Insights Blog

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

Top of Google But No Leads

It’s a proud moment when you do a Google search for your industry term and see your website at the top of the search results. However, what do you do when you are seeing that, but it’s not resulting in actual leads?

During one of our group coaching calls, one of our clients asked us that very question, “We at the top of Google for our industry, but we don’t seem to be getting leads. What am I doing wrong?” It was a great question, and I feel like the initial answer to this issue is important for all business owners to think about.

You see, my initial answer to this problem is not to immediately tackle the question, “How do I get more leads from SEO and my google ranking?” Instead, the first answer is actually a process to follow whenever you are attempting to tackle just about any issue in your business…

First, Step Back And Identify The Problem

In the 10 years that I have been coaching businesses, I have found that it is very common that business owners want to straight-away dive into the immediate issue at hand. “How do I deal with this? What process or template can I use to fix this problem now?”

I, therefore, remind them to stop, step back and first and make sure they are actually solving the right problem before implementing solutions. Diagnose the real issue, and then you can fix it with much greater precision and in a much more timely fashion.

To do this, you need to ask yourself different questions that will dig a bit deeper into the issue and get to the core of the problem. You then separate out the symptom from the problem so you don’t waste time trying a range of solutions to the symptom and instead, solve the actual problem.

Let’s take this particular issue, and run through the process that would be needed to clarify the real problem of not getting leads from your SEO efforts.

Question 1: What are you actually on “top of Google” for?

Talking about being on the “top of Google” actually cannot be accurate – or, at least, it’s incomplete. You don’t just win Google – you get the top of Google for particular keywords.

So before going any further, what keywords are you actually on top of Google for?

Because this informs the next question….

Question 2: Are you actually getting any traffic from your Google listings?

You need to look at your Google Analytics to see exactly how much of your traffic to the website has come from Google. It’s called “Organic Traffic” in analytics.

If you find that your organic traffic is giving you around 300 sessions per month, then the problem you have is a lead problem – you aren’t getting the leads you need. And that’s probably because your keywords aren’t that great!

Symptom: You are ranking high for a few keywords, but the organic traffic to your website is low.

Problem: The keywords you are ranking for are not actually good keywords to rank for.

Solution: Go back to the Search Engine Optimisation drawing board. You need to have more robust keyword research to identify a good balance of keywords to target that have good traffic but are not too difficult to rank for. The least you should be doing is using Google’s free keyword planner to identify good, high-volume top-level keywords to target.

If upon researching the keywords, you find that you actually are, indeed, ranking highly on good keywords then there’s a secondary problem that may result in the lack of traffic…

Symptom: You are ranking highly on good keywords, but no one is clicking on your website.

Problem: Your listings on the website are not attracting people to click.

Solution: Just because the algorithm believes that you match the keywords, doesn’t mean the users do. If your meta title tags and meta description tags are not optimised to “sell the click” (these two things are what makes up your listing in the search engine results) then despite your rankings, your audience won’t pick it up. Optimise these to encourage people to click through and find out more about you. This issue is pretty rare since the algorithm actually takes user behaviour into some account when ranking your pages – so if they aren’t clicking, then your top rank is going to drop pretty fast.

However, if you find that your Google Analytics shows that your website is actually getting a lot of traffic to your website, then the next important question will guide your decision making…

Question 3: What happens after they click and come to your website?

You see, if you are getting the clicks to your website, but no one is continuing down your marketing and sales funnels, then you have a different problem – a conversion problem.

In Google Analytics, you can segment the organic traffic out and find out exactly how they behave on your website. So not only will you get hard numbers on how much traffic you have gotten, but you will be able to find out useful information about that traffic.

There are two main factors that you can look at to work out what your best solution is. The first is that people are bouncing off from your website.

Symptom: You have traffic, but the bounce rate of the organic traffic is very high.

Problem: The page is either not relevant to what you are being ranked for, or your users don’t know what to do when they land on your page.

Solution: You need to take a harder look at the pages where you are seeing these high bounce rates and consider factors that might be sending people away. Is the page too long? Is there enough enticing information above the fold? Is there a good video? Does the page communicate the benefits/pain points/proof properly? Edit the page with more calls to action and make it more engaging.

The other issue you might encounter is that while you’re getting that initial traffic, no one is coming back to you.

Symptom: You have lots of organic traffic, and not very much returning traffic overall.

Problem: People are visiting your site, but your offering isn’t strong enough to get them to buy or come back.

Solution: You need to get them to come back to you, and you need to see what you are competing with. Getting them to come back to you could involve using remarketing to remind them that you exist, or it could involve ensuring you have a way of capturing details so you can message them about it again later. (Remember to get permission to send them marketing emails as per GDPR regulations!)

