Sales!

If you are earning money, be it from your job or your business, you are in sales! Some people hate sales but we all sell! Ourselves, our services and our products! In the end, the type of selling you want to engage in is one that pays you!

Since getting into business for myself, I have put myself in a position of having to sell. I have had some awesome days and some not so awesome ones, meaning that the results were dependent on my form on the day and some luck with the client being in the market for what I had to offer. Basically, the results weren’t duplicable or repeatable because I didn’t have a defined process in place, i.e. a system.

However, that changed recently when I finally got my hands on a copy of a sales book written by my friend Alistaire Jama, called “Sellology”. I was going to buy some sales books a couple of years ago, until Ali, a highly successful salesman, told us that he was writing a book! Now, I have been in some of his workshops so I was confident that the book would be good, so, I waited for it… and boy was it worth that wait! I read it in 4 hours, on the 2-hour train down to and up from London, and called him from both directions with questions because I was hooked! As soon as I got home, I studied the book, made notes and came up with my own sales scripts based on what Ali wrote in his book, and the results were instantaneous! I began getting more meetings than ever, using old school cold calling over the phone, email, and new school social media! Ali keep this book very simple, and clearly one is meant to flick back and forth between the chapters, so this quickly becomes your “go-to” manual on “how to sell”!

Ali talks about communication in terms:

  • Words – what you say
  • Music – the tone in which you say them
  • Dance – the body language

Ali dedicates a chapter to being aware of different business styles and how they communicate (words, music and dance):

  • Actor – aka The Player
  • Doer – aka The Pragmatist
  • Friend – aka The Companion
  • Thinker – aka The Analyst

Ali then breaks down his sales system into 6 simple steps he calls “PROCES”:

  • Plan
  • Reach
  • Obtain
  • Connect
  • Elaborate
  • Secure

The book is 180 pages and easy to read, but oh so effective! If you read, understand and apply what Ali teaches, then you should see an improvement in your number of conversions for telephone or face to face meetings, and closing business deals!

Let me know how you get on! If you have any questions, do get in touch with Ali Jama! And as promised, here is the link to where you can buy the book on Amazon!

Client Care!

Building a business is all about the client care and customer service. For me, a customer buys from you once in a while, a client is a regular customer; transitioning from customer to client is a big step in building your business. Creating long-lasting relationships with our clients, training and nurturing them so that servicing them is as easy for us as it is for them is absolutely vital because this will ensure that your clients are looked after, and you have a steady stream of work and therefore revenue, month in, month out!

Top 10 Tips!

I like to go the extra mile when I am dealing with my clients across all 3 of my businesses, regularly being in touch with them, because, however you look at it, everyone appreciates being appreciated, valued and made to feel special 🙂 Here are my top 10 tips for taking care of your clients!

  1. Depending on the nature of your business and if you feel comfortable with it, you can add your clients to a Facebook or LinkedIn group so that you can look after them and help and support them as a team in one place.
  2. Depending on the nature of your business, you can train your clients to either place an order for products no more than 2 orders a month, one at the start/end of the month and one in the middle of the month.
  3. If you feel comfortable with it, you can give your clients access to your resource plan via Google Docs for example so they know yours and your team’s availability/capacity for work over the next month(s).
  4. Ensure you deliver your clients orders earlier than you promised if possible; there is no better feeling for you and your client than under promising and over delivering!
  5. If you are in the business of delivering products, ensure you take cash BEFORE placing orders, and NEVER bulk buy as you will be placing yourself under unnecessary pressure to sell those products!
  6. Always look for opportunities to help your clients and people in their network with referrals for business; the goodwill this will generate will invariably come back to you in the form of repeat and referral business!
  7. Speak to them regularly, depending on your relationship anything from once a week to once a month, either face-to-face, over the phone, via email or through social media, to check in on them, asking them for honest feedback or anything they feel you could do better/improve upon, it shows you value their opinion.
  8. Show your appreciation for your clients, and thank them with hand-written “Thank You” cards, without any marketing messages or paraphernalia – honest and heartfelt gratitude is everything!
  9. If possible, meet your clients socially for a drink or dinner, and insist on buying, keep that relationship alive, because they may:
    • Become a good friend if they aren’t already, or might need a friend;
    • Have a friend you could help;
    • Give you referrals!
  10. Have it in your schedule to know when to contact which client and to keep on top of your clients and their orders. I have my Client Care table (see image) which has really helped me!

