What’s Your Hair Style and Sales Plan for 2011?

It is undeniable that when you work a plan, you are more likely to achieve your goals than when you fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Agree? If that is the case, why is it that so many business owners and sales people (even medium-sized or larger businesses) do not have up-to-date plans with goals and milestones to grow visibility and to grow revenues? If they do, they don't work them regularly.

If I were a fabulous hair stylist I am sure I would look at new people I meet and immediately see their hair like most of us do not - I'd see the current style and think of their potential - I might think of someone else with a similar head shape or features or type of hair and envision how much different this person could look if they were open to it.

My chef friends ALWAYS have something to say when they are eating at another chef's restaurant - often it is flattering - but the fact is that they are subject matter specialists in this area that I am not.

What has happened for me this year through my nationwide tour has been the honor to speak in front of and talk to over 1000 small business owners and sales people. From New Hampshire to California, there are such amazing people working on building all sorts of interesting businesses. Many are sound - and many are not. Some ideas scared me - when I heard the dollars or time invested in them so far with no revenues or very small revenues to show for it.

When I hear about a fantastic idea yet poor strategy (if any) and/or poor execution - that's something that I absorb as the hair stylist would with someone's hair style - and, by the way, this is not a unique talent that only I have - there are many business strategists who also have this affliction (or gift - however you see it). We see the "what if" vision of the future -- sometimes with a tweak or two, for a business model or a business owner's concept. We also often see big red flags and potential roadblocks we'd like to keep others from recreating. I learned many of these the hard way, through my own scar tissue working for others and for myself.

I heard best-selling business author Michael Gerber speak this year in NYC. He's written and spoken for years about the eMyth - and how the lack of business expertise and poor assumptions of business owners get in the way of their success. It was not his best appearance (I've seen him speak before and this time he sort of snapped at audience members asking very valid questions). Aside from me getting a great lesson on stage presence and composure, he IS so correct about the idea that many business owners are going about things in such the wrong way - that, in some cases, they need to totally start fresh. He's done the research and work for over 30 years. I give him great credit for all his contributions and recommend reading any of the eMyth books. With that said, there are many business owners and sales pros who could simply re-focus, re-vision, and move forward to grow their revenues.

Businesses can improve revenues through specific, planned steps. Some of these include, but are not limited to:

1. A re-focus on who your niche really is, what problems you really solve, and how you can re-message this so customers will buy and others can refer you business.

2. Implementing a system company-wide that is easy for anyone wearing the sales hat to capture information about prospective, "more probable" customers, set next-actions with them, and have a regular follow-up plan with them.

3. Maximize your digital presence with fresh content and a two-way conversation on the web. Be open to social CRM.

4. Listen more to customers - which may mean that you need to find ways to connect with them more.

5. Learn what the most important activities each week for you to do are, and then do them. Help others in your organization to do the same. Find ways to outsource what you are not as strong in, and focus on your strengths.

Speaking of focusing on the most important: one client this year spent extra time and resources to build five very strong strategic partnerships. These are people and companies who can refer many prospective clients their way. The leader of the business made an hour every day to do this, and the dividends are already paying off through a 75% increase in one area of their business.

Another CEO I work with calls existing clients every day - he takes 30 minutes every morning to make calls to see how their recent order went, and how they are doing - rather than just leaving it to his sales reps to determine. He also thanks them for their business. Not surprisingly, by doing this, he has found new opportunities and also caught a few shortcomings that often he was able to get resolved.

By spending time in these areas of focus, you can change your business model, you can change your revenue centers, and you can grow business. Or, you can fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. Revenues go up, they come down - it is not predictable or consistent.

Oh, and about that hair style? You won't get any suggestions from me - I'll stick to helping you grow your business.

What is a habit you do regularly that grows your revenues? Post your thoughts so others can learn from this community.

Topics: Sales Ideas & Skills

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