about. Take on their persona, their tone of voice or accent. Put some performance into it. You become more believable. Put yourself in the moment. It’s so powerful.
3.   Use your words and paint the scene so you can understand who it is that it’s being told about.
4.   Passion – when you’re passionate about something you have something to say and will be more engaging and therefore believable
5.   Practice – you know what they say – practice makes perfect so start by writing daily – 1000 words and even better still – video blogging!

In the comments below, let me know your top tips for telling stories. Let me know what action you’ll take as a result of watching and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always for watching, reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,

 

 

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What everyone ought to know about pain

By | business start ups, Established business, Lifestyle, New business, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

The real truth about pain

The truth about painMost people know the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and right now I feel like some sadomasochist when I write and tell people that I like pain! My reasoning is because I know that it is actually my friend and ally. It tells me when I’m injured, it makes me hungry (for success) and it forces me to take action. Pain is not pleasant, it can keep you up at night and make you angry but believe me when I say that in the end going through pain is beneficial for you.

Often when you try something new, you’re not very good at it. If you’re a high achiever, this means experiencing the pain of discomfort and sometimes failure. What you’re essentially doing is stepping outside of your comfort zone. But, rest assured, everything that happens to you, as a result of doing this, serves you in some way. Pain can be both feedback that something is amiss and it can also signal great growth.  Sure it hurts and it’s not welcome, but it’s unavoidable for the successful entrepreneur.

If you ask a champion in any field of endeavour about pain, you will find that rather than avoid it, they embrace it and accept it as part of the game they must play to win. Champions realize that pain equals growth and the benefits far outweigh the discomfort. Look at what these three champions said:

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I realized that pain could become pleasure. I was benefiting from pain. I was breaking through the pain barrier and shocking the muscles. I looked at this pain as a positive thing, because I grew.”
  • Cyclist Lance Armstrong: “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit however, it lasts forever.”
  • Muhammad Ali: “I hated every minute of the training. But I said to myself, bear the pain now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Achievement expert Brian Tracy says, “90% to 95% of people will withdraw to the comfort zone when what they try doesn’t work. Only that small percentage, 5% or 10 % will continually raise the bar on themselves; they will continually push themselves out into the zone of discomfort, and these are always the highest performers in every field.”

Studies at the University of Chicago by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, back this up too.  The findings concluded that the highest achievers are those who consistently push themselves out of their comfort zones. Instead of withdrawing to their comfort zones when they don’t get immediate positive results, they force themselves to stay at this awkward, uncomfortable and painful (but higher and better) level of performance until the pain finally subsides and they become comfortable at the new higher level.

So, what I’d like you to do is to take a moment and think about the sum total of everything you’re currently doing to improve your business. Think of every detail you can – the sales, the marketing, the admin, the technology, the operations, the management, the HR and recruitment, the level of effort, the sweat, the time that you put in – everything.

Now grab a pen and draw a small circle in the centre of a sheet of paper. Imagine that all the work you’re doing is contained in that small circle. Inside your circle, write the words, “where I am now – my comfort zone.” Next, take your pen and draw another circle outside the first one, and write, “the pain and I suck zone.” Finally, draw another circle outside of this and write the words, “where the magic happens and the kick ass zone.” This outer larger circle represents personal growth, increased performance and positive change.

If you’re not seeing the changes you want – a frustration that so many of us experience at some time in our life – it means you’re staying completely inside your comfort zone most of the time. In order to make a positive change in your life, you have to expand your boundaries by moving outside of this circle.

So, go do it! And, when you’ve done it, remember, this is too: expanding your comfort zones is a life habit. Each time you grow and step outside of it the pain subsides, the benefits are realized, and the pain is forgotten. You’ll have reached a higher level of achievement that will eventually become your new comfort zone! When this happens it’s time to press on again.

Tom Hopkins, a sales trainer and one of the world’s top motivational speakers, taught me this lesson recently when I read his book, ‘How to master the art of selling’, “The pain of every change is forgotten when the benefits of that change are realized.”

[box]““The pain of every change is forgotten when the benefits of that change are realized.” TWEET THIS[/box]

In the comments below, tell me how you deal with the pain that results from expanding your comfort zone and what methods or techniques you use to combat it. Let me know what action you’ll take as a result of watching and reading this post too. I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always for watching, reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!

With love and gratitude – as always,

 

 

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