EnMast http://www.enmast.com Small Business Community | Small Business Tools, Templates, Help and Resources. Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:35:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 How to warm up cold leads (without being a pest) http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-warm-up-cold-leads-and-turn-them-into-hot-sales/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-warm-up-cold-leads-and-turn-them-into-hot-sales/#respond Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:35:04 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18999 Cold is not usually a positive association. Cold coffee. Cold weather. Cold attitudes. Not a lot of people will jump up and down with excitement when you’re describing something cold…unless it’s ice cream. The same goes for cold leads. They’re not the easiest to work with–and you need to find a way to warm them

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Cold is not usually a positive association. Cold coffee. Cold weather. Cold attitudes. Not a lot of people will jump up and down with excitement when you’re describing something cold…unless it’s ice cream.

cold leads

The same goes for cold leads. They’re not the easiest to work with–and you need to find a way to warm them up while prospecting without being a pest. If you don’t do anything, your relationship is likely going nowhere — what was once a potential sale, is now lost.

cold leads into hot sales

So how do you avoid that? Here are a few tips for making your cold leads a little bit warmer so you can close a sale.

1. Connect on social media

Say you got a new lead at a networking event a few weeks ago, and you reached out via email but never heard anything back. You’re stuck in the cold zone. A nice, subtle way to remind them you exist is to connect with them on social media. Start by seeing if they have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and connecting with them there.

Now, you don’t want to appear stalker-esque, so don’t go overboard on this one. Take it slow, and see if anything comes from one platform at first. Then you can move on to other social networks.

2. Offer an update

Have you recently hired someone new? Changed your services or offerings? These are relevant pieces of news that can provide a way for you to re-start the conversation with past leads. Now you’re not just sending a nagging follow-up message, but you’re offering something new to the back-and-forth.

This might be just the right thing to pique the interest of that potential client whose initial interest fizzled out.

3. Educate

Let your cold leads know you’ve got lots of valuable expertise up your sleeve by producing a constant trickle of helpful content in the spaces they use to gather information. Whether it’s an insightful blog post, podcast [hey, you should check out ours ;)], or e-newsletter, this consistent reminder that you really know your stuff can eventually tip the scales in your favor. Think about where they go to find information on how to be better at what they do (maybe LinkedIn, a popular industry website, etc.) and find ways to build a presence there.

Gary Vaynerchuk describes this as “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” Your jabs are those awesome pieces of material that help your cold leads, and the right hook is the direct ask that follows through. Since you’ve provided so much free information, your cold leads are more compelled to give back.

5. Send something valuable

See an article that might be right up a cold lead’s alley? Send it over with a quick message referencing the helpful resource you found that you wanted him or her to see. Or, maybe you know that they’re looking for help within a certain department. Is there someone in your network of connections that you could refer for that role?

When you can offer something valuable to a cold lead, they start getting the warm and fuzzies (and they might feel like they owe you something.) Make introductions and be a helpful resource for those stubborn cold leads, and they’ll begin to change their tune.

6. Reinforce your ethos

Have you recently won an award, been featured in a prominent medium, or done something groundbreaking that people are taking note of? Highlighting your accomplishments on social media helps you reinforce your ethos as an expert in your field–and reminds your cold leads that you really are fantastic at what you do.

Don’t be boastful, but be sure to highlight your successes in a way that compliments your efforts.

7. Call

Yes! It’s true. Picking up the phone is sometimes the only way you’re going to get a finite answer to if the two of you will be working together. Grit your teeth, dial the number, and use your dazzling charm. Oh, and be sure to re-introduce yourself. If it’s been awhile, you shouldn’t expect your lead to remember you right off the bat.

One caveat, though: Don’t leave a voicemail. They’re worthless. You want a concrete yes or no–so try to get your cold lead when they can actually pick up the phone. Here’s a few sales call tips as well.

Hang in there

Perseverance is the name of the game. When it comes to cold leads, you know there’s some initial interest there…but it’s your job to work them through the sales pipeline and to turn them into a living, breathing customer. Try out these tactics and see which ones are most effective with your target audience.

What did we miss? Anything you’d tack on to this list?

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How to increase sales (and make more money) http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-increase-sales/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-increase-sales/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 18:44:57 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18989 What creates sales for your company? What is one thing can you do today that will increase sales in the future? What can you do that will move the needle on your top line? It’s surprising how few of my clients have ever sat down and thought about the answers to these questions. If you

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What creates sales for your company? What is one thing can you do today that will increase sales in the future? What can you do that will move the needle on your top line?

how to increase sales

It’s surprising how few of my clients have ever sat down and thought about the answers to these questions. If you need more sales what do you do? I’m not talking about what 50 things could you do that might cause sales. I’m talking about what are the 2 – 4 steps you can take that will clearly open conversations with new prospects. Because, no matter what business you are in, more conversations with prospects will mean more business.

How to increase sales

I’m all for powerful marketing. I’m a huge believer that you should be bringing more traffic to your website every month. But when it comes to selling something, usually a conversation–face-to-face, or over the phone–is what’s required.

You need to somehow get appointments so you can talk to people who are interested in buying from you. How do you get prospects to volunteer to have that conversation?

I’ve got more than a dozen things I’ve tried on how to increase sales. I’ve listed them starting with the ones I’d try first, and ended with those I consider “If you’re desperate,” ideas. Look them over and find one to try this week.

