3Nov/140

Protect Your Turf by John Warrillow

Posted by WABC

JohnWarrillow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four ways to help your client protect their turf

John Warrillow is the founder of The Sellability Score, a tool business coaches use to help their clients understand what drives a company's value.

Warren Buffett famously invests in businesses that have what he calls a protective “moat” around them – one that inoculates them from competition and allows them to control their pricing.

Big companies lock out their competitors by out-slugging them in capital infrastructure investments, but smaller businesses have to be smarter about how they defend their turf. Here are four ways that you can help your client deepen and widen the protective moat around their business:

 

Certification

Is there a certification program your client could take to differentiate their business? A Canadian company that disposes of radioactive waste decided to get licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It was a lot of paperwork and training, but the certification process acts as a barrier against other people jumping into the market and competing.

Discuss with your client the possibility of certification or training that would make it more difficult for other companies to compete.

 

An army of defenders

Ecstatic customers act as defenders against other competitors entering your market, a factor that has enabled companies like Trader Joe’s to defend their market share in the bourgeois bohemian (bobo) market, despite a crowded market of stores hawking groceries. Work with your client to create strategies that will ensure great WOM from customers; word-of-mouth is still the best form of advertising.

 

Getting customers to integrate

Is there a way your client can integrate their product or service into their operations?

The basic switching costs of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are virtually nil. Everyone from 37signals to Salesforce.com will give you a free trial to test their wares.

The real expenses associated with changing CRM software only come when a business starts to customize the software and integrate it into the way they work. Once a sales manager has trained his salespeople in creating a weekly sales funnel in a CRM platform, try to convince him to switch software.

 

Becoming a verb

Think back to the last time you looked for a recipe. You probably “googled” it. Part of Google’s competitive shield is that the company name has become a verb. Now every time someone refers to searching for something online, it reinforces the competitive position of a single company.

Is there a way your client could control the vocabulary people use to refer to their category or specialty?

Widening a company’s protective moat triggers a virtuous cycle: differentiation leads to having control over pricing, which allows for healthier margins, which in turn lead to greater profitability and the cash to further differentiate one’s offering.

If your client is wondering how differentiated their businesses is, they can take the

13-minute Sellability Score questionnaire and find out. Differentiation is one of the eight key drivers of sellability.

 

__________________________

John Warrillow is the founder of The Sellability Score, a tool business coaches use to win clients and deepen their relationship with existing customers. John is the author of Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You. Between 1997 and its acquisition by The Corporate Executive Board (NYSE: CEB) in 2008, John Warrillow led Warrillow & Co., an advisory firm providing marketing advice for reaching the Small & Medium Business (SMB) market segment to companies such as American Express, Apple, Bank of America, Dell, eBay, Google, IBM, Microsoft, RBC Royal Bank, Sprint, VISA, and Wells Fargo. John has been recognized by B2B Marketing as one of the top 10 Business-to-Business marketers in the United States.

 

 

 

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
18Apr/130

The Etiquette Leader Outclasses the Competition: A Tale of Successful Transformation

Posted by Kelly-Lee Mansi

By Kelly-Lee Mansi

The Business/The Organization

The story of The Etiquette Leader is an inspiring account of small business success. In fewer than five years, Louise Fox has become one of Canada's most sought-after experts in the arena of children's etiquette and international and business protocol. Her company, which offers seminars across Canada and the United States, is poised for even greater expansion in 2007.

Louise's original company, Louise Fox, Protocol Solutions, was a successful and well-recognized resource for business leaders and adults interested in improving their etiquette skills. In 2006, Louise acquired The Etiquette Ladies, which was comprised of the Children's/Youth/Teens' and Social IQ Programs division of The Civility Group.

The Partnership

When the opportunity to acquire The Etiquette Ladies presented itself, Louise recognized an excellent chance to expand her company into new markets, and she purchased the division. A few months prior to the acquisition, Louise had met Executive Leadership Coach Kelly-Lee Mansi at a business networking function. Despite Kelly-Lee's 'pitch,' Louise didn't truly understand the value of business coaching. After all, she was already very successful. Why would she need a business coach?

