Watching an array of sport over the weekend the advertising kept leaping out from the television screen.
Why do organisations spend so much money on advertising?
Why does the ANZ bank spend a fortune on the naming rights to the stadium?
Why do companies buy expensive television advertisements?
Does signage at sporting arenas cause you to make purchases?
Is “ANZ Stadium” going to influence us to bank with that financial institution?
Will a television commercial be the catalyst for you choosing to spend $50,000 for a motor vehicle tomorrow?
How might you quickly and effectively increase your business results? Especially if you cannot afford massive television advertising campaigns.
How? By having real people, develop real relationships, in a valuable and meaningful way.
Here are some questions to stimulate your thinking about building your business results:
How many active clients do you have?
Imagine you increased that by just 10%; what would that mean to your business results?
How do you generate inquiries for your business?
How well are those methods working for you?
Where does most of your business come from?
Do you have systems in place for actually measuring your business performance at a human (not financial) level? Yes your P&L is important but it is a lagging indicator. How about measuring the conversion of leads into sales? How about measuring referrals from sales? How about measuring proposals to sales?
What are you doing to ensure clients come back and invest with you again?
How many times in a year would a typical client engage your services?
What would be the result for your organisation if this number was increased by just 10%?
What is the average life of a client?
What do you genuinely do to stay in touch with your clients?
What is your client “default” rate? That is, what percentage of your active clients would cease to do business with you each year?
How much business are you losing each year as a result of these clients leaving you?
Typically, how much does your average client invest with you each time they engage your services?
What would be the result if you could improve this by just 10%?
You have a choice. You can put your money into advertising, naming rights and signage. Or you can invest in having your people interacting with your clients in a real and purposeful way. Implementing strategies to engage, excite, and earn the right to do business with our clients may not be as quick or as easy as paying a PR firm to run an advertising campaign. But in the world of professional services and SMEs, if we have our people striving to improve the answers to these 15 questions at least — it has to be more effective and produce more worthwhile revenues and profits!
A Mexican government agency responsible for the development of water resources decided to build a dam and use it to irrigate a large farming area the productivity of which, it believed, could thereby be doubled. When the agency’s plans were completed, it sent representatives to the rural areas that would be affected to explain the project to the peasants and to determine whether they wanted it. The answers were uniformly “yes.”
The dam and irrigation system were built at great expense but failed to produce the expected increase in productivity of the land. The puzzled experts went out to determine why. They found that the peasants had reduced the amount of land under cultivation, thereby obtaining more time to work in nearby towns or do nothing. They felt that the amount of work required to use all their land was not justified by the small increase in their income that it would bring about.
“Why,” one of the experts asked a consultant, “didn’t they tell us before we built the dam?” The consultant could have replied: “Because you didn’t ask the right questions. You incorrectly assumed you knew the answers.” But he did not. Instead he asked the expert if he played the violin. The puzzled expert answered negatively. Then the consultant asked him what he would do if he were offered a Stradivarius. He said he would accept it. The consultant asked him why since he could not play it. The expert got the point.
The reason for one person’s giving may not be the reason for another’s receiving.
(With due respect to Russell Ackoff for this fable.)
If you need to say, “No” to a group, an employee, or a client, it’s vital to be cognisant of these strategies:
Be polite. This way you maintain dignity and can prevent a discussion deteriorating into a slanging match. By remaining polite, nearly always the other people will remain polite, also.
Desist from arguing. Convince people that your decision is the best one by citing facts. In an argument, we tend to raise the volume of our speech, this will only antagonise the other person and they may become more intent on forcing their opinion rather than truly listening to you.
Make certain you listen. People, expect, need and want their opinions to be heard and considered. You might believe that know what their argument is; but you are headed for grief if you refuse to listen to them. Ignoring what people are saying, and declaring your decision is final, will certainly provoke controversy.
Maintain control. Let people discuss your decision with you, but limit the time. Be fair, but be firm because ultimately yours is the decision.
