the last few months, we have been receiving an increase in enquiries
for an up and coming event that are looking to have a speaker at
their event and wanting to get further information or insights into
how our team works and the possible topics.
of the things that I have been seeing more and more of is how
businesses today have so much opportunity in front of them but are
sometimes struggling to get their strategic plan or direction
clarified to ensure that they can chase these opportunities.
month we would like to offer a 1 ½ hour strategy session for you and
your management team to investigate your business opportunities and
provide a greater opportunity in the year ahead. This 1 ½ hour
session will provide you with some practical skills of how to look at
your current business environment and identify some new opportunities
for your future success.
‘No’ is your most powerful time management tool (but not in a career-limiting or relationship-limiting way!) Learn how to politely and appropriately say ‘no’ to potential time-stealers and less relevant activities.
Every week, block in a few important non-urgent actions. Make appointments with yourself, written into your diary or organiser, to work on one or two activities per week of long-term and long-lasting value.
Constantly ask, ‘What is my highest priority right now?’ This great question helps us stay focused on activities that really make a difference.
‘How can I do this task more efficiently?’ Become a ‘walking question mark’. There are always better ways to do things. Time-saving efficiencies are all around us, but most people don’t go looking for them. Instead, they just complain about lack of time!
Block in regular sanity gaps. When did you last take a complete weekend off – no email, no business calls, no responsibilities other than the people you’re with? You’ll come back fresher and you’ll also produce better results.
Manage your energy well and time looks after itself. Your energy levels are your indicator as to whether you’re doing the right things. If something isn’t flowing smoothly, something needs to change.
Eliminate clutter in all areas of your life. Imagine every item you hang on to has an invisible silver thread connecting you to it. Does it energise you or pull you down?
Don’t make email the first thing of the day – and turn off your alert. If you get hooked into email first thing in the day it takes over. Instead, you take control of your day. If people rely on email for urgent information, they’re using it wrongly.
many sales environments, one of the key things we now need to
understand about our customers, is that the sale may not be now. As
you and I both know when we are out looking to make a purchase, we
will do a number of elements of research before we actually enter
into the buying process.
first step will be to understand the product we are looking to
purchase, we will start to research online for information around the
product and ensure that we have a full understanding that the product
will meet our needs. Once we have got to this point, we will then
engage with a supplier of this particular product. Firstly on the
basis that we are just looking to get further information and may not
quite be in a position yet to make the purchase. Many businesses at
this point fail to realize that every single person entering or
enquiring about the product or service, is actually going to be a
buyer of their product at some point in the future. Our biggest
challenge is to create an environment where the customer feels
supported and engaged with us at a relationship and emotive level to
ensure that when they are entering the purchase process, they will be
in a position to be able to close the sale.
is vitally important for you to consider in your business right now,
how many clients you have that are looking or thinking about
purchasing your product or service.
people say to me “Oh Darren, these clients are just tyre kickers
wasting our time or not engaged” and this is where I totally
disagree. These clients are the types of people that you need to be
creating connections with, understanding their needs and ensuring
that you have clarity of the purpose of their enquiry. By doing this
you have interest and empathy to their situation, you will start to
create an emotional connection.
pressure or trying to force the sale at this point in many cases,
will force your customer to leave.
today’s business environment, the concept of closing a sale, seems
to have become a bad topic. What we have to understand is closing
the sale has become a contentious topic. Many businesses feel that
the purpose of closing the sale is to provide pressure on the
customer which in today’s business environment, is inappropriate.
I totally agree with the sense of the traditional pressured close is
no longer an option in business, but the opportunity to be able to
provide your customer with an ability to understand your product or
service, how it meets their needs and the ability to make the
transaction happen now rather than waiting, is all too important.
the number of clients that you have in this area right now and
understand what you are doing with them. I see many businesses today
are not providing enough support or engagement with this group of
people to hold on to the relationship.
was working recently with a client and we were discussing the current
sales targets and the service that their business provided. As we
investigated further, we discovered how the product that they were
working with, could provide the customer with lots of different
opportunities, it was realised that maybe these same opportunities or
insights would be valid for other industries. By doing this, we have
now been able to build a strategy to talk to two different industries
that have now created literally thousands of more sales
of the key things I am consistently encouraging clients to look at is
understanding their current market place and thinking outside the
traditional service product sales funnel that they have used.
about other industries on how they could use your product or how we
could use their communication channels to introduce your topic.
