A very good friend of mine was having no end of problems with his business. After a year of trying different things - spending ‘heaps’ on marketing, hiring telesales people, dozens of direct mail campaigns, printing glossy brochures and everything in between - the realisation finally dawned on him that his problem was not going away anytime soon.
In desperation, Jim (not his real name of course) called me to have a chat about his problem. Now I don’t like working with friends as a general rule but in Jim’s case, I couldn’t resist. He was in big trouble and unless something was done quickly, he wouldn’t be in business much longer.
Yes indeed, it was that bad.
Now before I tell you his story, I’ll jump right to the happy ending. Strange I know, but if you are like me, you’ll enjoy the start and middle bits of the story more knowing everything worked out just fine for Jim.
Would you like a happy ending Mr Jim?
Jim’s problem was himself. Now he knows I’m writing about him today and he is totally fine with that. That’s how far he has moved himself to get out of the mess he was in. Jim was essentially stuck in a mind-set I see all too often: the fear of doing something totally different in order to succeed.
In Jim’s case, though, it was not to succeed, but to survive.
Nine months after our first chat, Jim has lost 13 kilos, is still married, has halved the cost of his sales and marketing overheads, doubled the lead inquiries to the business and increased his sales by 48%.
In a tough industry and during a recession, Jim reckons that’s just brilliant, and so he should.
Yes indeed, Jim and his team (mostly all new by the way) have turned the corner.
Yeah, yeah, but how did you do it?
In the end, it was Jim that did everything. My team simply showed him the way by providing a well-used road-map and a couple of very clever tools. Jim and his team did the rest.
The funny thing though was that Jim knew what the problem was all along, he was just too afraid to make the bold move for fear of something going wrong. The solution I put to Jim was simple: "If you don’t make the bold move now, Jim, you won’t have a problem to worry about and fear won’t exist because you won’t have a business”
From then on the the decision was easy.
What’s the problem Jim?
Jim’s sales team worked on purely on commission and many of them (60%) had not earned more than $30,000 over the previous 12 months. From what I could see, most of them came to work each day for the warmth of the office, the coffee, donuts next door, and chats with Jasmine the receptionist. Being successful and earning a good living was, well, a pipe dream at best.
Now you might find all of this quite absurd, but we see this all too often in small companies.
Make sure you check in next week and I will tell you what we provided Jim with and how he turned things around with his team.
See you next week.
About Sean McDonald
Sean is the founder and managing director of Sales Systems Ltd. His company and team of consultants help organisations improve the overall effectiveness of their sales and marketing operations through the introduction of new processes, tools and technology to ensure they are operating at peak performance in today’s highly competitive environment.
Sean is a regular contributor to Techday.