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Are you a salesman?

Are you a salesman?

Isn’t it strange how something you thought wouldn’t or couldn’t happen nearly always does?

I was with a client recently and we were talking websites and social media marketing and how we can get them to be the authority in their marketplace and I was going through everything that we can do for them, yes I do mean ‘we’ because my band of warriors is growing again, and it suddenly struck me after all these years that ‘yes, I am a salesman’.

The reason I had never thought of myself as a salesman was every place I have worked, before owning my own business, there was a dedicated sales team. These guys were the elite. They rocked and they were the main source of our salaries, whether we liked it or not. They were always seen as the bread winners.

So when I first started out in business I was always thinking I should be hiring a salesperson if I want to boost sales and I still stand by that it is the best investment you can make.

But I have come to realise that every business owner is a salesperson, if fact I would go as far as to say that everyone of us is a salesperson whether we own a business or not. Why would I say that? Because at every single point during every single day we all have to sell something to someone. Go through everything you did yesterday and write down or just recall how many times did you sell something? And I don’t just mean physical things like houses or cars. What about ideas, concepts or dreams?

This will have been to work colleagues, staff members, family members, friends in fact everyone you came into contact with yesterday I bet you sold them something in some way. But did you feel bad about it? Of course you didn’t because as far as you were concerned you weren’t selling anything, or were you?

I bet you were but because it was ethical and the ‘right thing to do’ you didn’t give it a second thought. We all sell ideas every minute of the day.

Here’s an example: my kids always had a reason not to go to school, yeah I always did too, but when they have finished telling me why they shouldn’t go, and I listened intently to them. I just said, “I understand you don’t want to go, I never wanted to go either, but just think what would happen if you couldn’t read or write, where would you be? Plus your friends will really miss you if you don’t go”. I was selling the idea that school is a great place to be.

So here I am having a coffee and going over my notes from the meeting I just had with my fab client and thinking “I am doing this and not even thinking about it”. I used to say to prospective clients “I’m not a salesman, I’ve never been trained”, but in fact I had.

You see I have had the privilege of working with some of the best, I won’t name them but they know who they are, sales people out there and I know that a lot of what they did rubbed off on me. I can sell with real ethics, I can sell knowing that what I am selling, my services and products, are the very best they can be and really do serve my clients wants and needs. How do I know this? Because I ask and they tell me when it’s good and when it’s not and I can tell you nothing keeps you on your toes more than when it’s not.

So I guess the point I’m making here is that I want you to think of yourself as a salesman, 24/7, that’s your main purpose in life, to sell your services, products, ideas, concepts and dreams in a way that not only serves you but serves your fantastic clients too. You are not the slimy salesman everyone thinks of when the word is mentioned, you are the best salesman in the world, you rock.

There is a caveat to this, there always is. Because I want you to be the very best you can be, I want you to learn from the best by attending seminars, reading books, watching videos or listening to podcasts because you owe it to yourself, your existing and future clients and your friends and family to be the very best salesman you can be.

Don’t take it for granted that because of who you are they will want to work with you, they won’t, they will want to work with you because you offer the best products and services you possibly can and you really do care about them deeply enough to sell to them in the right way.

So tell me…are you a salesman?

So what are you charging, I bet it’s not enough? Pt 2

So what are you charging, I bet it’s not enough? Pt 2

In part one we covered how to arrive at a figure, if you haven’t read part one can I suggest that you read before this as it will give you some context of what I’m talking about. Click here

What have you decided?

Once you decide the fee you are going to charge, what you mean you haven’t decided yet? Come on let’s get it sorted.

There are a few options, which I will quickly run through and then I will tell you which my favourite is and why:

  • Hourly Rate: in some industries this is the standard way to charge, such as executive coaching and computer programming. The problem, for clients, is that they assume all the risk for the total cost of the project and therefore might not be too keen to take you on. I would say you are better using the hourly rate for such things as training because the hourly rate can penalise the client if you are slow and penalise you if you are too quick to get the job done
  • Daily Rate: if you are a training organisation, management or development consultant then you would typically charge by the day. But what constitutes a day? It could be six hours, it could be eight hours or it could be twelve hours. If you are setting up for a training session for example it could start at 10am but you have to be there at 9am or even earlier. If it finishes at 5pm you could be there until 6pm or later. So a 12 hour day could be your norm, do you charge for those extra hours?
  • Fixed Price: this is my favourite. Agreeing a fixed price for a complete project is really easy, once your estimating skills are up to scratch that is. Why? Because you and the client can agree on a specific amount of time for the project with agreed deadlines and outcomes. Some consultants will refuse fixed price contracts because they could lose out. Get really good at fixing your price and you’ll be fine. Remember that some organisations require you to submit a fixed price for a project. Here are a few reasons why I like this method:
    • The client can call whenever they like, they are not ‘on the clock’
    • This method is results and performance based so everyone wins, if we accomplish what we say we will that is
    • It’s a great way to price for larger contract and projects
    • There are other methods such as: percentage fees, conditional fees and retainers but I don’t have the time to go into all of them

The nirvana for all consultants…Fee Increases.

A consultant once asked me “when do you know it’s time to increase your prices?” I have to say I did think on this one for a while before I got back to him but in the end I came up with “when I’m too busy to increase them”. Might sound strange but it’s a fact, plus it’s all down to supply and demand in the end. If you’re in high demand then you can happily raise your fees.

Also remember this, when you do increase your fees I can pretty much guarantee that your proposal will be viewed by someone further up the ladder so they might be used to signing off thousands and not hundreds, in fact they might even wonder why it’s not thousands. Wouldn’t that be a great problem to have?

