Saturday, 4 April 2015

Don't Sell Your Services - That's Not What People Buy!

Try a different approach to selling your services tips copied from an original article by Tessa Stowe.

Believe it or not, no one actually buys your service. No one buys coaching. No one buys consulting. No one buys financial planning. So what do people buy? Well, there are, in fact, two things people buy.

The first thing people buy is a solution to a problem.

People buy a service only because they believe it will solve certain problems and give them certain results. They are not buying the "how" of a service. Your service is simply the "how" you do it. Your service is the tool or method you use to solve problems and deliver results.

Do you buy a hammer because you just want a hammer? Do you buy a car because you just want a car? Do you go to the dentist because you happen to feel like being drilled? These examples show you that you are buying a solution to a problem; you are buying a result. You would not buy a hammer, a car or go to the dentist unless they all solved problems and delivered results.

Just suppose you focus on telling someone all about "how" your coaching and consulting service works and what it is. At the end of the conversation (if they are still listening), they will have a good understanding of your "how" but they'll be left wondering what problems you will solve for them and what results you will deliver.

If people do not know what problems you will solve for them and the results you will deliver, it is highly unlikely that they will buy your service. If however you focus on understanding their problems and the results they will get, you will be focusing on what people are buying and your chances of success will be dramatically increased.

The second thing people buy is YOU.

Once someone has decided they have a problem they want solved, they then make a decision as to who will solve it for them. If you have focused the conversation on telling them all about your "how" and what your service is, they will feel that you are focused on yourself and your needs. When the focus is on you, people get the sense that you have your own best interest at heart and don't really care about them. They will start to think you are simply trying to sell them something, and all sorts of sales resistance will surface.

If you have been focusing the conversation on understanding their problems, they will feel that you have their best interests at heart. They will start to trust you and open up to you. They will naturally decide you are the person to solve their problems (assuming of course there are problems to be solved, etc).

So in summary, don't focus on selling your services. Instead, have conversations where you focus on understanding problems and then people will assume you know "how" to deliver results. The more you focus on understanding their problems, the more they will trust that you are the one they should be working with.

If promoting you/your service/product is your problem I can recommend IBOtoolbox.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Finding Customers for Your New Business...

Many people who start their own small business quickly discover that finding customers is a lot more difficult than they had thought. Here are six things you can do to make getting customers easier. Janet Attard shares these tips: Having trouble finding customers for your new home-based business? If so you're not alone. Many people who start their own business quickly discover that finding customers is a lot more difficult than they had thought. They call a few friends to let them know they’ve started a business; print out fliers and stuff them in neighborhood mailboxes; set up a website; run an ad in the local newspaper or buy pay-per-click ads online and sit back and wait for customers to come. When the leads and sales don’t happen guilt (over the money they’ve spent to set the business up) frustration and stress set in. Sound depressing? It is. But you don't have to fall into this trap. And if you have fallen into it you can climb out. Here's how: Make a commitment to marketing. Marketing isn't a one-time activity. To find customers and keep them coming in, you need to actively promote your business in as many ways as you can on an ongoing basis. Learn to network. Businesses and consumers don't buy products or services from companies. They buy them from people. People they know and trust. Become an active participant in business or community groups; local home owners associations; parent’s groups; religious groups and other groups that attract the type of people you want for customers. Become active in the group volunteering to help with events or other needs. Your goal: to get known as a person and ultimately to get yourself known as the go-to person when someone needs jewelry; someone to solve a computer problems or whatever your specialty is. Remember that word of mouth advertising is the single biggest source of customers for home-based businesses. As you build your network and start to bring in those first customers do everything you can to be sure positive word of mouth spreads about you. Bend over backward to to do exceptional work and get it out on time. The customer may never thank you but they'll remember your work and call on you again -- or refer you when their friends or family need what you sell. Ask for referrals. Asking for referrals is easy once you realize you aren't begging for business. You're just asking customers and friends if they know anyone who has the kind of problem your product or services can solve. Get other businesses to refer business to you, too. This isn't as hard as you think. Find people who serve the same market but sell different products or services from yours. A party planner may well hear of people who need gift baskets made up. And the gift basket business is very likely to meet customers who need events planned. Talk to each other. Refer each other. Both of your businesses will grow. Do a reality check. If despite your best efforts your product or service isn't selling use your network groups to find out why. Even if you researched the need for your product or service before you started the business you may still run into customer resistance. If so question your prospects. Find out what it is they really need. What problem they need solved. How they are getting the problem solved now. And what they are willing to spend to solve the problem. Ask if there's anything you could change about your business to make them interested in buying from you. Whatever you do don’t take the answers personally. Use the information you glean to learn what changes you need to make to land sales and bring in customers on a steady basis.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Avoid Burnout With These 12 Simple Steps...

Burnout is a real risk for small business owners. Here are 12 tips to follow if you think you're at risk Many people experience burnout at some point in their lives. Business owners and the self-employed are even more likely to fall prey to burnout because the buck stops with them. If you feel as if you’re starting to burn out here are some things you can do to avoid it. 1. Take care of #1. If you’re run down, you’ll burn out faster. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, exercise and de-stress on a regular basis. 2. Make the time to do nothing! We all need to take time to relax, refresh and replenish. Don’t keep pushing yourself. Keep regular business hours and take breaks during your work day. Make sure to schedule in time off and vacations on a regular basis. You’ll come back with a fresh outlook and perspective. 3. Get back in touch with the things you value. Is your work fulfilling and meaningful for you? If not, check in with your values. What’s missing? Where are you compromising? What needs to be eliminated? What are you merely tolerating? Re-assess and re-adjust your priorities as needed. If you work for yourself, you’re in control. Make the choices you want to make by honoring what’s important for you. 4. Think out of the box and challenge yourself consistently. If work has become a chore or you’re in a rut, try spicing things up a bit! Find innovative ways to do mundane tasks, create new products or services to add to your offering, improve performance, or tweak what you do best and make it even better. 5. Establish realistic expectations for what you can and cannot accomplish. If you find that you’re driving yourself or your employees too hard it may be time to let go of unrealistic expectations and readjust. Shorten your to-do list, give yourself some slack when needed and know when to let up on yourself and others. 6. Learn how to communicate clearly. Resolve conflicts, don’t run from them. Let people know what you expect from them, and ask them what they expect from you. Be clear and concise with what you say, and how you say it. Listen closely to the people around you, it will teach them to listen closely to you. 7. Manage your time. Poor time management is another thing we do that leads to burnout. Set regular business hours. Make appointments with yourself to get things done – and keep them! Being on time counts, show up promptly for appointments and expect others to do the same. 8. Stop blaming yourself or others. If you’re playing the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your attitude. Blaming yourself or others for things that have gone wrong doesn’t help. What does? Learn from your experiences and make changes to ensure that you get the results you want the next time. 9. Value yourself by establishing boundaries and limits. Learn how to do it in a way that clear and consistent. Don’t give away too much of your time. Let people know your policies and procedures. Be upfront with what’s acceptable and what’s not. Learn how to say no. 10. Deal with your emotions. Keeping your feelings inside usually leads to trouble. If you are feeling any kind of negative emotion, don’t deny it. Instead, learn how to acknowledge your feelings, be up front with them; and deal with the underlying causes. 11. Laugh, smile and enjoy the ride! Life is too short to worry and be serious all the time. Find ways to make your work fun and enjoyable. 12. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. Everybody needs a little help once in a while. You can’t do everything yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or associates for help, or hire a professional when needed.