Marketing & Business Development have evolved.
If you're not leveraging your strengths and sharing them every day in a way that promotes your business then you are on leaving money on the table.
Build Understanding and Trust with Marketing
One of the most glaring areas where there is distrust is what a product actually costs. Customers and consumers have come to expect that the "true cost" lives somewhere in the shadows and that there will be any number of add-on items magically appearing that bumps up the final price.
Get the cost out in the open and talk about it. Get comfortable explaining how much you are charging and why. Your prospects will know intuitively how you feel about your pricing so you better believe in it. One of the reasons buyers negotiate so doggedly and why trust issues arise late in the sales process is because prospects are accustomed to being mislead. Don't do it. Be part of the solution.
HAVE HONEST CONVERSATIONS
It amazes me when I'm out there talking with a prospective company about their product or services and I get the sense that time is running out on our conversation! Sure, there may come a time with some prospects when you have to cut the cord - but, in my experience, it is much better to give too much time than not enough. If you give more all you lost was a little time - if you don't give enough you could lose a client. People have come to expect to be treated like cattle and, to me, that his a horrible way to run a business. Get deep into conversation with your client - enjoy the relationship - enjoy them as a person. If you do this one thing you're effectiveness as a communicator and marketer will skyrocket.
Your prospects want a relationship with you - even if they don't know it yet. Help them understand what they need to enjoy the full benefit of your product or service - tell them upfront - and keep telling them over and over for as long as they are a client. By diving into the full details about who you are - what you can do for your client - and how you will help their business grow you will secure more long term, higher paying clients and you will enjoy your client relationships more than ever.
DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF A PROBLEM BUILDS TRUST
How are we going to truly help a prospect solve their problem if we only have a superficial understanding of their situation? Many businesses rush into the solutions part of their presentations (for fear of losing a prospect) without taking enough time listening to a prospect's needs.
Seems reasonable that a customer - client - consumer should be listened to and understood BEFORE being sold something however that doesn't mean that it's common practice. I would say that as consumers we have grown so accustomed to not being listened to that we have come to expect it. Most businesses say that their service or product is the best thing around - that their medicine is a "cure all" - but we know from our own experience as consumers that this isn't the truth.
As we market and grow our business, part of job is to demonstrate how our services or products will work well for our clients and prospects. But we know this isn't always the case.
So, this means that also part of understanding a prospect's situation is to know when we're NOT the best person for the job. However, when was the last time after fully explaining your situation to a sales person have we heard, "I fully understand what you need. Unfortunately our company might not be the best fit. I would recommend that you talk to
who could really help you out." Generally, this doesn't happen.
Fearless honesty is the only way to run your business and stay in integrity at the same time. This is what Kaårv is committed to and these are the companies we want to work with.
If a business doesn't take the time to thoroughly understand the prospect's problem - and share their understanding back to the prospect - before educating the prospect on a solution there is the risk of running up against two critical barriers:
UNDERSTANDING THE BUYER'S JOURNEY BUILDS TRUST
Clear definition of your Buyer's Journey means that you will be creating marketing that educates your prospect whether your client is just learning about you business - educating themselves on your services - or building up to their final decision to work with you. No matter where they are in this series, your consistent marketing can create clarity for your prospect - it will help them know they are talking to people who understand and who can help. To establish your buying stages begin to identify a prospect potential problems and then create messaging that:
a) Educates the prospect about the full scope of their problem
b) Outlines potential strategies - pitfalls - and solutions
c) Explains how you can deliver solutions that solve their problems
If you align your marketing to your Buyer's Journey - come from a place of integrity and transparency - and get committed to putting the needs of your clients first, you'll have distinguished yourself and your company among the ocean of other businesses. Then it's time to put in work - more work - and grow your business through honesty and service.
Build an Amazing Company Culture
Some owners are so focused on the bottom line that they put off creating an environment that supports their entire team.
Some companies have drifted so far that the 9 to 5 has become something of a a survival-based work experience. The team may be hitting the numbers, but it can come with a heavy price tag.
On the other hand, there are business owners - we all know a few - who understand why their best employees care deeply about doing a great job. It is amazing to watch these bosses create a team environment where every employee feels that they are part of the winning strategy. The day to day "vibe" around an office like that is, actually, enjoyable. The business is successful and employees are having fun. Ever wondered how they do it?
Here we discuss 5 core beliefs that many excellent bosses have in common.
GREAT LEADERS FEEL THEY ARE SERVING THEIR EMPLOYEES
Excellent bosses set clear goals and gather any necessary resources that will allow their employees to complete the tasks at hand and grow the company. They believe in the decisions made by their trusted employees and will use their valuable time to pitch in to clarify ambiguous situations. They do whatever they can to empower their employees and improve their work-life. They know that happy employees make for happy bosses.
Other employers want their subordinates to follow instructions to the letter or they set up power structures that discourages employees from taking initiative. Typically, they are horrible delegators who are unable to have their employees make any but the smallest and most non-essential decisions. Makes me tired just thinking about it.
GREAT LEADERS MOTIVATE THROUGH VISION
Excellent managers are able to share the passion they feel for their company. They are skilled at getting the team excited about what can happen when everyone pulls together to achieve company-wide goals. They are committed to creating the expectation that everyone will benefit when the company wins. This kind of motivation never gets old - as long as you have the right employees.
Amazingly, other managers continue to use criticism and public scorn to motivate their beleaguered workforce. The public white board touting individual sales figures still plays a central role for many sales managers. With this kind of environment, both employee and manager stay locked in a power struggle of distrust and push back.
