Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Questions For A More Productive 2011

Did your company perform as expected in 2010? Did you reach your goals?
If you want to build a thriving company in 2011, answer the following questions. Good answers to these questions will lead the way to a productive year.
1. Are you gaining feedback from customers?Entrepreneurs listen to customers and gain feedback. This is how they discover great ideas. Successful entrepreneurs are out in the field finding out what customers really want and need.
2. Are you looking for more opportunities, both inside and outside the organization?
Successful companies are not afraid to dump old products and move on to new ones.
3. Do you have a mentor? Mentors can jump-start an entrepreneur’s knowledge level, link him or her up with new contacts, offer feedback on ideas, plans and strategies and even provide help in raising capital.
4. Have you built an A-team?Savvy entrepreneurs bring people into the organization who are smarter and more skilled than they are. They then create incentives to keep them. The best entrepreneurs are clearly team builders.
5. Are you providing mind-boggling service? When you deliver legendary customer service, customers will rave about your company and become tremendously loyal.
-Ron Ameln, SBM

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Do Groupon-Type Offers De-Value Your Services?

No one can argue with the success of Groupon, the entrepreneurial coupon-based tech firm that started from a Northwestern University dorm room a few years ago. Its success has spawned numerous imitators. From a business startup standpoint, the business model earns an A+.
With all that said, here's a question: For those businesses participating in these types of deals, what are these companies really saying about their products and services? I mean, if you are willing to provide your products and services for 1/2 (sometimes even 2/3) of its price, what are you saying about the value of your products and services? Aren't you turning your product/service into a commodity that can be devalued (sometimes by 1/2 price). And, if your profit margins can afford a 50% decrease, maybe your overcharging customers in the first place.
Six months after the coupons stop running, are your customers going to be excited about paying twice the price for the same meal they paid 50% less for a few months ago? Or, will they just go to the next business down the street that offers another 50% off deal.
The big question is: How will customers see your product/service in the long run? Will it be seen as just another product/service, or will it be seen as something that is unique and has value to it?
Business owners should all be striving to create unique value in their offerings. Once you start slashing prices, your product/service begins to lose that value.
--Ron Ameln, SBM

Thursday, December 16, 2010

4 No BS Ways To Sell More In 2011

2011 is just weeks away. The economy is starting to pick up. Now is the time to start building new sales. Here are four things you can do immediately to gain more business in 2011:
1. Start Measuring. You can't accomplish anything in life (i.e., weight loss, productivity) without charting and measuring your actions. Start by determining your goals (you can't get there if you don't know where you are going). Then, start measuring all of your sales activities and actions. After the first quarter, take a day and go over your activities and actions and see what worked/didn't work.
2. Find Your Niche. The 80/20 rule generally applies to most sales. 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients. Narrow your prospects. Take a look at your past sales and find out what industries, types of clients you've had the most success with and just focus on them. You'll build better relationships over time, which will lead to more sales.
3. Get Some Help. Everyone needs a coach. Professional athletes have coaches, professional singers have coaches. You need one as well. The coach doesn't need to be an expensive consultant. It might be a friend who can listen each month and offer encouragement. Sales can be a tough mental grind. All sales reps need someone in their corner to help when times get tough--and they will. Think of this person as your sponsor, similar to the AA model.
4. Don't Listen To The "So-Called" Experts. Find out what has worked for you in the past and focus on that before you try out the latest strategies from the "so-called" experts. For example, it's easy to find a guru to tell you cold calling doesn't work anymore. It still does work for some, and it may work for you. It all depends on you and your industry. Most of these gurus have never sold a thing before in their lives. Don't buy into their BS.
--Ron Ameln, SBM