1. Increasing Awareness

People have to know you exist. If you are just getting started, or have a specialty that not everyone needs, you must focus here. Some ways to “get the word out” include:

  • Calling past clients–prospects who weren’t a good fit (I sent them a proposal and they said no)–and asking for referrals.
  • Speaking engagements in front of audiences that contain a substantial number of potential customers.
  • Writing something for publications that my customers read.
  • Being a guest on a podcast, or show (that my prospects, or people like my prospects, listen to).
  • Promoting a new piece of content we published that highlights the need which my service meets. (The promotion has to include getting other people to talk about it or write about it).
  • Advertising (another way to promote that content piece!)
  • Sponsoring a contest.
  • Giving something away (something that’s very relevant to your targeted prospects.)

From Awareness to Consideration

In this part of the sales process, you’ve made a lot of “business friends”; but now you need prospects–people who can actually hire you. You have to convert that awareness into consideration. In order for folks to consider turning to you for services, they have to believe you can help them. They need to see that you are an expert at what you do. Some ways I demonstrate expertise to my audience include:

  • Calling past clients–again, those prospects who weren’t a good fit (the ones that rejected my proposal)–and asking for new opportunities; telling them about new service offerings; or just reconnecting.
  • Hosting an event with clients and prospects in attendance.
  • Hosting an educational event; a seminar, webinar or conference. When I do this, I’m always addressing my prospects. And at some point in the event I want to highlight for them the benefits of working with me.
  • Follow up calls. Call people who downloaded that content piece that we’ve been promoting.
  • Specific calls to action. Whenever we are creating awareness, we are specific about what we want people to do in order to work with us.
  • Asking, “How can I help you?” when I see someone in person at an event.
  • A “needs survey” on my website or in person.

Discovery Conversations

In this part on how to increase sales, once people are considering you as a viable solution to their challenges, you need to do some investigating. Do they really have a problem? Is it a big problem–one they would pay money to solve? Are you a good fit for them? You have generated some leads from all the activities I mentioned above. Now it’s time to come out and ask, “Can we have a conversation to see if our services are a good fit for the problem you’re having?”

If you are generating awareness with the right audience, you will have just “caused” sales to happen!

Notice that none of these examples include the following (which for me and most of my clients don’t cause sales. They may feel like they are going to cause sales, but, more often than not, they are just a big distraction):

  • Respond to an RFP that didn’t initiate with a conversation with me prior to the RFP getting written. This is tantamount to investing in lottery tickets as a retirement strategy. It might work.
  • “Networking”. If I don’t know if there are prospects in a group, or referral partners who can get me to prospects, then I’m fishing, not networking.
  • Re-writing or re-designing my website. Not that it doesn’t need to be done, but go find some clients then pay someone else to do it.

So, I want to know. What do you do that causes sales for your business?




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5 Sales Prospecting Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/5-sales-prospecting-tools-entrepreneur/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/5-sales-prospecting-tools-entrepreneur/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:30:17 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18966 When you’re working hard to build new relationships and network for your business, you’re ultimately working to increase your sales pipeline. You’re connecting with new people and getting your brand in front of new faces. Part of this happens in the form of in-person meetings, but other times, we use platforms like LinkedIn to do

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When you’re working hard to build new relationships and network for your business, you’re ultimately working to increase your sales pipeline. You’re connecting with new people and getting your brand in front of new faces.

5 sales prospecting tools

Part of this happens in the form of in-person meetings, but other times, we use platforms like LinkedIn to do this online.

The trouble with this continuously expanding network of connections, however, is that now you’ve got to keep them all straight.

Today, we’re discussing 5 sales prospecting tools that will help you do just that.

Refresh

When you’re getting ready to have a discussion with one of your new connections, it’s a good idea to get a quick recap of whatever information you have about this person for the sake of conversation. When paired up with your calendar, Refresh helps you do this by sending you a quick dossier on that person right before your meeting.

sales prospecting tools

You’ll receive a full look at the person’s profile based on their email address–meaning it pulls all of the social profiles connected to the email address. You’ll be able to check out the person’s recent Facebook posts, Instagram feed, and gather some general background information that will help you prep for your meeting.

Rapportive

Rapportive is a tool you can use to get LinkedIn profiles to tie-in with your Gmail account. This allows you to see a full profile on the person you’re composing a message to. You’ll be supplied with information about where the person works, lives, their job title, and any shared connections you may have–which establishes common ground for the two of you (hence, the name.)

screen-shot-2014-06-17-at-10-28-06-am

You can also use this tool to search for people at a company who’s email you don’t have yet. You can try out a few different email combinations to see what profile information comes up based on the email addresses you type in. Then, you can reach out to the person right from your Gmail account without having to go back into LinkedIn.

Contactually

When you want a CRM system that helps you group your email connections into groups or to tag them for different skills, Contactually is a great option. Then, when someone asks you if you know of any people with a certain skill set (let’s say copywriting, for example), you can do a quick search through all of your connections that you’ve tagged with “copywriting.” Now you can send referrals without having to dig to find all of the possible candidates you could recommend.

This resource also has a great introduction tool that helps you keep track of introductions you’ve made. It automatically saves your descriptions of each person so you don’t have to re-type it each time.

featuresintro

Boomerang

Boomerang keeps track of your email correspondence in Gmail and sends friendly reminders when it’s time for you to follow up with someone who hasn’t responded to your message. No more conversations falling through the cracks–you set the time frame, and if no response is received by then, you’re reminded to get back in touch.

