Here’s a business coach example of what not to do: When I started DJ Connection, I started it because I wanted to become a millionaire by age thirty with everything else being damned. I was willing to exchange my time, my money, my health, my relationships, and everything for $1,000,000. But after I thought about it (five years-plus into the process), I determined that the reason why I wanted to earn $1,000,000 is so that I would not be poor, and so that I could enjoy life to the fullest with my wife, my friends, and my family. As DJ Connection kept growing and growing, I kept realizing that I was having less and less free time to spend with my wife, my kids, and the people I cared about. As the business grew, and as the resulting awards and accolades kept rolling in, I began noticing that I hadn’t had the time to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends or to attend anyone’s birthday (other than my kids and a couple of their friends) in eight years. I began noticing that I hadn’t looked up to notice a full moon since 1999. It took me six years of super-intense business operations to understand that my purpose for running a business was not to create fifty jobs for local Tulsans. My purpose for running a business was to enjoy a standard of living with the people. And thus I consider myself to be a prime example of what not to do.
What does your business (or potential business) do in a great way? (What industry or line of business can your business become the top 10 percent of?) Here is a little business coach wisdom and advice: If you can’t be the best at what your business is doing, I recommend not doing it. Nothing stinks more than finishing fourth place at every basketball tournament and eighteenth place in your industry every year. Here are the business coach questions you need to ask yourself: Where do your current customers and your target customers live (what part of your town, country, or city)? If your customers live in a particular area of town, it does not make sense to buy ads and commercials that charge to broadcast your message in a shotgun-style approach all over your town. What forms of literature do your customers read? Only advertise in the forms of literature that your customers read, regardless of what propaganda and information the local magazine sales force shows and tells you. What television programs do your customers watch? When you know what your customers watch, you begin to understand them. If you can fully understand them, you will know where to advertise your product, what pop-culture references, styles, and products relate to your customers. To be successful in business, you have to understand your customers’ perceived needs and your product must meet them. If you are out there trying to invent a product that you will then have to convince the world to use (such as the iPod), then you are a sick freak with much more patience and ambition than I have. My recommendation to anyone reading this is to look for a need and fill it with a product or service that you are passionate about. If you are passionate about it, your new service will exceed your customers’ expectations.
A few more business coach questions: Where do your customers shop? If your customers do not shop in the hood, get the hell out of the hood. If your customers do not shop in the woods, get the hell out of the woods. Get where your customers are. Make your life easy. It’s all about location, location, location. Do not use a run-down, “affordable” building located in the middle of the woods near some former nuclear-testing site. Where do customers go to look for your products and services? (Get there quickly, if not sooner.) Create a system for tracking where your business comes from, and use it on every customer every time. Just to clarify here: If you only ask your customers how they heard about you 10 percent of the time (or only when you remember), then you do not have a systematic approach in place or in mind. You must ask every customer how he or she heard about you EVERY TIME. This gives you power over your marketing dollars and will allow you to increase your spending on advertising that works.
Create a system documenting how your employees are supposed to answer the business phone. If your employees are answering your business restaurant phone by saying, “Yo Greg, what up? Oh, this isn’t Greg . . . .uh, sorry. Yeah, thank you for calling Steve’s Subs. What up?” This is not a good situation, and I am telling you from personal business coach experience, if you leave anything up for interpretation, it will come back to haunt you. At DJ Connection (before I implemented the standardization of everything), we had dudes answering the phone with less conviction and sincerity than an O.J. Simpson apology. It scared customers away. Do not allow your frontline people to kill your prospective customers just because their ideas of how to answer the phone is not congruent with the goals and levels of professionalism found in the other areas of your business. When your people answer the phone, you must literally have all the words written down that you expect your people to say every time. Common sense is not common. Write down your expectations and do not accept anything less from your staff and your people. As my former pastor Carlton Pearson used to say, “You must inspect what you expect.”
When someone calls to ask the proverbial, “How much do you charge for your service?” You must develop a systematic and custom-tailored presentation outline that will turn every one of those calls into a closed deal or a tightly set appointment for one of your specialists (who will close the deal). You must create and give your employees a duplicable sales outline that you expect them to follow every time. Do not be one of those super-weak, excuse-providing, disgruntled, small business people that I run into at networking events who always say, “Well, the reason why I can’t grow my business is that I can’t find good salespeople.” This is weak. You must create an easily duplicable process and sales script for your people to follow each time that they answer a call. Broadway actors have to memorize their lines. Disney requires all of their entertainers to know their lines and roles for each one of their legendary performances. You must operate your business in the same manner if you are going to be successful. If you allow your people to find what works best for them, you will quickly find your salespeople getting frustrated or burnt out. If you do not transform your personal sales skills into easy-to-follow duplicable processes, you will never grow your company.