To see what you are competing with, you should look at who else is ranking for your top keywords, and see what they are doing on their websites. You can also use tools like SpyFu, SEM Rush and KeywordSpy to get some idea of what your competitors are doing on Google.

So you can see here that rather than just plunging in head-first into what looked like the big problem, taking a step back and reviewing exactly what the problem is could save a lot of time, and ensure that you are working on the right things.

Most of the time, in business, it’s not about finding the right answer but finding the right questions.

Before looking for the answer, make sure you are solving the problem, not the symptom.

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2 Strategies to Beat Competition in the Price Race

london-coaching-group-price-race

Many of my clients are premium service providers. Their expertise is unrivalled and the services they provide are truly top of their field. However, sometimes they find themselves trapped in a race of price.

How do you win the customer when your competition offers a price that is unacceptably low for the service you offer?

Here are two strategies that I give to our clients so that they can retain their premium price tag and exceptional standards.

Strategy 1: Prioritise being the best athlete, not the most attractive one

One of my clients used a very clever phrase on one of our group coaching calls: “You can have fast, brilliant, cheap. Choose 2.”

That quite succinctly summarises this first strategy: you need to get them to see that the value you are offering is worth compromising on the “cheap” part, by showing you are actually giving the best results.

The fastest runners haven’t become champions by cutting costs. They’ve trained hard, and they’ve invested in their equipment, their coaching, and their personal health. They recognise that the value of buying the best shoes is worth the monetary cost. They recognise that the value of training every day is worth the cost of spending that time becoming stronger instead of watching TV or playing a video game. They recognise that the value of eating healthy is worth the cost of not satisfying the immediate gratification that less-than-healthy food would offer.

Here’s a framework that may give some additional clarity:

Value = Benefits – Costs

The benefits here are all the services you are providing to your clients. The issues that you are pre-empting for them and solving for them.

The costs here are what they have to give you or give up to receive those benefits. This can come in the form of money but could also be other ways – time, effort, headspace etc.

When you can demonstrate clearly that you understand your customers emotionally, what they are suffering with, and that your solution will resolve it, it becomes clear to them why you are better than any cheaper competition.

A clear understanding of the costs from their point of view demonstrates understanding of the customer’s position, and then they are more willing to accept that the value of what you are offering is worth that cost.

What’s the bottom line? Demonstrate that the benefits you offer are worth the cost. Focus on value, not price.

Strategy 2: Take yourself out of the running

The 500m relay runners won’t be compared to a 100m sprinter and neither of them will be compared to a marathon runner.

So, when you think you are locked in a battle of price with your competition, then maybe it’s not about proving you are better than them, but that you are something else entirely.

Change the frame of reference – show you are not actually running the same race as the competition they are comparing you to.

Your prospect’s previous service provider – and your competition – have been working within a certain framework. They have set up certain ‘service level agreements’ (SLAs).

If you want to distinguish yourself from them, then detail out the benefits of your service and lay out an SLA that is something entirely above and beyond anything your competition offers.

This then takes your prospect away from comparing you to the competition and instead allows you to have an independent conversation with your prospect.

The decision from the customer point of view is then no longer centred on the price, but instead on what you are actually offering them. This makes it easier, really, to engage in the first strategy above – because they are focused on the “benefits”, not the “costs” part of the equation already.

What’s the bottom line? Show how different your service is so that comparing you to the ‘competition’ looks like comparing apples and oranges.

Are you ready now to strap on your running shoes and get ahead of your competition? Do you have any other ideas on how to stand out against cheaper competition? Let us know in the comments below.

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3Cs to Improve Your Conversion Rate

There are a few powerful levers that you can use to achieve sustainable business growth. However, there is one lever we focus on most often during our business coaching sessions, because it’s relatively easier to get results from.

That is, your conversion rate. When it comes to your sales process and improving your conversion, your most important tool is the question. But what questions are the ones that are going to improve your sales?

In this video I go over 3 key elements that every sales person needs to focus on in order to achieve solid improvement in conversion rates.

Questions are a tool, but the best sales people are the ones who know how to wield them expertly. If you start to think more carefully around this 3C framework when developing your sales process, you can build a much more powerful set of questions.

While having a list of killer sales questions will give you a great result already, when you carefully cover Connection, Competence and Control with your questions, you can push your sales up to the next level and achieve business growth in a very real and sustainable way.

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

One of the things we really focus on with our clients is sustainable business growth. And the lever that is usually in focus to achieve that business growth is ‘conversion’ because it’s a relatively easier lever to focus on compared to other levers which also lead to growth.

