Of all the things that will test your patience and resolve, change is perhaps the hardest to deal with. Yet change is the one thing in business that is constant. Change will always affect your business, be it changing tastes, changes in competition, changes in technology, or changes in the general economy. Sometimes that change may help your business, other times it will hurt it.
Imagine being in the video rental business in, say, 1984.
Gold Mine!! You could open a video store on any street corner for the cost of the videos and be profitable by the end of the month.
Imagine being in it in 2017.
Other than the very obvious problems of stretching themselves too thin, both from a cash flow and talent point of view, the number-one reason that causes second locations to fail is simply the lack of business systems. When an owner opens up a second store, he or she naturally assumes that the second store will be run just like the first. The only problem is they forget that you can’t be in two places at once.
Business methods and protocol that the owner takes for granted are not followed at the second store, or if the owner opens the second store, they soon go by the wayside at the first location. With systems, this cannot happen.
Adopt these seven resolutions and watch your business grow and thrive.
Resolution Number One. Spend the first hour of each day on marketing. Send emails, write letters, make phone calls—do something that has a chance to generate business! I would credit this one factor above all others in business success. If you just get in front of the right people every day, you have a chance to make a sale! Too many business owners are so busy being busy that they never have time to market! How much time do you spend on marketing per week—really spend?
Resolution Number Two. Spend at least three hours a week (more would be much better) working on your business, NOT in it! That means taking the time to write procedure manuals, business plans, and the other cornerstones of duplication and long-term success. Few people enjoy this, but it is a very important factor if you are ever going to maximize the potential of your business. The more systematized your business becomes, the easier it is to run and the more time you can spend making money or playing golf instead of putting out fires.
One of the most powerful objection busters in the business is the Feel-Felt-Found solution. It can be adapted to handle many different types of objections. When the prospect raises an objection, you listen attentively then follow up using these three steps:
1. “I understand how you FEEL.” This statement avoids being argumentative and takes prospects’ objections seriously. It tells them you were listening and shows that you do indeed have their best interests at heart.
2. Many of our clients FELT that way before they invested in our services. “For instance, Mr. Miller is in your line of work [church, age group, or other category].” This shows prospects that their concerns are valid and the fact that you name other customers they can relate to who had the same concern builds trust in you. “He worried about that but…”
3. What he FOUND was that… [your answer] there were lots of people with [concern]. However, his family enjoyed the club facilities, the contacts were valuable to his business, etc. Here are some examples that put all three steps together:
Don’t treat new customers or prospects better than old customers. It is very easy to fall into this trap and it’s a surefire recipe for the destruction of your reputation and your business. For example, it’s not unusual for a business to cut prices for new customers to attract their business while charging established accounts more money. All the explanations in the world are not going to change the mind of the existing customer that he is getting a raw deal.
A great way to make sure you are doing your best is to always act like your client has just told you she is considering another service. What would you do differently to try and keep that client from leaving? Well, first of all you would try to find out what was wrong, right? But let’s suppose there is nothing in particular, or at least nothing the client is willing to share with you, then what? In the karate business, we developed a five-step process for increasing customer loyalty when their interest started to wane.
It’s a sad fact of life that there is money, big money in just about every disaster. It takes little talent or foresight to make an easy 10, 20, or even 50 percent gain in a matter of months, weeks, or even days. Over a period of a year or two, there is almost no chance you won’t win big nine out of ten times.