Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to succeed as an entrepreneur

On March 4, a group of female business owners and professionals learnt about entrepreneurial best practices at a seminar hosted by Mompreneurs Middle East, a B2B platform that connects women entrepreneurs.
The event, titled The Five Necessary Steps to Succeed in Owning Your Own Business, featured a presentation by Bernard Safatli, corporate trainer at Matrix Training Solutions, where he imparted business advice and shared key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
Below is an outline of the steps to effectively run a business:
1) Balance your strategic and tactical approaches
Safatli says that there are three types of entrepreneurs: strategic, tactical and a combination of both. A strategic entrepreneur sees the bigger picture and works smarter, while a tactical one is focused on the specifics and works harder. The ideal entrepreneur is good at both the strategic and tactical levels. “These are people who are able to see the big picture and know exactly what they need in their company. At the same time, they are able to make the procedures and policies, and execute them with piercing effectiveness,” he says.
2) Be genuine, authentic and knowledgeable
“Whether you are a one-person show or you have staff, it is valuable for your employees to know everything about your business,” says Safatli. “It is also important for you to create a core story, which needs to be genuine and creative, and have an effective way to communicate it to your clients.”
The core story can be around why you launched your business or what your company represents, he adds. Having a story can help build a connection with your customers and clients.
3) Focus on your wellbeing
“This is something all successful entrepreneurs do. They believe wellbeing is more important than anything else, and if they are good at the core, everything else will be amazing as well.”
Successful entrepreneurs tend to have the following traits in common, he says:
a) Aligning values to what they do
b) Taking out some “me” time
c) Organising their thoughts in the morning
d) Having the ability to manage their emotions
4) Target your dream 100
“The dream 100 are those clients who you’d love to have,” says Safatli. Once you have identified those dream clients, you need to pursue them persistently, he adds. “For instance, you need to call them once a week, every week, for a year. Every time you get information, you should write down what you learned from that call to [be prepared] for the next one.”
Find innovative ways to connect with them, he adds. The use of direct mail and small, thoughtful gifts can give potential clients something to remember you by.
5) Employ successful marketing tactics
“Approximately three years ago, there was a big study on ten of the biggest corporations in the world, which included PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble,” he says. One of the questions asked was: “What are the marketing tactics these companies use that make them so successful? [It was discovered that] every one of these companies are doing a set of things at a strategic and tactical level, because they are the most important.”
These are the “seven musts” of marketing:
1) Personal contact
2) Direct mail
3) Internet
4) Brochure, company literature
5) Advertising
6) Public relations
7) Educating clients/affiliates

Mompreners meet public speaking event

Bernard Safatli's Steps to Perfecting the Sales Process

Detailing and perfecting the sales process:
Traditional sales has taught me to find someone’s needs and once found fill those needs, and by filling them the customer will buy. It is true in a sense, yet it doesn't shed light into the full spectrum of the sales process. Like a lot of things in life, Sales is not just black or white, there are many of the shades of grey in between; and as such there are many steps in between that need to be met before you can become a master at sales. Fundamentally, there are seven steps that should be met in each and every sales interaction, and by perfecting each step you will begin to see immediate results within your career.

Step 1: Establish Rapport
Establishing and developing rapport is the most important step to master. Rapport basically is having your prospect like you, trust you, and ultimately respect you. When meeting new prospects, befriending them should be your ultimate goal; here are some tips that you can use today to assist you in that.

The fastest and easiest way to escalate the bonding process is to become a personal cheerleader for your client. Basically you need to talk about everyone’s favorite person, and who is that... Them! If you truly want to be interesting to your client you first need to be fully interested in what they are talking about.

Other quick ways to help you in building rapport with your prospect is by finding any common interests you two may have; people tend to like people who share common interests and goals. The last tip would be to incorporate market data within your sales process. Market data has a way of creating instant respect and rapport and instantly places you in a seat of authority with your prospect. Keep in mind, when delivering Market data, you want to make sure you have relevant information that will ensure your prospects success. 

