You come into the office and the phone rings. You quickly realise the person on the other end of the phone is absolutely furious with something associated with your business. It feels like you’re now wrestling with a monster and a misstep could be a stab of insecurity about your business and the service you are providing. How do you handle it?
You are not going to be liked by everyone. That’s just a truth of the world, let alone specifically in business contexts. Realistically, it therefore makes sense to have strategies to handle those inevitably unhappy customers.
I recently attended the Business Excellence Forum (where our clients picked up another record-breaking number of awards) and during that forum, Michael Heppel covered a framework that I think is extremely useful for this. Below is a picture of that framework I’ve gotten my team to put together:
This diagram is a way for you to segment your customers according to how much they like you (which is the x-axis) and according to how active they are about expressing those feelings (the y-axis).
The Four Categories Of Customer
Let’s first go through the profile of each of these ‘types’ of customer.
A.) Quiet Customers – These are in the bottom left quadrant. They are ones that don’t like you, but aren’t talking about it. These people are quite dangerous because they are dissatisfied but you have no idea why.
B.) Content Customers – These are in the bottom right quadrant. These are customers who are happy with what you do and your services but aren’t talking about to the wider world (yet).
C.) Actively Angry – The top left quadrant is the one where you are usually paying most attention. These customers are voracious in vocalising their discontent with you and you often have no choice but to deal with them – and, really, you definitely want to address these people before they start impacting your reputation.
D.) Raving Fan – And, of course, the top right quadrant are your favourite people. These are the ones who love what you are doing, and are actively telling you and others about how happy they are. You want to keep these people where they are on this diagram.
Actively Angry: The Biggest Mistake Business Owners Make
Let’s start with the most problematic customers: the actively angry ones. The huge mistake that most business owners make it trying shift Actively Angry customers along the x-axis – i.e. trying to make them like you more.
Unfortunately, that’s going to be an extremely difficult thing to do. Once someone has become active in their anger towards you, you’re going to struggle to make them happy in a single, immediate action.
Instead, let’s take them on a journey. Here’s how to take that phone call from the angry person and turn them into a raving fan.
1. First, hear out your Actively Angry customer, so they become less active.
Instead of immediately making the angry person really happy with you, get them to talk to you rather than anyone else.
Actively angry people usually want to be heard, so listen to them. Go about this by starting with empathising – use the phrase, “Oh that sounds awful.” Repeat their issue to demonstrate you understand it, and express agreement that their experience has been awful.
Follow this up with, “This is what we are going to do about it.” Keep it forward moving and express what you will do to address the issue. Even if you will not fix it right away, make sure they know you will be doing something about it – passing it to the right team member, or give them a date when you will follow up with them.
While they are probably still simmering and not entirely happy with you, you have taken the first step in preventing them ranting and raving about it.
2. Now take that Quiet customer to contentment.
Now that they aren’t being loudly angry, you hare in a much better place to give real value to your customer and give them the satisfaction they are seeking from your services.
The strategy to take here is to ask them the right kinds of questions. What is it that you currently ask your customer following a quiet spell from them? Do you say something like, “Is everything ok?” – if that’s the case then that’s your problem.
Make your questions active and encourage a specific answer by narrowing your questions as much as possible.
Examples of good questions:
“Is there something we can change?”
“What is one thing you would like us to do for you?”
“What did our customer representative say to you on the day you came in?”
3. Finally, just a nudge upwards to Raving Fans
With customers who feel content with what you do, all they need is just a small push to get them to start raving about you. Compared to the dramatic act you’d need to move them directly from Actively Angry to this space.
So how exactly do you get this person who is satisfied with your work to start talking about it? Get them to tell a story – and do that by giving them a moment to describe.
The key here is to create poignant moments that stick in their minds. A surprise is one of the best ways to do that – give them something they weren’t expecting. And timing is everything. If they are distracted by something else, your surprise will be lost.
Point of sale, or when you’re delivering the fix to the issue, are some of the best times to surprise them. That’s when they are feeling best, so make them feel even better and nudge them upwards.
When you create those moments, you need to be ready to ask – directly – for them to tell that story (if it makes sense to do so). This might be by recording a video testimonial or getting them to leave you a review on Google or Facebook, or even just a share on their social media channels.
Set up a process like this within your business for handling your most angry customers and suddenly your Actively Angry customer on the phone isn’t quite a terrifying monster, and could actually end up being one of your best customers.
Do you have any strategies for dealing with unhappy customers that work well for you business? Share it in the comments below!