GREAT LEADERS SEE THEIR COMPANY AS A MARKETING ECOSYSTEM
Excellent owners embrace interdependence in business. They believe that cross-training and diversity can be a company’s best strategy to out perform the competition. They empower their team members to smoothly adapt to the needs of a changing market which at times can lead to creating partnerships with different groups - competitors included.
In other companies, because business is all about survival they can only see conflicts among companies and organizations. They view competitors as foes and acquire new clients as if they’re on a conquest.
GREAT LEADERS TREAT THEIR EMPLOYEES AS COLLEAGUES
Extraordinary bosses see the importance of every team member. They inspire excellence in their team by entrusting key employees with the power to make decisions and take true responsibility. They also are able to map out the process where newer team members understand how they can grow within the company.
The very average manager sees himself as the father to oversee his children and, in doing so, creates a team of robotic, order-takers who do just enough to get by.
THE BEST LEADERS SEE THEIR COMPANY AS A COMMUNITY
Outstanding owners see their company as a community unto itself and they look for ways to include their employees in this experience. Certainly, the company has to be on solid financial ground for the ownership and employees to feel that there is a future to look forward to. But assuming business success, creating a company culture that embraces each person will attract the very employees who will strive to ensure that this community culture lives for another day.
At the end of the day it is the beliefs an owner has about his company that creates the work environment. The best employers look for ways to make work enjoyable and fun. They encourage their employees to risk having transparent conversations. They empower their employees to make work personal. The reward for all this effort comes when you realize that you are surrounded by a group of loyal employees who care as much for the team success as their own.
Take Care Of Our Own Well Being
None of these ideas will be new. But it's not enough to know - we must do. Take time to work one of these approaches into your day - today.
STARTS WITH ATTITUDE
We can influence the events of our day by the feelings we carry and the attitudes we foster. If you find yourself stuck on one conversation gone bad or if you are looking forward to a meeting that you are unsure about, these "less than serene" moments can pile up and dramatically affect how our day is going. So when you find your day turning into something overwhelming stop and use whatever strategy you need to get you back on track. Among many others, here are some methods I've use:
PUT CONFIDENCE INTO OUR BODY
As I write this I sat up a little straighter in my chair. Am I feeling up? Down? How did that last call go? My body is going to reflect whatever my mind and heart is experiencing. But it goes beyond this - study after study shows that how we hold our body also affects our mind. Kinda weird, yes. But totally true.
In fact, there is a wave of apps and cloud-synced devices that will help you keep you shoulders back and your back straight. Check out the Lumo Lift if this appeals to you. Honestly, I'm not sure if I want that many reminders - but it would probably be good for me.
For a less techie approach let's take a page from Mark Rashid's book. Mark is a gifted horse whisperer and motivational speaker who recommends focusing on the solar plexus, situated just below the rib cage. When you breathe deeply and concentrate on this area, you will notice immediate confidence and peace of mind. This one technique can help you center yourself even when faced with challenging work situations or while being stuck in traffic.
ENJOY THE GOOD MOMENT
We can all take for granted life’s potential pleasures. It is easy to do. Take, for example, something that happens every day - sleep. At some point I'm sure that we have all looked at sleep as an inconvenient necessity rather than something to be deeply enjoyed. In fact, how many of us brag about how little sleep we need? While some act as if they don't care about sleep others are tormented because they can't get enough.
I've worked with many people troubled by insomnia and general poor sleep. They are up for an hour or more - staring at the clock. Worried they won't be able to go back to sleep. While missing sleep can be a cause of great unhappiness, our attitude, again, can shape our actual experience.
For example, I have a friend who insists that the times that he wakes in the middle of the night are some of the most peaceful and serene moments of his life. Listening to the quiet house. Taking time to pay attention to what he is grateful for. Listening to the (sometimes) funny sounds of his wife breathing as she sleeps. It is all about perspective and my friend has figured this one out.
REVIEW OUR ATTITUDE DAILY
The next time you are having a bad day at work don't try to avoid the feelings - dig into them a little bit. Take a moment and look around at what is actually going on. Chances are that there is no fully apparent reason why you are feeling unhappy. Whatever is going on, often, is a jumbled mess of future worries and past experiences in collision with your in-the-moment common sense. Just remember you are the conductor of your life. You determine the way you see others and the world. So review your approach to the moment - clear your mind - and get yourself back on track.
BE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE
If you are into experimenting and want to have a bit of fun try this one on for size. The next time you are meeting with co-workers or even clients simply bounce into the room happily with a big smile on your face and see how the room reacts! Likely some will be unamused - let them stay in their misery. Others will embrace you like a breath of fresh air.
The reality is that in our overly serious business culture there are companies that actually discourage and do everything within their power to squash happiness and friendship. If you happen to be at one of those places, seriously, my heart goes out to you. It may be time to realize that not all companies are run this way. And if you happen to be the owner of a company with poor morale and dissatisfaction just remember that this didn't happen overnight - but it can be changed for the better.
LOVE OUR WORK
It is important beyond measure to pay attention to what is going right in our lives. As we do we'll find the list of things we are grateful continue to grow. We can find daily happiness in our work and in our life. When you embrace the small pleasures in life you not only appreciate them in the moment, but you also pave the way for being ready for still more good fortune.
Every situation we're presented with can be an opportunity for personal growth and professional development. Difficult times call on us to dig in to our inner resources and push through. Good times are a reminder that the hard work we have put in is paying off. The thing to remember is that there is a lot of power in patience and determination. Put your mind at ease and get ready for the next hill to climb.