Let me know how you get on 🙂

(If you would like my table that I use to help myself and others, find me on Facebook and I will add you to my special group where you can access this and other awesome business materials!).

Networking Effectively!

Some of you very kindly got in touch with me last week after my last blog and asked me what exactly I say regarding the open 7 x W questions, how I deliver them, and my body language, so I thought I would answer you via a full blog post on networking effectively!

Mindset

When you go to a networking event, please leave your agenda behind, and go and make friends by making the effort to get to know people! See if you can help them! Remember, if people don’t know you, they won’t like you, if they don’t like you, they won’t trust you, if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you or refer business with you! People love talking about themselves so let them talk! (If you wish, print off the delegates list or ask for it in advance, and pick out up to 3 people you absolutely want to speak to, research them and then find and speak to them!).

Body Language

Body language accounts for over of half of what is perceived about what we are trying to say. When I am at a networking event, I go in looking smart casual (jeans, shirt, shoes), with happy thoughts, smiling, with an open stance, arms relaxed, either clasped in front or behind me, gesticulating when talking. I lean in, shake hands, and make firm but friendly eye-contact when engaging in conversation with people, showing a real interest in what they are saying.

Tone

I am always happy, positive, excited, energetic and genuinely interested in who I am speaking to! When I speak, I never speak in a monotone and make sure that I am enjoying speaking and listening to myself! Your tone is louder than your words and your message, so make it count!

Words

I enjoy making polite conversation, simple small talk, to break the ice and begin getting to know something about the person I am speaking with. I tend to keep most of my questions, open-ended and always deliver them in a relaxed manner, using the Ws when needed. I always introduce myself and then make it about them. My conversations go something like this:

“Hi, nice to meet you, I’m Bilal!”. This invites them to share their name with you. If you want to remember their names (even if they have a name badge on!), you lean forward and say “Nice to meet you, John!”. Then I make small talk to relax things, “So, whereabouts are you from?”, “Cool, are you from there?”, try to relate to them by finding something in common with them, this makes it more relaxed and informal. Then you can ask, “So, what brought you here?”, followed by, “Cool, so what is it that you do?”.

After they have told me what they do, they will be curious about me, so the conversation will switch to me, and it’s my time to shine! However, I prefer to flicker briefly to make them even more curious and ask me more questions about me! So, I share with them very briefly what I do, with my short elevator pitch, and say:

“I have 3 businesses, a consultancy in the pharmaceutical industry, a social media agency, and a lifestyle business. Across all my businesses, we aim to help make the lives of our clients and team easier, and help them save and make money”. If they ask me to elaborate a little more on my businesses, I do, but I never ever go into full brain dump mode, even if it is tempting sometimes! Don’t get me wrong, I do talk and share my opinions, but I make sure the person I am speaking to is doing most of the talking, and afterwards they love having spoken to me! I’m there to make friends, and by pitching everyone I meet, I won’t make any friends! It’s bad for business! At the end of the conversation, if I have enjoyed speaking with them, I will tell them, and say:

“It’s been a pleasure speaking with you John, are you on LinkedIn?”, they usually say yes and we connect using our smartphones. If not, I take their business card and say I will send them an email, and then make sure I do send them an email! I tend not to carry business cards because we have social media! I have a big box of every business card I have ever received which I open rarely, hence why I always tend to contact via LinkedIn or other social media!

