A Business Coach's Perspective

Because Being in Business Should Give You More Life

How to Handle Negative Reviews on Social Media

One of the best marketing tools available today is review-based marketing. Your customers can share their experience with you on sites like Google My Business, Womo, Facebook and many others. Giving you an unbiased form of testimonials that your prospects can search and read online.

This can be a double-edged sword. People who review you or your business can write either positive or negative comments. And once a review goes up, it is nearly impossible to have it removed.

So how do you deal with negative reviews?

Well, just like a traditional customer complaint, the first thing you need to remember is that if a customer complains, they are doing you a favour. I know this is hard to understand, but let me explain. If an unhappy customer doesn’t complain to you, they are probably complaining about you to all their friends and family, and you’re not even there to defend yourself.

A customer complaining is your opportunity to demonstrate your customer service skills, and now that they do it online, the whole world gets to see you in action.

So the basic steps to dealing with a customer complaint are…

  1. Acknowledge and thank the customer for letting you know. This addresses their need to be recognised and valued.
  2. Apologise for any upset that it may have caused. This will disarm the attacker and demonstrate your ability to take the blame and control of the situation.
  3. Offer to resolve the issue offline. Having a battle online will only add weight to the complaint and make you look like you’re trying to defend your position. The goal is to be seen as responsive and helpful, so ask the customer to contact you or drop in to the store so you can resolve the issue in person. Even if they don’t respond, you have held out the olive branch and offered to help. Another plus to you.
  4. Make sure you address the negative review ASAP. Your ability and speed of response will be online and available for the world to see forever. In many situations, you will convert the complaint into a marketing message of how responsive you are to your clients.

 

Review based marketing is here to stay, platforms like Uber, AirBNB, Tripadvisor, Zomato depend on it, so you and your team need to adopt a systemised way of dealing with complaints and turning them into marketing pieces for your service.

To find out more about using Review Based Marketing to propel your business forward, contact David Guest david@outcomesbusinessgroup.com.au.

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Turning Customers into Raving Fans

Brought to you by Business Coach David Guest

Raving fans are customers who are so over the moon with us that they not only tell all their friends and colleagues about us, they actually bring them to us and help us to sell things to them.

It’s a frightening fact of business life in Australia that we spend six times more to attract new customers to our businesses than we do to up-sell, on-sell and generally over service our existing customers so that they stay our customers and don’t leave us and go to our competition. Just to add another frightening fact, 68% of customers who leave a company do so simply because of a perceived indifference, you actually didn’t do anything wrong, the customer just thought you didn’t care enough!

How do you show you ‘Didn’t care enough’? Well, it can be in many different small ways, you forget to thank them, remember their name, offer that extra little bit, suggest that accessory which would be perfect or any one of dozens of other little perceived indifferences that your competition can capitalize on.

Here are some simple tips that you can introduce in your business today which will help you to keep your customers coming back, bringing their friends with them and generally shouting your name from rooftops telling people why, if they’re not dealing with you, they’re missing out on something wonderful!

  • Send them thank you cards
  • Sell them everything they need to gain maximum benefit from the purchase
  • Use their name frequently
  • Call them up just to make sure everything is going well
  • Invite them to special sales just for a privileged few, exceptional clients
  • Call them up when something new arrives in stock that you know they would like
  • Ask them for their suggestions as to how you could improve your service to them
  • Follow up & follow up again
  • Under promise and over deliver

 

None of this is difficult, it starts with you and you must lead by example because your team does everything you do, if you do care for your customers they will care for you and help you to grow your business.

If you would like to learn more about how you can grow your business call David Guest on 1300 728 466.

Customer Experience Concept, Happy Businessman holding digital Tablet with a checked box on Excellent Smiley Face Rating for a Satisfaction Survey
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Learn To Sleep When The Wind Blows…

Brought to you by Business Coach David Guest.

Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him.

“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows..”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away.

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

MORAL: When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear.

Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life?

The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.

We too must secure ourselves against the storms of life…

I hope you sleep well!

Have a great month…. Regards….. David Guest

If you would like further information contact David Guest on 1300 728 466.

wall with the drawing of dark clouds, rain and one umbrella, concept of protection and security (3d render)
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How to Sell Price Focussed Shoppers

Brought to you by Business Coach David Guest.

The most common complaint we get today as business coaches to small to medium business owners is that we can’t compete with the big guys on price.

The perception in the market place is that people are shopping on price alone. The only reason your customer asks the price up front is because that is what we as business owners have trained them to do.

How many times have you rung or gone into a business not really knowing what model, style, colour or features you were looking for and purely asked for the price? At this point did the sales person come back with “that is $29.95” or did they ask you some questions about what you were looking to use the product/service for? In this instance let’s say it is a kettle.

Now in most people’s eyes a kettle is a kettle but they have many different features and offer many different benefits. So what if the sales person simply said to you when you inquired about price, “just so I can help you best is it OK if I ask you a couple of questions about the kettle you are looking for?” Would you have answered yes? My bet is that the answer would have most definitely been yes!

