the bin mans guide to selling blog

BUILD A BUSINESS THINK TANK

Written by Oisin Browne on .

It can be a difficult task running a small business on your own in these recessionary times. Maybe you work on your own or have one or two part time staff on your books. You can have all the same troubles as a big company yet they’ll have the team on the ground to talk out the problems and make positive future planning in order to keep the wheels moving. The West of Ireland is a hub for one man enterprises with an abundance of networking groups that give support. The business consultant, the therapist, the plumber, the florist, the accountant, the small shopkeeper and countless other services and product providers to name a few don’t have the luxury of a solution driven team that can really squeeze out positive results for the inconveniences of the day. There are no reasons why you can’t set up your own personal think tank to look at some of the more common concerns such as the fact that customer footfall is at an all time low, moneys due are not being paid on time, there is no credit from the financial establishments and utility bills, rent and rates are at an unaffordable level.  The old saying ‘two heads are better than one’ applies as business can be a lonely place. Having somebody with whom you can share your daily despairs can help you to find a bright light at the end of the tunnel a little quicker than if you were to go solo.

Find business colleagues that are in similar situations. Start building a brainstorming team for your business. Seek out people you can meet once or twice a month to discuss the daily dilemmas on your desk. Build a business think tank that can help you get on top of your inbox and get your outbox moving; surround yourself with a group that can encourage you to move towards your short and long term goals. These people could be business associates in the same or different industries, retired business people who have ample experience and have lived through all business circumstances or associates from your networking group. It’s all about connecting, sharing and helping. Do the same for others. Reach out; you got to give to receive. Think tanks are not just for governments and big businesses.

In the 1996 feel good movie ‘Gerry Maguire’ Rod Tidwell played by Cuba Gooding Jr shouts ‘Show me the money’ and in the 1989 hit film ‘Field of Dream’s’ Kevin Costner’s character Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field telling him ‘If you build it, they will come’. That’s what we need, more dreams and more enthusiasm. If we don’t ask we won’t get and if we don’t build, they won’t come. Learn to ask for support from your fellow business neighbours. People will help. Learn to build. If you have an idea or dream you need to start following it. Plan it out step by step and do whatever it takes to take the first steps. Don’t give yourself excuses; give yourself reasons and ways to achieve. Have faith and belief in yourself, your ideas and your business.

The first thing to realize as a small business owner is that you are not alone. There are so many businesses in the same boat. The task is not just to keep the boat floating but to get it moving towards a destination that is bright where all aboard can work towards their dreams and goals. Start by writing down the names of the people you’d like to have on your think tank team and ask them to come aboard. Always remember that rough seas make great sailors.
 

BALANCE YOUR BUSINESS MIND WITH MEDITATION

Written by Oisin Browne on .

We have a great community in the west of Ireland of meditation stations, yoga rooms and relaxation therapy centres, all which can add to the essential tools needed when it comes to running a successful business. In the same way that we exercise and watch our nutrition to keep in good shape you’ll find that meditation is a key factor in running a healthy company. This is especially true in the current economical climate which can be poor performing, competitive in a dog eat dog manner and stressful.  The main focus for many business owners in this present moment is how to pay the rent, balance the books, increase footfall and bring their business to a point of strength in a recession. Most business meetings are filled with conversations that create panic and stress. This thought pattern doesn’t allow us to tap into the same source of energy and thinking that allowed us to put a spark into the business to begin with.

Meditation is a fantastic way to balance your business mind.  It’s an activity, or for some an inactivity that helps us to develop the capability to listen, observe and to think creatively. Ten minutes a day before we start work or indeed when we finish our work is all it takes to clear the mind and relax every muscle in the body. When we unwind the body and mind we can see situations from different angles. We create possibilities that go unseen under the spotlight of our everyday business routine. When meditation is continually practiced you will notice a release of tension which will put you at ease with the daily struggles that maybe stressing you. The results are not always apparent after one day. With time it can become more noticeable to you and to others that you are less anxious and have more enthusiasm and energy. When repeated this creates a more effective and satisfactory environment for people to connect and do business. It produces better work interaction with others.

To meditate find a quite place to sit. Switch off all devices such as mobiles, televisions, radios and computers. Make yourself comfortable and relax into the chair. Close your eyes. The idea is to clear the mind and relax the body. A simple way to do this is to concentrate on your breathing. Count to four as you breathe in through your nose.  Hold for two and control count to four again as you exhale. Hold for two with an empty diaphragm and repeat over for five to ten minutes. Many people use positive affirmations and visualization during meditation to guide them through the process.