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When your business and team start growing, you may find a ‘problem employee’ emerge. They are usually great at what they do, but their attitude causes some disruption and a reasonable amount of frustration in yourself and the team.
What can you do about it?
There’s a simple framework that helps you get into a slightly unusual way of thinking in business contexts. But if you master it, it can guide you to a faster and easier solution than trying to adjust your employee’s character or attitude.
What To Do With Employees Who Give You Attitude – London ActionCOACH Business Coaching - YouTube
Before you either leap at firing the person or resign yourself to the fact that this is “just their attitude”, try thinking it through in the order I’ve given you.
Focus on your systems first, then consider how you might be able to adjust the skills involved. Remember, you don’t manage your team you manage your team’s activities – and when you do this effectively, you will see the change in attitude.
Often ‘bad’ attitude doesn’t come from a ‘bad’ character or bad person – often it is a lack of clear direction and passion for what they do. That means you need to set a better culture and introduce better systems.
So step up your leadership, step up your management and give your employees your best so they can give you their best.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
Hi! this is Shweta from London Coaching Group.
What I want to talk about today is a very recent conversation that I had with one of our clients. And you could make out that the person is not very happy with one of the team members. The client’s frustration was pretty evident.
My Team Member Has An Attitude Problem
The comments I was hearing were things like:
“He’s got an attitude problem.”
“He always behaves like that.
“You know we’ve given him feedback but this is his character and I’m very frustrated.”
“I just don’t know how to go about it though he has been there with us for three years. But everything is falling on deaf ears.”
Now these statements might be familiar to you because of your own situation or from what you hear from other business owners and it actually is very common – this is nothing very unusual. But what I really want to talk about and share with you is a little unusual way of thinking in the business context. And what I mean by that is that when these situations arise rather than gravitating towards people’s character and attitude what is the right way to think through the problem. So you can actually identify relatively easier and faster solution to that problem and move the business forward.
The Framework for Managing Team Attitudes
Let me share with you a framework which I shared with the client and he found it very useful gave him a perspective. And obviously now he has gone back to review certain things which hopefully will take care of the problem and streamline the overall business. So let’s focus on that, okay.
This is a very straightforward principle which I’ve actually taken from the book called “Principles” by Ray Dalio – a very powerful book. What the framework talks about is that you have set certain goals, right? And obviously you want to have the outcomes at the right level or you can call it results.
Now, what’s in between these two things is your business machine. This is your business machine. Now, your business machine has got two components. One component is People. The other one is Systems. These are structures with which people are working, hopefully.
And then within people there are two broad things. And again it’s just to understand the logic the framework. So within people you have Skills and then their Attitudes, you know their character, their habits. That’s what we’re talking about here.
The First Thing to Focus On: Systems
Now, as I said what people do when there is a problem with a team member is that they straight away go here, to Attitudes. They start talking about the character and the habits of the person. What you need to understand is that it’s very, very, very difficult to change habits, to change characters. It’s very tricky to transform people because these are old habits. It doesn’t work like that. So rather than getting frustrated and trying things which are going to take a long time, ideally what one needs to do is look at the cause of actions in the right order.
The first thing that you as a business owner need to focus on whenever there’s a problem with a person or the performance is to look at Systems. This should be number on. Say to yourself, “What structural change can I make in the business that will take care of this problem?” You’ll be surprised to find that once you start looking at things from that perspective, you do come up with some really simple tweaks and simple structures or system integrations which actually streamline the business. So, that should be the first point of call.
The Second Thing: Skills
Then if you feel the Systems are fine then the second place to look at is the Skills level. It could be that yes we have systems but, actually, the person is not properly skilled or skilled enough to actually deliver the work or the results that you’re after. So look at the training and look at the Skills. This is a relatively easily transferable or a coachable thing to do.
And THEN if the Team Member’s Problem Persists…
So then what happens when you believe that yes, there is a system, and there is proper support and training provided to the team member and still the problem is persisting?
Then it is time to go deeper into it. But in most of the cases that I’ve seen is that if the System and Skills are in place and the problem still persists, this does mean the person’s attitude is not right, and then you might have to let go of this person so they can find the right job for themselves and you can find the right talent for your business.
So with this framework whenever you are having issues with your team person rather than going straight to the Attitude and getting frustrated and getting into personal comments, try to look at things objectively. Focus on Systems first, then look at the Skill levels of the person and what training or support that they need, and only then take a decision as to whether this person needs to stay or leave the business.
