Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

Best Business Books to Read: The Slight Edge

It has been a while since I’ve read a book that has the potential of massively transforming both mindset and activities. I came across such a book earlier this year, and it has already resulted in a massive shift in my thinking that I’m confident is going to have a tremendous effect on my life.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is more than a business advice book – it’s a whole philosophy and a way of thinking that reaches into all areas of your life.

The fundamental idea is that the simple daily choices you make – small actions – create a compound effect that results in your desired future (like when we talked about having a big business mindset).

The real key takeaway here is that you do not need to be making grand gestures and dramatic changes in order to build your future. You just need to have a small, simple daily discipline that you apply consistently.

And that last word is the most important part: consistency of approach is the key to achieving this massive end result.

What makes it difficult? This principle relies on you being able to focus on the seemingly insignificant rather than the enormous breakthroughs. You need to be able to focus on the end result, not the immediate one, which is not the way most of us instinctively think.

However, when you train yourself to do this – when you apply some small effort in a consistent way – it really will get the results and you can become the master of your future.

Remember, Simple Disciplines + Consistency + Time = Massive Results!

Is consistency something you struggle with?

A large part of what a business coach does is help keep business owners accountable and on track. London can be one of the most difficult places to stay consistent with your business practices – perhaps our strategies can help with that?

Find out with a complimentary and no-obligation session with us where we review your business and let you know if and how our strategies may be able to assist the future growth of your business.

Book a Free Strategic Review

Our previous top business books recommendations:

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What Future Are You Building?

When was the last time you thought about your legacy? For a lot of business owners, their business and what happens to it when they stop being part of it is a large part of the legacy they leave behind.

At the global ActionCOACH conference in Vancouver this year, one of the speakers gave a very interesting insight – to develop your businesses in the right direction while at the same time creating a legacy.

The idea here is that you should be really clear about exactly what you are spending your time on.

Sometimes, you may need to spend time on increasing your income in order to give you the room to take the next step.

But the ultimate goal should always be to build assets rather than maximising your income.

When it comes to your business – you need to be clear about whether your actions are turning your business into an asset – by developing systems for managing a growing team or cultivating smart inbound marketing channels – or whether you are simply increasing your personal income (by creating a job for yourself).

The asset is what is actually valuable to you – whether you want to sell it on to a buyer, or whether you want build a legacy and leave something for your children. So if you are not moving towards developing your business into an asset then… well, what are you building?

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group. I’ve just come back from Vancouver and we had a global conference of Action Coach there and it was absolutely brilliant.

We had some great speakers and the whole team of the conference was wealth creation. Now, yes as business women and as a business coach, I tell my clients that actually a successful business is one which is profitable. It can work without you and it can give you that profitable income in a sustainable way, right? And they are familiar with it but, you know, I’m sure you’ve had some occasions in your life when someone said something and it just makes so much sense. It made you see something in a completely different perspective altogether.

Now, one of the speakers during this conference said something very fascinating and in fact I want you to write this down, okay? What he said was that “Transition of assets is always much much easier than transition of income” and that statement of transition of asset being easier than transition of income, made sense to me as a mother. And what I thought was, when I want to leave a legacy for my son, I don’t want to leave income behind.

I want to leave assets because that’s so much easier to pass on to him versus asking him to be in my seat so he can generate the income. Similarly, if you think about it as a, you know, whether as a parent or as a businessperson, I mean 1 out of 5 from stats which are available out there, 1 out of 5 business owners are able to sell their business successfully and that’s staggering, 2 out of 10, 1 out of 5. So what happens with the remaining?

And they’re not able to sell because they’re trying to sell the income, they are trying to make that transition happen, but the buyer is not interested in that. The buyer is interested in asset which is always easier to pass on.

So my question to you really is, where is your energy being focused right now? And it’s possible that yes you need to focus on generating more profits and more income for yourself. But the question really is, who’s keeping you accountable? Who’s keeping you on track to make sure that you are building the asset value? You’re maximizing this asset because at the end of the day, whether as a parent or as a businessperson, when you decide to transition, this asset will be much easier to transition than the income.

Need More Wealth Creation Strategies?

Brad Sugars is the founder and CEO of ActionCOACH and has not only built many businesses and written many books – but has built himself a full portfolio of assets.

