The fourteen year-old girl stood tall and proud. She had been in this situation before and knew just what she needed to do. The referee handed her the soccer ball. She picked out the perfect piece of grass. The height was just right, and she placed the ball there. Confidently, she rotated the ball a few times until it sat just right.
As she stood up, she started stepping backwards. She took three steps and paused. The referee looked at the goalkeeper, then back at the field player, and blew his whistle. The girl looked down, never making eye contact with the goalkeeper. Then, she stepped forward and struck the ball. It sailed forward and into the upper left hand corner of the net.
Over a period of two days the competing teams had played five soccer games. This was at the end of their third game of the day. It was the championship game, and it had ended in a tie. Two overtime periods had not determined a winner, so the two teams sent five girls out to take penalty kicks. Finally, on this shot a champion was crowned.
An entire weekend of soccer, over five hours of playing time, and the winner was determined with this one shot. One small event dictated the final outcome for these two teams.
In business it is the same way. Many times one small event can determine your success. To build and maintain a successful business we must be accountable not only for the big events but also the smaller ones. I believe that you should manage all of the small events in your business. I call this, “Managing the Process.”
Some people live life and just let things happen. They figure this was meant to be, or that happened because it was supposed to. There are some unexplainable events in our life, but I believe that you can put yourself in a position to succeed, just like some people put themselves in a position to fail.
You must take responsibility in your business and in your life to manage the process, and make sure that everything possible is working for you. Let’s look at four areas that you can manage the process, isolate small processes you can improve on, and achieve better results.
1. Manage Your Marketing Efforts
Do you hope people will just call you or come to you? Many businesses simply open their doors and expect people to show up. Managing your marketing efforts means analyzing your clients, knowing how they like to be contacted, setting up a consistent program to get your marketing message out, creating a budget, and implementing your marketing program.
Through the process you should be looking for one or two small areas of detail where you can create a competitive advantage. Maybe you are great at attracting new clients. Maybe you really know how to increase your client’s value over time. Maybe you are strong at getting add-on business. Look for your strength, bring in experts to help where necessary, and manage your marketing efforts to maximize your success.
2. Manage Your Sales Process
I teach a nine step sales process. Through this process you can guide a client from the first contact, into a lifelong relationship of repeat business. Are you just selling the best that you can, or do you have a system? Anyone can get lucky some of the time, but your leads cost money. If you are not closing an appropriate percentage, then you will be wasting valuable marketing dollars.
Network with others in your field and learn what their closing numbers are. The most important numbers will vary by industry, but at the minimum you will want to know your closing percentage, the percentage of leads you get to look at your products, and your average sale or average margin per sale.
Implement a system and monitor your numbers. Manage the process by constantly working to improve your numbers and watch your bottom line grow!
3. Manage Your Customer Service
Customers are not happy doing business with you just because you exist. They like doing business with you or your company because of the way you treat them. The experience that they have when they deal with you or someone on your team determines the feeling that they have toward your organization, and the likelihood that they will use your services in the future, and whether or not they will refer you to friends and associates.
You must make a conscious effort to manage your customer service experience. Think about how you like to be treated. Do you make it easy or hard on your customers? Do your policies make sense to them? Does each step of your sales process add value for the customer? If there is a problem, is there a simple and friendly way for your customer to get their needs serviced?
Working to have positive answers to these questions will put you on the right path. Create a customer friendly environment, and your customers will return. They will also bring their friends along!
4. Manage Your Relationships
Relationships are the basis for all successful businesses. We all know it, but does everyone work hard enough at it?
There are two groups of people that you should look at when thinking about building relationships.
First, look to those people who you have already established a relationship with. What are you doing to foster and grow that relationship? Are you taking it for granted?
A relationship remains strong through a continued effort on your part. Don’t sit still and think that your competitors aren’t trying to build relationships with your customers to lure them away from you.
Second, who are those people that you would like to build relationships with? Take the time to isolate twelve to twenty-four people. Then, start a campaign to get yourself in front of them on a regular basis. Maybe mail them an interesting article, invite them to lunch, or provide a value added service for them.
Time is a critical factor in building relationships. Start the clock today and build those new relationships so that you have growth opportunities as you move forward.
Being accountable in your business means managing the process with your marketing, sales, customer service, and professional relationships. Managing the process will greatly enhance your successes and put you on the road to Building a Better Biz!