I hope you find that useful and in case you need help from someone who understands what she or he is talking about and can help you with your systems and structures and the right organization structure. Please feel free to reach out. Sometimes an outside perspective can really make a huge difference in the business.
Is your team still being disrupted?
As a leader in your business, it really is your responsibility to ensure that the culture, systems and environment are optimal for your team.
If you need to explore some of the strategies we have to offer, consider requesting a strategy session and one of our consultants can read your application and offer some practical advice on what could help your business.
As a successful business owner, you may have gotten to a point where you feel like your business is actually just another job you’ve created. While you have the satisfaction of working for yourself, you are working harder and longer hours than you ever have before.
It can feel great, at first, running around and fighting fires, being the superhero, and doing something that is truly for yourself. But no matter how much you love the work, it does get tiring, and it’s just not sustainable in the longer term.
So how do you turn your business into an ongoing asset that will continue to operate effectively even when you aren’t pouring all your energy into it?
The answer is that you need to have effective systems.
The Basic Rule of Systems
It’s easy to get caught up in creating system after system to try and account for every situation. This is not the correct approach. The thing you have to remind yourself is:
“Systemise the routine, humanise the exception.”
Systems in your business are not necessarily done independently of your team – ultimately, people run your systems. And those people are there not just to ensure the system runs correctly, but also to catch anything that isn’t systemised.
Your systems are not designed to replace people, but instead to ensure that they don’t need to waste their focus on repetitive tasks. Systems should free their headspace to do higher-level tasks that require thought and consideration.
In order to achieve effective systemisation, there are four basic steps to follow.
Step 1: Flowchart Your Process
The first step in systemisation is to lay out all the steps of your system. While you could just write out a list (and some people definitely work well that way), I’m a visual person. I like to see the process laid out in a visual format that’s easy to understand.
And while you may work better with lists, it’s quite likely that the team member you are working with will understand it better if you flowchart it. Remember, as a leader you need to follow the platinum rule – not ‘treat people as you want to be treated’, but instead ‘treat people the way they want to be treated’.
Step 2: Create Clear Documentation
As you complete a task that you are hoping to systemise, note down each step of the process. Lay this out in explicit detail.
Once you have this written out the first time, get someone else to follow the system, watching them closely.
If at any point you need to step in and explain it to the new person, make sure that that information is added to the process document.
Then get someone else to do it again. Repeat as many times as you need to until you have a clear document that can be used to do the task without any intervention.
You now have an independent process document.
Step 3: Measure Results
Most business owners stop at the end of step 2, satisfied with a process well-systemised.
It may be systemised, but you don’t really know if it’s well-systemised yet, unless you are measuring how well it’s doing.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are associated with this process. What metric(s) best indicate how well this process is successfully being executed?
For sales processes, these would often be hard numbers like the number of leads, conversion rates, cost per result etc.
However, the KPIs associated with a process may not always be statistics like that but may be a number of deliverables – for example, a social media post being published each week, or the number of invoices processed each week.
You should build a dashboard around this process and be quite closely monitoring the success around these metrics, especially immediately after the handover of the process.
Step 4: Update Systems As Your Business Changes
Unfortunately, there are few systems in this world that last forever. The market is constantly changing, and if your business is to continue to survive, eventually your processes will need to change too. Your system needs to have a course-correction function built into it.
As you have been in your business since you conceived it you should have some idea of the ‘rhythm’ of your business. How quickly does your business evolve? How often have you found yourself adjusting the way you work? When have the growth spurts been?
Ensure that any system you build has a longevity that matches that rhythm. Perhaps set up checks to ensure processes that you have systemised are still working correctly at intervals that match the flow of your business growth.
When you follow through on these four steps, you’ll have robust, dynamic systems in your business that allow you get on with the work of working ‘on’ your business. That way, you can use all that time that you would typically have been stuck working ‘in’ the business and instead apply yourself to taking the business in new directions and scaling at the rate that you desire.
Still Struggling to Systemise Your Business?
Our brand of business coaching is all about growth through systemisation. If your business is at a point of success where you think it’s time to start scaling by introducing better systems, then that’s exactly the point where our business coaching strategies can help you.
Request a complimentary session below and we can do a review of your business to find out if your business is the kind that will benefit from our strategies.
Are you collecting a lot of data in your business? Google Analytics, Adwords reports, email open and click rates, telesales calls – the variety of metrics and charts you can obtain regarding your business performance can be endless.
