Building Value with Danielle Putnam of The New Flat Rate

Do you know how to build value? What kind of value do you build? One that is valuable to you or those around you? Can you transfer that value or better yet, help others to see the value for them?

Whether you are selling or a business owner you need to know how to build value, not just for you but for everyone else around you. As a business owner, you must learn how to help your employees feel valued. As a salesperson you must help the customer see the value in your product or service.

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Do you have a sales process and does it work?

 

  • What is a Sales Process?
    • It is a step-by-step guide to help create a consistent result. Proven and repeatable steps, yet flexible enough to allow for updates and changes in your marketplace or business.
    • A great sales process can help your team become wildly successful because it gives them a road map. You are removing doubt and replacing it with certainty. That builds confidence in you and your team!
    • Without a process your team is left up to their own devices. Which means that you may find wins, but is it consistent?
"Companies following a sales process can increase their revenue by at least 18%, according to the Harvard Business Review." Source: The Brooks Group
  • What would you do if you could guarantee an increase in sales by 18%?
    • Would you stop all your salespeople and start training them on this new way of doing things or would you be content with letting 18% go through their fingers and yours?
    • Adding a sales process can be a challenge if you have never had one and your sales team are living in the wild west.  We all like the cowgirl when she is selling but what happens when they hit a slump?  A process can help to eliminate things like slumps.
    • A solid, proven, and repeatable processes can provide a consistent stream of wins for your salespeople and for your company.
"According to the Objective Management Group, 68% of all salespeople do not follow a sales process. Meanwhile, another study shows that 70% of companies that do follow a structured sales process are categorized as high performers. Studies by TAS Group found that companies that implement a sales process outperform companies that do not."  Source: The Sales Fuel
  • Are your salespeople using the process that you have in place or are they winging it?
    • With studies that show 68% of salespeople not using a process AND showing the success of those that use one, how confident are you that your team is using one?  This can be a chance to show the benefits of using a process to your team.  They can and will be more effective when they use the process.
    • Is your competition beating you most of the time?  Maybe they have a process.  You may disagree with this but, it rarely is about price when you have the right process, and your team is using it properly.
    • If your process is outdated or ineffective, then get the team involved to update it.  When the team is involved, you ensure that your new process will be a success.
    • If it needs to be tweaked, then use that as an opportunity to change it.  Do you need to continue to coach your team on how to use the process properly?  Keep coaching until they know the process.  If you are uncomfortable with coaching or training, get someone who can help you involved so that you can start seeing success sooner rather than later.
  • How does it help?
      • It gives you a clear path to success
        • When you have a proven and repeatable process it creates success, and that success will continue as you and your team continue to use the process.
      • It unifies the team because it can help hold your team accountable with each other and to leadership.
        • If everyone is using the same process, then each member of your sales team can and will hold the others accountable as they each learn and use the process.
      • Easily measurable and trackable.
        • It allows the sales leader or owner to ask the proper questions and know where the customers are at in the pipeline.
      • It speeds up the onboarding process
        • This is true for new salespeople because it gives them the roadmap for success in your company, remember this is a proven and repeatable process. Think plug and play when it comes to finding the right people to join your organization.

If you have questions about how to set up a process, contact us or set up a time on our calendar to find out how we can contribute to what you are doing.  

 

 

 

It’s Year End – Time to Evaluate

How has your year been?

Have you dealt with adversity? Probably.

Did you have hardships? Possibly.

Perhaps you had your best year ever. Maybe you started a new job, new relationship, or welcomed a new family member this year.

How are you feeling about this year?

Aurora Borealis

As I look over the past year, I see a lot of things that have happened. I lost my father in February, welcomed my first grandson in March, and was hospitalized with COVID Pneumonia in April. I also finished a successful first year in business, finished writing my first book, and started a regular room on Clubhouse with a friend of mine.

Life is about perspective and this time of the year is especially prone to reflecting. Hopefully, you can and will take the time to reflect on the past year and see what can be learned from it and what could be improved. This is something that you could do every month, or even every week. Reflect on the the things that have been going on and what could you have done differently? That is how we grow and improve.

I hope that you get the chance to reflect and see what a wonderful life you have, even if this year was not a great year. One of my favorite movie lines is, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it."

If you want to more information on how you can improve your sales team contact us and set up a free consultation.

How to Properly Follow Up

Do you effectively follow up?  Do you know how to properly follow up?  How is your follow up game?  Do you want to improve how you follow up and become more effective?

We all have struggled with following up.  When to do it.  What to say other than, I am calling to follow up.  You send emails that fail because you did not stand out above the other 100-200 emails that they received that day.

Follow up can be fun and productive if we make it that way.  In this webinar we talk about ways to follow up, how to ask the client when we should follow up, and discuss effective tools that you can use to do the follow up.