For me, networking is second nature, I do it naturally where I am, but it is an art that can be learned! Just take a deep breath, compose yourself, prepare and then DO! Remember, make networking about others, not you!

Let me know how you get on 🙂

Networking Do’s and Dont’s!

Networking comes to me very naturally. Being an only child, I have been putting myself in situations where I had to meet new people from a young age, to develop myself and my skills and meet interesting people. This has helped me make friends with some of the most wonderful people I could have ever imagined meeting!

Networking for your business is vital but people get it so badly wrong its painful to watch and be a part of! When you are out and about at networking events, there are some dos and don’ts, which I feel everybody should learn, because if you don’t, no matter how good you are, or how effective your product or service is, no one will care! Simply put, people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care! So do what I tell you and stop doing the things I tell you not to do!

Top 10 Tips!

Here are my top 10 tips for networking effectively:

  1. If you can, print off the delegates list beforehand and look through it, highlighting who you would want to meet, find interesting or could have a referral for.
  2. Prepare yourself mentally, know what you can do for the other party, make it about them, get to know them, make them do 75% of the talking! People love talking about themselves so give people the confidence to do that, and their barriers will come down, they will relax and you will see the real person behind the business persona!
  3. Know your story, who you are, what the features, advantages and benefits of your business are, and keep your story as short and succinct as possible, because you want other people to do the talking as stipulated in point 2!
  4. Mind your body language! Body language is everything, and people are naturally attracted to and gravitate towards happy people! And that means do NOT fold your arms! Keep an open stance! And smile! Seriously! This makes such a difference when you are talking to people or looking for people to talk to!
  5. Genuinely show interest in other people, their personality and their business! You will never do business with people you don’t like! And vice versa!
  6. Follow Rudyard Kipling’s advice as follows: I Keep 6 honest serving-men: (They taught me all I knew), Their names are What and Where and When, And How and Why and Who. I would also add Which, so that makes 7! So prepare some key “W” open questions.
  7. Ask for their business card and then connect with them over LinkedIn and/or other social media platforms on the spot. I rarely carry business cards because I have social media apps on my phone to take care of such things!
  8. Look around for who is speaking to the biggest group. That person has influence. That person is a leader. Go and speak with them!
  9. Do NOT shove your business, business card or simply your agenda down other people’s throats! You will NOT make any friends or win any favours!
  10. Be yourself, be honest, have integrity, live and breathe your values, morals and ethics! If people don’t know you, they won’t like you, if they don’t like you, they won’t trust you, if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy from you or recommend others to buy from you!

PLEASE! Do NOT mess this up! It is so easy to get RIGHT but people get it so WRONG! Networking is NOT about you! Make it about others, and your time will come to shine! Trust me!

Let me know how you get on 🙂

Running Your Day!

I feel it is important that we run our days rather than let our days run us! We are all victims of this, I certainly have been, and although I am on top of my days now compared to when I first went solo in business, sometimes my days do end up running me! But then I look at my daily schedule, week planner, and my month and annual planner to remind myself who is the boss in our relationship – ME! Now, everything I am about to share with you is a work in progress! I am by no means perfect but I have had some perfect days (which means it can be done, and my God does it feel good!), which means that, with my high standards that I set for myself, I always I feel I could have done better regarding my time management, even it is the case that I blew a couple of minutes doing something I shouldn’t have been!

As I have said in my previous blog, I plan my day out the night before, with a 5-point list, both business and personal, which I have to accomplish to consider my day a success – the top 3 are paramount. Some of you were very kind with your words and raised the question of what I actually do during my day! So here you go!

Bookending Your Days

To ensure my days start and end how I want them to, I bookend my days, by following a specific morning and night time routine. So I wake up at 5am, go to the bathroom, then take my vitamins and supplements, pray, meditate, write in my journal (more about that in future blogs), get to the gym for 6am, put on an instructional or motivational CD on my phone, work out hard, come home, shower, have breakfast, turn off my phone, and kick off working! Evenings are pretty routine too: 8pm I begin winding down, turn the lights low, write out my to-do list for the next day (5 things personal, 5 things business), write in my journal, read 10 pages of an instructional or motivational book, pray, meditate, and go to bed around 9pm for 8 hours. I put my body through the mill so it needs rest, otherwise, I don’t function optimally! I wake up excited and go to bed satisfied, excited about the next day and my goals!