However, collecting reams of data can be an entirely pointless waste of time if you are missing out on an essential element…
Collecting Data is Useless – London ActionCOACH Business Coaching - YouTube
Data by itself is not information. This is why one of the first things we help our clients do is build a proper dashboard in their business. This highlights the key figures that inform you where attention should be applied in order to achieve the kind of growth you are looking for.
It’s easy to get caught up in collecting ‘important data’ – but if you are not applying that data to decision-making in your business, then you really are just collecting a bunch of useless numbers.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
Hi! This is Shweta from London Coaching Group.
What I want to talk about today is the difference between data and information and how it helps you get more focused in your decision making. Now I’ll share with you a situation which actually happened in the first month of the client’s starting to work with us and the client wanted to accelerate the overall growth of the business, has been trying many things in the marketplace. It’s more of a B2C kind of a business in their mind with around 300 plus accounts who place orders with them and in the first month of our working together the client sat down and actually shared all the kinds of data that you can think off on SEO and Google ads and said “Shweta, this is not really as effective as we would want it to be. Have a look at all these charts and the information that we have all the data points that we have.” And these were the words which were kind of being thrown in the meeting and I looked at all those charts and information and I was like “Yeah, you’re right, you know, it can be more effective.” The whole SEO and the Google ads and everything to get more B2C kind of clients, business to consumer kind of clients.
Before I got totally immersed and trying to find out actually how it needs to be done, I wanted to be very sure that this was the right “what” and I could have looked at all those data points on SEO and Google ads and started, you know, creating the intel and the next action points. But actually I requested the client to get me some another piece of information which was the last three years of top 80% contributing clients of their portfolio, right. So for the last three years I wanted them to give me their top clients who are contributing to 80% of their revenue with me and just show me what has been the trend of the spend, and this was important because I wanted to understand who are the top contributing clients.
So the client provides me with the data saying “Yea, of course it’s all there. Look, we have this information. Have a look at that, Shweta.” So now I’m looking at the data which is organized in a certain way and that all of a sudden becomes a meaningful information for me. Now, surprise surprise, what client sees and what I see along with the client is that those B2C clients are not in their top, you know, 80% contributing clients and which were actually only 12, interestingly. And we start analyzing these top 12 clients who are contributing to nearly 80% of their turnover and we find that these are actually the inter-users, the aggregators. They are more like corporate businesses or proper big size businesses who were actually using their services to reach out to their target market and that was super fascinating, because when you look at those top 12 clients you realize that to get them, one does not need to focus on Google ads or SEO. Actually, what’s required is more for direct reach campaign to different, right kind of channels based on what’s the profile of that introducer, but surely not the place or the area where they were spending a lot of their time and money and when I say a lot of time and money substantial chunk of time and money.
Now why I’m sharing this with you is because sometimes we have data and we get so engrossed in the data and we start trying to solve the problem. But you have to really ask yourself the question saying first of all “how do I arranged this data in a meaningful way” so it becomes a proper information for you which you can draw on the intel, the intelligence and then get the focus for your business as to what is it that you don’t need to focus, what is it that you need to say no to, so you can start saying yes to the right kind of things and the right kind of areas which will give you the biggest impact and the biggest leverage. Not having data or getting lost in drawn data, both are equally dangerous for the business.
So make sure you look at the data in the right form, draw the right kind of intel, dig deep enough and then get the right kind of focus for your business and for that objectivity if you want to sit down with us so that we can look at your business and actually see what’s going on and where do we need to really focus to get to that fast growth, that leverage, that impact, feel free to reach out.
Want help focusing on the right figures?
When we offer complimentary sessions, we first ask you fill out a questionnaire. This allows us to assess where your business has potential to grow, and what figures you should be focused on.
Then it’s up to you – either take that and run with it (which you are entirely free to do) or, if it makes sense, work together with us to build further growth strategies.
When any holiday season approaches, as a business owner, you may start to feel the rising stress that comes with it. Too often employees go on holiday and that leaves you running around making sure that systems that they are in charge of continue ticking along.
So how do you stop things falling through the cracks?
This was a problem that was brought up in one of our group coaching calls. One of my clients said he felt like he was the captain of a ship. During holidays, it felt like a few of them had gone on shore leave, and he was left trying to steer the wheel, while tightening the rigging and avoiding the swinging boom all at once.
How do we man the decks while our crew is on break? Here are a few tips we came up with.
1. Use Your Telescope: See the Hard Work Coming
The first tip is a bit obvious but one that bears saying. Sometimes you can’t help it – if your admin person goes on holiday then, whether you like it or not, a bit of extra hard work is needed. You need to forecast it and be prepared for when the workload is going to ramp up so that you aren’t surprised by the crunch period.