The sales person could then ask questions like; are you looking to replace an existing kettle or is it a gift for someone? Do you regularly use your kettle or is it rarely used? Would you like a kettle with a quick boiling time? Have you seen the cordless options that are available? Are you looking for something to match your kitchen? So what colour are you looking for? Is it important that it has an automatic cut off when the kettle is boiled? Are you after a stove-top option, or an electric kettle? Kettles come in different cup capacity; do you require 10 cup capacity or is 5 a better size for you?

From these questions the customer gets the idea that the sales person is genuinely interested in their needs and the salesperson is able to offer options in the most suitable kettles for their needs. The price is therefore negated. It is just a matter of now asking the customer to buy.

A good salesperson would then ask, “well based on what we have just spoken about there are two options to choose from, model x and model y, which one suits you best? Great, I can either put that away for now or I can process it on credit card for you and have it delivered to you tomorrow – which do you prefer?”

If the option is credit card ask “which credit card is it easiest to process that on?” and make sure the prospect is aware there will be a delivery charge of x amount. If the option they choose is to have it put away, this gives the sales person the opportunity to get the customers name and contact details. If the customer chooses this option make sure the sales person gets a time frame for them to pick the item up. Be definite with the infinite. If the customer is in your business the sales person then simply takes them to the point of sale terminal and transacts the sale.

This example was based on a kettle, a relatively small dollar item, but how does this apply to your business, this process works equally well on cars, houses, furniture, service based business and any other product I can think of, including funeral homes. You just need to work out what your customers are actually looking for when they ask for the price and what’s more important to them in their buying decision!

If you would like further information contact David Guest on 1300 728 466.

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“If it doesn’t add up, don’t do it.”

Brought to you by Business Coach David Guest

Business is all about making a profit, so if your business strategies aren’t adding up to business profits, don’t do it, or do it differently.

To be a business – that is, ‘a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without you’, your business must give a good return on investment plus a full wage for every hour you spend working in your business. You can then pay someone to do your job and the business profits are not affected.

The quote ‘if it doesn’t add up, don’t do it’ can be applied in all areas of your business. Advertising is a prime example. If an ad is run and does not get an immediate response, there is no point in keeping that ad running. It is wasting precious time and money.  Change the ad or where it is running.

Increasing your team must also add up in dollars. Perhaps a business should consider setting training and operating systems in place so juniors can be hired to follow the systems, rather than hiring seniors who have the head knowledge of how it should be done.

Alternately perhaps the business should look at new machinery or technology instead of more team members.

If you want to buy a business the figures also must add up – or have the potential to do so.

Make a list of the criteria the business must fill and make sure this list is filled before you commit yourself. Many people buy into something believing it would fulfill their needs, to discover the figures were inaccurate or did not add up. If you are not sure, get help. Two heads are better than one, and prevention is better than cure.

A great idea when looking at a business is to check the industry average and see how your business compares with the average. Given that four out of five businesses go broke in the first five years, you may want to be better than average.

Finally, the bottom line where your figures must add up is in net profit margin. To get this figure a business must add all expenses, including an appropriate wage for all the hours put in the business plus interest on the capital you put into the business. This will give your real margins.

‘If it doesn’t add up, don’t do it” must be applied regularly. Don’t wait until the end of the financial year to find if you have made a profit. Business is work, but it should also be fun.

If you would like to learn more about how to measure your success call David Guest on 1300 728 466.

If it doesn’t add up, don’t do it
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Want to Know How to Sell… All you have to do is ask?

When it comes to sales your customers quite literally have all the answers.

Have you ever answered a question with a question? Would that be making a difference to your conversion rate? The answer to the latter is most definitely yes! Asking questions not only increases your conversion rate, but builds rapport with your customer and ensures that the sale becomes their idea and not yours. 

 

Asking questions also means active listening. You can ask questions about your customers work, business, kids or hobbies but make sure that your are listening with sincere interest. It may even be helpful to note down some of the answers – such as the names of their kids, interests etc for future communication. By asking questions and listening, you are building rapport and attaching importance to their conversation.

Also, by asking questions you are remaining in control of the conversation. Once you find yourself doing all the talking you are no longer in control. Just remember that the person asking questions sets the direction for the conversation. If the customer is dominating the conversation by asking you questions make sure you answer the question with a question. However, try to vary the questions that you ask. You may remember from looking after your own children or babysitting that being asked “but why?” over and over again tends to get a little monotonous.

Questions can guide consumer interest, discover a need and give accurate information.  There are two commonly known types of questioning – open ended and closed questions.

 

Building Rapport and Qualifying

Open-ended questions are an excellent way to ensure customer involvement in the conversation and are key to identifying not only what they need but a lot about themselves.  You can use open-ended questions to build rapport, to find a need, to discover a customer problem and find the right solution. In journalism there are six key questions used in the interviewing process which is as equally useful in sales – who, what, where, when, why and how.

Here are a few example of open-ended questions which are very useful:

  • Who are you buying the product/service for?
  • How often would you use the product/service?
  • What features were you looking for in this product/service?