Regimenting Your Days

This doesn’t mean that I have turned into a drill Sargent and will make you give me 50 push-ups if you don’t do what’s written here! By regimenting your days, I mean know what you’re going to do and when, and make sure you take your breaks! Research has shown that our attention and peak concentrations spans are between 25 and 50 minutes. I know that 50 minutes is true for me, after which my mind begins to wander off and the quality of my output slows down and gets worse! So, I go and make myself a cup of tea during my 10-minute break 🙂

I aim to get in 4 hours of work in the morning, so from 8am until 12pm, take a lunch break, usually 30 minutes, sometimes an hour, and make sure I am working by 1pm until 5pm. So this means that I work 50 mins x 8 = 400 mins, take 80 minutes of breaks, with between 30 and 60 mins for lunch, i.e. between 110 to 140 minutes of breaks per day! Now, my days don’t always work out perfectly according to plan! My mum might want me to take her somewhere at the drop of a hat (the beauty of working from home, I get to look after my mum <3 ), or unexpected phone calls, visitors, client requests etc. However, knowing that I follow a morning and night routine, have put myself in the right frame of mind to take on the day, have XYZ to accomplish during the day, and having scheduled regular breaks, means that no matter what happens, my day will be successful. Yes, sometimes my days run over beyond 6pm, no I don’t get all 5 or even the top 3 tasks done during the day, but because I have planned it, I can reorganise myself for the next day!

Don’t Overdo It!

Remember, work is never-ending, so don’t think that you have to work twice as hard the next day to accomplish that day’s tasks as well as the previous day’s tasks if you didn’t get them done! Do what you can the best you can, and if you are passionate about what you do, I am sure you will be, but please don’t burn yourself out! Life has a habit of getting in the way of even the best-laid plans, but that’s a challenge we all face, so it’s not something we need to get too hung up on! Plan and organise your day from the moment your eyes open until they shut, work hard during your 400 minutes of work, chill during your <140 minutes of breaks, and you will be much more successful than without a plan!

If you plan your day the night before, and know what you will be doing in what order, you will accomplish (the majority!) of your daily tasks, no matter what life throws at you! Let me know how you get on!

(If you would like some of my tables I use to help myself and others, find me on Facebook and I will add you to my special group where you can access these and other awesome business materials!).

Planning and Organisation!

Everyone loves a holiday, don’t they? How was your last holiday? Did you plan and organise your suitcase with what to wear, your trip to the airport, flight out, transfer to your accommodation, your accommodation, daily plan whilst out there, meals, sightseeing, food, transfer back to the airport from your accommodation, flight back to your country and your journey home? Went pretty smoothly, right? Awesome! Do you apply the same level of planning and organisation to your own life? If not, why not? If your holiday was a success, why can’t your life be a success, with a bit of planning and organisation? It’s a sad fact that most people spend more time organising their holidays than their own lives, disorganised lives which they want to escape from (there’s a blog in the pipeline about that, watch this space!). But it really doesn’t have to be this way! Get going with your P&O!

Plan Your Months and Year

Planning and organising your year(s), month(s), week(s) and day(s) is crucial if you are going to be successful in achieving your goals which I discussed in my last blog. It’s great writing what you want and when you want it by but you also need to have a robust plan that you will stick to, day in day out, especially in the face of adversity to keep you focused and on track! Personally, I plan out my next 12 months at the end of November, and fine tune it during December. That’s just me though! Your 12 months can start today! I segment my year into quarters, months and weeks, which helps me create a detailed picture of how I want my year to look in terms of goals and achievements! If you plan your year first, then your quarters, and months, your weeks and days will be much easier to plan for! There are 52 weeks in a year, and my table gives me 4 weeks off! Which I rarely take off, by the way!