There is even a bonus video for you to check out if you are interested, the 1985 Peach Bowl that I played in.  Check out the webinar and the football game if you choose to.

If you have questions about Pricebook Plus you can contact them.  If you need help with your sales team and you want to have a 30 minute meeting to discuss how you can improve your team with the help of Coach Chris grab a time on the calendar here.

 

Bonus video, Illinois vs Army 1985 Peach Bowl game:

 

 

 

Sales Planning with Coach Chris

Learning how to plan your sales goals for the year can be a challenge.

There are a few things that you will need to know in order to make a plan and be able to stick to it even when the industry seems to be turned up on it's ear!

Sales planning is something you do every month and not just at the end of the year for the next year.

Check out the video as Coach Chris and Pricebook discuss how we can plan and the impact it can and does make on our business.

If you want help planning your sales for this year or next year contact us or pick a time and date on our calendar here.

 

Watch the video here:

Patience

“Patience is the companion of wisdom.” - Saint Augustine

 

Hour Glass

For some of us being patient is a difficult thing.  We want to get to the next sale, we want to win the fight, we want to overcome the next obstacle.  If you are patient, you can learn a great many things.  You can learn what your customers really want, what your boss is trying to communicate, what that person really fears.  You can hear things that are important to know for you to get that next sale, win the fight, and overcome that obstacle that is keeping you from the next level.  Learning to be patient is something that can take time and lots of practice.  We live in a microwave world, and we are used to instant results or near instant answers.  Nothing can replace the process that needs to take place for us to learn the lessons, yet we feel the need to hurry it along.  It is not too late to learn the lesson of patience.  Sit and wait it out and let it run its course and it will provide you with far great joy than if you rushed it.  We want the answer now and in sales we want to push that too.  That is what some people need our help with, making decisions, but sometimes it is necessary to let it play out.  If you have ever had a fine wine, great bourbon, or even a great meal, they all take time to develop.  There is a reason that a great chili tastes better the day after it is made, because the flavors take time to come together, and a good lasagna takes about an hour or more to make.  Patience can be a wonderful thing if you allow it to be.

 

What can you do to be more patient?  If you want help with this get on my calendar for a free consultation.  You can contact us to learn more here.

A Guide to How Sales Growth Planning Helps You Achieve Your Business Goals

Why Do You Need a Sales Growth Plan for Your Business?

Sales Meeting

This may seem like an obvious question but how many times do we move forward with an idea without a plan?  Every successful business has a plan for growth.  Whether you are building new products, expanding into new markets, or looking to grow your customer base, it is important to have a strategy in place.  The same holds true for your businesses.  It is not an easy task to find and keep new customers. Fortunately, there are a few simple strategies that can be used to increase sales and grow your business.  This article will discuss how to get started on setting up a sales growth plan for your business. It will cover the basics of what you need to do, how it can help your business, and what questions you should ask yourself to get started.

1. How to Get Started 

It is important not only to have a sales growth plan but also have it written down. Having a process that is written gives your team structure and helps them understand their roles in the company.

Questions you should ask yourself before getting started:

What are my goals?

Always start with the end in mind.  If you know where you want to go you can create a map to get you and your team there.  If you need help with mapping it out or even figuring out where you want to go, there are many resources.  You can find a mentor that has a business like you want to build.  Follow them around, ask a lot of questions.  Plenty of Contractors want to help.  Find one that is not a competitor and ask if they will teach you.  You can always contact us to start a discussion.

What are my strengths?

Be honest with yourself and your team.  Ask someone else for help.  You have some amazing strengths, make sure you are able to see them clearly for what they are.

What are my weaknesses?

Same rules apply here as above: be honest and ask others for help!  You do not have to beat yourself up over this but do not overcompensate here either.

Which parts can be improved?

You should have a good starting point but we all can improve somewhere, right?  What are you doing right and what can you do better?  Your processes are no exception.  So, do not be afraid to ask the question.

 

2. What are the Components?

The components of a successful sales growth plan are not always easy to define, but there are some commonalities. The following components have been found to have the most impact on the effectiveness of a company’s sales growth plan:

Market penetration

If you can navigate the current market and find a way to reach more customers through marketing, community outreach, and other things like this, it will help your business develop brand awareness.  Brand awareness is when people see your name all the time and it becomes synonymous with their need for your product when they need it.

Choose one or two major initiatives to move the needle

There may be more things that you need to do but bite off a chunk at a time and complete it before you take the next bite.  If not, you will have so many things you are chasing, and it will get confusing to you and your team.

Create a timeline with specific deadlines and milestones

Demonstrate how these initiatives will contribute to the success of the company objective

Determine who is accountable for each component 

If you can get others involved in creating your success the better off you will be, and you will not be overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.

Assign responsibility for communicating this information

Communication is paramount to your success in anything.  Make sure you have a clear line of communication between all parties, internally and externally.