2. Gather The Crew: Have Team Meeting Before Holidays
While you should be doing regular team meetings anyway (appropriate to the size of your business), you may want to schedule a full gathering of your employees so everyone is on the same page just before the holiday season. Everyone should know who is going on holiday, when they are going, and what tasks will need to be done during that break.
3. Spread Across the Decks: Disperse The Work Amongst Your Team
When the stormy weather hits, you shouldn’t be the only one running around the boat to ensure it stays afloat.
Instil a culture of ‘picking up the slack’. That is, if someone isn’t there, then it should be perfectly normal in your business for your other superstars to help out with the jobs that need doing, even if it’s not specifically in their job description.
A temporary increase in workload across all of your team members is more manageable than one person trying to take on the load entirely.
4. Avoid Empty Cabins: Ensure Your Team’s Leave is Staggered
Make sure that you have some sort of system in place – even a simple spreadsheet detailing out when people are taking leave – so it is abundantly clear who is going on holiday and when.
You can then make sure there isn’t an exodus of people all at the same time when you moor up for the holidays. Then you won’t ever be left alone to tighten the rigging, lower the sail, wash the decks, and keep an eye out for pirates!
5. Take Advantage of Quiet Seas: Relax When Your Clients Are Off Too
When your clients are most likely to be taking a break is when you should also be taking your holiday. Your resources – which includes you as the leader – should be at their lowest at times when your business is typically less frenetic. Then you can ensure your crew is at optimum capacity when the stormy seas hit.
This is what we do in our business – I consciously take my breaks during the months of the year when we know most of our clients are also on holidays. It helps knowing that we have a team who will take care of things while we are away. In fact, the last holiday we took, we came back to find our clients were even happier than when we left!
In the end, this isn’t rocket science – it’s not even as hard as sailing! As a leader, you need to just plan ahead, bring your team together, share the load out amongst them, manage your resources carefully and ensure that even you relax during calm seas so that you’re prepared to face even the wildest of storms.
We Can Be Your Crow's Nest
Business coaches could be compared to that person sitting in the crow’s nest on the ship. Not so much looking out for coming land or pirates, but more helping you observe how your ship is running from a bird’s eye view – and help point out areas where it could be running better.
Sifting through candidates in a recruitment process can be a tiresome process.
Too often you end up with someone who talked the talk during the interview but within a month proved that they can’t actually walk the walk.
So how do you pick out the best apples in the bunch during the recruitment itself, rather than having to wait until they’re already working for you to find out what’s under that shiny skin?
Tip 1: Discover Behavioural Styles
We make sure that every new team member, client, and even client’s team member does a DISC profile. It is an integral part of our recruitment process to get them to do a DiSC Behavioural Style assessment. This has proven time and again to be an effective way to match people to a job that suits their style.
Understanding the 4 DiSC styles is important for you as a leader. Once you become familiar with them, you can know what kind of behavioural styles will be important for the skills you are seeking in the role you are trying to fill. Not only that, but you will also be more sensitive to creating an environment that is optimised for your employee’s working preferences.
For example, when one of our clients was looking to hire a new salesperson, they needed to be looking for someone high in “I” – an “influencer” who can think and decide quickly and prefer to work with people. On the other hand, when our client who had grown quickly needed someone to help with the administration of the business, they’re looking more for someone high in “C” and “S”. These styles pay close attention to detail and take things at a careful, steady pace.
Tip 2: Pop Quiz!
The benefit of having your recruits do a specific quiz in the area you are hiring is two-fold.
First, you get the obvious benefit of assessing their expertise right away. When our clients want to hire a marketing person, we give them a Marketing Technology Quiz and the marketing expert at London Coaching Group can give these a quick look and immediately he can see whether or not this person actually knows what they’re doing. We have a Microsoft Office quiz for anyone who is interviewing for an admin role, and a Finance Quiz for accounting or financial roles, and we make this available to all our clients.
The second benefit is that you also gain insight into their work ethic and ability to follow instructions. Did they miss any crucial parts of the questions by not reading properly? Did they follow the instructions on where to put their answers? Did they circle or did they X when they were told to circle? How did they react to being told they had a questionnaire to do? How specific and detailed are they in their answers?
This more ‘meta’ assessment of their answers gives you a much better idea of what they are like as a worker – much more than simply speaking to them. You also get an idea of their clarity in written communication, spelling and grammar.
