The last 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your fish, but possibly your entire company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.
Even when business is good there’s still a change of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business.
Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
- Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
- Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
- Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
- Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
- As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
- Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
- Always know which accounts need paid and when.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
- Have a bank contingency plan in place.
- Build your own inventor network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for fish transitions and slow sales. These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.
If you need help with any step of the process of catching your fish or subsequent big fish clients, try our FREE test drive for access to a wealth of great tools and resources as well as our business coaching staff.
There are 5 big mistakes you can do that will kill a deal with a big fish. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations
- Mishandling a client crisis
- Taking on more than you can handle
- Putting all your eggs in one basket
- Up cash creek without a paddle
Any one or combination of these can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your company as well. We’re going to take a bit of time to talk about each one of these, in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client’s exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.
A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship. This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs.
- Lack of communication. This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your operations department.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
- Define success.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
Crisis’ will happen, but how you respond and fix them will define your company and interaction with your clients’. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologize no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to kill a big fish deal, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
If you need help with any of this, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you could ever need.
Next time we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistake you can make in working with big fish clients.
There are a few things you need to do and consider to prepare for your first face to face meeting:
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the meeting.
- Anticipate potential concerns from the client.
- Check to make sure you are completely prepared.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Bring support staff with you.
- Use and respect the clients’ format.
- Always follow through.
- Ask for what you need and seal the deal.
- Simplify your prospects life.
- Find ways to boost your credibility.
- Build and nurture relationships.
- Learn from “no”. Find out what didn’t work so you know how to change it for the next time.
These are all important things to do both before and during your presentation. With confidence behind your company and product you will catch that big fish. The next step of the process is negotiation. This can seem a little intimidating but with a few tips and tricks can become natural to you.
Here are some tips to help you negotiated successfully:
- Build a pricing strategy and stick with it.
- Prioritize what you plan to offer. This should include what really matters to you and what you are willing to give in on.
- Don’t give in too quickly.
- Negotiated with a person, not a “company”. Don’t let their answer be that they would like to, but can’t.
- Don’t sell yourself short.
- Mitigate your pricing. If you go to low you won’t be able to raise it back up and you need to make a profit.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for the deal.
- Your services should always count as costs.
- Boost margins with add-ons.
- Handle request for proposals with the utmost care.
These are the ways you make sure that both parties are getting the best possible situation from the partnership. Once you start meeting or working together, it’s important to continue to build your relationship so that that representative becomes a big of an ally for you. They are more likely to vouch for you and build on the partnership you have with their company.
We like to call this person a champion. They are champion for your company and can bring a stronger, brighter future to your company. Here are the characteristics of a great champion:
- They are respected by supervisors.
- They are socially networked.
- They think in the best interest of their company’s long run.
- They are able to quickly navigate through the company to get things done.
- They are willing to give credit to another person.
- They share the same business philosophy, values and vision as you.
Now, that you know how to negotiate for what is best for both parties and build on relationships, we’re going to talk about how to use your fish’ power to the best of your benefit.
If you need help with any of the negotiation or courting process, try our FREE test drive to get access to a wealth of great tools and resources to help you be successful.
In the last post we talked about making first contact with your prospective big fish and how to make a positive first impression. Today we’re going to talk about feeling out the personality of your prospective big fish to match the right salesperson to the fish.
You need to do this in two steps:
- Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
- Match the right salesperson to your target fish.
There are essentially three different selling personalities:
• Pit Bull
This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. In order to be successful they need plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references and case studies, if possible.
Much like it sounds this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients who are looking for friendship, information and in a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While, sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. The resource’s this personality type needs is help pairing with the right client, entertainment (or schmoozing) budget and the right information to meet the client’s needs.
The Pit Bull
Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to a lot of people, there is a set of business people out there that want the same thing and respect someone
who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a little authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authorative discretion and seal deals quickly.
These can all be successful when each is used in the right selling environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more big fish and for a longer period of time.
If you need help figuring out which of your salespeople fit into these three areas, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our amazing coaches to get your big fish plan in action.
In the last post we talked about how to learn about your big fish and prepare for the first contact you’ll make with them. This first contact is essential to your success. You need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price and at the quality you promise.
Today we’ll actually go through the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you put together your approach plan, you need to choose with big fish you’re going after. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.
There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:
- Position Your Business
- Compile Your Hit List
- Select the Best Target
Position Your Business
You need to position your business to make the first move by listing your revenue streams, id and list your operational procedures, where your fish is initially positioned, your big-customer research, and putting it all together.
Compile Your Hit List
Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Even small companies could be big fish in the future.
Select the Best Target
Once you’ve got your list narrowed down, you need to decide which one is the best fish to start with. You need to consider a couple of things:
- Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
- Does their company vision compliment yours?
- What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your
- What’s the company’s real need for you?
- Will the partnership lead you off-course?
Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.
Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make a good first impression:
- Build and analyze your database. Divide your leads into three different categories: hot leads, great fits and secondary leads.
- Send out introductory mailings to your target to introduce yourself, your company, services, products, and vision. They need to be short, clean and concise.
- Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and try to set up a meet with the right person.
- Follow up your phone call with another mailing that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
- Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after they would have received the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them.
- Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but when you know you are offering a quality product/service, you can’t go wrong.
Once you’ve gone through this process and make first contact (and hopefully a good first impression) it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.
If you need help putting together your approach and make a good first impression, try our FREE test drive to work with a coach and have access to a wealth of great resources and tools.