The 3C Framework

Now there are three key elements which I want to share with you which result in solid conversions in the business, which you might want to jot down and it’s a 3C framework. So the first C is Connection. The second is Competence and the third is Control. In the sales process to achieve the right level of conversions. The salesperson needs to have the right level of connection, needs to show the right level of competence, and, very importantly, needs to have the right control over the sales process.

Your Most Powerful Conversion Tool

We can go a lot deeper into this topic, but I want to again share with you just one simple thing, which is the most powerful tool to ensure there is the right level of connection, competence and control and that powerful tool is questions. Now what I’ve seen very often is that salespeople are either pitching, talking too much, or trying to build lots of connection but are too scared to go into competence zone or control zone or they’re not asking the right level of questions or the right number of questions, of the right nature, to ensure that all these three elements are falling in place without over-doing or under-doing any one of them.

Conversion Questions for ‘Connection’

Generally speaking, the nature of questions to build that connection is more open-ended – is a little bit more relaxed. So it’s like:

  • “Tell me for how long have you been doing this?”
  • “How did you get into this in the first place?”

You’re just trying to understand and they are a little more relaxed and open-ended.

Conversion Questions for ‘Competence’

To show competence, the nature of questioning changes. Here you’re asking a lot more specific questions, the technical questions to understand your client’s operations, their business, or their requirements. And because of the nature of questions, the prospect gets the sense that you know your subject – you understand where you are coming from and where they are coming from.

Here you need to think about the specificity of the questions vs. fluffy questions. Because nobody likes fluffy questions as far as the competence is concerned.

Conversion Questions for ‘Control’

When it comes to control, remember just by asking questions the person is in control, you are in control of the whole sales process whether you’re building connection or you’re building confidence. But again there are certain questions to be asked to make sure that there are no surprises happening for you and your sales process. Things like:

  • “Who are the decision-makers in your business?”
  • “So what’s your procurement process?”
  • “What are the other options that you’re looking at?”
  • “Have you worked with someone like this before?”
  • “What’s that kind of timeline you have in mind?”

So again, just by asking these questions you’re trying to pre-empt all the possible reasons of delay and you’re also staying in control.

So remember one thing. It’s Connection, it’s Competence, and it’s Control. And the best way to get these three elements working for yourself in the sales process is by asking the right kind of questions. Knowing when to be open-ended, knowing when to be very specific, very technical, and knowing when to be in control to pre-empt the possible issues of not being able to close the sale because at the end of the day what we want is a strong conversion rate rather than leaving money on the table. We would want that money to be in the business and a chance for us to serve the potential client through the business.

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How To Decide If Business Networking Is Right For You

It’s something we business owners are constantly sold: networking is essential for gathering leads. But is networking really worth it for everyone?

Let’s dig a little deeper into business networking and let me walk you through how to decide whether it actually makes sense for you and your business.

Are Your Customers or Clients There?

Before you begin considering ANY marketing channel at all, the first step is to be very clear who your Avatar is (our Avatar Creator Toolkit may be helpful for that).

If (and only if) you are really clear about that and you also know for sure that your avatar is likely to congregate at the networking event you are considering, then yes – go for it. It becomes a no-brainer when you know who you are able to help and exactly where they are going to be.

However, if you are attending networking just because you FEEL like networking makes sense – then you need to more carefully assess whether this is the BEST thing for your business. And 9/10 times, you should almost definitely not be networking as a priority.

I’ve known many business owners who have been wasting an incredible amount of time – breakfast meetings, after work drinks, dinners – going to ‘network’ with people who not only fail to fit their avatar but aren’t even logical alliances! It’s a waste of time and incredibly inefficient.

Not All Business Networking Events Were Made Equal

There is a kaleidoscope of business networking events out there, and each have different demographics in attendance. And, oddly enough, often the ones that are marketed at you directly may not actually have your avatar attending – because they’re targeting you not your avatar (unless, of course, the two coincide!)

Find networking events specifically crafted for your avatar and go there. Better yet, get into those events as an authority in your field (do a presentation, or sponsor the event) so you get more visibility and are easier to approach.

Don’t just attack every networking event you come across. Be discerning.

Focus On Your ROI

Promoters of networking events will hardly ever talk about your return on investment on coming to their event. That’s because, generally, there is no immediately clear way to measure the return.

That doesn’t mean you chalk it up to a ‘fuzzy’ channel with ‘potential’. We don’t work that way here. We make sure there are some clear numbers we are looking at to make decisions about whether it’s worth your time and money – you just need to be smart about it.

