In a discussion among the founders of Small Business University recently, we debated the
notion of “labeling” our audience “small business owners”. As business owners we strive to grow and become bigger, right? One could argue, the word “small” has a negative denotation in the realm of business. I say, “BALONEY”!
Criteria which places companies in the category of “small business” varies by industry and
specific type of business. But on average, “small”, a business may have up to 500 employees and do up to $9 million is sales. Seems to me, one could be a pretty big fish in the small business pond without feeling like a minnow.
Small business employs nearly 90% of working Americans. Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you’re not big. Big is a relative term. I’m talking about serving big. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person show or if you have 500 employees. Your business matters.
I never had a LOT of employees at any given time but I’ve had dozens over the course of time. Between all the business owners I’ve touched, customers I’ve served and employees I’ve paid over the years, it’s a remarkable feeling to know I’ve made a difference in many people’s lives.
WE matter as small business owners. And if you work for one, you have no less prestige or importance than of you work for a world-renowned corporation.
The small business owners I served over the years in my wholesale business have used the merchandise I sold them to resell for a profit so they could pay their bills, their employees and take car of their families.
The employees I’ve paid have built new sets of skills and paid their expenses (and hopefully saved a little) while under my employ. One of my favorite parts about being in business has been the experience of former employees who have come back for a visit or called me just to say hello.
Nobody thinks it’s easy to be a small business owner. It’s not easy. It takes passion, early mornings, weekends and evenings. We are a special breed.
One of my core philosophies is “Service to Many Leads to Greatness”. It’s what drives me to wake up early and hit the ground running every day without ever the need for an alarm clock.
I’m a small business owner and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Small Business University was born of the idea of greater service through delivering information and a networking experience to business people. On November 10th, we’re celebrating our last major event of the year: Talking Turkey About Business.
Dozens of business owners, executives and professionals will gather to network and learn some key information about sales, maximizing your networking investment and performance management. Get more information about this event here. Don’t miss it!
Sales expert, author, trainer and consultant, Rich Lucia is presenting at The Small Business University Back-To-School event Monday, September 8th. His topic: The 180 Rule for Selling.
Here, Rich shares a recent article he posted on his blog, which is deep with content (or shall I say a “rich” resource for sales advice).
Rich has promised to give away a hard copy of his new ebook to everyone in attendance at the event 9/8 called The 180 Rule for Integrated Social Selling.
Here, Rich shares an article called
I often travel throughout the country to work with sales organizations and a common theme seems to be in play. Everyone appears to be looking for that one thing that is going to lift revenue to new heights. People are looking for the Holy Grail of sales tools that is the answer to prayers.
It appears the world of business development has spilled into two camps. On one side of the great divide, we have the traditionalists who seek age-old sales training and selling techniques. Their thinking is that it has always worked so why reinvent the wheel. They seem to be more content with following past processes over getting results. They forget that buyers have changed and how these buyers get their information has changed, locking many of the doors that once had a welcome mat. These die-hard traditionalists have an answer to cold calls that don’t generate results – make more of them. Of course, when the strategy does not work, they seek training from 20-year-old sales manuals to polish their cold calling skills.
On the other side of the great divide, we have the early adopters with their answer to business development. They throw out all of the old selling techniques and believe that social media is the only true modern path to business development. They have even engraved, “Social Selling” on their Holy Grail, as they chase the latest social media platform and abandon the one before. Their battle cry is, “it has to be good – it is new.”
So, who is correct? The answer begins with an understanding that there is no Holy Grail, and as difficult as it is to accept, there is no magic pill and no one silver bullet to effective business development strategy. It is going to take a combination of the correct selling tools to get the job done today. Having an understanding of buyers today and selecting selling tools that are effective with those buyers is one half of the mission. The second half of the mission, an even more important one, is realizing the tools you select are supposed to compliment each other. Selling tools and your processes have to be integrated. You can create and deliver the best presentation of your life, but giving it to a person who has no need for it will result in no sale. Don’t use a great tool to drive an interested party to your website, only to find when they get there it has extinguished their interest because it was designed for your company’s bragging rights instead of being customer-centric.
It’s going to take a holistic approach to business development today and therefore the need for Integrated Social Selling. By social selling I am not talking about the new branding of social media but instead how do we become closer or more social with our prospects and customers. In this age of point and click, are we really working harder to know our prospects and customers and how they buy? Are we working all stages of the sale cycle with the laser focus of purpose and making sure we aren’t unconsciously sabotaging our efforts by ignoring the power of integration? Have we become content in accepting a sales funnel with its 85 percent effort and wasted resources or are we working to widen it into more or a cylinder shape?