There are many secondary gains that we receive from meditation. We learn breathing techniques that help improve overall health. It helps us to keep things in perspective.  It helps to build self-confidence and resolve inner conflict. It has no negative consequences. It can be done anywhere once you master the basics. Once you know what you are doing it’s free. If you are unsure where to start go to the classifieds section of this newspaper and you will definitely find something that will suit you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results that mediation will bring to you and your business. If meditation isn’t on your to do list be sure to write it down as job number one.
It will make all the other jobs on your list easier. Don’t give up before you start. Give it a go.

BUILDING A BETTER BUSINESS WITH AN EVOLVING MARKETING STRATEGY

Written by Oisin Browne on .

To build a better business you must not only make a business plan, you need to revisit and rewrite it regularly. You need to get excited about it and most importantly you must execute it.  To do this you need a strategy with regards to your marketing. This can be the lifeblood of your business. You may not be able to outspend your competition but you can use strategy to level the playing field by employing innovative techniques and creativity in your marketing efforts. For businesses, a strategy cannot be stagnant, it needs to move and evolve. When strategy fails, it’s normally because it’s the same strategy that was thought up in the beginning.  A business plan should always be evolving and improving. That's not to say that a successful strategy won't have a lot of the same elements throughout its execution. Businesses with successful strategies are always evaluating their strategy and making improvements. A marketing strategy is not just for the marketing team of medium size or big companies. The practice of marketing applies to the sole traders, the street traders and the family business.

One of the first steps in developing a marketing strategy is to write and execute a plan that will make yourself, your story, your business and your product/service visible and desirable to the potential client. ‘Is your story interesting? How can you tell it so that it has more appeal?  Communicate with those customers that are doing business with you. Do surveys. Ask them where they heard of you? Why they like doing business with you?  How they find the product/service? Would they return? Would they suggest your products to others? Also ask them what they read. Do they read local, national or community news papers? Their answers over time will give you valuable information to where you need to be telling your story and placing your advert campaigns. It maybe on certain social media websites or in local papers such as this one. You need to learn ‘Who is your typical customer? What papers do they read? What do they watch on television? And what websites do they visit?’

When you have your strategy worked out and you know exactly how you’re going to tell your story in order to make yourself and your business visible you need to become comfortable with the idea that you may have to change and adopt. Business and marketing strategies should not be seen as something you do for a week or two and hope for the best. They need to be long term and goal oriented. Like an artist painting a picture they will paint and repaint. Sometimes they need to go back to the blank canvas in order to arrive at the masterpiece. It may take months or even years to get these masterpieces perfect. They will never stop because it’s not working; they keep working with it until it becomes something that works. For your business to be noticed you need to work and rework your strategy. You need to advertise your wares. You need to be seen and heard. You need to review your approach frequently. Today businesses are lucky to have huge no cost resources online such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Use them. These new points of distribution for your business message can be the tipping point you need for complimenting your story or advert campaign in the tradition medias. Keep reworking the plan. Your business is a work in progress that will become a masterpiece with the right marketing strategy. Commitment to preparation, planning and promotion of your company on continuous bases is fundamental to building a better business.

Yes I Can: Selling Like Obama, Just Better!

Written by Oisin Browne on .

Barrack Obama knows how to sell. If he didn't he wouldn't be where he is now. To really sell you must get into a winning mindset, succeed in your goals and perform to your greatest potential you must firstly let go of the unwanted baggage, limiting thoughts and all excuses. You must give it all you got from every cell, thought and drop of sweat that you can produce.
 
selling-like-obamaTo put a limit on that is only but an excuse not to achieve. I'm not the biggest fan of the American president Obama, however I did love the way he inspired the Irish people with a simple phrase, his translation of his catchphrase 'Yes we can', 'Is féidir linn'. What a great thing to say, three words full of positivity, belief, faith and determination. There is one hitch with these three words. When you say 'Yes, we can' you are saying it as a collective phrase which means if the other people on your sales team or in your business aren't singing from the same hymn sheet you will lose the power of the words and the momentum before you even start. A better song to sing is' Yes I can'.
 