Getting clients to be able to recommend you via their newsletter to
new industries or new opportunities is extremely important in growing
your sales funnel.
right now your product range and think about what other industries
could these products be applicable to.
cannot believe that we are nearly half way through 2019 and there
seems so much to do.
month we are focusing on 3 of the most important topics I think there
are in business:
The ability to prospect and attract new customers;
Managing new customer enquiry; and
Developing your brand in your future customers’ eyes.
3 topics are critically important for so many industries and
especially those in professional services, it has got to be a key
focus to your annual business plan.
this month’s newsletter, we are looking at developing a prospecting
machine in your business. This prospecting machine needs to provide
your business with structure and consistency that will enable you to
attract the level of business your business requires to deliver the
result you want.
second topic being lead management. In many of the businesses I am
currently working in, we are seeing a considerable amount of general
enquiry, first call enquiry and past client engagement at very poor
or low levels. What this means is that there are some great
opportunities for businesses to develop a much clearer lead
management system and the following article will show you how this
can be done.
we have a new consultant join our team, Ed Scanlan, who is a
specialist in developing your brand and message to market. We are
very privileged to have Ed now as part of our team in helping support
specialists and professionals in presenting the exact brand and
market positioning they need to be successful. His article talks
about developing your brand and how this can be systemised to ensure
According to a Gallup survey, the number of employees working
remotely increased from 39% to 43% between 2012 and 2016. I know the
mice will play when the cat’s away but what are these folk up to? We
can measure productivity after the fact, and should. We should judge
people by their results, not by slavishly being merely present at a
desk until the boss leaves. Ultimately, if they’re meeting or
exceeding targets, then does it matter if they’re working in a
unicorn onesie whilst binge-watching ‘Game Of Thrones’ to get up to
date before the new series starts? (Too late!) Maybe some of those
Lannister tactics would boost revenue?
That same survey says the majority (57%) of employees say they would
change jobs for one with a more flexible schedule, and 37% of people
would change jobs for an employer that allowed them the ability to
work from where they want at least part of the time.
Leadership is not just about transactional production. Ideally, it
starts with hiring people of talent, intrinsically motivated, whose
discretion you have evidence you can trust. Technology might mean you
are far more capable today of micromanaging from a distance than ever
before but you’re likely very aware that probably won’t be a helpful
leadership style, particularly with those high-value, high-talent
types. That same tech allows people to multi-task, peruse social
media, etc all of which diffuses their focus and tech shouldn’t be
the sole means of enhancing connection, commonality of purpose and
inclusion. Leadership of remotely located teams is still about
creating and maintaining an intentional workplace culture, even in
the absence of a literal singular workplace.
If Tom Peters once said something like, “The true test of your
leadership is what happens when you’re not around,” what have
you done when you were around to maintain that influence when you’re
not there in the physical sense? So, what can you, in a practical
sense, actually DO?
ABC – Always Be Curious. Ask questions to provoke and promote
action. Not retro-questions asking for progress reports but
future-facing questions like “Between now and when we next
speak, what issues do you anticipate”? Or, “How do you
feel Caitlin’s work might be affected by yours”? Note the use
of the phrase “might be”. Can’t be any wrong answers with
“might be”. Bringing a colleague into the mix increases
the likelihood of engagement as people are usually more moved by
their impacts on colleagues than on you or the company.
According to Khaneman and Tversky, push motivators are twice as
impactful as pull motivators. (ie we are equally motivated by the
fear of losing $1 as we are by the potential gain of $2). Be
practically pessimistic (that is to say, realistic) with your
updates and foreshadowing with your remote folk. For example, “What
if your supplier is late”?
As you should with local people, be specific and regular with your
feedback with remote people. Keep close a list of their names and,
as stuff crops up, pencil feedback-worthy news in so you have it to
hand when you’re next in contact. And schedule those contacts. If
you wait until you “have time”, you’ll never have time or
will only make contact when there’s a problem. Then you’ll be the
person who’s only calling when there’s a problem. Don’t be that
Make meaning overt and obvious, repeatedly. And, don’t TELL them,
guide them to self-discovery. Have you tried W.I.D.W.I.D. and
W.W.D.W.W.D. conversations? W.I.D.W.I.D. stands for “why I do what
I do” while W.W.D.W.W.D. stands for “why we do what we do.”