After you have written the original script, add anecdotes, descriptions, HUMOR, and nuances to your sales presentation to add value to every call. Trust me on this. I have done it the wrong way and the right way. The right was is much less stressful and much more profitable. In Steve Martin’s legendary autobiography entitled Born Standing Up, he explains in great detail how he took the better part of a decade to create a comedy routine that was consistently funny each time he delivered it. He then goes on to explain how he would ad-lib little nuances to adjust to the unique crowd and atmosphere of each venue. The point is he never deviated from his core routine because he was disciplined enough to track people’s reactions to its delivery early on in his career. This built his confidence in the overall quality and humor of his final refined masterpiece. Take the time now to create a sales presentation and test it on your customers so that your salespeople can deliver your presentation with faith and conviction (knowing that it works every time because you’ve tested it).
After you have revised your presentation again, add a “call to action” to the end of your sales presentation because you can’t deposit the phrase, “Hey, I will get back with you once I make a decision” at the bank. If you are like most entrepreneurs and self-employed people, you will find yourself going for the close more often than your people do because you do not want to starve, and because you probably have more at risk than your people. For some reason, most people who have their financial futures on the line with each and every call tend to be slightly more proactive about closing the deal than the sales guy you just hired on Thursday. Thus, you must make sure that your super-refined sales script factors in the following:
If your people are not setting up tight appointments, they might as well ask your customers, “Would you like to just go ahead and hang up on me to save us some time?” as an initial rapport-building question to help you reduce your phone bill.
Create and implement quality on-hold music. Most people hate being put on hold. You hate being put on hold. I hate being put on hold. So for the love of all that is holy, if you put someone on hold, at least get some high-quality, interesting, sales-generating, humorous, informative, and enjoyable on-hold music to make the on-hold time bearable.
Systematically create a daily checklist that will ensure that your office smells good, looks good, feels good, sounds good, and creates the overall first impression that you want your customers to experience when they encounter your business. A checklist ensures that anyone can obtain the needed results, not just you! THAT is the beauty of business coach and building systems.
I will never forget the moment in 2005 when I came back from a refreshing one-week vacation with my wife and daughter, only to discover that one of our DJs had spilled his spitter (code language for a plastic McDonald’s cup filled with chewing tobacco spit) on our super-plush, super-nice, upstairs, office carpeting. Oh, this pissed me off. And thus I went to clean it up, which is a lot like trying to brush a grown man’s teeth while he is currently chewing. As I proceeded to go to the trash can to grab a trash bag, I opened the trash container only to discover that a swarm of fruit flies was waiting for me. As soon as I opened the container, they came out with reckless abandon like a biblical plague of locusts. They were furiously buzzing everywhere. Oh, I was super pissed. So I went down to the garage to get all the cleaning supplies I needed. Once I entered the garage, I found that the trash had not been taken out for an entire week, and that it was filled with fast-food containers, chewing-tobacco spit, half-eaten fruit, and funk. MAN, I WAS IRATE! I would have killed one of those dirty, trash-creating DJ bastards if it were not illegal. But luckily, I chose instead to use a new calming method (cursing and yelling at no one in particular) to calm myself down. After I finished the one-hour process of cleaning up their funk, I hopped in the DJ van only to discover that it was being used as a mobile trash container and that it was littered with Redbull cans, beer cans, fast food containers, spitters, magazines, wrappers, napkins, and a small landfill of crap. Just writing this is pissing me off! But the point is this: everything was dirty all the time because I had never taken the time to write down a daily checklist of what my expectations were and who was supposed to make these expectations a reality.
I just thought that out of a basic sense of decency, they would take out the trash once during the entire week I was gone. I just figured that with eight guys, one of them would take the initiative to take the trash out, but when I asked them about it, everyone just said, “Oh, we weren’t sure who was supposed to do it.” Although I was mad, I have since calmed down and determined that most employees (in good economic times) will only do what they have to do. Thus you cannot expect your people to do anything. You have to clearly outline what they have to do, and YOU or their manager must INSPECT everything they do. The very concept of having managers proves my point: If everyone did what they were supposed to do without a need for inspection, there would not be any managers.
Sit down and create pre-written e-mails to deal with every conceivable customer-service-related and sales-related scenario possible. Doing this will save your sales team, your business, and your brain countless amounts of time and frustration. I am telling you, you have to do this now if not sooner. To improve the accuracy of the information that you are sending out about your products or services, and to save your salespeople countless hours of time, this must be a priority to you. Your e-mail scenarios should include (but not be limited to the following business coach topics): directions to your office, a customer expectation list, a customer-service guarantee, a review of your products’ benefits and unique qualities, a follow-up, a receipt, a frequently asked questions e-mail, etc.
You must think like Walgreens by creating receipts and contracts that incentivize and encourage your customers to revisit your store and reuse your products and services. Next time you go into Walgreens, really look at the receipt they give you. That baby screams, “Come back and buy more stuff and save 25 percent off your next purchase!” Ask yourself, “What would Walgreens do? What would Victoria’s Secret or Bed Bath & Beyond do here?” These companies are geniuses when it comes to generating repeat customers and referral business. Mentally marinate on what you can do today to drive repeat business via the vehicle of sales, receipts, contracts, and systems. At thrive15.com we can help you build a successful business enterprise. We can show you the step by step path to success. Contact us today and we can help you build a booming, successful, and profitable business.