It also allows you to send messages at a later date/time so it’s delivered at the ideal time.

sales prospect tools

LinkedIn Connected

If you need sales prospecting tools because your business thrives on recruiting great people, the LinkedIn Connections app is a great way to see what’s happening with your talented LinkedIn connections. You’ll be notified when people change jobs, when a connection has a birthday, when someone gets a promotion, etc. All of the sudden, you’re presented with great opportunities to reach out to you connections.

LinkedIn-Connected-Screenshots-e1404966183802Sales Prospecting Tools are what you make them

You can have all of the fantastic sales prospecting tools in the world–but unless you take the time to get them set up and start using them regularly, you’re missing opportunities to expand your reach.

Your turn: What tools would you add to this list?




The 2015 Guide to Using LinkedIn - Webinar


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What is a sales pipeline? Here’s everything you need to know http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/what-is-a-sales-pipeline/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/what-is-a-sales-pipeline/#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 13:08:47 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18958 Getting a customer, for most of us, isn’t a one step process. It’s different for all types of businesses. So then, what is a sales pipeline? If you were to draw a map of the stages that your prospects go through — from the time they first hear about your company through consideration, talking to

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Getting a customer, for most of us, isn’t a one step process. It’s different for all types of businesses.

So then, what is a sales pipeline?

what is a sales pipeline

If you were to draw a map of the stages that your prospects go through — from the time they first hear about your company through consideration, talking to a sales person, reviewing a proposal, negotiation or contract review, and finally (some of them) buy — that process is what a sales pipeline is for you. A sales pipeline is all the people currently, and actively, considering buying your product or using your services.

In order to manage your sales pipeline, we need to get potential buyers to identify themselves. Sometimes we find out they are interested when they fill out a form to download our sales information. Other times, we don’t know they are “in” the pipeline until they contact a sales person! The earlier in their sales journey we can get them to identify themselves to us, the better we are able to manage the process. What offers can you make that will get your prospects to identify themselves earlier in the sales pipeline?

Managing the sales pipeline

At each stage of the sales pipeline (awareness, consideration, sales presentation, proposal, negotiation) some prospects drop out. For example, if we deliver 10 proposals in a month, and 5 of them ultimately buy, we have a 50% conversion rate from proposals to sales. If you measure from consideration all the way through to sales, you might convert 1% – 2% of your prospects into sales.

That closing ratio will vary by a number of factors, including the type of prospect, the sales person delivering the presentation, the lead source, etc. Looking carefully at all the variables will give you information to optimize your sales pipeline. If your sales team spends more time working on the sales leads that have a higher conversion rate, then your sales will increase!

For example, if we see that we convert more proposals from bigger companies than we do from smaller companies, we know we need to prioritize big company leads! When sales slow (or accelerate) we can go back to our pipeline and try to diagnose. Are we getting fewer leads? Are leads not turning into presentations?

Tracking these stages helps us to identify what might be going wrong, and focus our efforts to fix it.

Using the sales pipeline to forecast sales

sales prospectingThe sales pipeline also helps us to forecast sales. Over time, we may learn that 20% of people who download our sales brochure ultimately request a sales presentation; and out of those, 40% request a proposal, and then half of those buy. Now we can see the future!

Working with these numbers, we know that if we get 100 brochure downloads, we can forecast 4 sales. When we track the prospects in our pipeline, we can “see” sales coming before they happen. Knowing what’s coming puts us in a better place to prepare for it. We can make sure we have the capacity and the inventory to meet the demand.

A sales pipeline report tracks each lead and identifies what stage the lead is in. According to the stage, we can know the likelihood of closing for each deal. If we know the approximate value of each deal, we can forecast the value of the sales in our pipeline.

The sales pipeline is a report that you should be able to get out of your CRM system (if you have one); or it could just be kept by your sales team in a spreadsheet. It’s important that you review it regularly to make sure there aren’t any deals that are “stuck” at one stage. When leads get stuck for too long, the likelihood that they will close decreases. Eventually, you just need to take them off the report.

Once you create the sales pipeline report, it’s easy for the sales people to see the deals that they should be focusing on; they just need to move each prospect to the next stage in the buying cycle.

But don’t forget, the best way to increase your sales is to add new leads. Once a lead is in the pipeline, you need to make sure your team works it diligently, even though–unless your process or lead sources have changed–you should already know what percentage of those leads will close. If you want more sales, do more prospecting!

What does your sales pipeline look like? How do you keep track of it?

Not sure where to start? This Sales Pipeline Report Template will help you build your own. Click below to download!




Sales Pipeline Report Template Download


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Sending Price Increase Notices: 4 Best Practices http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/price-increase-notice-practices/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/price-increase-notice-practices/#respond Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18161 When you finally decide it’s time to send your clients a price increase notice, there are a few best practices to follow to help ensure you and your customers are on the same page about what’s happening. The last thing you want to transpire when you’re making a request is to put them on the

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When you finally decide it’s time to send your clients a price increase notice, there are a few best practices to follow to help ensure you and your customers are on the same page about what’s happening.

tips for sending price increase notices

The last thing you want to transpire when you’re making a request is to put them on the spot, surprise them, or make them angry.

That’s why today, we wanted to outline a few best practices to help you send a price increase notice that gets your clients on board (instead of running for the hills.)

