Thank God it’s Friday

‘He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.’ Friedrich Nietzsche

Minus your age from seventy-five, then multiply by fifty-two. On average, that’s how many Thank-God-It’s-Fridays you have left. It’s easy to forget how quickly our days disappear. Your life is a one-time gift, so make the most of it.

Begin now – stop distracting yourself on the unimportant things in life and get moving. Do the math; count your remaining Fridays and commit to make the most out of every moment.

‘Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it. Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfil it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.’               
Mother Teresa

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today john@brandstorm.co.za

Can you describe your value proposition in 12 words or less?

Recently, over coffee, a good friend and I were discussing how he could more effectively articulate and demonstrate exactly what his consulting business service offered to his clients. This got me thinking that this is the most common challenge I hear most days from business owners and managers.

The key marketing lesson is: If you cannot describe what your business does in about 12 words or less, then you don’t know what your business offers its potential customers.

And when you describe your business in 12 words or less, you should be stating the number one benefit you offer your customers. That is your value proposition.

For example, when people ask what my marketing consulting business does, I say, “I help businesses get more customers and increase sales.” You cannot get much more to the point than that.

Your customers have choices. Spend a few minutes on Google and you can find virtually anything. Want to find an accountant in Somerset West? Go online and search for your options. The power of search has made it far easier for your business to be found, but it also requires you to be much clearer about exactly what you do and what you offer.

You have about 5 seconds to explain what you do when a prospect visits your website. That’s not a lot of time to say what business you are in, and what unique impact you deliver. You basically have one sentence to explain who you are, and why a visitor should explore your site.

Now think about your business: what is the number one benefit your business offers to your actual and prospective clients and how can you describe that benefit in 12 words or less. This is how you focus your marketing, and in doing so, attract more customers and increase sales.

So take the challenge.

Describe what you offer your marketplace in 12 compelling words or less.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Twenty One Smart Thoughts for Crazy Times – by John Lloyd

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

  1. Not everyone is going to like you . . . get over it.
  2. Stuff is going to happen . . . deal with it.
  3. The person who buries their head in the sand will eventually get their butt kicked.
  4. You cannot change the past, but you can create the future.
  5. Everyone you meet is a reflection of who you are, so it’s a good idea to look for the best in people.
  6. When you step into judgment, you step into ignorance.
  7. Regret is a wasted emotion and simply keeps you stuck in the past.
  8. Life should not be a fast food meal eaten on the run, but a banquet, with each mouthful savoured.
  9. When change knocks on your door it won’t go away just because you do not invite it in.
  10. Before you can be happy, you have to figure out what makes you happy.
  11. Love is not giving all that you are, but accepting the other person and all that they are.
  12. It is easier to tear something down than it is to build it up.
  13. You don’t have to play with the hand life deals you – you can always shuffle the deck.
  14. Your soul mate may not be the one you never argue with, but the one whose presence pushes you into growth and understanding.
  15. Always assume the words you speak are being spoken to you, and then ask yourself, How does this make me feel?
  16. Put your hand over your heart, feel it beat, feel it pulsate life throughout your body and know with absolute certainty there was a powerful reason why your Creative Source (God, Universe, Spirit, or whatever name reflects your beliefs) placed you on this Earth.
  17. It doesn’t matter who writes the words, the only person who can give them power and meaning is you.
  18. The only way through a challenge is to take one step at a time, one moment at a time and one day at a time.
  19. Think win-win. Always seek mutual benefit.
  20. You can get whatever you want in life if you help enough people get whatever they want.
  21. You are a divine walking miracle.

 “You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not.” Isabel Allende

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketing consultant, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za 

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a consultant who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning? Contact John – john@brandstorm.co.za

If you don’t educate your customers, you will lose your customers

The cornerstone of your marketing efforts should be to educate your prospects and customers. Your primary job is to educate them on your product or service. One of the costliest marketing mistakes I see is the failure of businesses to educate their customers about the unique advantages and benefits offered to them. Your customer won’t know about these advantages unless you clearly and tangibly point them out.

When a company or salesperson takes the time and initiative to demonstrably educate you on all the products in the field in which you’re considering making a purchase, it gains your trust and favour.
Education is a powerful marketing technique. Educate your prospective buyer about everything on your product or service and you’ll sell to almost twice as many people as you do now.

You must take your customer by the hand. Few businesses realise that they must lead the customer to action. Prospects need to be explicitly told how to act to obtain your product or service. Therefore – and this is incredibly important – your website, every sales call, email, letter, advert, brochure or personal contact should make the case for your product or service.

It is essential that all your marketing tells your prospects and customers the reasons why! Why should they buy from you, instead of your competition? Tell them why, what you are doing that makes doing business with you better for them.

People want to be advised and led. They are crying out to know more about a business’s product or service. When you educate your customers, you’ll see your profits soar. Think about your own experience. When you consider buying any item or service – for yourself, your home, for your family as a gift, or for your business – you often don’t know as much about the product as you would like to. And, if you have unanswered questions about a product or service, you’re less likely to buy it. Yet, when a company or salesperson takes the time and initiative to objectively educate you about all the products in the field you’re making a purchase in, they gain your trust and goodwill immediately.

