4 Steps to Effective Sales Communication


Every entrepreneur has to be a good salesperson. From pitching to investors to selling your product or service, getting people to understand the value you provide is a never-ending task. Of course not every great technician or business manager is a great sales person – so what do you do?

First, let’s look at how you’re selling right now:

On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being excellent, how would you rate your selling abilities? What about your confidence, effectiveness and success rate? If you have a sales team within your business, how well are they doing? Be honest with yourself on the number you decide – being honest about where you are will help you make the best improvements!

Now that you’ve decided where you are on the sales skills scale, take a step back. Anyone can improve in the sales arena, but if you are at a 7 or below, there’s a great opportunity for growth. And, of course, more sales means more success for you and your business.

The key to being an effective sales person always starts with communication. Consider this four-part process:

1. Establish trust between you and the person you’re selling to.

2. Ask meaningful questions to gain vital insight into what the other person needs and wants.

3. Share relevant information about the products, services and solutions you provide.

4. Reach an agreement on how to proceed.

This four-part process is often called READ: Relate, Establish needs, Advance solutions and Determine the next step. When selling is done right, both parties should come out better post-sale. The person receives a needed product or service and you make a sale. It should always be about helping people define or achieve a better future.

If you need a little help working on your communication skills or selling in general, look into The Growth Coach’s Sales Mastery program: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/BusinessCoachingServices/SalesMastery/tabid/19709/Default.aspx. This proven program is available through Growth Coaches across North America!

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What a Difference One Letter Can Make

This weeks blog comes to us from guest blogger Gary Hartman. Gary, who has more than 10 years experience as a business and sales coach, is the CEO and Head Coach at The Growth Coach in Boulder, Colorado. Gary works with business owners, managers and sales professionals to help them grow their businesses so they earn more and work less.

To learn more about Gary, visit his website at http://westernbusinesscoaching.com/

What a difference one letter can make

ghartman-hikingI was composing an email recently and came to the part at the end where I was asking the person to do something.  I was going to ask “Could you please…..”?  Instead, I decided to ask “Would you please…..”?  Now there’s a subtle difference, isn’t there?  If I asked Could, it leaves the decision entirely up to them…it’s about their choice.  If I asked Would, they can still choose but now I’ve made it a request – a little more about what I wanted.  In a polite way, it puts a bit more pressure on them to consider the request from my point of view as well as theirs.

Similar logic applies when you are thinking about doing something.  “I would…” dreams that maybe, at some point in the future, you might complete whatever it is.  No commitment, no deadline, and allows for a BUT… as a way to not do that.  “I could…” implies more desire, and also allows for a BUT, and that definition of the BUT obstacle allows for a plan of action to overcome it.  “I could…” subtly has the resolve to do it.

An example is about playing the piano (OK, so you’ve never dreamed of playing the piano, but work with me here).  “I would play the piano but I don’t have one”…end of story – let’s you off the hook.  “I could play the piano but I don’t have one”…begs the next question, “so what are you going to do about it”.  It leaves you with the demand for an action step to overcome that problem and get it accomplished.

What’s the point?  When you ask yourself if you would do something, think instead if you could do it.  Be like the little engine that Could!

For more about The Growth Coach, the #1 Business Coaching Franchise, visit http://www.TheGrowthCoach.com.

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Secrets to Success Part Three: Communication

CommunicationOver the course of our last two Growth Coach blog posts, we’ve been looking at the T.L.C.s of successful business management – Time, Leadership and Communication.

We’ve talked about how time is a truly limited resource and how successful business leaders delegate minor and de-prioritize minor tasks. We’ve also addressed that great leaders focus on ensuring that team members want to do what needs to be done to make a company more successful. The final element of TLC is Communication.

Being a great communicator is really like being an artist and the key  is speak with the purpose of expressing instead of impressing. We all know the individuals that just love to talk. They speak in terms which are often vague and sometimes meaningless. You can ask these people for the time of the day and suddenly you’re in the middle of a 30 minute lecture on how to build a watch. Speaking to impress builds gaps, speaking to express builds bridges.

Additionally, great communicators make sure they have earned the right to speak on any particular subject matter. It’s difficult to consul someone on a broken heart if you’ve never had one.

When communicating with your staff, subordinates, superiors, etc., remember that communication does not simply mean being understood, but also understanding others. Properly chosen words are a powerful tool and, if you can communicate those words with true passion, that’s more powerful still. Your audience may not remember everything you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

It has been said that the real art of communication is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Always make sure the things you say are said the way you mean them to be heard.

If you’re having trouble being the communicator of your business, consider one of our group workshops: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/TalkwithaCoach/tabid/389/Default.aspx.