1. Give some warning

Surprises + Business = Bad.

price increase notice

Nobody likes seeing a price increase on his or her monthly invoice—especially when it comes without warning. All of the sudden you’re stuck with a higher bill and have no idea why. It feels sneaky and gross.

Which is exactly why you need to give your clients some warning via a price increase notice.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes: If they came to you and said, “I need you to do 2x more work and I need it completed by tomorrow morning,” would you be obliged to help them out? Probably not.

Instead, if they came to you a month ahead of time and said, “Look: We’ve got a new product launching next month so I’m going to need you to prepare for double your workload in the coming weeks. Can you take that on?” you’d probably be more able to wrap your mind around the project and willing to hop on board.

So how much notice is enough?

30 days is ideal because it gives your client enough time to plan (or re-organize their budget) to accommodate the price increase you’re requesting. It also allows time for conversation and negotiation if the two of you need to work together to find a new balance.

2. Offer a deal

Sometimes you need to find a way to make your price increase notice more appealing to your clients. After all, you’re asking for more money—so what’s in it for them?

price increase notification

Offering a deal is one solution to help you address your needs while making a concession for your client.

For example: You’ve sent a price increase notice that informs your client that prices will increase by six percent on January 1st, but also include that you’d be willing to let them buy the first six months at the old rate if they pay up front.

It’s a win-win: You get cash up front, and they get an extended period at your lower rate.

3. Give the details

Clients want to hear your reasoning behind the price increase. Obviously you’ve pulled numbers from somewhere to figure up how much you want to raise your prices, so have those ready to share.

price increase notices

For example: Say you own a non-profit that transports medical supplies to disaster relief sites. You’ve noticed that your freight charges have gone up 10% due to the cost of fuel. Have the invoice from your transportation company to share with your clients so they have physical proof that your price increase notice is backed by necessity.

When you can validate your request with hard numbers or statistics, it shows that you aren’t just taking advantage of your customers.

4. Have an alternative

If you sense that a client is going to look elsewhere for your type of product or service after receiving the price increase notice, be prepared with another solution that can meet their needs.

Maybe it’s a similar product that is slightly cheaper (but still effective) or a decreased workload that still meets their core objectives. Having other options ready can help retain those customers who can’t afford your price increase.

When you aren’t willing to negotiate and don’t have alternatives to offer, you might be communicating, “Welp, if you can’t pay me more, see ya later.”

If that’s not the message you’re going for—be ready to work together to find a new solution.

Remember, sending a price increase notice is more than a one-step process. There are conversations that need to take place. You need to allow time for the request to be digested. But if you follow these best practices, your request can take effect without a hitch.

What advice do you have for business owners who are sending a price increase letter?




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Sales prospecting: 4 Ways to take control of your sales pipeline http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/sales-prospecting-control-sales-pipeline/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/sales-prospecting-control-sales-pipeline/#respond Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18886 You all know what the sales pipeline stages are, right? As you market and sell, you are moving people from awareness (“Oh, look, they exist”); to consideration (“Hmm, they might be able to solve my problem”); to discovery (“Let’s talk about how you might be able to solve my problem.”); to engagement (“Let’s work together to solve my

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You all know what the sales pipeline stages are, right? As you market and sell, you are moving people from awareness (“Oh, look, they exist”); to consideration (“Hmm, they might be able to solve my problem”); to discovery (“Let’s talk about how you might be able to solve my problem.”); to engagement (“Let’s work together to solve my problem!”).

sales prospecting

Each stage of the sales pipeline has it’s own challenges. Some businesses seem to think that they should keep what they do a secret (or at least, they’re doing a lousy job telling people about it), so they have problems with awareness. Others might have trouble with how to close a sale. They struggle with how to ask for the business. We’ve talked before about improving your whole sales process, but there is only one point in that process where we are in total control. That’s at the top of the funnel.

Every business — no matter where their weaknesses are in the sales process — will have more customers if they get more prospects.

If more people consider them as a credible solution, then more people will buy from them! This is why cold calling “works”. Cold calling is 100% focused on awareness and consideration. If you ask enough people, someone will have the problem you solve! Some percentage of people have it bad enough that they will consider hiring you (even if you cold call them). If you look at it that way, it’s just a numbers game.

While the numbers are real, they aren’t the only factor that drives the art of prospecting (the only point on the sales pipeline where you are truly in control!). To prospect well, you need to look through the numbers. You need to do more than simply cold call (that’s doing it the hard way); you need to focus on lots of other ways to bring increased awareness of your solutions to your target market. If you need more sales, get more prospects.

Once people consider you, they can decide to buy (or not buy) for a million reasons–they don’t have the money, they don’t like your logo, they think you talk funny–whatever reason they give, it’s their decision. You can’t make that happen. But if you invest your time (and money) into prospecting, you will get more awareness, more prospects, and eventually, more sales.

Here’s 4 steps to building awareness and getting more prospects:

1. Be clear about what the problem is that you solve.

I interview two business owners a week on my podcast and I’m constantly amazed by how few of them can articulate clearly the problem they solve. Many of them also can’t describe their ideal customer! If you are clear about what you do and who you do it for, your prospects will jump when they hear it. You won’t be chasing them — they’ll be chasing you.

2. Target your efforts toward people who have that problem.

Once you clearly define your ideal customer, and describe their situation in a way they will recognize, then you want to get that message in front of as many of those ideal clients as you can. Where are they online? Be there. Where do they gather face-to-face? Be there. Who else knows those people? Meet those people.