He’s now sharing the strategies he uses to build businesses into assets, and how business owners can build their wealth to enjoy their own legacies.


Stop Answering Your Team’s Questions

team-management-business-coaching-questions

Why do you build a team in your business?

To increase the impact the business can make together? To focus into the work that you should be doing? To move closer towards the vision you’ve set? To have more time to spend on other things you love without worrying that the business would fall apart?

If these reasons resonate with you, and you’re still working 70-80 hours a week, you need to ask yourself – is your team working the way you want it to?

Often, as a business mentor in London, I come across leaders who have this exact predicament, and it is usually one of the main things we work on together. Often the biggest constraint I find is that the business owner is the ‘Superman/ Superwoman’ in the business. They are ready to fly in to solve every problem!

The key giveaway is often: you are answering too many of your team’s questions.

How to get your team to think for themselves

Before you rush to close your office door and refuse to speak to anyone in your team, let me be clear. There are definitely questions that your team should be asking you. However, there are also questions they are asking you because they are trying to absolve themselves of responsibility from making a decision (or do not realise they are allowed to make that decision).

And that’s where the fix needs to happen.

Team management is one of the biggest areas business coaches and business consultants in London work on as this is one of the trickiest areas for business leaders to get right.

There are simple 3 actions that I advise my business coaching clients to do in order to move their team towards independence:

1. Get the team used to coming up with their own answers

Sometimes, employees can get used to having answers handed to them on a plate. It is not that they do not know the answer, but rather that they do not realise they should be coming up with it themselves. At the first moment of uncertainty, their instinct is to ask you for the answer.

Every time someone on your team asks you a question, you need to be able to identify whether it is an actual request for information that you have and they do not have, or whether they simply do not want to be (or do not know they can be) responsible for the outcome.

If you think that it is the latter, then you shouldn’t be giving them the answer. Instead, bat the question back to them – ask them something like, “What do you think you should do?” This gently forces them to make the decision for themselves in front of you.

By taking this approach (and sticking to it), your team will soon understand the areas where they should be taking their own initiative, and where they should be coming to you for help. Eventually, they will rule out the option of coming to you when they don’t need to because they already know they are going to be asked to make the decision themselves anyway.

Without creating this habit, you may find yourself constantly fielding questions instead of actually getting work done. Rather than saving you time, your team would then be causing you more work and stress than if you just handled the work yourself. So what would be the point in having the team, right?

2. Instil a culture of ‘advice’ rather than ‘permission’

Of course, your employees might only come to you for decision-making purposes because they think they have to get permission. This is an extremely common situation, especially with new business leaders.

How to overcome this is to make it clear to your team that they are allowed to make decisions without asking you, if they feel they have adequate information available to do so, or if it is not in an area that you have explicitly told them they need to obtain permission for (something like spending the budget, for example).

You could suggest that, if they do need advice, they first turn to their colleagues, as they might be able to provide all the guidance and information needed to make a decision.

While it is important that your employees feel they can come to you for your input on big decisions, they should feel confident making smaller, less critical decisions. That means that when there are critical decisions to be made, you can make those decisively without it being lost in a flood of other decisions that you didn’t really have to make.

3. Make yourself unavailable from time to time

You might be viewed by your team as a sort of safety net that is there to answer their questions or to reaffirm the answer they already know is the right one. If you take this safety net away, they will have no choice but to think for themselves, and take actions without consulting you every time.

As such, it may be beneficial to make it so that your team is unable to contact you every so often so that your employees get used to keeping the business running without you there.

I have mentioned before how being a ‘got a minute’ boss could be massively impacting your productivity. So although you might think it as friendly and encouraging to say ‘my door is always open’, it can actually be more beneficial for both you and your team to keep it closed occasionally.

Once you master these three ways of getting your team to stand on their own feet, there will be a number of benefits. Besides the obvious freeing of your time and reduction of your stress levels, you will also find that you have more headspace to spend on strategising and future planning – meaning you can take your business further and grow it to the next level that you desire.

When you have a business that remains a profitable enterprise without your constant intervention, then you have built a business that is an asset and not just a long and tiring job you’ve created for yourself.

Is Your Business An Asset?

Once a year, Brad Sugars – founder of ActionCOACH and one of the most successful business owners in the world – does a tour of the UK to share his strategies for building businesses that run as assets.

