Friday, January 1, 2016

My End of Days

THE END OF A YEAR and the start of a new one gives an opportunity for review. 

In these days of busyness it is challenging but for me important. It is something I learned not just to do every 12 months but much more sooner.

I had this frustration at the end of each day the anxiety as to whether I with as progressing towards my goals or not. It consumed me and would effect my motivation for the next. 

As growth and progress is largely incremental I just needed to know that at least the day wasn't wasted and had ' moved the peanut' forward. Even if not just a little bit.

Being a list person, I guess the solution was obvious and I eventually got around to the solution which has now become a daily routine of signing off on the day. Let me best explain, yes of course, with a list:

1/ I headed up my list - Successes, Progress, Ideas and New Knowledge

2/ I would mentally review my day since waking (and even before if in my sleep I remembered I had an idea to work on)

3/ I would write the list down in my notebook. Sometimes in Evernote but writing on paper seemed to have more power

4/ It didn't have to be earth shattering in size or importance but could be a different reaction or a change in a response which I regarded as a small but important personal growth

5/ Whilst some of the points were in line with my current goals many of the points weren't but  observations of changes and serendipity.

6/ As I reflected on the list I would get a sense of achievement and reassurance the day hadn't been wasted. (reminding that getting out of bed was worth while)

7/ At times reflecting on the list of results from the day how little had been done in the day on my goals - sending an alarm

8/ My ultimate was to add up the list- 15 items was a very ordinary day, 20 was good progress and 30 items my nirvana

9/ Finally at the end of the week I would once again review the days lists and highlight the points which were major wins or breakthroughs

10/ This gave me a sense of achievement and set up my drive to beat yesterday.

I remember an interview with Australian middle distance runner, Ron Clarke, that held many world records. When asked how he had achieved so many over his career. His response was he hadn't set out to break the record but just do better than he had done the day before.

Friday, April 24, 2015


“Nothing happens till someone sells something".

WE HAVE HEARD THIS APHORISM, but it’s a wonder some organisations do anything at all. When you find out the reasons why, their sales people are set up to fail. So it is not surprising then that almost 80% of new ventures fail within 18 months.
And if you are about to celebrate your new organisation’s second birthday and still paying the rent, just, don’t get cocky? It is even worse; 90% of the remaining 20% fail within the next three years.
“But if we were to become better at hiring and developing sales people, would this affect this ratio?” You might ask. You bet!
“So how do we do that?” 
“If we know the key reasons why sales people fail, and if we were to do the opposite, is it reasonable to expect that they would therefore succeed?” .
Yes, that is a fair assessment. You say.
“So what are they? I knew those flakey sales people were the root of my problem.”
Well yes; but you might be a little surprised by some of the reasons why those pesky sales people fail.
 Here we go.

 Top 10 reasons why sales people fail.

1/ It’s Not Their Fault

The primary reason is at the feet of the owners, leaders, senior mangers and sales managers of the organisation.
Not enough thought is put into identifying the role of the sales personnel and the ideal characteristics of the sales people who will take the product to market.
Thousands of dollars go into developing the structure and the marketing strategy, along with the goals and the projections of growth for the new business. Senior managers go to mountain retreats, have SWOT meetings, bring in keynote speakers, consult visionaries and speak in sophisticated terms. Then when all is done, hire a likely someone from a similar industry, maybe because he or she is known to the new sales managers or they are a friend of the owner.
 Management then tell their sales newbie their sales budget. Without working through it, or discussing where the business might come from, or the profile of the ideal prospect. Management also does not facilitate the adoption of a sales process designed specially for the products’ market segment.
 Even in the most ‘edgy’, out there, advanced and ‘sophisticated’ entities, this process of finding and managing sales people is neanderthal. 
No thought given to:

* Ideal characteristics of the sales people - no psychometric testing and benchmarking

* Whether their primary role is find and convert new prospects or service existing clients? (There is a  difference.)

* How will they be managed? What are the expectations regarding the way they are to report and their level of accountability?

* What training will they require - technical, personal development, selling skills?

* Whether they are intrinsically or extrinsically driven?