Obviously there is a lot more to pricing and increases than I can go into here but the bottom line is this.

If you are known as the cheapest consultant in town you will always be the cheapest consultant in town. When starting out its really easy to think that you are over charging, but trust me your not, because it’s better to have a few well chosen clients that you love to work with than it is to have 20 or 30 that are running you ragged and making you no money.

Top Tip: If you give a price for a project of say £10,000 and the client comes back and says they only have £5,000 be prepared to walk away. WTF!!! Is he crazy? No think of it this way, if you deduct £5k just like that the client is going to think “why wasn’t it 5k in the first place? Is he planning the holiday of a lifetime here or what?” The only way I would deduct money is by taking away some of the services offered.

Make sure you can deliver what you say you can.

If you decide to charge a higher price than the rest, and please check the market, make sure you can do what you say you can or your reputation is sunk before you start.

That’s it for this time I hope you’ve enjoyed our dive into the murky world of consultancy and next time we’ll talk about those all important client ‘money discussions’.

Have a fantastic day and please leave me a comment or question below…I love talking about this stuff 😉

Keith McMean

Who’s your perfect client?

Who’s your perfect client?

I was talking to a business owner the other day and was really surprised just how many have no idea who their perfect client is.

So I thought to help anyone who might be struggling with this so here’s what I do:

  • Demographic, where do they live. Nowadays it could be anywhere in the world if you have an online business but vitally important if you have a bricks and mortar business
  • What do they look like, what’s their name, what’s their age, what’s their job, how much do they earn and how much do they have to spend? All these things are really important in building up a clear picture of who it is your trying to sell your products or services to
  • When it comes to clients you can’t take the chance on NOT knowing who they are
  • Get yourself a sheet of paper and start to build up a profile give them a name to begin with and you will find this will really focus your thoughts and efforts

But what if you’re still struggling to pinpoint them? Well the easiest way is to pick one of your best clients. The ones who buy your products or services on a regular basis, pay on time, and are just a pleasure to work with on a day to day basis and use this as a starting point. If you don’t have any clients yet then start with the list above

Once you have this nailed down then you can start to build a really detailed profile that will help you attract new clients and customers that are suited to your business. Let’s face it you don’t want to work with people who annoy the hell out of you do you? No life’s too short for that.

What next? Well you can start to give them, in this case, excellent value content, but for you it could be coffee and cake, washing machines, it doesn’t really matter what the product or service is just that you are targeting the right audience with the right marketing and promotion messages. There is nothing worse than receiving messages and updates from someone when you have no idea who they are and why they are sending you stuff.

I hope this has started you thinking about your perfect client and that you can go into 2014 with renewed vigour on how to find them and please feel free to ask any questions below we would love to hear from you.

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

It’s been a little while since my last post but things have been busy.

My good friend Mike Stuart @Lucifermyk and @j8myk named Workington’s newest Café Lounge establishment Lucifer’s, which seemed to anger some folk, not least our friend’s across the pond.

So how do you choose a name, and the right one, for your business and not cause a stir, or maybe you want to it’s up to you? It can be difficult and in Mike’s case the name really suits the café but one thing we both know it’s put the café on the map and Mike being a marketing specialist, he is a partner in Black Phase, I have a sneaking feeling he knew this might happen.

But what do you do when people offer to either save you or something a little more sinister, do you change your name or carry on regardless, my advice is to carry on and the reason for that is, like Mike, if the name suits what you do and projects the correct image for you business why should you change it.

Here are a few tips when choosing a name:

  • You may be tempted to get really creative with this, which is all very well, but it’s important to keep to your main objective.
  • What do you want to say about your business? It may be good to go for something witty, with an amusing angle, though probably not if you’re starting a serious business service.
  • Don’t choose a business name based on a current fad or trend because in 10 years no one will get or remember it.
  • Choose a business name that is memorable so that current and prospective clients and customers can remember your name to refer their friends to you.
  • Make sure that the name is easy to spell in case they have to look up your number in the phone book.
  • Don’t go geographical when naming your business. If you live in Whitehaven, you may want to avoid names like Whitehaven Electrical Appliances. You don’t want people to think that you only service Whitehaven.

Anyway that’s enough from me, let me know how you arrived at your business name?

Attracting Blog Traffic

Attracting Blog Traffic

So you have Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and you add to and update them every day but from there what else do you do?

Well you should have a blog attached to your website, or like me maybe think about the blog being the main focus of your website, but why should you give your site over to a blog and what are the benefits of doing it.

This is my list, its by no means exhaustive:

  • It can be a major source of information for your visitors, clients and potential clients about your business
  • You can also keep them informed of what is happening in the company such as latest news on services and products etc.
  • Once you start to blog regularly visitors will come back to find out what you have to say
  • You should blog at least once a week to keep up visitor loyalty
  • Find a niche area to blog about then you are more likely to attract visitors, better that than try to break into a crowded market
  • Always end with a question that contributors can reply to
  • Ask someone in your niche area to be a ‘guest blogger’ as this will also attract new visitors
  • When you Tweet, update Facebook etc always try to get the person reading your update back to your site as there is more chance of getting them hooked on a product or service
  • Keep your writing in a conversational style and remember you are talking to your audience and not at them.

I hope this has made you think about blogging as this is a great way to get started and will help in truly engaging your visitors.

If you do decide to blog then point to them as I would love to take a look.

photo credit: KMiDigital

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