Step 2: Display Absolute Conviction:
This is the second most important of the steps, for displaying absolute confidence is tremendously important. A couple of things are needed for you to display total conviction and confidence.
One, you will need to absolutely believe in the product/service you are providing. You can’t have total conviction in your product if you haven’t purchased and are currently using the product/service you are providing.

Second, belief in one self and your ability to influence. The easiest way to believe in yourself is to become more familiar with the strategies of influence, and the benefits of your product. Reading books and attending sales seminars/courses are advantageous; yet one needs to implement what they learn to fully reap the benefits. Another quick way that will make you feel confident is to prepare for the meeting ahead of schedule, understanding everything to do about your prospect prior to meeting those gives you an added edge when dealing with them.

Step 3: Find Their Need
The deeper you understand your prospects situation, the more logical the conclusion will be. You cannot bring a sale to a logical conclusion if you don’t understand the needs of your prospect.  Finding a client’s needs is what most sales procedures call the “qualifying process” and it consists of asking your prospect pin pointed questions that reveal what it is they really need. The best way to establish and find your prospects need is to find ways that can make your relationship mutually beneficial. Prior to talking to any prospect, it would be of value to sit and brainstorm on some relevant questions that can help reveal what their true needs are.

Step 4: Build Value
Building Value is what I call a “Strategic sell”. It is where you sell your company and highlight the achievements and awards your organization has accomplished. Mentioning previous clients you’ve had success with, and giving examples are powerful ways to build your companies value. Upon finding your prospects needs, it would be of extreme value for you to spend a brief moment or two informing the prospect of the “Value” of being involved with your company, and how a relationship with you can be mutually beneficial.

Step 5: Create desire
Once you establish rapport, completely confident, understand your prospects needs, and built strong value for your company, then finding a client’s want is the next natural step. Nine times out of ten, a prospect will buy what they want before they buy what they need; and just to confirm this point, take one look in your living rooms and name off the items that you truly need in it. You will come to realise that the majority of items within our homes are bought because we wanted them, not need them. Knowing a prospects needs is important, and knowing their wants will help ensure that you handle any potential objections that may come forth. See People will buy way faster because of who they want to be then they will ever buy because of what you have to sell.

Step 6: Overcome Objections
The toughest objections are the ones you don’t see coming. This is why the qualifying process of the sale is extremely important while discovering their needs. Constantly ask questions on what the prospect thinks and if they agree with what you are saying. It is important to ask questions that illuminate if there is anything that will keep them from doing business with you; find out what their objections are at the beginning of the sale and squash them before they can grow. Yet if you follow the first four steps to perfection, than you would have covered all potential objections the prospect may have had; and can instantly move to the final step.

Step 7: Close the Sale

“ASSSUMMEE THE SALE” this is your greatest asset in the sales process. The best influencers use assumptive closes at the end of the sales cycle. You don’t want to ask for the sale, for at this point you are absolutely connected with your prospect, got their interest, qualified them, found their wants, got them convicted in the value of your product/service, and handled all their objections, so what’s left? Assume the sale! And the best way to do that is congratulate him in a wise decision. You don’t thank them, you congratulate them. It firms up in their mind that it was a wise decision. Instead of focusing on what did they just did? Begin by filling out the form sales form; If they stop you half way and say “I didn’t say I was buying” ignore and say: “you are interested in getting this result right” and go right back into it.

Assuming the sale from before you even meet the prospect will instantly increase your chances in landing your next mega deal. Find your strategy in becoming convicted about your product/service, create new and lasting friendships with your prospect and using empathy find out how you can truly benefit your client with what you have to offer.

The very best sales people when asked what it is they do with their prospects will all answer that they consider themselves “Consultants” not sales people. See, it is their mission to supply the best advice and information to their prospects, whether it be in the form of their product/service or another. For they always have the best interest of their prospects in mind.