* What are their triggers? Their hot buttons? Their motivators?

* Their level of motivation energy?

* What equipment, collateral, and other support will be needed?

* Ideal prospects and clients for the organisation? Their A class prospect? (All prospects are good. Good for you and good for your competitors!)

* Developing synergy within a sales team with a healthy competitive culture. (Too often it is ‘I win you lose’ esprit de corp.) 

2/ They have no or few goals

Selling is one career choice that you will be found out  immediately,and  out of work if you are not producing. Very little wriggle room. The author worked in managing a direct selling team in the radio industry, and if you had brought in major business that day you were hailed as the hero. However, the following day if you hadn’t continued your winning run, you were well on the way to having your reputation become zero.
If you were to survive such a hot house and pressure cooker you had to be focused; and goals became your life buoy.
What sort of goals? All sorts; both personal and professional.
The obvious ones are the annual goals for sales, profit margin, adding new clients and retention of existing ones.
Then there are activity goals ( daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly) for referrals, asking for referrals, sales presentations, and securing appointments .
Why have goals? Because sales is such an all embracing environment, largely taking place beyond office walls. It is a world full of distractions and competing priorities. Without the talisman of sales activity KPIs (a.k.a. goals) a sales person can be frantically busy, but when boiled down very little activity likely to produce any meaningful sales results .
Of course with goals comes the big “A”. The expletive in the world of selling that is feared and is loathed: ACCOUNTABILITY.
 A good, nay, a great salesperson will welcome this expectation. With a positive mind and attitude, spur themselves and use goals and milestones to get the best out of themselves. They have great ego, pride and bragging rights on the line.
 Great sales people also have taken time to set goals in their personal life- for family, lifestyle, health, community, learning and financial areas of their life. Failing sales people say they don’t have time.

3/ They have no Plan

For many sales people Hope is the primary strategy they employ.
With half a closed eye on their given budget, they race out, thrash around, and spend plenty with low yielders, ‘never will buy’ prospects and ‘comfort customers’ (they’re the ones always up for a coffee and chat, and of course pick up the odd sale whilst their ‘building the relationship’.).
Simply a lot of wasted energy in pursuit of a few shackles.
Unfortunately, and I say unfortunately, they pick up sales more by default than design, doing just enough to keep the boss happy, them in a job, but worse, in that it gives the false allusion that they are good in their role. Just turning up some days you get lucky and walk into a sale.
Their alter ego, the sales pro, will save his or her energy for the high yielding clients and prospects; being selective of where to spend precious time. He or she will know the characteristics of the best clients for their company and hang out where they do.
Willie Sutton, FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted man, was once asked by the sentencing judge, why he robbed banks. His answer serves as a lesson in education to sales people. He responded “that is where the money is” (He was also quoted later in saying “Go where the money is; and go there often”).
Do your sales people know where the money is? Do they go there often?
Poor sales people do what Willie never did; leave money on the table.
Failing sales persons it would seem, hang out at the pawnbrokers

4/ They don’t know the sales process.

Maybe you have a young conscientious and promising sales recruit with enthusiasm and positivity, taking to their role. All the attributes saying to you “I have got a goodin’, here.”
You might just have. But without the knowledge of the sale process, all the enthusiasm and positivity is unlikely to get them through. Unless…unless, they quickly realise that each product or service has a sales process- things done in the correct order. Just their great attitude or gift of the gab may in fact be terminal to a long career in sales.
Usually these people don’t stay long in sales and move onto another sales job, lured away or gone into an associated career that doesn’t have the same sort of level of accountability.
You would think it a no brainer, that long serving sales people know the sales process, but in my years of training sales people, 90% of career sales people do not know the sales process or that one actually exists. 
Exit stage right.

5/ Lack Enthusiasm.