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Secrets to Success Part Two: Leadership

LeadershipEvery business owner has their own tricks of the trade, but the essential skills they all need to master fall under T.L.C. – Time, Leadership and Communication.

In our last blog post, we looked at the challenges and solutions involved with time management. We talked about the importance of identifying minor tasks and trusting others to help you manage small jobs. This week, we’re going to talk about what it means to be a leader.

Leadership is more than being able to effectively manage your staff and the growth of your business. A true leader’s fundamental role has been – and shall continue to remain – making people capable of joint performance through common goals and values. The key to being a great leader is not to get people to do what you want them to do. It’s about getting those people to WANT to do what you want them to do.

One of the best ways to inspire that personal growth in your team is to make them feel appreciated and let them know how they are contributing to the whole of the team. Learn to praise in public and, if necessary, reprimand only in private. Make a practice of including your staff in the decision making process. Develop, set and exemplify common goals, shared values and simple, clear and unifying objectives to which everyone in the organizations can commit.

When your employees and team members feel like they are part of the success of your business and that their decisions make a positive impact on the company, they are more likely to put their best into their work every day.

If you are a larger organization, it’s also important to inspire your managers to be great leaders. If that’s an area where your team could use a little help, check out The Growth Coach’s strategic manager program: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/BusinessCoachingServices/StrategicManager/tabid/19708/Default.aspx.

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The Secrets to Success: T.L.C

TimeBusiness leaders around the world each have their own secrets to success – traits and skills they hold as being of the highest importance when it comes to running a successful business. Chandler Rasco, Franchise Adviser for The Growth Coach, believes most of those can be categorized under T.L.C – Time, Leadership and Communication.

We’re going to address each of those characteristics in a three-part blog series – starting with time. In order to be a successful business owner, or even a successful employee, you have to be able to juggle multiple projects, tasks and clients. Simply, you have to be a great time manager.

Time management is absolutely vital because it’s the only resource we have that’s genuinely limited. We can train to acquire new skills, we can make more money, we can gain more experience – but when the clock strikes 12, that’s it. Time is the scarcest resource and, unless it’s managed, nothing else can be managed properly.

That said, here’s the master key to effective time management: Do not major in minor things.

To be a great time manager, learn to separate major projects from minor ones. Do not focus on minor problems. Don’t stress over minor issues. Do not dedicate time to minor tasks. It’s important to learn to not confuse movement from achievement and activity for results. To make good use of your time, you have to identify what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got. And sometimes you have to trust others to handle your smaller tasks.

If focusing on the big issues in your business means delegating smaller tasks – or if you need a mentor to walk you through growing your business – reach out to your local Growth Coach: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/TalkwithaCoach/tabid/389/Default.aspx.

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“Becoming a Strategic Business Owners” and Other Must Reads this Summer

readBeing a business owner can be a tough career, especially if your business is small and not quite booming. It can feel impossible to do anything from hire employees to taking a vacation. Can your business even open if you have to call in sick?

Dan Murphy, the CEO and founder of The Growth Coach, knows what it’s like to be open and operate a small business. When he started business and sales coaching more than 20 years ago, it was with the goal of making sure other business owners and leaders have the systems to be successful while living a better life.

For those business owners and leaders who aren’t sure if they need business coaching – and for those who may just need a little inspiration – Murphy wrote the book Becoming a Strategic Business Owner. This book is available as a free download here: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Resources/FREEBusinessOwnereBook/tabid/1167/Default.aspx.

If you’re looking for additional books or resources to help you brush up on your business skills this summer, here’s a top 20 list:

Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt by Harvey Mackay

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks by August Turak

Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay

Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

Getting Everything You Can Out of Everything You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Lazy Person’s Guide to Success by Ernie Zelinski

Leadership is an Art by Max Depree

Life Strategies by Phillip McGraw

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

The Dip by Seth Godin

The Essentials of Business Etiquette by Barbara Pachter

The Power of Focus by Canfield/Hansen/Hewitt

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Kabani

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield

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Inbound Marketing Gains Momentum In Small Business

Glenn Smith

Glenn Smith

This week’s blog features a post written by Glenn Smith, the Owner and CEO of The Growth Coach in Houston, Texas.

Glenn is a member of The Growth Coach’s President’s Forum, is a mentor to new franchise owners and is a frequent speaker on the topics of leadership, business strategy, marketing and a wide variety of other business coaching-related subjects. He’s been recognized as the Coach of the Year by The Growth Coach and has received accolades for his work in his community. This year Glenn is serving as the Chairman-Elect for the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce for 2013.

