I have recently completed a programme of seminars to business owners that ran once a month through 2014.
Over 11 sessions I covered a range of subjects to help those business owners change their perspective on the role of business planning and strategic marketing in their business. Before the sessions most viewed marketing as the creation of marketing communications and planning as the creation of a budget.
My aim through the seminars was to show how taking time to really understand your business, your customers, your market and your competitors, and then by making informed strategic decisons about the products you sell, the people you sell them to and finally how you communicate the value of YOUR solution delivers a stronger, more profitable and more sustainable business.
In my final session I decided to discuss sales process. Whilst I am not a sales trainer I know it’s crucial to understand how to make the most of every opportunity and to understand what the most important factors are when customers buy your products. This isn’t just so that you can sell more of your product or service, but from the customer’s perspective you provide the information they feel is important and on which they can make a decision about whether to buy from you or not.
As a way of starting my session I asked the particpants whether they liked “selling” or not, and then also whether they felt they were “good” at it. It was apparent that many, if not most, of the people in the room felt uncomfortable doing business development and sitting down with potential new customers. All these people were great at doing what it was that they did … they just needed more customers to do it for.
In addition, only one person in the room had ever been given any information about how to get the most out of business development meetings and understood that there was any kind of process to doing it.
So when I looked back over the previous sessions I had worked with them to indentify in detail who were the right people for them to talk to about their products – many many businesses don’t target their efforts at tight enough target segments.
I’d also spent time with them to understand how they think about those target segments and the most compelling reasons for them to buy – most businesses have a one-size fits all approach to messagaing which is watered down by it’s generality and so becomes compelling to no-one.
Hence, many of the attendees businesses had been talking to the wrong people, and many had been saying the wrong things. Add to that the fact that they didn’t know how best to uncover why people might want to buy from them, and it was no wonder they had found business development and recruiting new customers to be so difficult. (Hence the squirrel; someone once said to me that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!)
This session was the inspiration behind me creating my Taster Workshops. In a two-hour session I will show you 5 ways that marketing controls your business and I suspect that many who attend will find that they have been talking to the wrong people, and they have been saying the wrong things!
If you feel like you aren’t getting the results that you want from your marketing or your business development efforts, and you don’t have an efficient machine for creating new opportunities and customers then one of my Taster Workshops could be a couple of hours well spent.