Educate people to appreciate the value of your products and services. Most people forget this when it comes to marketing and they leave a fortune of potential profits on the table.

Action Point: Review and evaluate every single marketing tool that you currently use to communicate with prospects and customers. How effectively are you educating them about your advantages and benefits? If not, correct this immediately!

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Is your advertising effective or a waste of money?

Many business people have an inaccurate view about the difference between marketing and sales.

Most people think that you must advertise to get your name out there, so that people will be familiar with you when you attempt to sell your products or services.

So in a very myopic manner they promote their company with image (brand) advertising that shouts to the world how great they are.

They optimistically hope that the message about their brand will stick in people’s minds, never really knowing if they succeed or not. They are never sure if their marketing investment rewards them with increased sales. Some think that a catchy jingle or slogan is enough to get a flood of business.

This is the common approach to marketing and is mostly an expensive waste of money and time. Never let an advertising agency or media advertising sales rep tell you any different.

Marketing and sales have identical goals. The primary purpose of marketing and advertising is to make sales. Period!

The first solution is – If you don’t know how many measured sales your advertising is really bringing in then simply stop advertising.

Advertising must do much more than just get your name out there. It must educate, qualify, convince and persuade. Effective advertising is simply ‘salesmanship in print, word or picture’.

Think of advertising as a sales presentation that’s geared toward accomplishing a carefully defined objective, whether that objective is the actual sale, or at worst, a step toward it.

The key to profitable sales, marketing and advertising lies in the response. Yet 99% of businesses fail to ask for, and track incremental response to their advertising.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

 

Sales Management Myths that are costing you Profits

Let’s debunk a few old fashioned sales management myths:

Myth 1 – “We must have clearly defined sales areas”

Most companies steadfastly stick to the policy that a certain sales rep must service a certain territory. Wrong! Research has shown that the higher the similarity between the customer and the sales person, the more likely it is that the sales effort will be successful.

Have sales territories, but retain some flexibility to maximize better fits and relationships between certain clients and consultants. The outcome will be bigger sales.

Myth 2 – “Our sales people don’t have enough time to sell”

More often than not I find this statement to be nonsense. I work with many sales teams and a consistent behaviour is poor selfmanagement. I find on average that a reasonably good sales person only spends three hours a day on the essential key result areas of selling, namely – prospecting, presenting and closing. Sales revenue is only achieved when you are busy prospecting, presenting and closing. Nothing happens in business until somebody sells something.

You don’t need additional sales people. You need sales people who are optimizing their time doing the essentials. Double your time prospecting, presenting and closing and you will double your sales. Most sales managers don’t measure these three key activities so they constantly overlook the biggest area of growth in your business. A sales person’s diary will always be proof of how much prospecting, presenting and closing they are doing.

Myth 3 – “Our sales consultants are well trained”

As a regular trainer I am exposed to various industries and generally speaking I’m in a position to evaluate the competence of sales consultants in the field.

I constantly see:

  • Poor or no leading edge sales skills training given to sales staff
  • Poor negotiation skills
  • Poor rapport skills. Rapport is the single biggest sales skill of them all. I challenge you to ask your sales team if they’ve ever received rapport skills training. I guarantee that the answer will be NO.
  • Poor sales readiness. At training seminars I ask delegates to come forward and instantly present their unique selling propositions (USP’s), the key benefits and differentiators of their service or product. My most common response is nervous silence. How sales ready is your team?
  • No brilliant sales presentations in portfolio form or PowerPoint. Your sales pitch should be “The greatest show on earth”. Ask a consultant to do a presentation and the answer will be “Yes, two weeks on Thursday as we need time to get a PowerPoint presentation together”. Your presentation pitch is your key differentiator, yet most consultants head into the field with a tariff card, a calculator and hope.

Management can’t expect to send their consultants into the field with the same sub-standard sales skills and tools and somehow expect different results. It doesn’t happen!

Bust these self-limiting paradigms and I assure you that your sales and profits will grow. I wish you smart selling.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

 

Too old to start over and too young to lie down and die

‘I want to die young at a ripe old age.’ Ashley Montagu

Does all success in life require an early start? If so, does this mean that many have lost their chance?

Not according to a man named Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds. I recently read that he launched the first branch of McDonalds in 1955 when he was fifty-two. Mr Kroc who, until then, had achieved modest success and was plagued with poor health, decided to muster enough courage to get his newest idea off the ground. Kroc lived to see his iconic brand, which is instantly recognisable to young and old alike, spread all over the planet. Next to Coca Cola, the McDonalds brand is now the second most recognisable in the world. Here was a man at a late stage of his career, creating and realising a dream, which became a global business empire.

The story of Ray Kroc should serve as encouragement to everyone out there. It is never too late in life to make an impact. If you dare to dream, then age and time is no obstacle. Age should not be used as an excuse for not achieving what you want in life. And yes, I believe that it is possible to teach new tricks to older dogs.