What has happened to enthusiasm? Or is it me?
It seems to be in short supply today. People seem to have endless issues and diversions; and don’t seem to have the same level of enthusiasm. Or is it an age thing?
Seems to be many sales people with a happy and cheery demeanour; but passion about what they are selling, no!
The first sales books that has had a life long impact,  By Frank Betger, brought it home to me and made it memorable these many years later. The second chapter was about the power of enthusiasm.(Straight after the opening chapter, an introduction to the concept of selling.)
Enthusiasm is like a run away locomotive.
Dare stand in its way, or try to halt it.
It will just run right over you. There is no stopping a person packed with enthusiasm.
You know when you have come across an enthusiastic sales person. They are a thrill to watch and be with.
Apple Geniuses come to mind. They love their job. They are passionate. And full of enthusiasm about their products and customers who share that passion.
We have people in our lives that just ooze enthusiasm and you notionally schedule a regular meeting to get a fill up of, from their trough. Such a man that I have in my circle, a long time business associate,  Barry Harvey, started and successfully ran a major cold storage. He could literally sell ice to Eskimos (or at least help them with their storage).You walk away from a meeting brimming with energy.  
 If your sales person suffers anorexia enthusiasm; work with him or her. It might require training, change of scenery (territory) or another job, sometimes for another employer, maybe.

6/ They are disorganised.

Sales people come in all sorts and sizes. It is not uncommon for them to be a tad dis-organised. This is not necessarily a game breaker. In fact, it could be the highly organised person, at the other end of the spectrum, that could be at a more disadvantage as they like 100% control and being organised. With this trait, it will send them bonkers because they can never have 100% control in the selling process, when the customer has the real control.
That said then, if being organised  is not a natural trait it is essential for the disorganised to learn .

 They must become organised in:

* Time management

* Structure of their Sales Presentation

* Preparation to meet each prospect (beginning with pre call planning before even making the initial contact)

* Their territory management

* Follow up - routine and timely

* Meeting all promises and commitments

* Week’s goals and predetermined outcomes

* Knowing why they are meeting and the wanted outcomes to each meeting.

*preparation of sales reports and expense claims

*weekly update (at least) of CRM system.

To gauge a sales person’s preparedness and personal organisation; a manager might check their:

* Diary

* Presentation folder- current brochures, price lists, order books

* Car

* Personal grooming

Hint to Sales mangers- their outer world represents their inner world.
Failing sales people don’t join the dots and continue to do everything on the fly.

7/ Spend time in their Low Payoff Activities 

Failing sales people leave little time for their high payoff activities- if they even know what they are?
 Here is a test for your sales people. Ask them to list their 5 highest priority activities.
 In some cases, they will not include sales presentations in the list, but if you are lucky, they will list them but not at No 1. Don’t be surprised if they use te expressionbuilding relationships - what ever that means? No cigar!
Their answer should look like this:

* Sales Presentation (which could also be expressed as being in front of a Prospect/Client and discussing their needs)

* Prospecting or getting referrals (which could be networking at industry functions or where other prospects hang out; but only with the clear intent to walk away with one or more prospects)

* Setting up appointments for Sales presentations

* Preparing proposals & quotes

* Follow up proposals

* Attending Sales skills training and Personal development sessions

Their low payoff activities will be represented by them driving across town, doing $10 jobs which could be delegated to assistants or admin staff or outsourcing to courier services. In this day and age of Fiverr and E-lance, there is no excuse for not delegating or outsourcing low payoff tasks.
Failing sales people will be locked into the 80% activity which only generates 20% of results.

8/ No Ongoing Prospecting System

Failing sales people have no process to top up their prospects.
They continually fall back to cold calling.
 Sometimes there is justification for cold calling; but the smart sales people move away from this method to generate new business as quickly as possible. Those who don’t move from this area at first opportunity will either resign or be fired.
Ways to get warm to hot prospects:

 * Referrals

* Referrals

* Referrals

Oh did I mention referrals!?

 If you must, other means include:

 * Industry associations

* Channel partners and affiliates

* Trade media (possibly general media)

* Observation

* Strategic Alliances

* LinkedIn connections

9/ Lack of Desire

To succeed you need a high desire and sense of urgency. High desire level has you fired with passion for your role and focused on results. The day doesn’t just end at 5, nor the week end on a Friday arvo. Sales people get paid for the result; others get paid for the hours.
Desire for you to get the deal done, a desire to get the best results for your client, and a desire to be top dog in the yard.
Pride and sense of purpose play a major part of a sales person’s life and success.
 Failing sales people see it as a job which pays the bills, and gets them through. If it isn’t this job, it will be another one just around the corner. They hear NOs which can break their spirit at the first utterance of the word. “No the prospect doesn’t want the product” he will tell the sales manger. “It’s too expensive!” (Compared to what?) “They have a preferred supplier” or “they tried us years ago and it didn’t work”.
 With a lack of desire, they will hear and accept every reason the prospect offers, without selling with subtlety and purpose to persuade.