The more focused your marketing is, the more effective it will be.

3. Be helpful.

Once you find those ideal customers and they recognize you as a credible solution to their problems, you want to woo them. Be as helpful as you can. If they believe you understand their problem, you don’t have to “sell” to them, just help them out. Offer them resources, ideas, connections, information, whatever they need; that builds your credibility and their trust in you.

4. Be clear about the response you want from them.

Once you’ve done all the work to find your prospects, understand their problems, and be helpful to them, they are going to want to work with you. But how do they respond? Make it easy! When you’re face to face, you need to ask for the order; on your website you need a button that says, So, are you ready to get started? (or something like that) where people can raise their hand and say, “Come sell me something.”

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I will…

When people fill out that form, call them back. Call them right back. Don’t delay.

Yes, there’s more to sales than just prospecting. But if you invest your time and energy and focus in prospecting, the rest of the process will be a lot easier.

What about you? How do you go sales prospecting to keep your pipeline full?




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Part II: How to build a magnetic company culture http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-build-magnetic-company-culture-part-2/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/how-to-build-magnetic-company-culture-part-2/#respond Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18827 In Part I, I addressed the values of Transparency and Purpose. I hope you’ve taken some time to think about at least one of those values–what it means to you, and how it might be expressed, or not, in your company’s culture. This time I’m talking about enduring values. Values that, when they are part of

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In Part I, I addressed the values of Transparency and Purpose. I hope you’ve taken some time to think about at least one of those values–what it means to you, and how it might be expressed, or not, in your company’s culture.

This time I’m talking about enduring values. Values that, when they are part of a company’s core identity, have a significant impact on company culture; an impact that stands the test of time.

company culture examples

With that, I’d like to throw another couple ways to build your company’s culture:

3. Invest in your people

I’m not just a cog in a machine. And no employee wants to be treated like one.

The best way to motivate me is to see me, treat me, and invest in me as a person, not just as an employee.  If you are being treated as a person, your boss will actually ask about your life outside of work! A boss that sees you as a whole person will cut you some slack if something in your life outside of work isn’t going well (like health issues, or serious family stuff).

This past year was a tough one. I had some health issues, and they weren’t resolved in a week. Or even two. For months, I was not able to give 100% at work, and it was a really tough time. But what my boss wanted most was for me to get better. He even went as far as to say “When you’re sick, your job is to get better.” I know that kind of compassion is rare to come by in a boss, and I am incredibly grateful to have the job I do.

Now I have a lot of colleagues whose major complaint is that they feel like automatons at work. Despite all their effort on the job, they don’t feel like anyone actually cares about them at the office, particularly from management. I realize my situation is not typical, but in our office if someone is struggling, everyone picks up the slack with joy, not dread. There is this feeling (and it starts at the top) that we are all more than our jobs; and that sometimes life is more important than work. And because of this, I have a tremendous sense of loyalty to my boss, my team, and to the business.

4. Have a positive bias

A friend once told me “Praise in public, reprimand in private.” Seems like good advice; but I have to say I haven’t seen a lot of examples of it. No one likes to be called out for a mistake in front of the entire team. (That’s what bullies in grade school do.) And yet, I still have colleagues who share stories like this to me about their managers and bosses.

Since we were kids, we’ve been influenced by our peers. That peer influence makes us conform because we want to fit in; no one likes being outcast. But even more than fitting in, we want to be recognized and respected. It’s our nature. And it doesn’t really change when we grow up.

So when the boss gives us praise in front of everyone for a job well done, it feels great and motivates us. But when the boss makes the smallest comment criticizing our work, it can hang over us like a cloud for days. Build a culture of appreciation, not condemnation. Build your people up, don’t bring them down.

I’m not saying you can never address any issues, but when a company has a bias toward positive thinking–and values seeking and appreciating good things–good things often flourish. And when difficult conversations are had in the context of lots of positive ones, it shouldn’t surprise you that the outcomes of those conversations are a lot better, too.

It all starts with you

For better or for worse, the seeds to grow your company culture are all inside of you. And if you want to change that culture, you need to work in each of these areas for yourself. A company with a culture rooted in the values of transparency, purpose, invests in thier, and a positive bias is a company I want to work for. It’s a place where I want to bring my A game.

What are the core values of your company culture? What would you like to change? What will you do to change it?




Core values list: How to identify your company's core values



Photo credit: Texture Time

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Part I: How to build a company culture attracts employees in swarms http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/build-company-culture-attract-employees-swarms-part-1/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/build-company-culture-attract-employees-swarms-part-1/#respond Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:17:50 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18804 I’m fascinated by changes in the workforce across generations. I’m particularly interested in how these changes affect company culture. I’ve already written about how different generations of employees like to work, how to attract Millennials, and meeting style preferences across generations. While looking at differences, I’ve found some interesting similarities. Just as there are dynamics that

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I’m fascinated by changes in the workforce across generations. I’m particularly interested in how these changes affect company culture. I’ve already written about how different generations of employees like to workhow to attract Millennials, and meeting style preferences across generations.

company culture example

While looking at differences, I’ve found some interesting similarities. Just as there are dynamics that bring people together in any generation, there are also values that will always build a magnetic company culture–a company culture that works for you by attracting people to your business.

My list isn’t long. It seems to me that there are four values that pack a powerful punch when it comes to building a magnetic company culture. Right now I’d like to talk about two of them.