Tip 3: Give Them A Test Task
Before you began recruiting, you should first have made sure you were explicitly clear about the key activities this person will be doing in your business. If you didn’t, you may need to rewind a little bit and ask yourself the right questions to set yourself up for a better recruitment process.
If you are clear on a single most important task that you need them to be good at, then you should be able to give them that task to do as a part of your interviewing process.
For example, if you’re hiring a marketing person, then perhaps the key skill they need to have is writing – text on your website, social media posts, sales letters and so on. Then why not have them write a sales letter during your interview for one of your products or services?
If you are hiring a new project manager, then maybe give them a small explanation of a real project within your organisation, and ask them to write on the back of that paper a rough sketch of how they’d tackle the project.
For a finance manager, maybe you need them to be able to carefully comb through financial reports – give them one where you know there are clear errors and ask them to audit it.
Ultimately, both the pop quiz and the test task are how you nullify smooth talkers and highlight the hard workers!
Do you have any further ideas on how to recruit for specific skills? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
Struggling With Lengthy Recruitment Processes?
If you find that recruitment is starting to feel like a huge waste of time, you probably just need to get more efficient with it.
Our process maps out 4 hours of work that is all you really need in order to sift out the wheat from the chaff.
It’s something we business owners are constantly sold: networking is essential for gathering leads. But is networking really worth it for everyone?
Let’s dig a little deeper into business networking and let me walk you through how to decide whether it actually makes sense for you and your business.
Are Your Customers or Clients There?
Before you begin considering ANY marketing channel at all, the first step is to be very clear who your Avatar is (our Avatar Creator Toolkit may be helpful for that).
If (and only if) you are really clear about that and you also know for sure that your avatar is likely to congregate at the networking event you are considering, then yes – go for it. It becomes a no-brainer when you know who you are able to help and exactly where they are going to be.
However, if you are attending networking just because you FEEL like networking makes sense – then you need to more carefully assess whether this is the BEST thing for your business. And 9/10 times, you should almost definitely not be networking as a priority.
I’ve known many business owners who have been wasting an incredible amount of time – breakfast meetings, after work drinks, dinners – going to ‘network’ with people who not only fail to fit their avatar but aren’t even logical alliances! It’s a waste of time and incredibly inefficient.
Not All Business Networking Events Were Made Equal
There is a kaleidoscope of business networking events out there, and each have different demographics in attendance. And, oddly enough, often the ones that are marketed at you directly may not actually have your avatar attending – because they’re targeting you not your avatar (unless, of course, the two coincide!)
Find networking events specifically crafted for your avatar and go there. Better yet, get into those events as an authority in your field (do a presentation, or sponsor the event) so you get more visibility and are easier to approach.
Don’t just attack every networking event you come across. Be discerning.
Focus On Your ROI
Promoters of networking events will hardly ever talk about your return on investment on coming to their event. That’s because, generally, there is no immediately clear way to measure the return.
That doesn’t mean you chalk it up to a ‘fuzzy’ channel with ‘potential’. We don’t work that way here. We make sure there are some clear numbers we are looking at to make decisions about whether it’s worth your time and money – you just need to be smart about it.
Let’s say you are attending a networking event that requires you to meet every week in the morning for about 2-3 hours, and then you also end up spending another 2-3 hours during the week doing extra networking with this group. That’s approximately 5 hours of your work week being devoted to networking.
Compare this to 5 hours a week spent on your Google Adwords account, or on refining your email marketing strategy, or devising a clever direct mail strategy. How do you compare the return? Is the result from networking really covering this time-cost in the same way?
If you think it MIGHT, but you have no actual data yet, then you do need to test and measure – and collect that data!
Build a dashboard that’s specific for your networking activity. Count the number of contacts you collected at each event. Track what the result has been from those contacts (“No. of clients referred” maybe? “Become a customer” maybe?). Record time invested on the sheet.
Then you can begin to track exactly how useful each event has been in real terms. And once you are tracking, you can start to spot how to refine your method so that you target only the most useful events and limit your time investment to get the most out of your networking.
Business Networking Is An Add-On Not Bedrock
In my opinion, it is rare to find any business where networking is going to give you any greater than 20 or 30% of your business, if even that. So, unless your business is an extreme exception, it is usually a good additional strategy to an already churning marketing machine – not a strategy that will facilitate immediate business growth.
If you are looking to grow big and grow fast, networking is not usually an effective main strategy for that. However, if you are an already large business seeking to open more channels and diversify your marketing, then networking may be an option. Just keep a tight rein on the resources you are dedicating to it and, again, be discerning.