10/ In the Long term it’s not their Fault

 If we ended up hiring the best of the batch (who answered the advert) to be our next sales people, we finish them off by our lack of supervision, leadership and training.
Our management style might be one of laissez-faire. Then CHANGE IT!
We manage them as if they were another staff member working in the confines of the office. We don’t like others micro managing us and opt not having to inflict this on others. “Quite frankly, we as senior managers have much more important jobs to do than wet nurse to sale people”. We think; a fatal mistake.
 "As for Sales meetings, we have one once a month. Sometimes we have a barbecue if we landed a big account (the boss’ Brother in law), so we catch up then. But we speak all the time when they are on the road. I speak with them at least once every day or so, about a client or an issue which often comes up"
Or. "We tried weekly sales meetings, but it seemed that somebody was always late or I was away for every second one or we used to have them Mondays, but then when I was away made it in a Tuesday. Seems that wasn’t convenient, so we call them when we need to."
"No we didn’t have an agenda or format. We aren’t BHP!" You might say. “No we didn’t document who was going to action stuff”.
 "Once again we aren’t BHP and the ‘guys’ knew who was doing what. But they get busy and do forget from time to time."
Sound familiar? Someone you know?
 “Training; well yes we did a days training a couple of years back; none since”.
(BTW-It was Tom Watson, founder of IBM who said their sales people should never be out of training.)
 These are the sort of comments to justify how we manage (poorly) our sales team, which quite frankly in this dynamic marketplace, is just not good enough; and leads to why we don’t get the results we must and should get.


Appointing a sales team could be the one most important functions of a manager. It is virtually commissioning a money printing press. Sales people are able to turn on or off, the tap which is critical to business success. Yet we take such a cavalier approach to this.

The ones that take a professional approach and only hire the best people and make available ongoing training to their people, will succeed, grow and prosper. Maybe if this is not you, then it could be your competitor.

Share & Like

If you found this post of value you may like to SHARE with others that could also benefit. Or just a LIKE would be appreciated.
Other posts that you may also find of value :
*How High Do You Want To Fly?
*Tips to Turbo Charge the growth of your business
                             *12 Ways to pick your Low Hanging Fruit  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How High do you want to Fly?


How high do you want to Fly?                                                  

I was brought up to believe attitude was everything. 
I agree but I believe there is something even more important than the big A. Another A. ALTITUDE.

We can have the right attitude, but at a level which is far lower than the potential we might be capable of.

We are  being conditioned by our community, our government, our industry, media and our family and friends. Often by people who love us the most but want to save us from ourselves. From being hurt. 

These people often judge the world from their perspective and how they would react. 
Listening to people we respect the most, and if the 'cautions' are repetitious, we start to doubt ourselves  and develop a reluctance to take risks. Welcome in the ‘bubble wrap’ and the ‘helicopter’ parents (and grandparents) who hover around their children. Shielding them from any danger or risks.

We become ‘small’ thinkers. Risk adverse. Takers of the soft and safe option.

One refreshing exception was  shown on prime television Million Dollar Minute, when an ordinary bloke, Andrew Skarbak, decided not to take his prize of $750,000, but risk it all for $1m.He had been challenged by cancer and was in debt for his treatment. He risked it all NOT once but three times. (While his wife was supportive the first time, her patience was tested by the final chance). He showed both courage and ‘take a risk and not die wondering’ attitude. He looked on the event from a lofty altitude.

What would you have done? Honestly?

The exciting message for us is he won. “The good guy won!”  What a relief. What does this message convey to us?
Maybe this gives us courage to welcome risks over the beige world of mediocrity. Go for GREATNESS.

