SITUATION: YOU ARE NOT GETTING REPLIES TO EMAILS OR REQUESTS FOR MEETINGS.
This can be due to several reasons, but here is one that you may not have thought of or considered.
A client today had a lightbulb moment regarding their issue of prospects not returning their calls or replying to emails.
It highlighted how easy it is to be more in OUR world instead of being more in THEIRS. And as a result we get ignored.
My client was telling me:
“I’ve asked them many times to meet so we can explain our service, I’ve even invited them to come to one of our sites and see our work firsthand! And I’ve given them names of clients they can call to confirm we are good.”
I translated this for him so he could understand what the prospect may be hearing:
“So you want me to interrupt my day and give you time I don’t have in my overloaded schedule, to help you, a stranger, make money?”
The penny dropped. Yes he’s got a good service but everyone is busy. And he was approaching his business development from the perspective of himself. So every email or phone message was asking the prospect to agree to an action and add yet another task to their already overflowing to-do list. Even replying to an email is an extra task they don’t need.
The solution was to brainstorm a range of ways he can remind them he exists and how he can ‘give’ value before asking for something from them.
YOU MAY NOT BE RUNNING A RESTAURANT, BUT YOU COULD STILL BE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES.
I love watching Kitchen Nightmares.
There are several common issues Chef Ramsey deals with that are applicable to all businesses.
1. Too many items on the menu.
Are you making yourself inefficient and unprofitable because you are trying to offer too many things?
Are you scared to drop items or believe you have to offer a lot of options?
Red flags. You might want to reconsider and rationalise your offerings. Why? Because you can save time and deliver a better service for less if you streamline your offerings. And significantly reduce your stress levels.
2. You think the food is great, but no one else does.
Customer feedback systems, secret shoppers or audits by consultants such as myself are often required to get honest feedback. It can be very hard for a business owner or Director to have an accurate measure of service.
3. The head chef has lost their passion.
Has your manager or sales person lost their passion or is doing the bare minimum?
Are you micro-managing or failing to act on their suggestions?
Have you stopped doing the regular meetings or BBQ?
Is it your way or the highway?
These are the common issues I see. All easy to fix. Turning a business around can be actually quite easy, when you know what needs fixing and how to fix it.
Turning a business around doesn’t have to take a long time, or a lot of hard effort. In fact it can be quite quick and easy.
I rarely need to work with a business more than three months to turn things around.
A common example I come across in the manufacturing sector is a business that has a good product and the owner has been doing it for 20+ years, but the profits just aren’t there anymore. Staff are the biggest headache. The next headache is sales. I’ve had many that are ready to close the doors they are so ‘over it’.
The top reasons I see for these headaches are:
Poor hiring processes so less than ideal people are taken on.
Poor induction and training processes so the less-than-ideal people (or even the good people) are not effective or are kept too long. The business runs for too long with the wrong people. Staff are like the wheels on the business vehicle. Wrong wheels and it is a bumpy, draining and even dangerous ride!
Poor management with a lack of clarity on KPI’s and lack of proper enforcement of KPIs.
Too many staff operating by unwritten ground rules rather than the desired rules. In other words they have figured out what they can get away with and keep doing it. This doesn’t mean they are ‘evil’ or have malicious intent. It is human nature to figure out what ‘works’ and staff just do what the others do and what appears to be ‘acceptable’.
Vision, mission, values, benchmarks, and processes are hidden, assumed, imagined – they need to be visible and documented and regularly referenced.
Sales headaches can be due to many things, and are often due to failing to change fast enough with changing customer demands, inadequate business development strategies, inadequate communication of benefits, poor product selection, and incorrect pricing.
The solution that I find works, is quite simple and consists of:
Confirming the vision and values of the business.
Communicating this with the team and making it visible.
Staff interviews to get their take on what needs improving and their career goals.
Regroup as a team and go through the improvement suggestions and immediately start implementing changes.
Implementation of a good hiring, interviewing and training program.
Coaching and training on leadership for the business owner and managers.
Making the ‘invisible visible’. Too many businesses hide processes, KPIs, vision statements, values. These need to be visible.
Time to see improvements is often within a week and even the same day I hold meetings with staff. To implement priority improvements is usually a one to three month process and in some cases the changes continue happening well beyond this period – which is what you want. You want your team to be continually improving things. Better to be green and growing rather than ripe and rotting!
If this sounds like something you’d like to explore or if you have questions on whether it would work in your business, I’m more than happy to come and meet with you and hear about your issues and how things are run. From this chat I can confirm if I can help and what the process would be.