Plan Your Week

Next, I plan my week every Sunday afternoon on my weekly planner. I make sure it has everything planned in, from gym, food, work, family and leisure time, and importantly, sleep (AT LEAST 8 hours)! Segmenting and planning my life has made sure that I have cut off points for all parts of my life, so my work life doesn’t creep into my personal life and vice versa. I want to be successful but I want to do it healthily, and my family means everything to me so I won’t risk or sacrifice them for anything. Now, put your weekly planner up in your office so you can see it ALL times!

I invested in a 24-hour day-to-page diary. If you’d like to see mine, check out my Vlog! I fill my diary with ALL my daily commitments that I have written out in my weekly planner. Yes, it’s duplication but you a) you will remember it better and b) you can carry your diary with you so you don’t miss anything. Your weekly planner helps keep you on task and your tasks top of mind! If you want to do all your planning electronically, please do so, but I urge you to print out your weekly plan whatever you do so you can view your week as a whole!

Plan Your Day

Every evening before finishing up for the day, I look at my diary and weekly planner and plan and organise the next day. I list my 5 most important business-related and 5 most important personal-life-related tasks that I must accomplish to consider my day a success. The top 3 are paramount, so I try to prioritise smartly!

If you plan your days and weeks, your months and years will look after themselves, you will accomplish whatever you wish, no matter what life throws at you! Let me know how you get on!

(If you would like some of my tables I use to help myself and others, find me on Facebook and I will add you to my special group where you can access these and other awesome business materials!).

Goal Setting and WHY Power!

WHY did you start your own business? WHY are you doing this particular business? What is missing from your life? What do you need? What do you want to have? Your business has the potential to help you achieve whatever you want in terms of wealth, health, time, and success, so what are you prepared to do to get the kind of lifestyle you want to have?

This is where your WHY Power kicks in – your reason for doing your business! Emotionally connecting with your WHY is absolutely necessary because that will make you charge hell with a water pistol!

Your WHY should make you CRY!

Business is as simple or complicated as you wish to make it, you have a product or service which you want to bring to market, deliver a certain experience and make money. So what will be your driving factor? What will motivate you daily to strive towards your dreams, especially in the face of adversity such as setbacks, lack of support from friends and family, your rollercoaster of daily emotions? This is where goal-setting is absolutely vital to be the fuel for your fire to propel you to achieve and surpass whatever it is you want!

Over time, your goals will change, and most likely get bigger as you begin to achieve your set goals! Goals will help give you focus and direction. So dream big, set big goals, and then work your arse off to make them happen! Setting goals is crucial because it focuses you on what is important to you, why you are doing this business and what you want to achieve in which realistic time frame. Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timed.

 

Remember the saying “If it is to be, it is up to me”!

One of the best ways to set your goals is to imagine that you have what you want from life so you write down a specific date and next to it you write down what you are happy and grateful for. For example:  “January 1st 2020: I am happy and grateful for my dream house”,  or “January 1st 2020: I am happy and grateful to be married with my perfect partner and 2 children” or “January 1st 2020: I am happy and grateful to be financially secure, debt free and financially independent”.

I am quite structured so I love to create tables. You can create your own, encompassing short, medium and long-term goals, both in your personal and business life. So, for example, you can do  6, 12, 18 months and 5-year goals. You may miss your goals, but I can absolutely guarantee you that you will be closer to them if you have them to aim for than nothing at all! You need a destination and an arrival date! Aeroplanes don’t just fly! They take off, travel direction, speed and landing are planned from start to finish! Remember, a goal without a plan is a just a wish! So start planning your life and let me know how you get on!

(If you would like some of my tables I use to help myself and others, find me on Facebook and I will add you to my special group where you can access these and other awesome business materials!)