1. Transparency at the top

Granted, compared to most people, I have a pretty frank relationship with my current boss. But this hasn’t been the case in all the companies I’ve worked for. Whether it’s been a big corporate environment or a small business, for me, transparency consistently trumps almost any other feature of a company’s culture.

Transparency is a powerful company value. It is the foundation of trust, respect, and safety. In smaller businesses, transparency provides employees a clear view into the requirements of their role, and it’s impact on the rest of the business. With transparency, the boss is clear about expectations, and the consequences of meeting or not meeting them.company culture examples

PLUS, in a culture that values transparency, everyone owns up to their mistakes! (Face it, we all make ‘em). When we see the boss own up to his mistakes–WOW. We realize the boss is actually human.

It also makes it that much easier to own up to our own mistakes–and then we find solutions faster! Do you see the benefit of a culture where no one is so concerned about covering their butt that they can’t (or won’t) address a real problem? Transparency like this isn’t impossible in a larger company; but it’s certainly easier in a small business, where one on one time with the company owner is more likely to happen.

2. A sense of purpose

“Work” is a dirty word. It basically captures the idea that you’re doing something you have to do–as opposed to something you want to do–in order to make money. By itself, for many of us, work equals drudgery. But I’ll tell you a secret: it doesn’t have to be! Sooooo many bosses don’t get this.

Lots of companies tackle this issue of “drudgery” or “the grind” by getting a ping pong table for the office. Sure, office “toys” are useful for breaks and bonding; but I’m talking about more than just adding levity to the workplace. I’m talking about filling your work with meaning and purpose.

To paraphrase Simon Sinek, everyone on your team should know your company’s “why”.

company culture exampleWhy do you do what you do? Every employee in your business should know the answer to this question. If you have a consulting firm, your work isn’t just looking at numbers or analyzing financials. That’s part of what you do, but not part of why. You started your company for a reason; making money was part of that reason, but it wasn’t all of it.

What is your company’s unique offering, your real reason for existence? You’ve got to figure that out and express it so that everyone in your company knows that their role is bigger than the tasks they perform. Everyone in your company needs to know and understand the deeper why of your business, and how they are connected to it.

When you identify and incorporate the value of purpose in your company culture, the effects are huge. Employees that work with purpose have a stronger camaraderie, a better work ethic, and typically are happier than those whose only focus is a pay check.

There are two more values I want to talk about, but I’d rather pause here and ask: where do these values fit in your company culture, if at all? What’s in the way of making transparency one of your company values? Do you know what your company’s real purpose is?

Start talking about these things–with us or anyone else! Conversations about company values are not only worth while–they’re essential to building a magnetic company culture! Read part II »




Core values list: How to identify your company's core values



Photo credit: una cierta mirada

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Sales Pipeline Report Template: How to build it in Excel http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/sales-pipeline-report-sales-pipeline-template/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/03/sales-pipeline-report-sales-pipeline-template/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 23:37:24 +0000 http://enmast.com/?p=3185 How do you know what sales to expect this month? Next month? Or next quarter? Your sales pipeline report! So what is a sales pipeline report? It’s a channel of information that shares critical information about ongoing sales activities that are in the process of being developed, provided, or completed. For example: If you have 3 sales people (plus

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How do you know what sales to expect this month? Next month? Or next quarter? Your sales pipeline report!

So what is a sales pipeline report? It’s a channel of information that shares critical information about ongoing sales activities that are in the process of being developed, provided, or completed.

For example: If you have 3 sales people (plus yourself) who are working incoming leads, generating your own leads and closing deals. You might be wondering why one sales person has a higher closing rate than another. What is she doing that the other two aren’t? By reviewing the open opportunities with each person and observing the actions they are taking you might be able to better understand what she’s doing differently.

Another business owner uses the sales pipeline report template, in conjunction with his project management reports to decide when to hire more team members. The pipeline report is able to predict future sales and let the business owner know it’s time to start interviewing.

Lastly, it’s possible to track the time that different leads take to close, or the average deal size that different lead sources produce. By tracking these things we can see which types of leads, or what lead generation activities produce the “best” leads.

Here’s 5 reasons why you need one:

  • It will help you predict future sales
  • It will help you plan for bigger expenses, including new employees, or new technology
  • You can track the time it takes for leads to close
  • It measures the average deal size
  • It tells you what lead generation activities produce the best leads

Need some help getting started? Download this sales pipeline template!

This sales pipeline report template will help you track what’s in your pipeline so that you can manage your leads and prospects. It also includes a how-to guide on managing your prospects and leads, and a pre-formatted & formulated sales pipeline excel template.

Regularly reviewing this report with your sales team enables you to better focus their efforts, predict future levels of business and better target your marketing efforts.

What’s in this tool:

  • Arrow - Orangeexcel iconpdf iconHow-to-Guide to managing your prospects and leads
  • Pre-formatted and forumulated sales pipeline Excel template

 

Already a member? Login to download. Or buy it below!

Become a Pro Member!

 

Want to join a community of other business owners who understand your struggles? Looking for tools, templates and how-to guides for everyday business challenges and problems? Join EnMast.

 

tools displayWe’ve got a library of small business tools and templates that can fix everything in your business, from the flat tires (trouble employees and low productivity) to the major engine failures (no new sales, how to raise your prices) and more!

Plus you’ll have the camaraderie of other business owners who also face those same challenges.

