There are a couple of big mistakes you can make that will kill a deal with a big fish. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations
- Mishandling a client crisis
Chasing a big deal is a lot of work. And when you do you want to pay close attention to your process. There are mistakes you don’t want to make. They can cost you the deal and, in some cases, the survival of your company.
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
Be careful what you promise in a negotiation. I have seen too many sales people and business owners get enthused and over promise. And then later when they under-deliver, they wonder why they lost the deal.
These expectations are not only about the negotiations though. They are also about how your potential client expects you to show up. They expect you to be professional, to have a clear understanding of the problem they want to solve AND to have a solution map started.
To avoid these mistakes, you need a clear plan of action put into place.
- Think before you speak.
- Take a breath.
- Practice and perfect your process.
- Stay involved throughout the entire process.
- Make sure both parties define success.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
Things go wrong. The way you deal with this can set you up for long term success or kill the relationship. You want to respond quickly and effectively. More importantly, you want to solve the client’s problem.
Years ago, I had trouble with a client in Fort Worth. The firm I was with was struggling to meet the clients’ expectations. After three hand-on attempts, I offered to help him find our replacement. The upshot? A few years later when the buyer was at another account, he reached out to me to help him solve the problem because he knew how I would deal with the problems that are inherent in any relationship.
Here are some tips that 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.
The way you manage expectations and crisis will be a major factor in your success. If you would like more resources, look at our resource page https://ras-squared.com/products or reach out and let’s chat. John.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dedicated to Your success
Think you don’t have enough time? You just have to get smart about how you use it.
What I have observed as I work with small business owners is that they often feel overwhelmed and feel like they are racing just to keep up. When I ask them how they are using their time, they cannot answer. When I ask them to keep a time log, they often resist as they are “Too Busy”.
The sad news is they will remain too busy until they take the time (there is that word again) to learn how they are actually using their time. And this does not have to be hard. It can be as simple as a day broken into 15- or 30-minute increments (link). Then as you work through your day, jot down what you were doing from 8:00 – 8:30 and then from 8:30 to 9:00.
As you identify what you have been doing and how long it takes, it will become clear what is taking up all of your time. And perhaps, more importantly, what you can let go of.
Now it’s time to gain control over your calendar so you can master your business. Here are some tips:
- Schedule daily Time To Think (TTT) this is strategic thinking about your business. Stepping back from working “IN” your business.
- Where can additional training, or process development now, ease the time for tasks later?
- Block time for important tasks. The time log you just developed will help you better estimate how long you need for your various projects.
- Delegate. This is important. You need to learn how to help other people help you to grow your business. If you do not, you are the bottleneck on your success.
- Learn to say “no”, or at least “not right now”.
- Learn to group similar things together. For example, block out an hour to return phone calls at one time versus writing an email, reviewing the numbers and then making a call. Give your brain a break.
As a small business owner your task lists probably says “Everything.” You want to learn how to find the Big Rocks, the most important priorities, and schedule them and then keep your schedule. Don’t break the appointments you set with yourself.
Learn to use what Tony Robbins calls “Net Time”.
– Listen to audiobooks during the commute.
– Read the article or journal to keep up on your industry while waiting for an appointment.
– Listen to podcasts while exercising.
– Leverage walking meetings with your team. Take a walk and cover their goals and tasks.
Finally, commit to yourself, your team, and your business. When you learn to control your calendar, you will be one step closer to mastering your business.
Most professional services want to land the big clients,
that will sustain and grow your business over the long run. Let’s learn to understand and think like a big company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.
Before you can start landing big clients, you have to ensure that your team is onboard with your approach and vision. There are some steps to big client success. They are:
- Your First Impression: You have one shot to land a big client. If you make a mistake, you are out. Don’t give them a reason to doubt you or your abilities.
- They Are A Priority: The Big Client should always feel like they are your first priority. Returns their calls and emails immediately.
- Be Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they want a special service or for you to customize a solution, say yes. A little hassle now will be a big pay off later.
- Think Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big clients you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest. This requires nurturing.
- Have Fun: Clients like working with people that are having fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. You are contagious and your enthusiasm and confidence will attract the big clients.
- Think of Ways to Help Them: If you invest time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will demonstrate that you are invested and interested them and in their business..
Here are a few tactics you can use to bring in a big company vision to the people on your team. You can:
- Post these keys for all to see.
- Put together a performance-based incentive program.
- Conduct frequent team meetings.
- Put together a training and certification program based on the keys above.
These ideas should help you instill a big-company mindset throughout your company which will help you be more prepared and more likely to land your big clients. When your team is thinking this way, you’ll be unstoppable.
If you would like some help crafting an incentive program or other way to push your team toward the big company mindset, try our GUIDED TOUR to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools.
It’s become an all-too-common challenge. You begin your day by going through email and Slack messages, deleting the twenty or more you don’t need or want. Then you work your way through those from your, co-workers, customers, and vendors. Along the way, you respond to texts, Zoom chats and maybe a phone call or two. Perhaps you check Linked In, Facebook and Instagram just to stay in the loop. Finally, you take a breath and realize that the first hour of your day has been consumed by the digital treadmill that saps your time and focus. Then it is on to the first project or meeting, all the while clearing a never-ending series of messages.
By mid-morning, you realize the edge is off the day’s energy. What you’re feeling is the impact of decision fatigue and the world seems to be awash in it. Decision fatigue is when you start making less-than-optimal choices because your thinking gets fuzzy due to your inability to focus. In some cases, you feel too tired or hesitant to make the decision, so you just don’t. This is all the result of your body exhausting the supply of blood glucose (sugar energy) created while you slept. Instead of concentrating on significant decisions, it has been squandered on the hundreds of micro-decisions demanding your attention.