In 2017 he’ll be coming in October and we highly recommend taking the opportunity to immerse yourself in that educational environment.


Six Ways To Get Better At Phone Sales

Phone sales (aka telesales) are a key revenue driver for many businesses. The ability to sell to clients over the phone is a very valuable skill, but not one that develops without employees being given the proper tools and training.

The correct development and implementation of a phone-based sales strategy is a long and arduous process, which will require continued updating and training as you discover which tools work better than others. However, in order to put your business on the path to improved sales over the phone, you may want to consider ensuring your sales staff do the following:

1. Qualify your leads.

Whether you buy leads, use a lead generation service, or generate leads internally, you absolutely must make sure that all leads are qualified. Every client that’s called needs to be a suitable customer with the ability to buy today.

Failure to qualify leads will generate huge wastes of time for effective salespeople.

Moreover, bad leads can be the source of undue headaches and lead you to revise your sales process unnecessarily.

2. Don’t try to move too fast.

Gone are the days of the hard and quick sale. Clients today want the ability to do their own research and see if something’s right for them. They can be led to make a purchase, but they need to make their own decisions.

Often, this takes a series of calls and follow-ups before a client is ready to close.

Make sure you have a process of sales staff to manage communications with a potential client and ensure timely follow-up.

3. Understand the client.

It isn’t enough for your salespeople to have intimate knowledge of what they’re selling. They need to be able to demonstrate how their product is good for the client, and this means knowing a customer’s needs as well as they know your product.

Sales associates should know all of the reasons a potential customer should say “yes,” but also all of the reasons they’re likely to say “no” on a sales call.

4. Make sure the client is having fun.

This is perhaps the most-overlooked aspect of successful sales, on the phone or otherwise.

People don’t buy if they feel burdened or put out. Admittedly, this can’t always be helped. Sometimes you reach them at a bad time or on a bad day, and allowances should be made for bad timing.

On the whole, though, it’s important to make the experience pleasant for the client. Their interaction with your sales staff should not be something that they resent or regret.

The client’s enjoyment of the process – or at least their toleration of it – dramatically increases the odds of them staying on the line and eventually buying from you.

Even if they don’t buy on the first call, a client is more likely to welcome a follow-up if they develop rapport with a member of your sales team.

5. Learn your rebuttals.

Excuses vary by industry and by product, but clients will always have reasons to say “no.”

What’s important is that you anticipate what they’ll be, construct good responses, and train for them.

Find ways that you can assuage doubts, answers questions concisely and positively, or find ways that you can circle back to complete a sale.

6. Practice – a lot.

Phone sales are virtually impossible without some amount of training and preparation.

It can help to have a well-developed script on-hand, but not because salespeople can lean on a canned opening or response. Instead, they learn to address any client issues early on and get them out of the way.

Staff also develop the ability to concisely address any new concerns that a customer raises on the call.

Practicing can feel extremely awkward at first, but it’s absolutely necessary to the success of sales calls.

 

If your business relies on phone calls to generate sales, the tips above will hopefully serve to hone the kills of your sales staff.

More importantly, they will help to develop your company’s sales process, which must continue to be refined and revised as customer psychology changes.

You will need to learn to adapt as customers begin asking new questions or raising new concerns.

Like any of your marketing efforts, your phone sales process will need to be continually improved, and make use of updated technology for continued success.

Hopefully, the tips above will help to provide you with a strong starting point to improve your phone sales efforts, as you begin the process of developing and refining your strategy going forward.

 

This article was written by John Taylor. John is a long-time professional with over two decades of experience in analytics and communications technology. He works as the Senior Data Analyst at Fone Dynamics, a leader in call tracking, voice, and SMS communication. When John steps out of the office, he loves to spend time with his family and bike riding.

Need help with your sales strategy?

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If you would like to find out whether our strategies could work for your business, use the button below to request a complimentary strategy session and we will see if and how we can help you.


The 4S Framework for Focus

“I know what I should be doing. I’m just not doing it!”

Sound familiar?  

What if I were to reword the above to “I know what I should not be doing, I just keep doing it!”?

There’s a powerful framework I use to help clients (and myself) clarify focus. You will find that this framework often helps clarify where you are actually spending most of your time, and where you SHOULD be spending your time in order to achieve more without putting in additional unnecessary hours of work in…

When you segment your tasks into these quadrants, you may just find a bit of clarity about which tasks you should and shouldn’t be doing.

