How to To Improve Your Company

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Small business and government grants resources home
Small business and government grants resources home

How to To Improve Your Company

1. Know your personal values.

What's most important to you personally? When you know your values, you'll better filter new information and opportunities and can rely better on your intuition because you know what you're hearing and how it fits in with you.

2. Get candid input from at least 5 other people who know you well.

While it's nice to get input from experts, it's as valuable to get points of view from colleagues, family members, key employees who know you -- they know your tendencies, your moods, the way you think, your blind spots, your passions. Let them guide you.

3. Have a really big, big picture.

When you know your long term goals, have a vision or have a helicopter view of the current situation or opportunity, you'll be "seeing more" and thus have more information on which to base your decision.

4. Always have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D ready to go!

You can improve your good judgment by having back up plans, whether you need them or not.

5. Don't put yourself in situations where you are forced to rely too much

on your "good judgment." This one is important. After all, shouldn't you be enough ahead of the curve to have been making good decisions along the way so that having "good judgment" doesn't become critical? Don't confuse good judgment with crisis management.

6. Separate the facts from the interpretation of the facts.

There are very few facts that aren't also coupled with someone's (even your) interpretation of the facts. Either sales are down 20% or they are not. An explanation is just that. There are great explanations, few of which are worth banking your business on. If sales are down, assume they'll stay down until you do something about it.

7. Always include a worst-case scenario -- and make it a really bad scenario.

For a decade or two, Detroit kept factoring in worst-case scenarios, yet they continually came up short because they took incremental actions based on what they wanted to believe would happen, not what was so clearly a long-term trend of foreign-made cars slicing up their market share. Living in denial is always expensive -- yet we all do it. A good way to get out of denial is to assume that sales will drop 50% in the next year (think Volkswagen) and "be ready" for that possibility. Just by including that option and developing options at that level, one will make a better decision about what is more likely to happen.

8. Always look at the downside of every decision you make.

If you're adding a new product, increasing the customer service budget, reducing overhead, permitting use of your name/trademark, entering into a co-venture agreement, make a list of the 10 potentially negative and even deadly consequences of even a no-brainer/excellent change. Everything affects everything today -- and unexpectedly. If you respect this ecological truth you'll realize that every decision affects, in some way, you, your employees, your shareholders, your profitability and your viability.

9. Seek to enhance your reputation first; bottom line second.

I used to base most of my decisions on whether or not my company would make more money. But in 1994, I realized that the future of my business came from my current customers, their word-of-mouth and from the press we were beginning to receive from the national media. At that point, it occurred to me that if I'd just invest more money in our reputation and make my decisions based more on reputation than quarterly profitability, I'd be a lot more financially successful --- and more proud of my company, too.

10. Hang out with others who have excellent judgment.

There are so many subtleties about acquiring and developing good judgment that most of the process comes best from friends, colleagues, competitors and staff who already have great judgment. Learn from them, in every conversation.










How to be a  Super Successful Sales Professional

The top 5% of all sales professionals seems to have most of the following qualities, traits, styles and attitudes. I've included the traditional/old selling skill in parenthesis. Obviously, these Top 10 Secrets go the next step beyond the traditional way of describing them.

1. An obvious and compelling Passion for People, not just the for product or service. (OLD: Really believe in the product/service.)

Super Sales Professionals care SO much for people and helping them to solve their problems/get their buying needs met that the buyer FEELs this. It's not an act; it's a calling.

2. An ability to help the prospective customer to FEEL. (OLD: Find/create pain.)

The Super Sales Professional doesn't just look for the hot buttons as a way of getting the person to buy. Instead, they help to create a possibility that EXCITES the buyer.

3. A willingness to sell to the buyer's buying strategy instead of using a collection of selling techniques and hoping for a connection. (OLD: Using a technique that works for you.)

This requires a certain humility because the Super Sales Professional makes the buyer more important than the Super Sales Professionals collection of selling skills. Every buyer has their preferred way to purchase; get to know these in general and quickly discover the preferred way that your potential customer buys/makes a decision, etc.

4. An ability to peg/discern who is going to be a buyer and who is not. (OLD: Ability to qualify prospects quickly.)

Super Sales Professionals have a sixth sense that helps them to distinguish between tire kickers and real buyers. This sixth sense is develop-able. And, it saves LOTS of time and frustration when mastered.

5. Ability to easily match the EXACT features/benefits of the product with the client's spoken or unspoken needs or wants. (OLD: Sell the sizzle, not just the steak.)

No buyer cares about ALL of the features and benefits; they usually only care about 1 or 2 of them. Your mission: Sense, feel or discover (by asking questions, guessing) the key benefits that turn this discussion into a sale, quickly.

6. Not needing to have to make the sale. (OLD: Don't appear too hungry.)

Hungry salespeople scare away the meal.

7. Discerning the appropriate next step for the buyer and helping them to see how your product/service is the obvious choice. (OLD: Sell to the need.)

This requires some thinking and feeling. When you can size up your buyer and look "ahead" for/with them, you'll see a picture of what's next and be better able to language how your product/service can assist them in their progress.

8. Having enough evidence of how REALLY effective valuable your product/service is and then sharing that with confidence. (OLD: Know your product/service well.)

When you've seen enough customers do extremely well with your product or service (not just well, but EXTREMELY well), you'll not be hesitant to share how well your product/service works. Facts inspire confidence. Get to know the real facts about how effective your product or service performs and delights customers, and you'll be a FEARLESS sales professional.

9. Naturally adding value to everyone you touch, buyer or not. (OLD: Be a resource to potential customers.)

Either you seek to add value to everyone or you don't.

10. Be human, be light and be real with everyone. Don't perform or act. (OLD: Create rapport.)

Drop the pretense, the false sincerity, the I'm-your-new-best friend, the I'm-here-to-SERVE-you-at-least-as-long-as-I-think-there's-a-chance-that-you'll -buy-something-from-me.


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