 

By joining EnMast, you’ll become part of a community of business owners who understand and who can help you become a better, more confident business owner. We’ll all work together to help you build your business faster, work smarter instead of harder and make more money!

If this sounds like a community YOU want to be apart of, join us.

learn more enmast

   What members are saying:

jill salzman“EnMast’s tools are invaluable in helping anyone — not just me — grow their business and their profits. Small business owners would be hard-pressed to find EnMast’s community, tips and tricks anything but helpful. Brad Farris is one of the brilliant minds in business today and I trust his guidance. You should, too.”

 

- Jill Salzman, Founder of Founding Moms

Not a Member?

Buy Just the Sales Pipeline Report Template!

The EnMast Sales Pipeline Report Template includes an Excel sheet that helps you track what’s in your sales pipeline and manage your leads and prospects better. Buy the EnMast Sales Pipeline Report Template Now! Cost $9.99

buy now enmast

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The Top 5 hottest small business articles February 2015 http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/top-5-hottest-small-business-articles-february-2015/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/top-5-hottest-small-business-articles-february-2015/#respond Fri, 27 Feb 2015 17:04:11 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18806 We really focused on company culture this month at EnMast. Why? Because it’s the boss’s job. Building a company culture does a lot more than make you a ‘cool company'; it makes your team self-governing. What do I mean by self-governing? Well, company culture is rooted in core values. If everyone on your team shares the same core values

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We really focused on company culture this month at EnMast. Why? Because it’s the boss’s job. Building a company culture does a lot more than make you a ‘cool company'; it makes your team self-governing.

What do I mean by self-governing? Well, company culture is rooted in core values. If everyone on your team shares the same core values (those in your company culture), then they will live and work according to them, without much prodding on your part! But first, you have to discover what those core values are, and then you have to communicate them.

Interested in discovering your company’s core values? There’s still a few days left to download our free tool for February: How to Identify Your Company’s Core Values.

Speaking of February, here are the top 5 small business articles from this month. Check ‘em out!

small business articles

voicemail1. Stop leaving voicemails. Voicemail is dead.

When’s the last time you thought to yourself, “I’m so excited I got a voicemail!”? … Yeah, that’s what we thought, too. Brad stirred up some controversy with this article! Read on »

work remotely2. 7 Things to keep in mind when letting employees work remotely

So you give your employees the option to work from home. Now what? Devan shares from experience how to make remote working – work – for you and your team. Read on »

 

interview questions to ask3. 10 Out of the box interview questions to ask

You’ve heard about the crazy questions some companies ask in interviews, just ‘for fun’. Kaleigh found a few that are kind of “out there”. And yet, answers to these questions provided really useful information about job candidates.  Read on »

company culture4. Why company culture eats strategy for breakfast

Company culture is the CEO’s job–from it’s foundations to all the ways it is expressed. This article will challenge you to not only think about, but do something about your own company culture. Read on »

organizational culture5. How to build a really awesome organizational culture

Want to know how other companies are doing it? Kaleigh found a great example of a small business doing culture right that we can all learn from. Read on »





Core values list: How to identify your company's core values


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How to discover your company values http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/discover-company-values/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/discover-company-values/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18792 Company values can be a powerful force in driving your business success. When we are clear about our values, that’s one thing. When we hire a team who shares those values, that’s another. But when take all of this one step further and we actually reflect those values in our business practices, we create an

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Company values can be a powerful force in driving your business success. When we are clear about our values, that’s one thing. When we hire a team who shares those values, that’s another. But when take all of this one step further and we actually reflect those values in our business practices, we create an offering that’s uniquely attractive to customers who share those values — creating a loyalty that can’t be beat.

company values

But how do I discover my company values? How do I know what values I want to build into my business and hiring practices?

You don’t “decide”, you discover

Values are something you have. Whether you’ve identified them or not, they are already there. You don’t choose your values–they are inside you (and your company) waiting to be discovered. You can’t choose to have company values that are at odds with your personal values–that would mean you wouldn’t be a good fit at that company! So the first step is to discover what your personal values are.

We have a tool that we use with clients to help them discover their core values. First, it helps you to identify values you have by looking at a list of value words. Then, it then helps you to find the ones that are truly core values (really deep, significant values that aren’t easily changed) by asking you some questions about them, like:

  1. If the circumstances changed so that we were penalized for doing X, would we still do it?
  2. Is this a hill that we would die on? Would we rather cease to exist, than change this value?
  3. If we met a highly desirable prospective (employee, customer, vendor, partner) that didn’t hold this value, would we turn them down?
  4. Is this value reflected in our practice already? Can we tell stories about how we have already acted in accordance with this value?

You can have values that aren’t really core values. Your core values are those you would go to the mat for; those that would make you quit if you were asked to give them up. Most people only have a few core values; 4 – 6 maybe. Narrow your list to make sure it is made up of those values that you are really committed to.

Tell some stories

The last question in the list above is really important; if something is a core value, you can be sure that you are already acting in accordance with it. If you say, “Our customers come first” is a core value, then you should have lots of examples about how you’ve put your customers first–times when you put your own work and needs aside to serve your customers better. If you don’t have those stories, though you may want that to be a core value, it’s not.