And I hope you can then draw on that power of the made-up mind!

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi! This is Shweta from London Coaching Group. What I want to talk about today is focus.

What is Focus?

When one hears the word focus, one generally thinks it’s about having the clarity as to what needs to be done. But I have a different version to focus. Focus is also about knowing what not to do. In fact recently in one of the coaching sessions a client said “You know I know I should be doing this detailed side of my business, but I’m not doing it.” And I looked at him and I was like the problem is not that you’re not doing what you should be doing. The problem is you’re doing what you shouldn’t be doing. A little of word play here.

But let’s have a look at the framework which is exactly what I shared with him which gave him an understanding as to where he was spending most of this time versus where he should be spending most of his time. So let’s have a look and I’m sure it will give you a very clear picture as to what kind of transition you need to make in your business space so you can actually achieve more with the right focus on the right things.

The Framework for Focus – The Quadrants

So if you look at this – just maybe you should actually draw it on a piece of paper. So you are looking at a vertical axis which says what’s the purpose or meaning. The activities which are actually meaningful which will help you achieve more in your business in terms of profitability or the asset value or release more time for yourself. Meaning in your own ways. And then the horizontal axis is where you actually have fun doing those things. It’s joyful, it gives you happiness, it’s gratification. You enjoy. Basically, that’s what we’re looking at. Now, each axis goes from low to high. And so we’re looking at four quadrants.

My clients know I love quadrants because they just make life easy, doing decisions, to think it through. It’s just a form of simplification.

This is the model which I took from Marshall Goldsmith who’s one of the leading executive coaches in the world. And I found this very useful when he shared it with us because it just makes sense. So have a look ok?

Low-Fun Low-Meaning Tasks = Surviving

Now if I look at the bottom left quadrant. This is low-fun and low-meaning, right? Lots of trivial, lots of noise in day-to-day business life and what I call this is “surviving”.

When you see this try to identify what percentage of your time, your business time, you actually spent in this quadrant, which is surviving. Somehow just getting through the task getting through the day all the time.

High-Fun Low-Meaning Tasks = Stimulating

Now if we look at the bottom right quadrant, you can think of many activities which sit there which are fun to do, exciting. But you know what? They’re not really taking you to your goals. They’re not really meaningful activities and it’s called “stimulating”.

So what percentage of your time are you actually spending on activities which are stimulating but not really meaningful? Now, when I’m working with clients as their coach my objective is, and that I get permission from them to do, is to actually move them from these bottom quadrants to the top quadrants. Generally speaking, to start off with, they move in this quadrant and

Generally speaking, to start off with, they move in to the top left quadrant and eventually, the transition happens to the top right.

Low-Fun High-Meaning Tasks = Sacrificing

Let’s have a look at the top left quadrant first which is – yes you’re not really having fun. It’s like you know when you start going to the gym your muscles hurt the first few days or first few weeks. It’s painful but you still do it because there is a very clear meaning a very clear purpose as to why you’re doing it and when you’re in this quadrant, you’re looking at this.

It’s “sacrificing”. It’s painful. You’re not enjoying it. But you know what. You know you should be doing it.

Then as you build that habit, you build that muscle you build that practice you do that day in and day out without questioning it because you’re very clear, you’re very focused that’s why that needs to be done, you eventually move into the top left quadrant.

High-Fun High-Meaning Tasks = Succeeding

This final quadrant is where you’re ‘succeeding’. And I totally understand as a businesswoman myself, that a hundred percent of the time can not be spent here.

But I’m very clear about one thing, that majority of the time needs to be spent in these top 2 quadrants. Even with sacrificing, I will be there with absolute clarity as to why I’m in that quadrant and how it will eventually move me to the succeeding quadrant.

But having the focus and knowing what not to do is very powerful. And as one of my mentors told me, that a made up mind, a very clear mind, is the most powerful thing in the business and in life. So I really hope you can see for yourself as to where you are and where you need to be.

Remember, a made up mind is a very very powerful tool to have.

See the ActionCOACH founder LIVE in the UK

Brad Sugars is visiting the UK once again – this is your opportunity to get coached by one of the world’s leading business men.

He’ll be covering how to “Finish It!” – how to turn your business into a real asset by making it a profitable enterprise that works without you.

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