This post was originally part of Glenn’s “Monday is for Marketing” series. You can read more from his blog at http://www.thegrowthcoachhouston.com/blog/.

Inbound Marketing Gains Momentum In Small Business

Research this year reveals that 60% of all businesses are using some form of inbound marketing. Are you? The research data (which is generously provided by Hubspot) also suggests that many (if not most) business owners still are not clear about what inbound marketing really is. Today in our Monday is for Marketing feature I want to dive into this topic and offer some help to small businesses.

Most people would agree that there has been a tectonic shift in marketing methodologies over the past 5-10 years. New forms of technology and media have changed the way consumers gather and consume information, including marketing messages and product/services information! This has led to the emergence of what is now being called “inbound marketing.”

This concept was popularized by Seth Godin in his 1999 groundbreaking book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers, although the term “inbound marketing” was not coined until 2005 by Hubspot’s Brian Halligan. Later, in 2009 Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott published the popular book Inbound Marketing: Getting Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.  Today both large and small businesses are catching on to this strategy and increasingly shifting their marketing efforts and budgets to inbound!

But what exactly is inbound marketing?

I like to think of inbound marketing as permission-based marketing. Inbound is where you first gain permission to market to the potential customer by delivering value before the sales opportunity!

Most traditional marketing is what Godin calls “interruption marketing.” This is where we buy, beg, or bug our way in front of people. This is typically what happens with most advertising (e.g. print ads, radio ads, TV ads, banner ads, etc.) In contrast, inbound marketing is where you reach out to potential customers and offer value in some way, typically through blogs, video (especially “How To” videos), ebooks, educational resources, free seminars, webinars, whitepapers, podcasts, free consultations, organic search, and social media.

Basically, by serving the potential customer in some way that adds value, we earn the privilege (and invitation) to market our products or services to them.

Now while inbound marketing is gaining momentum, the truth is that the majority of most marketing budgets are still going to traditional forms of advertising. However, inbound tactics are rising rapidly! Why? Because the research shows that inbound marketing leads generally have a much higher ROI. I’m seeing this with my own clients. Just last week one of my business owner clients shared with me that customers who come through “search” are significantly less expensive to acquire! Obviously he is now shifting more of his budget and attention to inbound strategies!

How does inbound marketing work?

Typically an inbound strategy has 5 components:

  1. Attract traffic
  2. Convert traffic into leads
  3. Convert leads into customers
  4. Turn customers into repeat, high-margin customers
  5. Analyze for continuous improvement

As a Texas based business coach I would like to help you. If you are in Sugar Land, Katy, or the Houston area and would like a complimentary 1-hour strategy session on how your business can leverage the power of inbound marketing, contact us or you can visit www.TheGrowthCoach.com to find a coach in your area. No pressure and no obligation. You can grow your business through inbound marketing!

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Celebrate Independence Day by Finding Freedom

flagWhen the founding fathers wrote our freedoms into the books, they intended for everyone to have the right for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That certainly should include business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs! In honor of Independence Day, take this opportunity to stand back and take steps toward finding the freedom to be successful at work while having time for life by figuring out what’s holding you back.

Here are five of the most common issues business owners and leaders face – and suggestions on what you can do.

Improve Your Business Systems:

Business systems are an important part of creating and effective, efficient and profitable business. Many owners aren’t sure how to design a good business system or how to re-design the one they already have and that means the policies and procedures that allow for a well-organized and smoothly running business are often not in place. This can easily cause an “out of control” feeling. Focus on examining your business systems and making gradual improvements over time. Make sure to also find ways to pass small tasks onto other members of your business team. If your business is too owner-dependent, it can hold you back!

Improve Your Leadership and Delegation Skills:

Many business owners forgo leadership for doer-ship because they know how they want things to be done and, as a result, end up micromanaging their staff. Instead of delegating tasks, they act like employees instead of owners. You need to make sure you have a business – not just a hectic job! Make sure you take the time to delegate small and unimportant tasks and work on trusting others. If you can ensure those smaller tasks to your staff and managers, you can avoid headaches and find more freedom.

Change Doing to Accomplishing:

Trying to be a chief-everything-officer means you’re spending time doing things instead of accomplishing things. Activity is not the same as accomplishment. Business owners often confuse busyness with business. Working harder will not yield results unless they start working smarter. Revise your working strategies and delegate with your staff to spend more time on the important things and less time on busy-work.