The road to achieving your dreams won’t be an easy one, and you can expect many challenges and obstacles along the way. Especially in these early years of the twenty-first century, many people are experiencing feelings of discontent and discomfort in the workplace. This may be due to the economic slowdown, downsizing, budget limitations and stagnation in many workplaces. These feelings and conditions won’t necessarily go away, either. I predict that the way in which work is performed will remain in a constant state of reinvention and change. Technology, especially online commerce and globalisation, will continue to drive this change.

The good news, though, is that I also get a sense of a strong rise in the entrepreneurial spirit of people, and believe that entrepreneurship will be the defining trend of the next decade. Now is a great time to become your own boss; to take advantage of the changes in the workplace and the economy and pursue those dreams of owning your own business.

The challenge is to avoid mental obstacles and barriers. Don’t be so idealistic, It’s not wise to be so daring and What if you fail, are the words that will challenge your resolve. Be careful. Even if they are not trying to, other people may deflate your dreams.

Like Ray Kroc, we need to create our own dreams and our own opportunities, not just in business, but in every area of our lives. These big dreams keep us engaged with life’s endless opportunities and possibilities, so that we don’t succumb to the easy temptation of old habits, fears and frustrations. These great goals are important in our careers and vital in our lives.

Time won’t wait for you. We have to get old, but we don’t have to think old. It’s never too late to make a difference. Remember, we only get one shot at this life; make the most of yours – now!

‘And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years. – Abraham Lincoln

(This story is an extract from my book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.)

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Do more of the seven things you can’t do too much of

If your goal is to grow your business in 2013, then there are seven essentials that you can never do too much of. If growth is your wish then in my opinion:

  1. You cannot service your customers to much.
  2. You cannot educate enough.
  3. You cannot inform too much.
  4. You cannot make doing business with you too easy or too much fun.
  5. You cannot take follow-up or follow-through too far.
  6. You cannot make calling or coming into your business too desirable.
  7. You cannot build a big enough network.

How do you and your team rate in these seven essential areas?

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

What’s the biggest fear in Selling?

The fear of REJECTION! Sales people don’t make as many calls as they should or are afraid of hearing a ‘no’ simply because they hate facing rejection from prospects. This is by far the number one fear of sales people.

If this applies to you then the first step to beating this weakness is your mind. You must convince yourself to accept and believe that each ‘no’ in selling takes you a step closer to a ‘yes’.

Consider this fact, that even if you are the best sales person in the world, it’s highly likely that you will hear more no’s than yes’s.

Rejection in selling is an event or a process, it’s not you. But paradoxically, I do tell people to take rejection as a personal wake-up call that you are probably doing something wrong in the key result areas of selling. If you truly believe in your product and service and are passionate about it, then how can you not take it personally?

Evaluate your sales performance in following 9 key areas:

  • Are you prospecting the right leads?
  • Are you ready and prepared for each sales pitch?
  • Are you building good rapport?
  • Are you asking probing questions that help you determine the prospects needs?
  • Are you presenting powerful solutions?
  • Are you articulating and demonstrating the tangible benefits of your product or service?
  • Are you effectively differentiating your product or service against your competitors?
  • Are you closing the sale strongly?
  • Are you asking for re-sales and referrals?

Why?

Because if you are focusing on these nine actions each and every time that you sell, then I guarantee that your success ratio will dramatically improve.

My advice for all struggling sales people is to follow my recommended steps and do the very best that you can do. After each possible rejection, ask yourself, what could I have done differently? Realise that selling is a numbers game and that you are now closer to your next sale.

Think it through, dust yourself down and then move onto the next deal.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

The 10.5 Commandments of Winners

1. Choose your attitude at the start of the day. Consciously choose the attitude you take to work each day. Positive, enthusiastic and a can-do attitude can move mountains – regardless of how you feel inside.

2. Focus on opportunity. Realise that each day you are offered a dozen leadership opportunities on a silver platter, regardless of your age, experience, seniority and status. You will use the three words “Try it! Now!” as often as possible.

3. Arrive early. Leave late.

4. Listen aggressively. Formally practice and improve your listening skills. Effective listening is life’s no. 1 skill. Effective listening builds rapport.

5. Learn something new today. Meet someone new today. Eat lunch with someone new today. Live permanently on the edge of your discomfort zone because that’s where all the growth is.

6. Welcome failure! No screw-ups mean that you are not giving it your all. Those whose records include few or no failures only suggests an unwillingness to brave the unknown.

7. Develop an attitude of gratitude! Say thanks for the tiniest bit of helpfulness. Make this a big priority.  Master the art of appreciation and be generous in your use of the words “Thank you” to honour assistance or achievement of even the most minor sort.

8. Smile! (A key to building great rapport)

9. Eye contact is essential. (Another rapport building winner)

10. Wholeheartedly acknowledge the value of analysis, but in the end swear by the motto that “Actions speak louder than words”. Take massive action!

10.5 YOU will unfailingly aim for EXCELLENCE in all you do. You will use excellence as the principal benchmark in the assessment of yourself and your work and your impact on your clients, colleagues and all who you come in contact with.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                    

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za