Replace your search for the Holy Grail with the knowledge that a holistic, integrated plan is needed. A plan that insures that you have correctly identified your target, selected the correct tools and they are working with each other and not against each other. Do these things and keep a Social Selling Playbook and you will achieve successful business development today using Integrated Social Selling.
Don’t Let Fear of Failure Slow You Down
The great inventor, Thomas Edison said, “If you are not successful, fail more”.
If you want to be more successful, then you have to fail more, plain and simple.Too many people out there look at opportunities and push them away. “Well I tried that, and it didn’t work”.
Yeah, I have tried a lot of things and they didn’t work. But I did not go and find
a place to hide my head in the sand afterward.
How Hard You Try is in Direct Proportion to How Much You Want it.
If you want to do something, ask yourself, “How bad do I want this?” What are you willing to do to get it?
I have listened as people have told stories such as: “I tried to get a job there once, but they didn’t hire me”.
OK – so try again and again and again. If you really want to work some place, keep trying to find a way in.
If you keep trying you might just get there, if you stop, you are assured of failure.
If you are trying to get into an account and not having success, then take all you have learned and try another way. I use to sell computer services to Fortune 1000 companies. It is a long sales cycle.
But the key is, you do not stop because one thing didn’t work. You keep looking, driving, trying, failing and learning. Time after time when I got in I heard the same comment, “you have been so persistent, I just had to give you a shot.”
Or, how many have heard this one, “I tried to get a book published once, even sent it to 3 publishers, but nothing”.
Yea, so how many publishers are out there?
Do you now how many best sellers were turned down time and time and time again before they got picked up?
I love the Rocky, Sylvester Stallone story.
Down on his luck, almost no money left, Sylvester got an offer to sell his screen play for Rocky for $125,000. He turned it down because they would not let him play Rocky.
You are Your Greatest Asset
Now, here is a person with almost nothing left, but self-confidence.
He held out and did finally get a deal, less money in the short term, but the star role and a long and successful career.
Stick to what you want and go for it. Then watch what happens.
You have to be willing to fail. Life is full of opportunities. Stop giving up before you get to your goals.
This article contributed by Many Nowak.
Manny Nowak is America’s Number One Expert in Taking 6 Figure Businesses to 7 Figures and is speaking at the September 8th, 2014 Small Business University event. Learn more about this even and Small Business U
Referrals are The best way to grow your business, we all know that. Referrals produce the highest return on your time, energy and budget. Think about it, don’t you ask your friends and family for the name of someone that they have used?
Step 1: Be sure you running your business in a fashion that encourages your clients/customers to want to refer you to their friends, family and business contacts. Did you know that the average person knows 1100 people? Imagine what it would do for the growth of your company if just half of your customers referred you to just 10% of their contacts, think about it, the results are mind boggling! So, what makes you better or different than your competition? If you can not come up with an answer to that question, then that is your first goal…what can I do to make everyone who needs my services (or product) want to deal with me instead of my competition?
Ask and You Shall Receive Referrals
Step2: ASK for referrals. Learn how to ask for those referrals in a professional, easy, matter of fact method. You do not have to be a “sales person” to get referrals; you just need to be confident that you are the BEST. If you are already asking for referrals and not getting them or you are sensing hesitation when you do ask, then you need to step back and take a good hard, HONEST look at the way you are conducting business and how you handle customer service and satisfaction. Secret shoppers and follow up calls are the best way to determine where the problem areas are.
Step 3: Act on those referrals in a timely fashion. A hot lead is one where the referring person (your customer or client) says that they already told their friend about you and they are awaiting your call. That lead needs to be contacted IMMEDIATELY, right there from your client’s home or business if that is appropriate. A warm lead is when the referring person says that they have mentioned you to their friend and the friend indicated that you could contact them. This call should be made with in 48 hours. A cool lead is when the referring person says that they have a few people (or a person) in mind that they think would benefit from meeting you.
This informative article was contributed by Merle Margolese. Merle is a professional speaker, trainer and coach.
Merle is presenting at the Small Business University, Back-To-School event September 8th, 2014 on the subject of time management. Learn more about this event and the 2 other presenters here.
Fantastic event and overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees…the Cinco de Mayo event was another SBU success.
Thanks to our speakers:
Mike Makofsky, presenting “Finding Your Voice” delivering sage advice for elevating your confidence, your voice and your personality everywhere from your voice mail messages to speaking on stage.
Sandra Martin, presenting “The Life of a Business Card” delivering 21st century-style customer relationship and organizational advice.
Brad Tornberg, presenting “Cheap and Free Online Resources” demonstrating DOZENS of tips, tricks & tools which save time and add value to your daily routine.