Only a few months after the acquisition, when Louise began to experience 'entrepreneurial overwhelm,' she met Kelly-Lee at another networking function. When Kelly-Lee asked how the acquisition was going, Louise began to share the overwhelm she was experiencing. Kelly-Lee offered to meet Louise for a complimentary coaching session. Fifteen minutes into that session, Louise realized exactly what a business coach could do for her, and immediately hired Kelly-Lee.

The Challenge

The hallmark of Louise's entrepreneurial overwhelm was a complete lack of direction. Louise, who was experienced at building businesses from scratch, was totally out of her comfort zone when it came to integrating two established businesses. Louise shares her perspective regarding this challenge:

"When you are the sole proprietor, business decisions that are often difficult become even more so when you are expanding. I felt I needed a coach to serve as a sounding board—someone who could help me focus, establish priorities, create a vision for the future, determine what I wanted and where I wanted to go with my business while, at the same time, could help me to achieve  balance in my life."

The Approach

The first phase of the coaching focused on helping Louise regain control over her business. Louise had underestimated the cost of the acquisition venture, and when Kelly-Lee conducted some basic business assessments, the most powerful exercise was determining how much profit Louise was generating. Louise was shocked to discover that she was actually losing almost $1,000 a week. This information was a powerful catalyst and motivator, transforming Louise into a decisive, critical thinker. She quickly identified all the programs and activities which were contributing to the weekly loss.

Louise and Kelly-Lee then focused on the soft-skill competency areas of decision-making, prioritization and time management. To effect necessary changes, Louise had to clarify what she wanted to achieve and how she would achieve it. She needed to shift her perspective about her relative value and embrace the ROI (return on investment) mindset.  Her new approach paid off almost immediately. Louise says,

"The challenge was taking the time to focus and establish a plan instead of fighting fires, procrastinating, and letting the business run me instead of my running the business. I had to make decisions about contracting out the jobs that I disliked which could be easily accomplished by someone else. I learned to say no to requests or ideas that were not profitable, weren't part of the strategic plan, or didn't fit into the vision I had for the company."

At the same time, new business strategy development gave birth to a new entity, The Etiquette Leader, which was comprised of two divisions—Children's Etiquette and Business Etiquette. Strategic exercises included defining the vision, mission and purpose statements for each division. A two-year business, branding and marketing plan for each division was completed. Louise comments:

"Although initially it was hard work to develop and create a vision and a strategy to accomplish it, once that was done, everything else seemed to fall into place much more easily. Decisions were easier to make, and there was less stress overall."

The final phase of the coaching focused on re-examining the previously existing business strategies, revenue streams, and profitability within The Etiquette Leader's two divisions. This last step was critical to ensure congruence with the new strategic plan.

Value Delivered

Within nine months of working with Kelly-Lee to overcome her entrepreneurial overwhelm, Louise boasted some impressive results. She:

  • Not only recovered the purchase price of the new company, but also posted an overall increase in combined profitability of 195% over the previous year;
  • Implemented an expansion strategy, which includes the scheduled Fall 2007 launch of a new residual-based affiliates program into Canada and the United States;
  • Reduced overhead costs by 95% by eliminating physical inventory and offering all materials and products through website purchasing and downloading; and
  • Increased media visibility by 400% through an aggressive marketing and branding  campaign. Louise is now one of the most sought-after etiquette experts in Canada, currently averaging three media engagements per week.

Louise has also reinvented the Children's Etiquette division of The Etiquette Leader. Traditionally, the children's etiquette business has been centered around small etiquette parties, averaging a net profit of $20.00 per event (that's not a typo!). Instead, Louise is focusing on writing children's etiquette books and merchandising their distribution throughout Canada and United States. The Eti-CatTM brand will be launched during the fourth quarter of 2007, with a two-year profitability target of 35-40% of the Children's Etiquette division's gross revenues.

Finally, how does Louise feel?

