This is the season for planning for the new year and we’ve been talking a lot about it. If you haven’t started yet, it’s not too late to create your Annual Plan. We have a six step process to get you there. If you really want your business to look, act, feel and perform differently a year from now (Is there anyone who doesn’t?), then plan for it, put a stake in the ground, take in what the past year—or your entire history—is showing you, make a commitment to lead your company in new directions. And then act, small step by small step.
Have you ever stepped back from your business for a few hours to think about what you want this company to give you? Maybe it's the dream you started with, the one that gave you the momentum and courage to quit a job and venture out on your own. Maybe it's the time and support you want to dedicate to your family and community.
When you really break it down, a salesperson who has the highest lead to sales conversions is doing one thing better than everyone else: leading the sales conversation.
If you, in your sales role, or your salespeople are not leading the conversations you’re having with prospects, then the only other thing that can be happening is that the prospect is leading. There are only two options.
As an owner of EMyth and its Board Chair, this is a meaningful time for me. October is National Women’s Small Business Month. My 35th anniversary at EMyth is a few months away, having spent the first 17 years building the company into a global brand with my former husband, Michael Gerber, EMyth’s founder and best selling author of The E-Myth Revisited, and the last 10 years as its Board Chair.
How well do you know what’s really going on in your sales department?
Whether you’re a solopreneur or you’ve got a team of salespeople responsible for bringing in new business, how much do you really understand about how your sales staff (which might only be you) engages with people introduced to your products or services for the first time?
Isn’t it curious that sales, the lifeblood of every small business, is so damn hard to get right?
You started your business because you believed you could make or do something that other people wanted, but then you struggle to find a way to talk about it with them so they’re moved to say, “How can I get some of that?”
It’s not hard to agree with the idea that your business needs systems. But, when it comes to sales, small business owners often have a lot of difficulty really getting behind creating a comprehensive sales system or sales process.
Naturally, nobody wants their salespeople to sound ‘canned.’
It’s much more thrilling to dream about finding salespeople who will just know how to bring in your best customers and create exponential growth for you because they have that magical gift of getting people to buy.
The day you decided to stop working for anyone but yourself was probably glorious. No one to tell you what to do and how to do it. Life suddenly had promise, imagining yourself spending every day doing the work you’re passionate about. Until… until the day you realized that instead of your boss dictating how you did one thing, now you had a dozen things coming at you that you weren’t counting on and, frankly, didn’t know how to do: sales things, customer things, employee things, money things, production and delivery things. And, the saddest thing is that you found yourself with as little control over your time as you had before you went into business for yourself.
John Lennon gave us, “Yes is the answer,” and I get what he means. He was talking about saying yes to love, embracing life, and seeing opportunities instead of limits—all important and valuable in building the kind of world we want to live in. But what about saying “No?” Is there a place for that, especially in your business? Have you ever taken a moment to consider what you really want and need to say No to right now?
Imagine what kind of workplace your business would be if your employees thought to themselves:
- "I’m excited about my work.”
- “This is a place where I can achieve my goals.”
- “I feel safe. It’s okay to make a mistake, and I will learn from it.”
- “I have some great ideas on how to improve things. I can’t wait to share them with my manager.”