Using Networking For Authority Building
I did touch on this earlier in the article: business networking can be useful in your wider marketing strategy not as direct lead generation but as authority building, by being present and visible where your avatar is congregating.
This, however, is a very ‘fuzzy’ result that is hard to measure. However, it may not be one to overlook, especially if you are reaching a point where you are becoming a leader in your field. Networking with the other movers and shakers in your industry can potentially be a good way to build credibility and garner thought leadership – most especially if you have the opportunity to present or do some training at the networking event.
Be The Host Instead of the Attendee
To the purpose of being an industry leader – if you think your avatar truly loves to network, why not craft your own networking event for them? That way you can get both authority building AND lead generation – and you have more control over the quality of the leads because you get to market it directly to your own avatar.
Of course, be aware that hosting a networking event yourself comes with a lot of extra work. You need to book a venue, decide on refreshments, market the event, coordinate with attendees, clean up afterwards etc – and that’s all on top of the marketing, selling, and follow up you’re planning to do!
If you have a strong team to assist with this, then it may not be as much of an issue. But if you’re a small, agile team, that may (almost certainly will) distract from the channels that are giving you the bulk of your business – which isn’t a smart move if you are looking at more immediate profit growth.
Of course, every business is different, and while networking may be an essential element for some, it is not for most. So it is worth being a bit more rigorous with determining whether networking makes sense or not for your business.
Have you had success through networking? Share your story in the comments below!
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I only learned to ski about 6 years ago. And as an adult, it was difficult and painful!
I’ll admit, I watched with some amount of jealousy as my son – a small and nimble child – would bounce right back up after each tumble into the snow. And his young, sponge-like mind picked up the skill so quickly that, in no time at all, he wasn’t even falling over anymore!
Myself, on the other hand, had much further to fall when I slipped on the skis and therefore took a lot longer to get up, and earned a lot more bruises. Trying to learn this obscure way of moving my limbs was also a much more difficult and lengthy process for us.
However, during this last winter we took our son for a skiing holiday and it felt really, really good to be able to soar across that picturesque landscape. After quite a few years of painful endurance, the perseverance was paying off as I zoomed across the smooth snow with the cold wind whipping my face alongside my son who laughed with infectious joy.
There’s a good chance, however, that that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction may not have been so salient had learning to ski been easy. My appreciation for the joy of skiing came hand-in-hand with the initial difficulty of learning how to do it.
There were a few learnings from this experience that I realise makes it an apt metaphor for the process of running a business:
1. You’ll take tumble after tumble into the snow
When you’re running a business, you should expect to fail fast and fail often. You will make mistakes because that is how you learn what works.
This is especially intense as you near the boundary of one ‘level’ of business to the next – the growing pains in getting from a medium-sized business to a big business is a difficult experience and you can expect to endure a number of bruises (but remember that bruises are temporary!).
2. You need to learn to move in a different way
At some point, a part of your brain clicks, and your body physically realises that the way you walk isn’t the way you ski. A new ‘system’ develops in your brain and your improvement begins.
In your business, there eventually comes a point when you cannot operate your business the way you have been doing everything else to continue on your path. You need to adopt a different system (or set of systems) that works for what you are trying to achieve (which is usually growth). New skills need to be acquired and new processes need to be implemented.
3. The pain you endure correlates to the pleasure you get
Clients usually come to us when they are fed up of ‘falling into the snow’ over and over again. We teach them the systems and tools they need to learn how to glide along the mountain of success.
And without question, it is those who put in the most effort, who push through the hardest of times and most difficult of lessons, that have ended up the most joyful and contented when their systems start working the way they want them to.
The ones who enjoy the struggle of learning are the ones who achieve the most and feel the most satisfaction in the end.
So, shall we hit the slopes?
Want to tackle the hardest mountain?
As a successful business owner, you’ve managed to get your skis on and take on some of the lower slopes.
But when you want to get up to that massive mountain with the sharp turns and the steepest of slopes – you will do much better if you have someone helping show you the best ways for you to do it.
When you have hired a sales person who has gotten your sales process flowing like the machine it should be, what’s the next step?
Most business owners would be tempted to say, “Promote them to manager and expand the sales team to increase capacity.”
Here’s why that may be a mistake:
Don’t Promote Your Sales Champion – London ActionCOACH Business Coaching - YouTube
If you do plan to promote your sales person to a position of management, make sure it’s not just because they have done well as a sales person. Sales and management are two very different roles that require very distinct skill sets.