 

This type of questioning yields a lot of great information from your customer and helps you determine which product/service is uniquely suited to them.

Closed questions tend to get one word answers “yes” or “no”. They can be used to gather information quickly – not unlike a check-list. Using closed questions can also confirm a buying detail and help confirm the sale.

By using questions you are encouraging the customer to communicate, building rapport, establishing their needs, directing the conversation, diffusing tension and inviting discussion.

Learning the art of questioning and listening is the key to increasing your conversion rate and well on the way to creating a continuing customer relationship.

 

By David Guest

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The Big Game of Business

When I talk to business owners, we often get into the conversation of how much should a business owner expect to make?

 

My rule of thumb is simple… Take what you think you’re worth as an employee… And multiply it by 3…(3x)” That should be your minimum expected take home, after tax wage! For most people in business this blows their minds. They look at their current profit and realise this figure is an order of magnitude away!

So, lets look at why 3x? It’s simple. When you decided to become a business owner, you probably did it for one of 2 reasons. 

  1. You either wanted to make more money, work less hours, or just be your own boss. 
  2. Or you didn’t have a choice, you were retrenched, made redundant, or are just unemployable.

 

When it comes to setting a goal for your business, the main number you need to look at is Leftover, not Turnover. That is net profit. As an owner, this is the reason we run a business. The problem is that this number can be highly variable. What I mean is that when you have a quiet month, you will still pay the bills, the wages, even the tax man. But the first person to miss out is you.

So the reason we aim for 3x your wage is risk. And risk is something that very few people value and expect to be paid for. You see, in a job you get holidays, sick pay, superannuation, long service leave and other benefits, when you decide to run a business, you sacrifice all of that for the dream of freedom.

Now for the brutal truth…. It is nearly impossible to be self employed and maintain this type of income. The only real way to achieve 3x is to build a business that works without you. The first one will be hard, but once you’ve mastered the skill, it becomes so much easier.

One of the best kept business growth secrets is acquisition… yes, buying other businesses is the quickest way to grow yours. I call this the big game of business, and it cannot be played when you are stuck in the engine room. You see, building your business system and your team is really about giving your the time to play the big game. That is, acquiring your competitors and expanding your service by adding complimentary services. 

When you get to this stage, business growth is exciting and rewarding. One of my favourite books on the subject is “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz.

So don’t let the day to day busyness get in your way. Start today by committing to building your leftover to 3 times your wage, and get to work on building your business system so that your business can work for you.

Different business graphs with Think Bigger sign
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The Power of Keeping in Touch

 

In my 30 years in business, nothing has ever been more effective as a sales tool than building a relationship with your prospects.

I used to send a paper newsletter to clients and prospects every quarter to keep them informed and stay connected.

In a world of blogs, tweets, social media, cookies, sticky pixels and follow me marketing, is a newsletter still an effective tool? The answer is both yes and no.  As a business owner I am constantly looking for R.O.I. on my marketing dollar. This means that a cost effective blog or email can stretch my marketing dollar further, so in terms of raw numbers, electronic media trumps paper.

The real question we need to ask is what media or channel sends the right message in the right way at the right time for our prospects.

You need to become a Welcome Guest rather than an Annoying Pest

You see, keeping in touch is not about spamming or harassing your prospects. It’s about meeting them where they’re at and leading them on a journey to understanding who you are and how you can help them. 

Too many business owners do not invest in nurturing their database and their relationships, they would rather find a quick fix through a Google adwords campaign or some other form of paid advertising. It cost 6 time more to get a new customer than it does to get an existing customer to come back.

For most, it’s easy to procrastinate. A good friend of mine said, “Don’t let Perfection get in the way of Production!”. Put your ego to the side and get your first email/blog posted, and don’t stop there. Commit to keeping in regular contact for the rest of your business life.

Take your “Keep in touch” strategy seriously by investing in building and maintaining your database through great content and regular contact and watch your marketing start paying huge dividends.

Action Points:

  1. Decide today to keep in regular contact with your clients, prospects and referral partners.
  2. Set a frequency of contact. In most cases it should be no less than quarterly.
  3. Choose your channels of choice. Email is still the best for direct contact, but you can blog, tweet, post, SMS, even use snail mail.
  4. Set up diary reminders to keep you accountable.
  5. Don’t expect any sales or leads, just do it to keep the relationship going.
  6. Create content by asking yourself “How do I add value or help my prospects?”
  7. Keep at it!

 

To find out more about the best “Keep in touch” strategies, get in touch with one of our team today.

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When to build your team

 

Putting a team together to build your business is exciting, but can be a fatal move.

Knowing when and how to build your team is a defining moment for the growing business.

Watch this short video and learn how to prepare your business and attract the team members you need to ensure success.
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How to think like an entrepreneur

 

Out of the thousands of business owners I talk to, there is a common thread that separates the successes from the failures.

It is all about the mindset and how they think about the challenges and opportunities they are faced with on a daily basis.

Watch this short video and learn how to play the game of business above the line…
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