To ensure we Fly with the Eagles and not walk with timid mortals we must 
  • Protect our Health- Health is everything. Our and our family’s. Do we pursue a wellness program?
  • Protect our Energy- Lethargy is a killer. Do we spend our years living? Or dying? 
  • Protect our Sleep- Many Australians suffer sleep deprivation. Don’t kid ourself. We need 8 hours sleep.
  • Protect our Imagination- Kids are creative, imaginative and dreamers. Are we too ‘grown up’ for this?
  • Protect our Self talk- our worst enemy is us. What do we say to ourselves? The enemy within.
  • Protect our Mental health- rising depression in our community. We need to seek treatment or acknowledge a problem

      If you wish to Fly Like an Eagle, Action to take:
  •   Read The Magic of Thinking Big” by Dr David Swartz
  •   Watch a daily dose of TED to see that the impossible is possible
  •   Listen to Radio National Podcast : Big Ideas 
  •   Try something new each day- change your route to and from work 
  •   Select a new dish from the menu
  •   Go somewhere new for holidays
  •   Develop  a BIG picture Vision board.
  •   Take energy sappers from your life.
  •   Develop a stress management program which could include meditation, yoga
  •   Be aware when you are being conditioned and your imagination and possibilities lowered.
  •   Get yourself some BHAGs. ( Big Hairy Audacious Goals) 
  •   See the world through 10 Times Mind Expander ( Check out  Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan for details)
  •   Take 5, relax and take an eagle eye’s view with John Denver:   

Remember no one ever said on their death bed they wish they had taken less risks. 
Today start dancing on thin ice! Live your Potential. Fly higher than you ever thought possible.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tips to turbo charge the growth of your consultancy and practice

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT SOME of the worst salespeople I have known.
 They are professional services people - accountants, lawyers, consultants, financial advisors, mortgage brokers, and the like.

Did I ever tell you about the best consultants or accountants I've met? Lawyers, financial consultants? Yes? Well actually they're in both groups.

The groups are not mutually exclusive.

Let me just qualify what I am saying so I have a fighting chance of retaining friends who happen to be consultants, advisors, lawyers and accountants. The fact that they are ordinary salespeople is no reflection on their professionalism to do what they are retained to do. Which I know is excellent.

Just that personal service professionals do not like selling. I will rephrase that they hate the idea of selling.

"Build the practice and they will come" approach.

Apologies to Kevin Costner and one of my favourite movies.

They truly believe if they provide a good service that their practice will build automatically and they will be successful.

Well not quite. No cigar. Just yet.

Their practices will grow incrementally, more by default. But not sufficiently fast to satisfy the owners, defend them from faster more savvy competitors or take them from a practice to a true business.

Some wanting to change this paradigm will go and do a sales course and learn the sales process. Full marks for effort. But unlikely to have a tinker's chance of improvement .

Because the value of gaining sales knowledge will not be applied frequently enough for the right habits and attitudes be created. So we are back to square one.

So what is the alternative?

Let's keep it simple. Real simple.

Once consultants and professional services practitioners realise this they have a rubicon moment to not only increase their chance to attract new business but also gain improvement in their processes which will greatly enhance their service.

A true opportunity to stone two crows with the one yonnie.

Instead of learning the complexity of the sales process. Just adopt processes that will both exceed clients' experiences as well as gain you new business fees, both from your existing clients as well as new customers.

Adopting processes that could do both? Yes. This change would form the basis of better client work practices and also put you in a good position to be recommended as the service of choice.

So yes, meeting your client needs is critical but it is only part of the story.

It requires exceptional client experience. Most would agree but not know how to achieve this.

So to strive for great client outcomes which lead to a major increase in business consider the acronym AEDAA:

Attention Engage Desire Action Acclamation


Gain the ATTENTION of your target demographic group. Until you have taken the time to decide who they are you will never know when you come across them.

Anybody can attract customers by sheer chance- some ideal, some clogging up your client list and others who are high maintenance and low yield.

There are good clients for you and then there are good clients for your competitors. Its knowing the difference.