Your sales person may well have the capability to be a good manager but trial him for that ability and formalise the promotion only once you are convinced. Remember, you want to do your best to set your people up for a win.
Even if they are not suitable for management, if they are a good sales person then create other relevant and meaningful career growth opportunities for them e.g. nature of sales accounts, geography, position titles, salary, bonus, awards, company perks, paid learning courses etc.
The sales machine is critical to your business so make sure you do not promote your sales champion to his level of incompetence. Otherwise, it could be a double whammy!
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
Hi! This is Shweta from London Coaching Group.
What I want to talk about today is a very fundamental mistake that people make in sales. And, that fundamental mistake is when they actually promote their sale superstar to a sales manager.
Now, in the scheme of career progression, and someone doing well and you wanting to recognize that person, it might sound like a common-sensical move, but actually if you were to reflect on it, you will realize that management and selling, they’re two different things altogether. They require a different skill set. They require different profiles.
When this is done just because you want to retain that Sales Superstar and want to promote that person, in that whole process, generally speaking, the person is promoted to his or her level of incompetence. They are no longer delivering on their sales because, obviously, they have management to do. And they are not really skillful at management, which eventually suffers, which means the overall sales division suffers.
So I really want you to be very mindful of this. If you have done something similar in your business or if you’re planning to do something similar, just be very careful. Just identify the fact that, actually, management requires a different skill set from selling.
Your sales superstar should continue focusing on sales and not management until and unless it’s a conscious decision on their part and you both feel that they’re ready for that promotion.
Otherwise, there are different ways of actually recognizing and rewarding the person for their stellar performance in sales. And remember, every business needs a strong sales pipeline and strong sales superstars, so make sure you protect them and nurture them well.
Is your sales process in place?
One of the main reasons that business owners start working with a business coach is to create the systems in their business to maximise leverage.
The first and most important thing to do is develop a fine-tuned sales and marketing machine. Find out if our systems may be what your business needs to step up to the next level:
When you go through the 4-hour recruitment process, you may find yourself spoilt for choice with a set of incredibly talented candidates for the role in your business.
The process has cleared the wheat from the chaff, but how do you now find the very finest cream at the top of that crop?
Here are 4 things to look out for that could help you discover the true superstars amongst the collection of talent.
4 Elements of Superstar Employees – London ActionCOACH Business Coaching - YouTube
Keep these 4 traits in mind when crafting your questions to ask your top candidates, and watch as the cream floats to the top and you easily pick out your winners.
Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:
I get this question asked very often saying how do we identify superstars, you know, in the recruitment process when you get to interact with so many candidates. How should you choose and pick that right talent, that right superstar. Now I have read quite a few books on this topic and of course working with different business owners, you know, one gets to interact and experience many many situations. Now, you might want to make note of this, there are simple four things that I look out for when I’m identifying a superstar. The first is that this person needs to have the core talent in the area, in the field that you’re looking for the person to come on-board, right, the core talent is required, the skills is where I am really talking about. Now that’s the base level, people need to have that because especially the business which is in a growth phase you cannot afford to become the training ground for people who have no idea and you’re trying to up skill them. So just make sure that they have the core talent, the core skill in the field.
Then the next level, which is a very interesting level, then which is what starts to actually distinguish real superstars from the talent, the regular talent. The next level is the coachability. The person needs to really be very very coachable and they should be willing to learn, they should be having an open mind and willing to grasp the things that you’re talking about and that’s really required for the superstar. The third ingredient or the element that’s required is the curiosity, and if you think about it, curiosity is the willingness to be engaged in that current moment. The person needs to be curious should be asking relevant questions, should be genuinely interested in what’s happening around this person. And the fourth element which is again a very very critical element is the work ethic. Superstars have amazing work ethics. They don’t watch the time. They don’t watch the clock. They are there to put in their best, to put in their passion, to put in their heart and soul into whatever they are doing.
So again if you think about, it they need to have the core talent, they need to be coachable, they need to have that curiosity and finally an amazing, amazing work ethic. And, if you identify the right questions to ask in your recruitment process to assess the level at which the candidate is playing for all these four elements the chances are very high. A few actually bringing that superstar, the real high talent on-board for your company which clearly enables the future progress for yourself and for the business. I hope that helps and helps you recruit the right kind of talent for your business.
Need A Recruitment Process That Works?
Countless business owners have successfully used this tried and tested process to find the superstars for their business.
It works. We know it because we’ve done it. Over and over and over again.