Don’t leave meaning to chance. Along with autonomy and mastery,
purpose (ie meaning)
is one of the fundamental drivers of engagement, at work and in
life. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, not because
they’re tough but because they know what the point of the going is.
Whenever I talk about this topic with a range of businesses, there is always the dreaded look in the room where attendees begin to scurry into their paper, check their phone or decide now is a great time for a toilet break!
One of the key things that I encourage businesses and teams to look at is not necessarily just the group accountability but people’s personal accountability to the challenges and tasks that they want to achieve personally. Once we start to decide that our personal accountability around achieving the tasks that we have set for ourselves are important, our enjoyment and success in our roles changes almost instantly. Getting teams to start to realize the importance of developing their proposition, developing their opportunity and defining how they will be getting their key tasks done within a set timeframe, really changes the results in a business.
My key tip is to get your team to define out what are their key personal accountabilities in terms of what they are wanting to achieve in the next four weeks and then supporting them around those achievements. Those achievements may be work-orientated, personally-orientated, fitness, health, diet – whatever they are, it is important for us as a team to provide each other with a sense of accountability but a sense of success when we do meet our objectives. Creating accountability both personally and within the business, is now such a hot topic that it really does work in making changes in your business.
When I work with businesses who are really wanting to grow their results, one of the first things that I do is to get an understanding of their current client base and then begin to develop out how they can grow their client network.
This may be re-engaging past customers, developing an offer or proposal for a selected group of clients or targeting a new region or geographic area that shows great opportunity for that company’s services or products.
By being able to develop out your target market, this increases your opportunity for increased sales but also developing new relationships which will enhance your opportunities in years to come.
One of the key things we must always remember when defining our target markets, is to be as specific as we can as to the likely clients we will want to work with and who will be able to provide us with the exact connections to grow our business opportunities.
What is a ‘BackBrief’? I first encountered the concept running a delegation workshop for a prestigious law firm.
The point of delegation is to drive optimal productivity, right. The lowest cost resource that can do the work should be assigned to do that work. The high-cost resources such as the partners, specialists and so forth should be doing high value work. Those in supervisory roles need to be delegating effectively, using systems to ensure work is done to standard, to time, and on budget.
There’s a lot that I could write about delegation and perhaps will in future but, for now, I want to focus in on one person. That person is a senior solicitor in that firm. He knew at a logical level that he should be delegating but his personality was such that he struggled. “No one can do this as well as me”. “Even if someone could do this as well as me, it won’t be the way that I would do it”. “Look, it’s just quicker and easier if I do it myself”.
Obviously those are just excuses and you can probably counter those excuses yourself. It’s short-term thinking, ultimately unsustainable, and certainly not optimal productivity. He was however able to cite several instances where he’d assigned work that ended up being poorly done, or not done at all, due to a lack of understanding on the part of the people being assigned the work. You could argue that adult professionals should not go around nodding that they can do a task when they aren’t sure. You could assign blame to the delegator who is ultimately still accountable for the work and its quality and timeliness. Better is to implement a simple system that invests a small amount of time upfront that ensures there is accurate understanding or there isn’t. Another lawyer in the room was ex-military and she introduced us all to the concept of the ‘BackBrief’.
A ‘BackBrief‘ is exactly what it sounds like. The person or people receiving the instructions give a synopsis of the instructions they just received. The person originally giving the instructions can then determine whether the message was received properly. If it’s a small task, then the ‘BackBrief’might be a swift verbal remark. If it’s a task of substance, then it might warrant some time and a small presentation.
It’s a great idea that I’ve been introducing into my workshops the past two years. Many professional non-military workplaces are picking up on it. It increases certainty and clarifies expectations. It lessens the odds of ambiguity, uncertainty and misunderstandings. It addresses issues around people’s fears of speaking up. It’s a simple, low-cost communication tool that people take to quickly, leading to fewer mistakes and enhanced productivity and leadership. Change doesn’t have to be scary, giant leaps into the unknown. Sometimes the best change comes about via small things like the ‘BackBrief’.