As a coach, educator, business owner, entrepreneur and parent I have always been curious about the learning process of “gaining an education.” Whether that education is formal or day to day practical, the value is immeasurable, though not always understood at the time.
We have all been influenced by various teachers, mentors, family, peers and others that have stood above the rest because they communicated with us, touched us, and influenced us with their knowledge, passion and personal involvement in our lives.
Many of those teachers/mentors were often learning as much or more than we were, simply by teaching. I have found the greatest tool to learning anything is to teach, train and help others.
When we have to explain a procedure, concept, or demonstrate a skill to another person we integrate the information mentally, physically and emotionally in a completely different way than when we are just listening to the information.
If you are currently trying to learn something new, start teaching it to someone else as fast as you can. You will quickly discover what you do not understand or pieces of information that you have missed or misinterpreted.
Because you will have to translate the information into your own words you will begin to ‘own’ the information mentally. Teaching requires you to think of related analogies and experiences. This connects the information to your internal data base and ‘hooks’ it into your deeper long term memory.
If you are excited or just interested in the topic, you will engage your emotional creative energy and will quickly gain a natural high just by sharing the information.
The more times you teach the material the more deeply you will come to know and understand the subtle aspects of the subject. The information will take on a richness and context that would never have occurred to you other wise.
P.S. We, who coach, continually learn through the countless books we read and study, the classes, seminars, conferences we attend, the communication and mentoring we have with our peers, but some of the richest learning we get is in the “teaching” we do with our clients and their teams.
” I need more leads” is a common refrain heard these days. With strapped cashflows business owners correctly understand that cutting expenses can go only so far in generating needed cash. I’m not discounting the importance of closely monitoring your expense but an over dependence on reducing costs could materially hurt your company. I see companies reducing key employees, curtailing marketing, forestalling differentiating programs all to save money. In the long term, perhaps even in the short, these efforts can have dramatic and unintended adverse impacts on your business.
We need to focus your attention on the revenue production side of our business. Efforts to increase revenues and profits fall into 5 areas of focus: 1) lead generation, 2) conversion rate, 3) average dollar sale, 4) number of times clients buy from you, and 5) profit margin. For the next couple issues I’ll be focusing on what you can do to generate more leads.
Lead Generation – Referrals
Bob Burg in his book “Endless Referrals” points out that referred prospects are twice as easy to close and buy more in the first two years than clients who weren’t referred. There are two significant reasons why referred prospects are easier to close:
1. It’s easier to get an appointment – the referrer imparts their trust on you
2. Price is less of a factor – you are differentiated by the referral
So, certainly every business owner and sales manager must be asking clients for referrals…right? Surprisingly, the answer is no. Most businesses don’t actively ask their clients for referrals. The reasons vary, but two of the more common are:
1. They don’t know how to ask for referrals
2. They are embarrassed to ask clients for referrals
People don’t know how to ask for referrals
Early in the sales process make it known that your goal in servicing their relationship is to provide exceptional quality, and that you will be asking them for people they know who would benefit from the same service quality. This simple statement lays out your service quality goal while at the same time letting them know that in the future you will be asking for referrals.
When the time comes that you want to ask for referrals, tell your client “I’m never too busy to help any of your friends, colleagues or family members. Who do you know that would benefit from the service I provide?”
People are embarrassed to ask clients for referrals
Start by realizing that your clients are interested in helping their friends, colleagues and family members. When you provide exceptional service quality that is valued by your clients, their interest in helping others will compel them to promote you to their interested audience. View asking for referrals as offering to help others with your quality service and not pushing product. Change how you think about asking for referrals…you are looking to help as many people as you can by providing a valuable service rather than pushing products.
Assistance with your referral program
If a formal referral program is not part of your sales process you are missing an wonderful opportunity to increase your customer base. Contact ActionCOACHAtlanta.com to learn more about the advantages of a quality referral program, how to build a lead generating referral program, or how to raise the bar on your referral program.
Very successful people seem to have common beliefs. Successful people and highly evolved people use their thoughts to create the lives they want. They tend to live with a sense of total responsibility for what happens to them. Even when they do not like what they see, successful people realize they can choose to create what is in their lives, and they choose how they react to circumstances. People who are winners and happiest in life tend to believe they have creative abilities to change their lives. Winners refuse to live as victims!
Victims believe they have no power or control over their circumstances. If you feel you are powerless, you proclaim to life, “I am a victim.” When you are coming from the powerless victim mode, you attract all the circumstances that reflect being a victim, such as struggle, sickness, poverty, emotional strain, and people who treat you badly.
Both being a winner and being a victim are beliefs. Since you can choose what you believe, why not choose to focus on beliefs that create value instead of suffering?
Always be conscious of your self-talk, the internal dialogue, that ceaselessly marches through your head. Focus your self-talk in a direction that creates value for your life. Because the victim role is easy to get into, you may not always be aware when you are projecting victimhood into your life by your self-talk. For instance, victims usually are worriers. Victims usually believe if they do not worry, something will not turn out right. In actuality, when you worry you attract what you fear! (Remember, your thoughts create through Cause and Effect.) By constantly associating something with negative feelings or thoughts, you create a breeding ground for the situation to happen, most probably the very situation you don’t want!
Focus your thinking on what you want and watch what happens!
There are few of us who would attempt driving a car without some sort of training before getting behind the wheel for the first time. Yet most entrepreneurs start a business without thinking about how they’ll navigate the roads of successful entrepreneurship, either. If you aren’t sure about where and how your business is going before you make a decision, then your small business has no plan for growth.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves owning their own business out of rationally made decisions: they needed immediate cash, were laid off, found a location that motivated them to do something special or renew a business that otherwise would have gone out of business, and so forth. Others start knowing they have it the skill in a specific field they are working in, but can’t take care of the sales or administrative tasks that also need getting done to survive. For those in this situation the next step is to determine your daily tasks and getting the education in all aspects of the business.
What period in our history do you suppose accounted for the greatest accumulation of wealth? The answer is the Great Depression. How is that possible you say? It’s during periods of economic downturns, such as we’re in now, when investors and business owners see long-term opportunities at greatly discounted prices. You’ve heard the saying buy [build] when the economy is down and sell when it’s high. Well, now is a great time to begin looking past the current malaise to recognize opportunities to grow.
When your competition is retreating into a blame game (“the economy is killing my business”) isn’t now a great time to “steal a march” on them so then when the economy does turn you’ll be that much further ahead of them. So, ACT NOW! Don’t participate in the blame game.
One idea, instead of looking to increase your leads, why not focus on strategies to increase your conversion rate (the percent of leads that become clients)? These strategies are totally under your control, can be implemented easily and are low cost vs. spending advertising dollars.
Recognize the opportunity you have been given and take the initiative to leave your competition behind. ACT NOW. Don’t find yourself one year from now saying “if only I had done that one year ago”. It will be too late by then because your competition will most likely have adopted that idea and you’ll be left to catch up. Good hunting.