Turnaround CEO, sales consultant and trainer, Paul D’Souza captured a much needed and timely exhortation in the title of his book, The Market Has Changed: Have You? The vast majority of company leaders, owners and sales managers have been feeling pain over the past year from dramatic changes in their industry compounded by the economic challenges; yet few of them have come close to making significant innovations and changes in their own approaches to business other than the lazy approach of downsizing.
Here are a few of Paul D'Souza's ideas that everyone can use.
Put you and your family first.
Too many leaders and good sales reps are focused on others to the point that it takes away from their own energy reservoir and the quality of their family life, and this is being exacerbated by the stress of the challenging economy. D’Souza suggests that given the significant changes in the marketplace, it is key to anchor and take care of yourself and family first. Make a list of the top priorities for improving yourself and your family and take just one action each week from each list to move toward better balance.
Only when you are fully charged, and the reason for your earning an income is being fully met, will you be able to fully serve the secondary customer, those that are paying your economic paycheck versus the psychic and spiritual, but remember that means first things first; “put your oxygen mask on first, before you help those around you.”
Stop selling and start solving.
If you want to sell more, stop selling and start solving your customers’ problems. Help your customer solve whatever problems they have regardless of the immediate relevance to your products/services. D’Souza says you can begin by asking “given the issues you face, what are you focusing on solving this season?” When you stop selling and start focusing on that question, you deepen the rapport, relationship and reciprocity potential for when you are in the position to sell.
Teach sales the numbers.
In this market, everyone is looking for a deal. Salespeople need to know their numbers; then they can make the deals profitably and be empowered to move faster and protect their pricing and profit margins. Part of D’Souza’s custom workshops is about going through the numbers and margins in a business to ensure that the sales team realizes just how little margin there is and where “leaks” may be happening in the selling, delivery and servicing of a customer. When sales reps are aware of the leaks/opportunities, they can begin to improve these areas and thus, profitability. Also, when sales reps are more fully informed about the narrowness of most profit margins, they are more likely to protect and sell the value and reasons behind your pricing.
D’Souza makes sure that participants are aware of three sets of numbers that are part of this profit discussion.
- The personal number/profit range to make the right commission for self/family.
- The company’s appropriate profit range so that they can continue to maintain the right team and improve on their offerings.
- The numbers behind what the market will bear and where and why the competitors’ pricing is where it is.
Remembering that you and your family are a customer, too, and also putting a healthy focus on problems and profits can help you grow in this challenging economy.
About Mark Faust
Each Tuesday, turnaround consultant Mark Faust will be sharing his expertise on how to turn around your small business. His blogs will be filled with practical insights and basic turnaround strategies designed to guide you through crisis leadership and change management. You'll be able to tap into tips on everything from profitability issues, business continuity plans and pandemic pivots to operational processes, marketing and customers additional value.
As one of the companies he helped grow, we know first hand how inspiring his leadership is and just how well it works! Mark has also agreed to make his best-selling book ‘Growth or Bust’ available, free of charge, to any small business to help them create their own effective turnaround plan. We’ll be sharing that with you soon.
You can learn more about Mark and his company, Echelon Management, by clicking here.
Looking for more small business help?
At InspireHUB, we’ve been blessed with a network that includes some of the foremost leaders in the world. A few years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting Mark Faust. Mark has over thirty years of experience in helping companies turn around through his company Echelon Management International. The brands he’s helped include John Deere, Apple, Bayer, IBM and P&G. He also helped me personally and professionally with InspireHUB as we morphed to become the company we are today.
His insight and expertise are invaluable, but realistically, the majority of small businesses would never get access to a “Mark” due to the size of their budget. Having someone like Mark literally can be a life-saving exercise for any size business. What impressed me the most about the work Mark and I did together was the bulk of it was not business tactics and strategy; it was about myself as a leader. Understanding what motivated me, where I found my hope, what would INSPIRE me to wake up every day and work on this business.
Here's how Mark helped transform InspireHUB and how he's going to do the same for YOUR small business ...
What do you most need to innovate? What sets you apart from the competition and which of those advantages do you most need to promote? Are you looking at innovating service offerings and even the level of relationship with customers in the same way and with as much vigor as you look at innovating your products?
Turbulent times call for innovation, not just improvements or solutions to problems. Innovation is the creation of a new dimension of performance that leads to competitive advantage. Great companies cast a vision that demands innovation and then set innovation objectives around the right areas of the company where innovations will yield the greatest return for the customer and the company.
The more distinct your advantage over the competition, the more value you can deliver the customer and the more profit you can extract for fueling future growth. Thus, innovation is your ultimate weapon for victory when customers are crying cash poor, and the economy is causing them to wait. Distinct and breakthrough innovation begets such obvious value that even in the worst of times, customers must buy from you because you offer a way out of their challenges with distinct and/or breakthrough advantage and value.