What are the psychometrics and sociometrics that define your best clients. Their age, gender, roles, postcode, personality traits, industry categories, to start with.

Take your top 20% client, and aggregate their features. You will be surprised how common they are. As they say, birds of a feather flock together.

Next step is to hangout where they do. Where do their interests lie? Football, Yachting, Quilting, whatever. If you are in B2B then join their industry association. Your current clients know people who know people who would also be ideal clients for you.

Better a big fish in a small pond.

We like to be with people who are like us.

Get ATTENTION by not being beige and forgettable. Be different. Be noticeable.

What is your point of difference?

Marketing guru Seth Godin authored a wonderful book on this topic titled Purple Cow. In essence when you go for a relaxing drive through the countryside and you arrive home. How many cows did you see? It might take a moment to remember if any. But if there had been one purple cow you wouldn't hesitate to remember.

So what is your Purple Cow? Maybe it is your incredible high level of service, maybe your pink vans, or is it your giant pineapple in the front lobby which has you stand out like the proverbial (ie. the purple cow)? Whatever. But make it unique.

Ian Molly Meldrum is a unique and quirky character. I shared a friendship and accommodation with Ian in London in the 70s. His (and my) greatest influence was The Beatles. When he had a chance to meet his hero John Lennon he fainted. Imagine how many people John Lennon would have met, likely in the thousands, before his untimely death. But he always remembered Ian as that "crazy Aussie" that fainted and fell flat on his face in the London club when he met him.

That was Molly's Purple Cow which served him well later getting exclusive access to the super group.

Also ATTENTION in meetings with prospects and clients. When you meet with them in their office make sure they are present. What do you say? Yes, they may just have had an argument with their partner, got off the phone to a client about late deliveries, or simply just distracted.

So make sure they are mentally present as well as physically there . Otherwise anything you say or discuss will not be heard or remembered or acted upon later.

Best way to get their attention is to focus your and their attention on them. Compliment something personal or an interest or a sport you know is important to them.

What do consultants and advisors meeting with clients and prospects do? They are always in a hurry. Time is tight. So they launch straight in without the 'small talk ' which has such an important role at this point of a meeting.

'Tune in' the other person's frequency to your's before you move into the business part of the meeting.

Think about the Australian coast watchers in New Guinea during the war risking their life to pass information about Japanese shipping movements . They would crank up their valve powered short wave and start calling Port Moresby all the time swivelling the frequency modulator. They knew that there was no point transmitting until Port Moresby acknowledged their plea for attention.


The key to today's age is engagement. We are bombarded by thousands of stimuli each day that are filtered out and only the most pressing and beneficial get through.

Plus there are so many ways and means we can ENGAGE. For many years it was restricted to face to face, mail and telephone. Then came radio and then television. Then fax arrived . Wow did we think it was Christmas every day.

Herald in the Internet and the permutation of engaging people has progressed exponentially.

As a senior executive from Disney visiting a conference in Melbourne said last month at a breakfast he was asked to address:

Are you engaging with your prospects and clients on as many platforms as possible?

It is a question, he said, is asked at every meeting of his team at the Disney studio.

That is what has become expected today.

We can only best ENGAGE if we know what our clients are interested and concerned about. How do we do that? We set out to understand what their concerns are, their problems and their pain points which can only be done through asking probing questions.

Questions that not only reveal their goals but their deep seated concerns and problems.

As Rob Jolles says, former head trainer for Xerox the pioneer of sales training, prospects only make decisions to solve problem. BIG problems.

Whilst many consultants and advisors know they must ask questions, they usually do without knowing the protocol and hierarchy of questions. Most are superficial first degree non probing questions. And their questions are left at that level.

Often the level of probing questions can be directly linked to our own self image. Only asking questions which will not upset our rapport and register a negative response.

SPIN Selling , which was released by Hathaway gives an excellent example and structure of questions that every professional services practitioner should study to be more effective. SPIN being Specific, Problem (Identifying), Implication and Needs (or benefits) questions.

We must aspire to be not just a provider but to esteemed position of trusted advisor.

One based on Trust and centred around their needs and their wants. This can only come from an honest concern for our clients welfare, by knowing their goals and desires.

