It Really Is YOU not ME

I’m sure at some point in your dating life someone said “it’s not you, it’s me” and you believed them.  It doesn’t mean that it was a bad thing that your relationship didn’t work out although at the time you were probably devastated.  The same happens every day in business and whether it’s you or me is irrelevant; we’re just not the right fit.

A few blogs ago we talked about our Client Acceptance Protocol and the changes we had to make to ensure we are focused on working with the right clients.  We find that there are certain business owner traits that coincide with a certain size and type of client and we’ve learned over almost 5 years where we can and cannot be successful.

Here’s what we look for in a client:

  • A unique offering, product or service
  • A CEO who knows how to delegate and outsource
  • A CEO who understands their sales cycle
  • A client who is looking to build long term happy client relationships and not just transactions
  • A respectful leadership team and corporate culture
  • A leadership team who truly understands their people are their greatest asset
  • A leadership team who regularly, consistently communicates and receives feedback with grace

What we know doesn’t work:

  • A CEO that’s a micro-manager
  • A CEO without a vision of the future of the company
  • The CEO who believes that their people are the smartest and their service is better than anyone else – this is usually the person who is not living in reality
  • A CEO or corporate culture build on disrespect
  • A CEO or leadership team that cannot accept feedback or places blame on everyone else
  • A CEO who thinks their team is disposable

As you can see it’s not easy to tell one from the other in a meeting or two.  Everyone puts their best foot forward in an interview and no one will tell you they are a passive aggressive nutcase or they micromanage everyone and everything.   People have asked why in our Client Acceptance Protocol have we instituted meetings with other members of the company and with clients along with attending new prospect meetings…this is why.  You can learn a lot from seeing someone in action, how they respond to questions, how they handle adversity.  These meetings allow us to learn more about the company, its process, its unique capabilities, and most importantly it allows us to see who we’re really partnering with.  Every day we put our relationships and our reputations on the line for our clients and one bad client can ruin years of work, we look to ensure that never happens.  Outsourced business development is a team  approach; we rely on each other to close deals and if we can’t trust the behavior of our client, we can’t in good consciousness represent them

 

Where have you been?

I’ve been AWOL, definitely MIA from this blog – a huge No-No.  I know this and yet the business required so much of my time these past few months that I neglected the one thing I know people look for – information.  Yes I was busy, new and existing clients, a pipeline to die for, and most importantly recreating our structure.  2012 taught me a few things – like having policies in my head was probably not a good idea, sure I communicated them (or so I thought) but how was anyone to really know what I expected if it wasn’t on paper?  So it’s now on paper.

We changed how we “on-board” a client.  We found that most clients had a ready, fire, aim approach to new business development and for many the idea of target markets was anyone that breathes.  We revamped our Client Acceptance Protocol and it made sense to create one for each new client so our consultants could more easily stay on task.  Our government contractors say,” it’s easy we just focus on this agency and that agency” and yet each of these agencies has multiple silos with separate decision makers so how do you know where to go in each agency?  We’ve found that a more in-depth market review and analysis in the beginning leading to a Client Acceptance Protocol for each new client prior to pipeline development led to a stronger understanding of the client’s unique capabilities, an easier transition for the consultant to communicate most effectively with prospects and it gave the client a better understanding of our strategy.

We did a billing and invoicing policy for our clients so there are no longer any questions regarding pay structures, how it’s handled and more importantly for me who handles it (and guess what …it’s no longer me)(side question – what are the things taking up your  valuable time that could easily and cost effectively be outsourced?).   We updated our Client Acceptance Protocol and it’s in the hands of everyone in the office so we all stay on task when it comes to marketing and new client engagement.  No longer can we choose to bring on a client if they don’t fit the mold (we call this rescuing puppies).  If they don’t fit, they don’t fit and we’ll be glad to introduce them to someone else who may be able to help.  In fact over the past several months I’ve given 5 opportunities to my competition – they were just a better fit.

Rescuing Puppies is the phrase my husband chose one night about 4 years ago as we were talking about a client that just wasn’t the right fit but I knew we could help them if they would just let us do our work and stop the self -sabotage.  Of course all of our pets are rescues and there is definitely something in my core about helping and taking care of others, but sometimes, in business, I want to help them more then they want to really help themselves.  As it turns out this particular client really wasn’t ready or willing to make the changes necessary for them to thrive.  This is something we see every day with smaller companies.  Almost 5 years into the business we can now spot a “puppy” a mile away and while we may have a personal relationship with the owner and we may want to see them thrive, we know the total costs will outweigh the benefits.  How often do you take on a client that isn’t the right fit?  What have you done to ensure your clients truly fit within your target?  Where are your policies?  If you’re like me you communicated, or at least thought you had communicated the policies and yet for some reason the same issues kept popping up.  Many thanks to Susan Katz, the Growth Coach for helping me to realize that it was easier to get the policies out of my head and on paper then it was to expect everyone to be mind-readers.

So while I’ve been missing, it was time well spent.  Look for our next blog on Prospect Rants.

How do you know if Outsourcing is right for you? 