It’s important to realize that your core values aren’t fodder for your website, or something you are going to put in a frame on the wall. They are values you are going to live with and by. If we choose values that we don’t live by, then our employees and customers notice. They pick up on the inconsistency, and they don’t trust us.

company values

These stories are also important, not because they help identify your values, but because they will also help you to communicate your values. Saying to your team, “We are a company that values ‘trust’.” is good, but a little vague. What do you mean when you say you value “trust”? When you tell a story about the company founder walking into a lab with a bolt cutter and cutting locks off of the equipment cabinets because he wasn’t going to put up with a culture of mis-trust, that story is what will spell it out for them.

Once you have uncovered your own values, see how they match those of your organization. If you took 4 – 8 of your best, most ideal employees and asked them about these values, what would they say? Would your team identify the company values as similar to yours, or different? What values might they identify that you haven’t? What’s on your list that wouldn’t appear on their list? You need to reconcile those differences in a way that is still true to who you are, and what your values are. This isn’t a theoretical exercise–you really can get your team together and do it.

Once you have a final set of values–values that you feel like you can live with for the next 100 years (values don’t change, they are part of your company’s DNA)–then start talking about them by telling those stories you identified earlier. Look for places where your people are behaving according to those values–and tell those stories too! Before you know it, the whole team will be reinforcing those values to each other, even when you are not around!

That’s the power of values. They govern people’s behavior without you needing to police it. If you find people who share your values, then they don’t need policing; they will reinforce those values because they share them! This alignment creates a powerful resonance that drives your business forward without you needing to push it or drive it. Now that’s worth the effort it takes to identify and reinforce your company values, isn’t it?

What are your company values? If you’re not sure, aren’t you excited to find out? Check out the tool below to help you get started:




Core values list: How to identify your company's core values


Photo credit: chase_elliottdenise carbonell

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The ONE word that will help you achieve your goals http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/word-achieve-goals/ http://www.enmast.com/2015/02/word-achieve-goals/#respond Fri, 20 Feb 2015 14:00:13 +0000 http://www.enmast.com/?p=18760 Did you start this year off with big goals? Did you set aggressive growth targets for your sales? Are you thinking about writing a book, working on some speaking topics, or taking a big trip with your family? Well? It’s February. How are you doing on those goals? Have you made significant progress? Enough so

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Did you start this year off with big goals? Did you set aggressive growth targets for your sales? Are you thinking about writing a book, working on some speaking topics, or taking a big trip with your family?

achieve goals

Well? It’s February. How are you doing on those goals? Have you made significant progress? Enough so you are “on track” to complete or exceed them? If not I’ve got one word for you:

NO.

That’s right, the word is “No”–and you’d better start using it.

Why, Brad? What makes you say that?

Well, I could answer that, but I think this quote says it better:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” ~Warren Buffett

If you’ve known someone really successful, you know this is true. I know of a really, wildly successful academic. His admin spent most of her time fielding calls for this man to speak and write and research for so many different organizations, while he sat on his computer, writing. He was serious, thoughtful and selective about his goals; and vigorously defended himself from any claims on his time and energy that would interfere with them.

If you, too, are serious about your goals–if it’s really important to you to achieve them–then you need to clear the decks in order to make progress. Most people fail to achieve goals because of one of two issues: either they don’t commit the time and energy to completing it, or they get distracted. If you don’t want that to be you, then you need to stop doing some things you have been doing, and you need to say no to some new opportunities that are coming along.

What to stop doing?

If you have important things that need doing — but aren’t getting done — then you need to focus on your work and delegate everything else. Your work constitutes those things that only you can do. Your work requires your knowledge, experience and connections. Bookkeeping is not your work, neither is cleaning up the office, or re-writing the deliverable for the 4th time (just to be clear).

I know that it’s not as easy as “just saying no”. Someone has to do these things. But if you want to reach your goals, you’ve got to make some space to do it! So we need to find someone else to do all that other stuff. Some things are easy: hire a bookkeeper and you are no longer the bookkeeper. Other things are more difficult: you are re-writing the deliverable for the 4th time because you have tolerated poor results from your team and now it’s too late to get them to finish it. Changing that will require you to ask more of them next time, and establish some consequences if they fail.

What new opportunities should you say no to?

I’m tempted to say all of them; but that’s not realistic, right? And yet, if you have really important goals, then you have to say no to anything that’s less important than the goals you have set. The biggest threat to your goals is distraction from some new shiny object — so to stay focused and accept ahead of time that you will have to defer those things.

I know it’s scary to say no to new opportunities. I mean, “What if this is the one? The one opportunity that’s going to bust things open for me?”. Just take a minute and look back. How many times have opportunities like that come along? If you’re honest, you’ll recognize that, yes, there have been a lot of things that looked really great. And, not many of them lived up to that initial expectation. What if reaching your important goals is the thing that is going jettison you to wild success? Can you just delay the new opportunity and pick it up once you have actually met your important goals?

If not–if this opportunity is really that huge–then by all means go for it. But be realistic, and stop work on the other goal you are pursuing. If your dream client comes along, put writing the book on hold — just don’t try to do both.

This doesn’t sound like a lot of fun!

I feel your pain. It’s true. This won’t be easy and probably won’t be fun.

But you know what is fun? Completing your goals! Having that significant and completed project behind you instead of hovering over you like a cloud! It’s also tons of fun being a person who has a realistic work load; being a person who can say “yes” to family and friends and get away from the office to be with them on significant occasions. It’s actually fun to have the flexibility that focus gives you.



Core values list: How to identify your company's core values


This article was originally published on Anchor Advisors. Photo credit: Will Clayton, quinn.anaya

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