Bring it back to the first person. Why? You can be responsible for yourself and not for others. Now when you begin to sing and apply this mantra of 'Yes I can', then you can find likeminded people to work with as appose to trying to convert the non-believers. Start with yourself. What does it mean to say 'Yes I can'? It is self-empowering, committal and creates flow wherever you apply it. What does it mean to make a promise to yourself with the words 'Yes I can'? Imagine making a special contract with yourself that from this moment on there will be absolutely 'no excuses' not to triumph where you apply yourself. Imagine making a personal commitment to give 100 percent of yourself to everything you do and to take full responsibility for all outcomes and challenges that you face in life. What would happen from this moment onwards? I would say life would change and get better. When you give up the habit of saying: I can't, I won't, maybe, tomorrow, I don't want to, I am tried, It wasn't my fault, I have no money, I don't know how, I'm afraid, I'm not good enough, I'm too old, I'm too unfit, It's not going to work, I tried, it's out of my control and so on and on the list goes, this is when you become a little more open to your own true potential and endless abilities and wonderful talents.
 
This is when you allow yourself to be a little more in tune and deal with what is on front of you. When you say you can't, you simply won't. But when you say you can, you open up all sorts of possibilities and outcomes. You allow flow and flow effortlessly encourages change towards your goals and dreams. You close the sale.
 
If you want more sales, to build a better business, to say something to somebody, to let go of something from your past, to find love, find a job, lose weight or pay a bill start with 'Yes I can'. Your abilities and creativity and future achievements are only limited by the ceiling you put over them. Can you remove this ceiling? Yes, you can! But don't just say 'Yes I can' and not do anything about it. Take responsibility, choose your priorities and commit to implementing and following through on a personal plan. No matter how hard it may be or you may feel, don't let the excuses or fear of 'not having' stop you. To enhance the probability of reaching your goals without falling into the excuse mode, write down your goals and share them with everybody. Open up to the fact that 'yes you can' do anything and achieve anything you put your focus and attention on. Can you double or triple your sales at the click of a finger? Yes, you can...

Stand Out From The Noise & Sell Smart!

Written by Oisin Browne on .

Selling has become a dirty word as every home receives more junk mail, more cold calls, and more spam in their email inbox. Many years ago the salesman was a well received friendly person in the family home. I remember being a very young boy and watching, as my father would greet the insurance man by first name and invite him in for a tea and a biscuit. My father would give the same warm welcome to the sales person that we bought the encyclopedias from.  Times have changed. And it sure is a tough job to be a sales man going door to door.  People are now receiving offers from every possible outlet that they tune it to. You have junk mail in the letterbox. You get spam when you go to check your email and with so many companies looking to ring your doorbell I think there is little chance of tea and biscuits. Yesterday I got my fair share of people and companies wanting me to know what they have to offer.  Between the early hours of 7 and 8 I received 5 different pieces of mail through the letterbox. I thought on each occasion ‘great, the postman has arrived, let’s see if he has anything special for me!’ It wasn’t to be. Out of the five items of mail that I received not one was addressed for me. Holding back the tears I looked at each one. A leaflet from a supermarket, another from a hairdresser, two food takeaways and finally a hand written note from a young neighbour offering to cut my grass, to, which I was very impressed and took up his offer! At lunchtime, the doorbell rang when I happened to be at home sampling the wonderful baking of my wife’s homemade brown bread, which I topped up with some tasty avocado & beetroot. I answered the door to find a well-dressed and smiling sales representative asking me to change my utility company. As I was having one of my treasured moments with food and my family I asked the lovely young sales person if they would call back in the evening. They didn’t. That day I received ten spam and subscription emails in my email inbox. These were all companies offering me deals and telling me about the their latest products. I wasn’t too interested. Before the close of day I had received two phone calls from companies whose services I already use offering me different subscription plans.  I love business and I always do my best to give some attention to offers that pass by me, but today’s many leaflets, post, emails, doorbell rings and phone calls left me with one question. Why was the grass cutter the only sales approach that got my attention? I believe it was because there was an effort to stand out. This is what businesses and entrepreneurs have to do. The grass cutter’s timing was perfect as the grass is starting to grow. His prices were clearly outlined and were cheap. He is local and stated this. His note started out with the line ‘Today I want to introduce myself. My name is Sam and I cut grass. The note was clear and handwritten, which added a nice personal touch.  It was different then all the rest.  Sometimes, it’s a good idea to see what every other business is doing and do the opposite. If everybody is printing leaflets, have yours hand written just like Sam. Be distinctive. Maybe it wasn’t Sam’s intention to be different. More so, I believe it was a question of cost, however Sam replaced cost with the value of time and creativity and the result has been good for Sam as my neigbours are now asking me who did I get to cut the grass and if I’d pass them the number! Way to go Sam! In Business it pays to be unique.  Call to new prospects, send emails, print and post leaflets, but before you do, just spend a little time on being creative, different , standing out from the noise and sell smart.