"When you are more focused and less stressed, you are able to think more creatively, feel much happier generally, and achieve the necessary balance in your life. It creates a very positive cycle. Going forward, the challenge will be to sustain the focus and integrity of the vision, while maintaining my flexibility and creativity."

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2007, Volume 3, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Kelly-Lee Mansi, PCC, CHRP, is the founder and president of Courageous Conversations, a coaching company focusing on 'Uncovering the Brilliance WithinTM.' Courageous Conversations concentrates on executive, leadership, business and mentor competency development. Read more about Kelly-Lee in the WABC Coach Directory. Kelly-Lee can be reached by email at kellylee@courageousconversationsinc.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
10Jan/130

Social Media Mania

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

Social Network Building: A Whole New Approach to Building New Coaching Client Relationships

By Dean R. DeLisle

When you log into a social networking site, it seems very new to most of us. In fact, we just feel lost. Most of us are used to the good old-fashioned process:

  1. Attend an event or get an introduction
  2. Get the card
  3. Connect with the person
  4. Schedule a meeting
  5. Submit a proposal
  6. Close the business
  7. Ask for a referral

Now while we conduct this old approach, we want you to take a fresh approach using the knowledge you have gained to this point.

The goal is still the same! Get the meeting, provide an amazing proposal, close the business, then get a referral and repeat the cycle.

However, we want you to learn two new techniques to get you there quicker. One is a new best practice for when you meet a targeted prospect, and the next is a proven method to getting targeted, closable appointments.

Building Your Network Consistently

Amazing things happen fast when we do them on social networks as opposed to the old way. With the old way, we get the business card, enter the info into our email system, phone, or if we are really efficient, a contact manager or CRM system. What we would like you to do is a network building practice that will pay off tenfold, using just one of your social network accounts. For the example below, we will use LinkedIn, however this will work with most interconnected social networks on today's market; only the numbers will vary based on the size of the network.

Let's assume that LinkedIn still only has about 60,000,000 active members at the publishing of this article. With that in mind, when we connect it's like adding conservatively 1,000 targeted, like-minded contacts into your system. The reason is degree of separation. On average with LinkedIn, we find the following formula to be very consistent.

1st Degree: If you have 90 direct connections (these are people you know directly that you are connected to), it is equivalent to entering these contacts directly into your contact management system.

2nd Degree: Based on average user counts, you should have roughly 15,000 to 20,000 connections that your first degree contact can introduce you to or that you can effectively see to use your own approach.

3rd Degree: Based on the same average user counts, you should now have 1,600,000 to 2,400,000 connections that can turn into introductions.

Using these rough conservative formulas, this means if you have one contact whom you meet at a networking event, speaking event, business meeting, or just casually, you can then determine whether that person is a good prospect for your business coaching. Once you take the time to enter them into your social network (like LinkedIn), then you will have just picked up about 17,000 3rd degree connections just by adding that one person. Now of course these numbers will vary based on the person's connectivity level, but keep in mind it is conservatively the equivalent of adding only 1,000 targeted like-minded contacts to your system. This gives you a margin of error by 16,000 bad connections that your contact has made, which we typically see is highly unlikely!

Getting the Appointment

So you have your core contacts, and now you have visibility and "access" to their contacts. Now, let's get to the appointments!

There are several techniques, though the most important thing is to make sure you don't just barge into someone's network too quickly. We highly recommend the safest approaches first.

  1. Ask for a recommendation from the person you are connected through
  2. Directly compliment/congratulate them on a visible accomplishment, such as an article, promotion, or press
  3. Ask them for advice on a relevant topic
  4. Join a group or sub-community in common

These are value-based techniques that will allow you easier access and a more secure method than just blindly jumping into their network.

Once you have established a relationship, it is more appropriate to invite yourself into their network. Nevertheless, as a best practice, we recommend waiting until some level of relationship is built.

