Not too long ago, I sat in a meeting with a very educated business owner and her team of “key players”…. marketing consultant, business manager, customer service manager, etc. The issue at hand: a lack of clients and decreasing income. It was a difficult meeting. As an “outsider”, I sat silently as the “team” danced around the reasons for their decreasing business income…. leaving every possible solution UN-touched as they entertained the rediculous.
I sat silently as excuse after excuse was offered for the NON-performance of those employees responsible for SALES. Of course, the sales “professionals” felt they were doing “all they could” to close deals. (In reality, they were far, far from reaching their potential.) Of course, they blamed the recession. Because, if the focus was on the big, bad recession – well, then no one would simply call them out and say they weren’t very good at their job. (Money may be an issue, but at least their precious ego was saved.) I see it all the time. When we have an excuse that is OUTSIDE of OURSELVES (like a global recession) instead of doubling our sales efforts, we actually do LESS to sell. Of course, the excuses of the sales team were accepted…. never challenged… never debated… never searched for TRUTH.
I sat silently as the marketing consultant ran down a list of marketing efforts. NONE of which were “direct-response” in nature… ALL of which were “exposure-based”… ALL of which required a monetary investment (with absolutely NO talk of expected return)… and NONE of which had proven in the past to be profitable.
IN FACT, when I did ask where MOST of their customers came from, they told me: Referrals. Well, did ANY of their marketing efforts focus on strategically generating MORE referrals – their number ONE source of business? NOPE. But, they did have a marketing effort that would allow them to see their business name in lights. (Don’t laugh! I think college marketing programs -taught by professors whose incomes are guaranteed and who have never actually run a business of their own and who have never ever been responsible for meeting payroll – are actually teaching this crap!)
Anyway, I did eventually speak up and offer my expertise. But I have to wonder if this is a typical business meeting?? If this sounds “typical” for you, here are some quick tips:
** QUESTION EVERYTHING… interrogate the areas in which your business is “falling short” like a great attorney would do a criminal. ASSUME nothing.
** BE RUTHLESS with your marketing money. Invest in NOTHING (and in NO ONE) who doesn’t focus on RESULTS and RETURN ON INVESTMENT.
** If you are interested in building your EGO, it is fine to continue to market for exposure or to “get your name OUT THERE”. BUT, if you are interested in building your bank account, it is necessary that EVERY marketing effort be direct-response in nature. In other words, focus on getting your clients IN HERE… not on getting your name OUT THERE.
** Sales teams are responsible for making sales. Hold them accountable for doing just that!! (If you will accept ONE excuse, you will accept ANY excuse. And, you can have excuses….or you can have RESULTS… but never BOTH!)