Let’s say you are attending a networking event that requires you to meet every week in the morning for about 2-3 hours, and then you also end up spending another 2-3 hours during the week doing extra networking with this group. That’s approximately 5 hours of your work week being devoted to networking.

Compare this to 5 hours a week spent on your Google Adwords account, or on refining your email marketing strategy, or devising a clever direct mail strategy. How do you compare the return? Is the result from networking really covering this time-cost in the same way?

If you think it MIGHT, but you have no actual data yet, then you do need to test and measure – and collect that data!

Build a dashboard that’s specific for your networking activity. Count the number of contacts you collected at each event. Track what the result has been from those contacts (“No. of clients referred” maybe? “Become a customer” maybe?). Record time invested on the sheet.

Then you can begin to track exactly how useful each event has been in real terms. And once you are tracking, you can start to spot how to refine your method so that you target only the most useful events and limit your time investment to get the most out of your networking.

Business Networking Is An Add-On Not Bedrock

In my opinion, it is rare to find any business where networking is going to give you any greater than 20 or 30% of your business, if even that. So, unless your business is an extreme exception, it is usually a good additional strategy to an already churning marketing machine – not a strategy that will facilitate immediate business growth.

If you are looking to grow big and grow fast, networking is not usually an effective main strategy for that. However, if you are an already large business seeking to open more channels and diversify your marketing, then networking may be an option. Just keep a tight rein on the resources you are dedicating to it and, again, be discerning.

Using Networking For Authority Building

I did touch on this earlier in the article: business networking can be useful in your wider marketing strategy not as direct lead generation but as authority building, by being present and visible where your avatar is congregating.

This, however, is a very ‘fuzzy’ result that is hard to measure. However, it may not be one to overlook, especially if you are reaching a point where you are becoming a leader in your field. Networking with the other movers and shakers in your industry can potentially be a good way to build credibility and garner thought leadership – most especially if you have the opportunity to present or do some training at the networking event.

Be The Host Instead of the Attendee

To the purpose of being an industry leader – if you think your avatar truly loves to network, why not craft your own networking event for them? That way you can get both authority building AND lead generation – and you have more control over the quality of the leads because you get to market it directly to your own avatar.

Of course, be aware that hosting a networking event yourself comes with a lot of extra work. You need to book a venue, decide on refreshments, market the event, coordinate with attendees, clean up afterwards etc – and that’s all on top of the marketing, selling, and follow up you’re planning to do!

If you have a strong team to assist with this, then it may not be as much of an issue. But if you’re a small, agile team, that may (almost certainly will) distract from the channels that are giving you the bulk of your business – which isn’t a smart move if you are looking at more immediate profit growth.

Of course, every business is different, and while networking may be an essential element for some, it is not for most. So it is worth being a bit more rigorous with determining whether networking makes sense or not for your business.

Have you had success through networking? Share your story in the comments below!

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The Retention Formula: R x R

“Business growth is all about lead generation.” I’ve heard marketers say this a lot.

Developing a sales and marketing machine to get a predictable and sustainable lead flow is important. But if you really want to grow a sustainable business, then it’s not just about getting new clients. It’s about retaining the clients that we already have.

In this video, I’m going to explain a formula to help you create some focus and help you do this even better.

So how are you going to improve your customer retention strategy? Will you communicate your results to your clients better? Will you foster your relationships more strongly?

Maybe 2018 should be the year that you create a calendar of relationship touch points to keep more of your customers than any year before.

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 how to have a sustainable growth in your business. Now when I’m working with my clients there is a lot of focus on sales and marketing machine and how to systemized their growth. So as you can see on the chart here we have a lot of discussion going around the whole topic of acquisition. How do we make sure that the pipeline is buzzing with the right kind of leads? And obviously there is a good conversion process in place, but at the same time there is a lot of focus on this topic as well which is retention because I totally believe in this. That to grow a sustainable business, to have a sustainable business, it’s not just about acquiring new clients but it’s really important that we retain the clients that we have.

Now I want to talk a little bit about this one, which is the retention of clients and how does that happen? How can you do that effectively in your business? So you might want to write this down, it’s a very simple formula which is Retention = R x R, okay? And it’s times. So it’s a powerful formula. Now the first R stands for results and it’s in no order of priority, it’s just to say that the first R stands for results and the second R stands for relationship.

So what we’re really talking about here is Retention = Results x Relationships and what that means is that if you want to retain your clients it’s really important that you deliver on the promises that you have made to them, which is about the results. And what I’ve seen many times in the business world is that business owners are very passionate, very hard working, and they’re trying their very best to actually deliver the results for their clients. But what goes missing is the communication, the right kind of communication to the clients and also the second thing which is actually seeking constructive feedback from their client saying how can they do better. You know what’s what is it that the clients are actually liking about them.