Which come from questions!


DESIRE is what drives decisions. DESIRE to gain pleasure or avoid pain.

To help prospects and clients make decisions, to avert procrastination, we must 'dial up' the benefits or aversion to losses.

"What if" questions help our prospects envisage a future if they proceed the path they are currently travelling or if they decide to change direction by making a decision.

We should not expect the person in front of us to automatically be able to imagine their future, but that is our professional skill to guide them down that path.

A good principle to use is that expressed by the President of Mattel:

"Never offer a solution until you first have the prospect verbalise their problem"

This is where we need to become big on questions and slow on statements.

It is human nature when we have endless time to make decisions, even for things we desire, we tend to put off because our fear of being wrong or a fear of failing as a result.

To increase the level of desire and the need for action we can create a sense of scarcity. Scarcity of opportunity, availability, profit, or time.

I am a good case study. Best expressed: I have some 364 days to buy one important Christmas gift, my wife's present. In all fairness I start thinking about it a week before Christmas Day. Come Christmas Eve morning I am now on a mission. By midday I am getting a little nervous as the count down begins in earnest. My level of desire is quickly rising like a barometer on a hot summer's day. Money becomes less important, because the solution is a matter of life and death. My personal safety is at risk.

This level of urgency in the financial advisory area comes with bass statement deadlines, ASIC reporting or our year end annual tax return. Or minimising tax through superannuation instalments before the end of the financial year.

The level of pain or gain must rise to be greater than that of inertia before we move into action.


Our job is not done until we clearly have actions to be taken. Many professional service representatives often stop short. Thinking that if we give a prospect all the information that they will automatically make decision to go ahead. Wrong and in many cases a fatal error in getting a prospect on board.

A major error is that we give far too much information for a simple decision to go ahead or not .

We have blinded them with our cleverness and suitably impressed them with our knowledge.

The next words likely to come out of their mouths are " thank you we will take this home, (office or wherever) and think about it"

What we need to do is to take an assumptive stance and set a time table sign off," how are you placed next week to meet ?"

So before the initial meeting ends, a clear timetable should be proposed and diarised. Anything less will cost time and money and increase doubt that the project will go ahead as discussed.

Is that the end. Well for most it is.

But not for good professionals on their way to being great.

If we had a prospect which has now turned into a client we are now behind. What the? Yes we are now behind. We have one less prospect than we started with.

We should see our business model as a continuum. Otherwise just like everyone else it becomes a roller coaster of feast and famine.


We started by saying there is nothing that professional services people like worse than when they have to sell their services.

We are wrong.

There is one thing they hate worse. Asking for referrals!

Well we have a viable alternative to this very important element in the business development continuum.

That is to identify our brand advocates.

People who are pleased as punch with the service we have given and more than willing to recommend to others.

Once the project is completed a thank you letter is sent to our client for their business and a request which asks them to rate our service :

1/ on a scale of 1 to 10 would they give a value of the service they received?

2/ what is the likelihood that they would recommend on a scale of 1 to 10?

First this exercise tells clients that you are looking to build your client base. Often it is thought, wrongly, that you have enough clients and not looking for more, or whilst we feel it would be top of mind to recommend us, in real truth it just never enters their mind.

Second by identifying those who would give their experience an 8, 9 or 10 you could follow up to ask them for a testimonial to be placed on your web page.

Also a direct request if they can recommend to associates and others.

Third to the rest you might ask them with subsequent questionnaires what it would take to improve their rating.


AEDAA offers a sustainable process that is repeatable and reteachable for all in your professional team to contribute to getting new clients.

Without relying on the practice rainmaker.

It also provides simple practice process to deliver superior service and enhance the client experience.

Why not try it. Nothing to loose and everything to gain
Good luck!

Footnote: For every statement there is an exception. The best salesperson I know is in professional services. I would go as far as saying that he and his brother established the most successful financial services practice in Australia 50 years ago and Tony Bongiorno still today does 35 new business presentations a week in Sydney and Melbourne. When the norm is more like 15. Without doubt in my experience he is the best salesperson of any product in Australia. Tony lives by many of the principles in this post.

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