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Tag business development

The guy who came in from the cold

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So you’ve got to hand it to them. The Red Cross do an awesome job both globally and locally. And the other day when they cold called for donations, my daughter (and boss) Julie wanted to give the guy a job. Because he was brilliant.

 

Cold calling is just about the world’s most terrifying part of being in sales. Up there with the fear of public speaking, most people would choose to do almost anything else if they could to avoid it. The fear of rejection is a huge thing. But this Red Cross guy, well he was all over it. Calling late one afternoon, he had Julie convinced he was one of our clients. Opening with a bit of general chit chat, Julie was primed to listen to what he said next. And of course he was after a donation. A donation to help fund a phone service where lonely people stuck at home get a daily call from a Red Cross volunteer. While a worthwhile cause, Julie responded by letting him know we have our own charitable arm. But he was ready for all the usual reasons why not and countered with some brilliant arguments that left Julie no where to go. ‘That’s okay, we can talk about your own individual contribution’. Following up with ideas of it being Julie’s Grandma stuck at home alone she just couldn’t say no.

 

So impressed by the brilliance of his call, Julie agreed to a donation.

And afterward wished she’d asked him if he wanted a job.

 

Cold calls are notoriously unpopular for both the caller and target. But there are ways to make the job so much more effective, leaving both parties with a good feeling. Stop thinking of them as cold calls for instance. Warm yourself up before you even begin. Smile, stretch and stand or sit in a power position. Get your own mindset set for success. Then pick up the phone and have a chat. Remember you’re talking to a person on the other end of the line. Imagine it’s a friend and your whole conversation changes for the better. Don’t script it. While it’s important to have some thoughts on what you want to say and how to counter objections, don’t just read it. Boring as bat shit and guaranteed to fail. And my favourite idea to counter the fear of rejection. Robert Smith suggests you lean into it. Set your target for ‘no’ responses rather than chasing the wins. As I see it, in chasing the ‘nos’ you’re under less pressure to get the ‘yes’s’ and guess what! You’ve overcome the fear and you’re enjoying yourself more which means you’re more likely to get the sale. It’s the law of reversed effect.

 

Cold calling tips aside, when was the last time you donated to a worthwhile cause? Or if finances don’t allow, how about lifting the spirits of someone you know by taking the time to call.

Bouncing Back

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So what do you do when you’re so successful that you’re limited by your own success?

Well known as THE hangover cure, Berocca have become so successful that they’ve positioned themselves into a corner. Getting back your B-B-Bounce after a big night out has become such a successful marketing campaign that their market has become limited to the brightsparks that drink themselves into oblivion on a regular basis. But what about the teetotallers or those who indulge occasionally but know when to stop short of the drink that will take them into tomorrow’s hangover?

I was watching a new Berocca ad on tv the other night and it’s a stroke of pure genius. Because whoever is driving their new advertising campaign has got it right. What do you do when your product is so successful that you’ve shot yourself in the foot? You get people to view the product in a different light. With just a slight shift in focus, Berocca is now being advertised as the perfect start to a high performance day. And with the option of a hit of Guarana for that extra kick, Berocca’s now got all bases covered. The hangovers and the high performers.

Sometimes a small shift is all that’s required to open up the market.

What’s your shift?

Get noticed!

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So you want to get your sales up? Time to get noticed and do something crazy. Just have a look at what some of the giants are doing this week.

Take McDonalds for example. Falling sales because people it seems are (finally) making better food choices. Not to mention the challenge of other competitors in the market stealing some of their market share. So what have they done? Well March 24, they launched a global campaign. Imlovinit took off with 24 different bits of fun in 24 cities around the world over 24 hours. If you were in Sydney you might have got the chance to jump in their giant ball pit in your business suit before being handed a free coffee. Then there was the pyjama party in Italy where people brave enough to be seen in public in their designer pjs (well it was Milan) got VIP treatment McDonalds style. In NZ Big Mac boxes got musical and played a tune when you opened the lid. A pop up library in Paris got attention from the small ones. And my personal favourite, Brazil… the ice ticket carved with the golden arches dispensed from a vending machine at the beach you had to redeem before it melted. Needless to say people were running to the store. Pure genius.

While back home in downtown Canberra we have the retail giant IKEA finally opening it’s doors. No more trips to Sydney to bring home the flat packs. And this week the big yellow letters on the bright blue store are the lead news item. But IKEA are leaving nothing to chance. They’ve done their research and they know exactly what Canberrans want in their homes. So they’re stocking the store and to guarantee the customers you can bet they’ve got a grand opening campaign on a massive scale in the making. It’s anyone guess what that could be. They’ve already done in-store weddings, in-store sleepovers, giant ‘rock-climbing’ walls made out of IKEA furniture. Crazy stuff and lots of fun. Guaranteed to get people interested. Guaranteed to get people excited. Guaranteed to get people wanting to buy.

In business, you’ve got to engage people. Because people buy for emotional reasons. All sorts of stuff and not necessarily because they need it or want it. But because they want to be part of the action. They want to belong.

So what sort of fun could you put together to get your business noticed?

How crazy are you prepared to be?

Shark Tank

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Have you seen Shark Tank? It’s got me hooked. And my GM (aka daughter Julie) tells me the US version is even better. Budding entrepreneurs who pitch their dreams to a panel of seasoned players who’ve made it big in the business world. It’s fascinating to watch as these guys learn what works… and what clearly doesn’t.