Explain. It is entirely appropriate that your decision is “No”. However, make certain you explain your rationale. Emphasise that you considered all opinions and viewpoints, and explain why you decided the way you did.
Stand firm. Nothing weakens a decision like a divided committee or board of directors. Make certain a united front is maintained throughout the organisation.
Never apologise. Be aware of the contrary feelings and opinions but emphasise that your decision was for the good of the business. You have done nothing that warrants an apology so, having considered all the facts and aspects you can proceed confidently with your decision.
Follow up. When “No” is accepted, don’t assume the process is complete. You must rebuild the bridges between you and your team or the public. This will assist in relieving any tensions resulting from your decision and strengthen your hand on the next occasion.
Our online business forum is where you can have a free exchange of information, ideas, techniques, opinions and alike with a truly global and collegial community. The current membership comes from 14 countries to date and range from middle managers to CEOs to the self-employed. It’s a very popular service offered by Ric Willmot and Executive Wisdom.
We’ve created a special page on our website where you can quickly review the most recent posts and a truncated list of the members from around the world. Of course, to read the post’s content, contribute and engage, you will need to be a member. There is a minimal once-only lifetime membership to be paid.
I have always said that being an excellent leader, manager, supervisor, team leader, coach …. is more about the questions you ask, the language you use and the information you gather. This morning after speaking at the Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce the questions was asked of me to give examples of what I had coined: exemplary language in leadership.
Here’s just four examples that will help improve you, as a leader/manager, to control the conversation:
Simple and Comparative: “Boss, I think it’s better to go for compromise.” — You respond with, “Better than what specifically?”
Lack of Referential Index: “My manager is always arguing with me.” — You respond with, “Do you always argue with your manager?”
Unspecified Verbs: “My manager doesn’t appreciate me.” — You respond with, “In what specific way doesn’t she appreciate you?”
Nominalisations: “I resent your question.” — You respond with, “In what way does my questioning you do that?”
The beginnings of excellent leadership and exemplary management is simply a question of language.
Unsolicited advice is given purely for the benefit of the giver, not the receiver. Never accept it. Seek out those people whose opinion you trust and respect and ask them to provide feedback on what you want to receive feedback on. Reject all other offers, it will not help you one iota.
This morning I delivered a 25-minute presentation for the Brisbane Inner West Chamber of Commerce. A dear friend of mine is the president and I am always happy to help Lynne in any way I can. She is a genuinely good person with a heart of gold.
During my 25 minutes I made reference to my wife which was in the form of self-depracting humour. My wife is very adept at identifying and highlighting my foibles. I mentioned my wife and poked fun at myself four times. After the breakfast finished, I got a cup of tea, shook hands with the majority of the audience who came to personally thank me for what they described as an excellent and thought-provoking presentation that opened their eyes to the gold that lay hidden in their existing businesses.
Finally, a woman approaches me and asks if I would like some feedback. “Thank you, no. I turn up, I do the best I can, and I go home. It’s not about perfection, just being successful.” Still, she was busting and needed to vent, telling me that my “nine” references to my wife left her and most of the audience distracted from my main message which was excellent. “So, will you accept my advice and tone down the references to your wife?”
“No.” I continued sipping my freshly brewed cup of tea which was delightful. My life is good, my family are my world and unsolicited feedback has no place in either.
Last week I wrote in my Friday Redux that we need to Allow Time to Notice.
On the weekend at a friend’s barbeque afternoon, I was asked how I was able to continually generate ideas, thoughts, solutions and if it is hard to do. One person even commented that I must spend an inordinate amount of time on such matters.
Actually the opposite is true. We need to allow the Muse to whisper in our ear.
Doug King (the poet) said: “Learn to pause … or nothing worthwhile will catch up to you”.
What problem, issue or project are you working on that could benefit from a pause? Find your little piece of paradise, pull up a seat and admire the vista.