You have heard about all of the benefits of outsourced sales. Outsourcing sales can save your business money. Outsourcing sales can increase your business’ profitability. Outsourcing sales can help you grow your business. Blah, blah blah…

You have heard that spiel over and over and over again. But you are still not sure that outsourcing sales is right for YOU and YOUR business. It is important to examine your mindset before outsourcing your organization’s sales to an outside entity.

“If you believe all sales people are evil, you’ll likely have a bad experience because you’ll hire someone that will ultimately fulfill your expectation,” says Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz. Sales outcomes are a snapshot into the organization itself, if there’s a problem in sales most likely it’s not the only department in trouble.

So before you think about outsourcing sales, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you need to see the person every day to believe they are working? If you need to see a salesperson each and every day, you may be a micromanager.  Micromanager has a negative connotation but let’s face it most of us business owners are to one degree or another, a micromanager.  And if this is true, outsourced sales may not be right for you. Remember, the more a salesperson is in the office, the less work they are actually doing.
  2. How long is your sales cycle? If your sales cycle is short where price is the dominating factor (transactional sales), then outsourced sales may not be right for you. You need volume not relationships.  If your sales cycle is longer and dependent on building relationships (relationship sales), then outsourcing may work for you and your business.
  3. Will your salesperson perform multiple tasks on a weekly basis? Do you need someone who can take on service and account management as well as sales? Most likely you are better off hiring 2 different people as these tend to be different skill sets but if you absolutely cannot do that, then focus on growing existing clients and hire someone who thrives on building relationships, who wants to take care of their clients, and who can ask for referrals.  This would be a full time hire.
  4. How technical does this salesperson need to be? It really doesn’t matter provided your sales person has access to someone who is technical who can assist them when the time comes to get into the highly technical details.
  5. What are my expectations of a sales person? As we said earlier, if you believe all sales people are evil, you’ll likely have a bad experience because you’ll hire someone that will ultimately fulfill your expectation.  That being said you need to determine and communicate how this person will be measured.  It’s certainly easier to “measure” the activity of a full time sales person.

So when should you outsource?

“You should consider outsourcing when you need someone with existing connections and relationships and you see value in the introduction but can handle the rest in-house,” says Schwartz. “Since we tend to be more cost effective than hiring full time and our consultants are fully entrenched in the areas our clients do business we can be far more efficient so essentially for the equivalent of hiring one full time business developer we can create of team of 3-6 highly experienced business development professionals who are having conversations with your prospects daily.”

If you have any questions about Outsourced Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

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The WHY of Success: WHY do some Business Succeed when others Fail?

Why are some organizations more successful than others, despite being no more qualified than the competition?

Why are some leaders able to inspire when others are not, despite having no “special” attributes?

Why!?

Simon Sinek seeks to explain the WHY in his lecture, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action.


“The inspired leaders and the inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out,” said Sinek. He further explained this theory using what he calls his Golden Circle.

 

What: Every organization and every leader knows what they do.

How: Some organizations and leaders know how they do what they do is better than the competition. For example: our computer is user friendly, our car gets great gas mileage, etc.

Why: Very few organizations and leaders know WHY they do what they do.

And no, profit is not a why. It is a result. The why is a purpose, a cause, or a belief. The why has to do with why your organization exists? You do not exist to turn a profit. If you do, your business might not be around very long.

Pursuing a result is a recipe for failure; it is what drives businesses into the ground. Pursuing a belief is what drives businesses to succeed, despite the odds. It is what drives prospects to you.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it,” said Sinek. “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have; the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”

The WHY of Sales

The why, the belief, is the reason a prospect buys your product or service. And everyone’s why is different. Because of this, there is no one size fits all sales solution. The key to sales success is to understand your prospects why and respect that belief throughout the entire buying process. This is how you foster long, happy client relationships.

“They know you ‘get’ them,” said Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz. “They trust you; they believe in you.”

If you have any questions about Business Development, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial burden of an in-house business developer.

At Springboard we know sales!

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!

Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz: From the Board Room to the Gridiron

The other side of CEO Karin Schwartz

This May will mark the end of Springboard CEO Karin Schwartz’s 14 seasons of coed football.  Is this her last season? There’s been talk about Karin hanging up her cleats for good, but will she really do it? Only time will tell.

Three years ago, after 22 years of playing lacrosse, Karin hung up her sticks. But even post maternity leave, she continues to play football!

In 1999 Karin joined the Baltimore Sports and Social Club, better known as BSSC, in their 2nd season of coed football, and a few years later moved her team to Sobo Sports.  Karin and her team play football in both the spring and fall and yes, she catches touchdowns.

Karin is not your typical CEO.

She’s played in the “mud bowl,” where she broke her foot and still continued to play for a full year before she even knew it was broken. And even after that, she cheered her team on in the playoffs from the sidelines…on crutches after having her foot surgically repaired.  She’s played in tournaments in M&T Bank Stadium  – the last tournament, her team of 5 men and 3 women went to the final four against teams with no female representation (Karin even scored a couple touchdowns on some of the guys).

Not many CEOs can say all that.

If you have any questions about Karin Scwartz, please contact Springboard Business Development by calling 410-832-7560 or click here today!

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Springboard offers outsourced sales solutions for businesses in the professional services arena. Our approach to business development makes it easy to find new clients without the financial  burden of an in-house business developer.

Follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn as well!