3. How do You Know if Your Current Sales Growth Strategy is Working?

Ultimately, you want to know if your current strategy is working and if it’s not, you need to know what you can do differently.  Sales leaders need to ask themselves:

Am I seeing the results? Do you see growth or is it still flat?

Are we gaining new customers or are we losing them as fast as we are gaining them?

What would happen if I changed our sales growth strategy, or what would happen if I did not change our sales growth strategy?

 

Conclusion/Final Thoughts

It should be pretty clear if the current growth strategy is working or not.  If you are having a tough time reach out to others that can have a fresh perspective.  Find a coach or mentor that can give some clear unbiased feedback but more than likely you will know it is working because you are growing your business in both revenue and customers.  There are plenty of books and podcasts that can help you learn as well.  Here is a webinar that Pricebook Digital and I will be doing on November 16th, 2021.

Best, Better, Good Selling

Do you show multiple options to allow your customers to purchase your product or service? Why or why not?

Are there reasons to support this philosophy?

Best, Better, Good Selling
Actually, there is a lot of studies that have been done and we have referenced a couple of those along with several articles that help understand the reasoning behind giving your customers choices and how to present them.  Here are a list of the articles and studies that have been done to support this idea:

Pricebook Digital and I held a webinar on the topic of Best, Better, Good Selling and how it can impact your business.  In the webinar, we look at the impact of the correct number of options to show your clients.  Helpful hint, it is more than one.  Whether it is selling TV's, tires or HVAC equipment.  When people have choices they make better decisions and they make them more often.

So, what are you doing to allow your customers to buy what they want, when they want to?

Check out the webinar and then contact us to learn more about how we can help you get your sales team closing more deals today.

Watch the webinar here:  Best, Better, Good Selling with Coach Chris and Pricebook

 

Click here to set up a free 30-minute consultation.

 

Are you Charging a Finance Fee on Every Job?

Is financing like a dirty word to you because you do not like to finance things yourself?  Can you separate your thoughts on money, versus their thoughts on money, when you are working with customers?  Why do we feel the need to lessen our price to build false value for our customers?  Have you ever gone to the grocery store and asked them for a cash price?  Can you go to some of the big box stores and ask for a cash price?  Then why is it acceptable for people to ask for a cash price when buying larger ticket items?  Because we have all been trained that it is acceptable.  I am not saying you should not do it, but you must account for it when you set up your price book.  Your sales team must understand what the limits are if they need to offer a discount to get the job and the consequences if they exceed that agreed upon discount level.  Why would I charge a financing fee if I am not financing this job?  Why would I charge a credit card fee if I am not using a credit card?  Should I give a cash discount or not?  All of these are good questions and should be taken into consideration when you are setting up your pricing.  The key here is that you figure out what is best for you and your business.  Some people believe that much like the grocery store that they shop at, the price is the price, whether I use cash, credit card, or financing.  But what does it look like if I add a finance charge to each of my sales tickets?  If you use financing, it can cost you upwards of 18%.  That is a lot to add to a proposal, but you must cover your costs.  If you do not, then you are losing money on that job.  That does not make good financial sense for you and your business.  There are programs out there that you can use that do not cost you a dime to finance, and they carry a higher rate for the customer.  Calculate Costs

Some people have learned the art of the blended finance rate.  That means that every proposal that they write has a small percentage, somewhere between 4-7%, that gets added and does not get removed whether they are using the financing or not.  How do I know what a good, blended rate would be for me and my company?  If you have good bookkeeping for your company, you will have an idea of what you are spending on financing costs every year.  If you know what that overall cost is per year you can break that down to a percentage of sales and see what your financing percentage is per year.  Then you charge that or a little more than that to cover your financing on every job.  If you have annual sales of $1,500,000 and you spent $85,000 in financing costs that works out to be 5.66% of your total sales.  I would then use a 6% financing rate to add to all my installation jobs to cover that for the year.  Adding it to the overall cost of the job and not allowing my sales team to remove that percentage or they lose part of their commission.  It is not mean to hold the salespeople responsible for charging the proper amount for the jobs they sell so that your company can be profitable before and after you pay them.  That is part of their job.  Using a blended rate can mean more profits and is a cost of doing business with some companies.

If you are not charging the proper amount on your install tickets, then your business can be suffering or just getting by.  If you do not have a plan for making profits, then you will struggle to succeed or not be around very long.  Also, if you want to grow or have to replace old worn-out equipment, then you need to make money regularly.  You cannot expect to just make money when you need it, like on a rainy day.  How profitable are you or do you want to be?  Is it unreasonable to expect to make 8-12% net margin?  I do not know one person that got into HVAC, Plumbing or the Electrical business as a charitable organization.  If you have questions on how your business can be more profitable, reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you and your business.