So under results if you could just make two notes which is, how are you communicating enough? Are you communicating the results that you’re getting for your clients to them? And the second thing is are you actually consciously seeking constructive feedback in a structured way for your clients? Everything might be great, but you need to give them a platform to communicate any concerns any thoughts or any well done is to you.

Now talking about the second one which is the relationship and again I’ll say the way I see it which is a lot of good intentions out there. Business owners want to actually take care of their clients. They feel good about them. You know they think about them a lot. But the point really here again is that how are you showing it? How are you expressing it? What are you doing in a very concrete in a granular way to strengthen that relationship again and again and again and again, because remember if you’re not doing that then there are many competitors out there who want to have an entry with your client and it just takes, you know, one bad servicing or someone just making an extra effort. And there you go just getting that client back is such a hard job. So make sure that you’re not just thinking about strengthening the relationship, but actually you have some form of hospitality calendar. And again for all clients we truly as I’m working with clients we really focus on the 80-20 clients who are the top 20 percent of the clients who are contributing to 80 percent of their business. And especially for them the whole idea is to have a have a hospitality calendar quarter by quarter where all the touch points. It could be just a phone call. It could be a nice postcard. You know a book, a game, just going out for lunch or dinner.

It’s not about how expensive or inexpensive the act is. It’s about actually making an effort and translating that into the real thing for your client to show that yes that relationship means a lot to you and you are really the best. At the things that you are doing for them. Because remember, Retention = Results x Relationship.

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The Powerful Opening Gambit in Power Negotiation

During the first quarter of the year especially, as a business owner you may find yourself positioning and negotiating prices with suppliers and clients.

The ones who are going to be most successful are those who have learned the gambits of power negotiation. Not just negotiation, but power negotiation.

Let me explain what power negotiation means, and share with you the powerful opening gambit that savvy business owners are using on the negotiating table…

This strategy is just one of the many power negotiation techniques that I have been teaching to my clients. These strategies are usually extremely simple, but many business owners just haven’t been told yet that they exist.

A few simple changes and you could be picking up money that’s being left on the negotiating table.

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’m going to talk about today is Power Negotiation. In fact, just this week, I had a very interesting workshop with my clients where we discussed how to go about negotiating with suppliers with clients, because as you can imagine being the start of the year, there are suppliers who are positioning price increases to clients or vice versa. So one needs to be comfortable with the whole negotiation, understand the strategies, the gambits, the moves.

Difference between Negotiation and Power Negotiation

So the workshop was pretty cool, I wish I could cover all the strategies that we talked about, but I do want to talk about one core, fundamental, in fact opening gambit that you need to be aware of. And again, it’s very simple, very common sense scope, but many people miss out on this. So first things first, the difference between negotiation and power negotiation is, basically, in both you have to win at the negotiating table, that is the objective. But in power negotiation, you make the other person feel that they have actually won. So it’s the feeling that you leave the other person with, right? So they should want to actually come back and negotiate more with you, though you’re the one who has actually met his or her objectives. So that’s the first thing.

Now in power negotiation, the first bidders that always ask for more than expected, that’s the first thing. That’s the first thing, and I’m sure you’ll be like “Yeah, that’s how it should be.” Now, the question really is, how much more? Right? Now for that to happen, you need to understand something called “Bracketing”.

What is Bracketing?

Now for Bracketing to come into function, again, another rule in power negotiation is that you have to ensure that it’s the other person who is stating his or her position to you first. That’s really important, because if that’s not happening, then pretty much you will lose out in the negotiation process. So for example, there is a buyer who is willing to pay, say, twenty thousand for your service. Ok? Just as an example. Wherein in your mind you knew that you should be looking at around twenty four thousand and now you have made the buyer state his or her position, and the person has told you that he or she is willing to pay twenty thousand pounds for your services, but you want to be at twenty four thousand. So that’s the first step.

Then you need to bracket your position. What that means is, that now what you state, your opening position should be equally distant, in the direction where you want to be, right? So in this case the difference between where you want to be and the price that’s been offered by the buyer is four thousand, so you go in the other direction, four more thousand, which is twenty eight thousand, right? So your opening position becomes twenty eight thousand and now the negotiation range is from twenty thousand to twenty eight thousand. If you are following the gambits, and the right moves, and the right strategies, then most probably you’ll land somewhere very close to twenty four thousand, hopefully on a higher side.

So I hope that makes sense. That why it’s important to make the other person state his or her position first, because if that doesn’t happen you cannot bracket. And how you need to bracket your own objective, and then let the game begin.

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