And while it’s important to know your numbers when you’re standing in front of a panel of potential investors, it’s equally important to know your market. What strikes me in watching this show is just how many people have failed to do their market research. Sure they might have a great product, but is anyone asking for it? In other words, do they even have a market. Take the coffee guy for instance. Obviously he loves his coffee. But how many kids are going to want espresso written across the front of their teddy bear?

In developing a new business idea one of the most important things to consider is what the market is asking for. What do your potential buyers actually want? What is it that will meet their need, fix their problem, take away their pain. And it may be that the brilliant idea you thought you had is actually not a goer at all. Because nobody really wants it.

Having your own business is the best way I know to break free of selling your time for money. But as Stephen Covey says ‘First things first’. Before you go throwing thousands of dollars at your great idea, check out what people are asking for. And if they’re not asking for your product, chuck it away now – and go get another one they really do want. Only then can you begin to develop it.

 

So what’s your big idea?

Have you done your market research?

The moral of the story

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I heard a baby boomer having a go at a young entrepreneur the other day. Money for nothing he called it. And he would see it that way. Because his beliefs blind him to the work that goes into developing your own business. The investment of time, energy, money, ideas. The cost and challenge of franchising.  The responsibility for everything. Not to mention the risk that it won’t work. But as a typical Aussie he is blinded by his work ethic and dislike for tall poppies. In his belief system, much easier, much safer, more morally right to sell time for money as he did. Talk about being imprisoned by your own thinking.

But this business has triumphed and is working very successfully making its young owner a great deal of money for all her hard work and efforts. And in the reward of these great profits, this young entrepreneur is perfectly placed to give something back to the community. Because she now enjoys a greater freedom of time and money for which she has worked hard. Which means she is free to share this with others.

The good news is this is happening on a global scale. Take the Pathway from Poverty programme in the States.  The giant IBM teaming up with a New York high school to help kids in poverty learn real life skills to take them into the workforce with starting salaries of $40K and a mentor to boot. An apprenticeship programme within the school curriculum. Smart huh! I heard they’re in the process of launching something similar in Australia. But it takes money and time to pull this off and that is something successful entrepreneurs have where government coffers may not.

And what about actor Paul Newman? He built an awesome business that continues to give millions to charities all around the world even after his death. Something like $USD 400 million to date. How many lives has that changed for the better?

When you think about the fact that in Australia alone stats show 60,000 low income working families in Australia go without meals and one million children go to school without breakfast or to bed without dinner every day I think we all have a moral obligation to be as successful as we can be so we can make a difference. Don’t you?

Where can you help out others through your success?

Where can you give back?

So you want to build a business

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We ‘wowed’ our Entrepreneurs Master Class this week. An awestruck audience watched on as we built an entire business in just two days.

That’s right. Just two days.

Well 26 hours to be exact.

It’s been a dream of mine for years to do this. And this week we made it happen. One of our clients with a business idea we transformed into reality in a matter of hours.

And I’m talking building a business from the ground up.

We didn’t even start with a business name. Brainstorming everything from scratch. The name, the logo, the domain, the youtube channel, twitter, facebook, website content, graphics. And in 26 hours it’s all up and running with the likes pouring in. We even managed to film and upload our first video and write an entire e-book.

Not bad for 26 hours work huh!

So the business is up and running and the list is already building. Needless to say we have one very happy client and a bunch of others signing up for the same.

It can be done.

And we just proved it!

So many people stuff around for ages trying to make this happen. Waiting ‘til things are perfect before making anything happen.

But is anything really ever perfect?

You could be waiting forever.

The secret… to gather together the collective creative genius of an awesome team. It makes the impossible possible. Peers, strategists, writers, designers, IT. And to buy what you don’t know. Because going it alone can cost you dearly in both time and money.

Most people think they need to build a business on their own. Jack of all trades and master of none. But we couldn’t have done it without the incredible support and skills of our brains trust.

So you want to start a business?

We’ve set the bar.

In October this year we’ll be taking sixteen budding entrepreneurs to Thailand. And in just ten days we’ll have sixteen businesses fully up and running.

Will yours be one of them?

Money Down the Toilet

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Sometimes I’m dumbfounded by how mind-blowingly stupid some people can be. But then we all have our moments don’t we.

Last week, my boss (yes I have one, she’s my daughter!) Julie searched Canberra for over 3 hours trying to find a very particular food. An import from the USA, hard to come by. And while she criss-crossed Canberra to track it down, it wasn’t until shop number 16 that she found it. A whole shelf-full. So, as anyone with any common sense would when you’ve searched this hard, she put the whole shelf-full in her trolley. After all, you can take the Costco mindset anywhere.

So far, so good. But on reaching the register, the checkout-chick was… how could we put this… somewhat confused and overwhelmed? Staring down the barrel of a great sale, she obviously couldn’t handle it. ‘Are you buying all this?’ She clearly thought Julie was nuts even after Julie explained this was the 16th shop she’d been to. ‘But I don’t know how to ring up a bulk discount’ was next. To which Julie reassured her she wasn’t asking for a discount. Quickly followed by ‘What if someone else wants to buy this?’ Julie was, needless to say, gobsmacked. Was this a business in the business of making money or not? After all, the sale was in the bag and you can always restock.

But the piece de resistance was the response to Julie’s comment about buying online if it was all too hard. And can you believe it… with the store manager beside her the check-out chick gave Julie all the details of the online stockist. You should have heard us as we all fell about laughing back at the office.

Talk about money down the toilet.

So who’s in your employ?

How do they think?

Do they have a business mindset?