Summary

In this business coaching industry, our job is to help people, so building a large network is not always necessary. In fact, many of the coaches that we coach are very successful with working on quality rather than quantity. Whichever type of social network you choose to build, just make sure you have a method by which to communicate and build on the relationships you have worked so hard to secure.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Dean R. DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
1Nov/120

How to Use Online Social Networks to Grow Your Coaching Practice

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

By Dean R. DeLisle

It's not a new way of doing business; however it's a brand new way of acquiringnew business. It's the Online Social Network phenomena. We often see many of our coaches come through and ask us point blank, "Can I really grow my coaching practice using Online Social Networks?" Our answer is always consistent—yes!

Mindset

Then, of course, comes the "how" question. We begin by telling them that it's similar to when we are coaching: it all starts with the right mindset. First of all, make sure you are ready to do some new things. It's like when you take that bold move to switch from a conventional cell phone to a Blackberry® or iPhone—you want to make sure you are ready to commit. Just like that example, when you make the change, you accept the change, and when you work with the change, it works for you. However, I always repeat this: only when you commit to it are youreally making the change!

Social Networking

Now that our coaches are ready for something new, we tell them that they already know how to do most of this. They look puzzled and we continue to explain. Remember when you first started out in business and you joined a chamber, network club, private club, leads club, association, or even a health club? You most likely did this because you wanted to connect and network with "like-minded" people, people who had something in common, whether it was at a career level, industry level, belief level, health level, or charity level. Then, based on that foundation, you built trust and connected to those with whom you found similarities, who you liked, or who you would consider doing business with until given a reason not to.

The Right Club

Online Social Networks function the exact same way. So let's go through the basic steps of being successful with what you already know. First and foremost, find a club or social network that you think will be the most successful with your "like-minded" people. We recommend you ask those you respect and find out where they hang out. Most of our coaches gravitate toward LinkedIN, as it has a very professional flavor and maintains a high level of integrity with its members. However, you have to like your "club" and Online Social Network, so make sure you know others who are there as well.

Your Image

After you have made your choice(s), make sure you are ready to complete a full profile. Do not skimp here, for if you are complete and relevant to what your website and articles say, and connect this to your coaching practice, the networks will typically do a ton of work for you. Make sure you don't leave anything relevant out of your profile.

Some key areas NOT to overlook in your profile:

  • Picture
  • Full Professional Description
  • Professional Postion(s)
  • Board Position(s)
  • Charity Affiliation(s)
  • All Education
  • Military Background
  • Awards and Certifications
  • Special Interests and Hobbies

Remember, when you fill these out, do not cut and paste the old stuff. Make sure you are extremely current and relevant. We also recommend that you freshen up this area quarterly as you progress with your practice. You are likely to expand your methods, techniques, accomplishments, and approach-update this information on your profile. You might also speak differently depending on the ever-changing economic climate. This will begin to build your Internet footprint and as we like to say, your eReputation!

Your Hard Work

We are not really sure why, but it seems that everyone always forgets their hard work. They write so much web content, articles, Powerpoints, speeches, emails, blogs, etc. and take so many pictures and videos that they actually forget to usethem. Take all this hard effort, your expertise, and your knowledge and extend your reputation to the network that is looking for you. This is the most common part overlooked. People forget to continuously post their hard work all over the Internet for people to find. The network you choose will most likely allow you to feature your items prominently for your new prospects to find.

Start Talking

Remember that social networking the "old way" or the "new way" only works if you are active. Just like everything else in life, you get out what you put in. Decide where you should go within your new Online Social Network and start talking. For instance, there are very relevant groups, subgroups, discussion boards, and blogs in which to partake. If you're new at this, you can simply jump into an existing conversation, making it easy and fun! If you are not sure or are hesitant, then watch others' conversations, responses, comments, and replies first, then begin when you are ready. However, do not wait too long, for while you were reading this article, someone already found a coach just like you because they responded to a post or answered a key question. Don't forget, people are on the Internet because they are "looking for answers"!

Acquire New Business

The last and very important step is that we are doing all this not only to build our reputation, but also to obtain new business, right? It is quite simple. Let's go back to the first section of this article and get back to what we know. Now take those people who find you online based on your complete and relevant profile, content, or expertise and conversations, and take that connection out of the online network to an offline phone call or even an appointment. How? Ask!

You will do fine from here!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 1). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 Dean DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.

 

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.