Business Complexities:

As a business grows, it inevitably becomes more complex and complicated. When the proper leadership skills and business systems aren’t in place, those complexities can cause a great deal of anxiety. All businesses experience some level of growing pains and the best solution is to create plans for that growing and evolving nature of business. Sit down with a coach, mentor or fellow business leader to discuss what plans, steps and directions you’ll take as your business continues to grow. Being caught off guard on big decisions can be stressful!

Too Technical:

Many business owners got into owning a business because they are great technicians – they have a passion for a particular skill or trade. However, that doesn’t mean we’re all great business owners. Skilled technicians and doers have a tendency to stay in their comfort zones. They continue to perform the tasks of a technician – and not a CEO. It’s not technical skill, but leadership and strategic skill that makes a business run smoothly. Seek training or assistance to learn those important business skills that will help you be successful.

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Growth Coach Ingar Grev Shares GM CEO Leadership Knowledge

2012 HeadshotWashington D.C. Growth Coach franchise owner Ingar Grev knows the world holds few great leaders – people who know how to turn around a company, save thousands of jobs and push a staff to the next level while creating a team focused on the future who can communicate with each other.

That’s why, when Grev found himself sitting next General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson at a Naval Academy awards dinner and the two hit it off over football and a discussion on leadership and business strategy, Grev saw an opportunity.

“At the end of the evening, I asked the Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk to snap our picture and, before we said our good-byes, I said, ‘Dan, I’m a volunteer blogger for the Washington Business Journal, a business coach, and I write on leadership and strategy topics. May I please interview you?’ He said sure … and he gave me 90 minutes over the phone – more than he gave any journalist,” Grev said.

The plethora of knowledge shared during that 90-minute interview was turned into a four- day article series recently published in the Washington Business Journal. The articles received some of the most reads for the website during that second week of June.

Here’s a selection from the first article, published on June 10th:

(Dan) was certain in 2009 that GM would be doomed to an existence of mediocrity as a result of the government’s stake. Easy money never produces great results. So, how did Dan transform GM with the cards stacked against the company?

I remember reading in the Wall Street Journal a while ago that Dan earned a reputation for asking hard-hitting questions while he served as the U.S. Department of Treasury representative on GM’s board of directors. He told me that “serving on the board for a year before taking over as CEO was a big advantage for me.” It helped him learn a great deal about the business and helped inspire him to accept the job of CEO.

That might prompt you to ask: “Accept the job? Who wouldn’t accept the job as CEO of GM?” Well, Dan for one. At the time, he was the fourth-largest equity holder at The Carlyle Group and didn’t need the job. Moreover, GM was saddled with a tremendous amount of political baggage, as well as some structural issues, that drove GM into the mess they were in. Dan could have just as easily said no and kept his board seat.

You can read the articles in their entirety here: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/2013/06/general-motors-ceo-daniel-akerson-can.html

To learn more about Ingar Grev, check out his website: www.ingargrev.com.

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What Do You Do For A Living?

This weeks blog features guest blogger Gary Hartman. Gary is CEO and Head Coach at The Growth Coach in Boulder, Colorado and has more than a decade of coaching experience. Gary works with business owners, managers and sales professionals to help them grow their businesses so they earn more and work less.

To learn more about Gary, visit his website at http://westernbusinesscoaching.com/

What Do You Do For A Living? 

ghartman-hikingIt’s a question we get all the time – what we do is an important part of who we are.  It can happen anywhere or at any time  – at a business event, at the weekend barbeque, at the kids soccer game.

What they are really asking is What Does Your Company Do and it’s a chance to make a connection with a potential customer (or maybe they know of someone who would make a great client).

So how do you make the best of this opportunity?

Last week we discussed What Sets You Apart, what makes you different than your competition.  Once you’ve got that figured out, you need to be able to effectively communicate that message when you get this open door.  You need to phrase it in a way people will understand and remember. (In fact, this applies not only to prospects but also to employees, mentors, bankers, strategic partners, etc.)

This is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and here are four simple steps to help explain what you do:

First, THE SECRET  – it’s all about the benefit to the listener.  Explain what your business does for customers…what is the end result of your service or product? Does it save money, make their life easier or give them new opportunities?

Keep it short, do it in one sentence. The old benchmark of the “elevator speech” assumed a minute or two on an elevator ride.  People don’t have that long of an attention span today – it’s said we have 7 seconds to engage or lose a person in conversation.

If you got their attention, they’ll want to know more.  Now you can get more specific – what is the problem you solve, and how do you solve it?

Lastly, give them an example.  It’s best if you can personalize it, make your story relate to the person you are speaking to.

In summary, don’t lead with your product or service.  Make it short, sweet and concise and you will generate enough interest or curiosity to make them want to find out more.

Need help getting this perfected?  We’re always available to talk.

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