But this scourge is not just confined to emails, text, and social media. Consider the last time you searched for something online, only to end up battling all the pop-ups designed to distract you from your mission. What about trying to choose between ultra-white, super-white or optic white toothpaste? Or maybe the 200 shades of white paint in the home center? Perhaps it’s the information overload forced on us by the 24-hour news cycle.
We all deal with decision fatigue. But some people manage it much better than others. I’ve spent the past few years figuring out how they do it. Here is a sampling of the strategies they use.
Reverse the first two hours of your morning. Refrain from grabbing your smart phone the minute you wake up. Instead, center yourself. Eat a healthy breakfast and prepare mentally for the day. When you begin work, do the most critical thing first. Complete a project. Conduct an important conversation. Outline the upcoming presentation. THEN check your email, texts and social media. This simple switch enables the best decision-makers to use the top of their energy on the tasks that really count.
Close your message apps. The job of tech companies is to distract you any way they can. After all, eyeballs mean money. Those who best manage decision fatigue, turn off the endless array of applications when not using them. This stops the pop-ups, the vibrations, the sound effects and other distractions that impede their concentration. Over time, people will accept that you only respond during certain times, including your team and customers. (This might even inspire them to do the same thing.)
Eliminate your APPoplexy. APPoplexy is having too many apps on your phone. Have you ever spent five minutes trying to save two minutes, because you couldn’t find the right app? I’ve met people with as many as 210. Most are never used. So, uninstall them. Waiting in line? Uninstall an app. Waiting for the movie to start? Uninstall an app. Waiting to pick up a food order? Uninstall an app. You get the idea.
Use these phrases to shorten meetings, regardless of whether you’re in charge.
- At the beginning of the meeting, ask, “So what are we going to accomplish here?”
- If you sense the meeting is drifting, ask, “Can we take a minute to review what we’re trying to accomplish?”
- Or, “I feel like we’re getting off track. What exactly are we trying to decide?”
Again, regardless of whether you’re in charge, it is acceptable to ask these questions.
Ask before you agree. Ever had someone ask for a “few minutes” of your time and end up spending more than an hour trying to extricate yourself from their task? When they ask, say “Perhaps, tell me what’s involved.” This will help you avoid time wasters and limit your unplanned commitments.
Frame commitments with time-limiting phrases. Here are a few that work effectively:
- “Sure, I’ve got three minutes. Will that be enough time?”
- “Let’s take five minutes right now and make a decision.”
- “I’m committed right now, but I’ve got ten minutes at ___ PM. Will that work?”
- “I’d be happy to help. Do you have all the details so we can make the decision?”
All of these will compel the other person to better organize their time and clarify the actual commitment.
Eliminate your multi-tasking. In spite of everyone claiming to multi-task, it is physically impossible. The brain can only attend to one task at a time. What we think of as multi-tasking is really time-slicing, bouncing back and forth between two or more tasks. Every time we bounce, we needlessly expend sugar energy. Those who beat decision fatigue focus on one task to completion and then move on.
My book, Overcoming Overwhelm, contains more than 40 of these proven strategies. You can order a free copy at www.decisionfatiguebook.com. Just pay shipping.
Bob Wendover, the author of Overcoming Overwhelm, helps managers to improve workplace decision cultures and get the people around them to think on their feet. Connect with him at email@example.com .
Do you remember a Snipe Hunt? One of the initiations into Boy Scouts was to send the Tenderfeet out on a Snipe Hunt. This was where the new guys were sent out at night to find and bag a Snipe.
From the Oxford Dictionary
- a practical joke in which an unwitting victim is sent in pursuit of something that doesn’t exist.
- “one or two gullible youths are selected to participate in the notorious snipe hunt”
- a foolish or hopeless search for or pursuit of something unattainable; a wild goose chase
You can watch the video or read the rest below.
I can remember my first hunt. I was a new Tenderfoot in Boy Scouts and we were out at Camp Nash. Joey and I were excited. About thirty minutes in, we knew something was off. And sure enough, the older scouts were having a hoot at our expense as we scoured the woods at night, looking for the elusive Snipe.
I see too many owners pursuing the elusive Snipes in their business. They are posting meaningless “look at me and my business” posts on Facebook or other Social Media sites. Or they are drinking gallons of coffee networking and wondering where the business is. Or they are spending dollar after dollar in one form of advertising or another without really knowing who their ideal customer is and where they are, in order to message them.
Or there is the business owner that has grown to the point where they now are working 60 – 70 hours a week trying to keep up with the workload of delivery and the back-office work necessary to keep the business running. All because they haven’t taken the time to hire the right people and then to have the policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) so the business can run while the owner is not in the shop.
I get it. Many owners are busy. And, if they can take an hour or so once a week to 1) Identify the key systems and processes that drive their business. 2) Start writing out the steps to fulfill each process. 3) Have each process reviewed by the people that will be performing the process. 4) Storing these where they are accessible for everyone that needs access.
For all of you gloriously self-employed, congratulations… you have a different kind of job. Creating a business requires that you step out of the business on a regular basis to work on the business so it can run when you are not there.
Being busy is a Snipe. You can’t escape being busy. But you can become more productive and focused by taking the time to identify and then to optimize the processes that drive your business. Do yourself the biggest favor. Schedule two hours a week to step out of your business to focus on your business. Your family and your bottom line will thank you.
And if you would like access to some resources to help, you can check out the resources at www.ras-squared.com