Latest Posts

The Leader’s Crisis

5 Things Today’s Leaders Need To Stop Ignoring One of my passions is helping companies develop their leaders of the future. Building the talent that will lead the company in the coming decades. The challenge with this type of work is that right now we are in a leadership crisis. Not only do most organizations […]

[Click to read more]

The Leader’s Crisis

The Leaders Crisis5 Things Today’s Leaders Need To Stop Ignoring

One of my passions is helping companies develop their leaders of the future. Building the talent that will lead the company in the coming decades. The challenge with this type of work is that right now we are in a leadership crisis.

Not only do most organizations lack the bench strength to create their next group of leaders, but many require the culture to allow tomorrow’s leaders to be successful.  While these leaders are working on the vision and the plan that it takes to develop that culture; they often miss the importance of confronting the details that it takes actually to get the job done.

Many leaders embrace that “business as usual” is not going to cut it anymore in today’s marketplace. What is happening is that most leaders are ignoring the underlying negative actions that can destroy, if not addressed, the work that they have been implementing to move their organizations forward strategically.

So what are those issues?

Lack of Support – leaders not supporting leaders. The old lines of, “leadership” is asking us to do this” or “they made this decision” are the very lines that can kill a change before it ever gets started.   Leaders at every level of the company need to know that their job is to support what senior leadership is doing no matter what. They can disagree, argue, ask questions, or share their ideas to do things differently in private. But to the team, leadership needs to be a united front.  That goes both ways, senior leaders supporting middle management, and middle management supporting senior leaders.

Closed Doors  – while doors have to be closed on occasion; but the more that the doors appear to be closed, the more unsteady employees become.  Closed door meetings at any level of an organization imply things that are going on that employees are not allowed to know about, and when they do not understand what is going on, they assume the worst. That invokes fear, and fear fuels resistance to change almost more than anything.

Talking Behind Others Backs – whether it be leaders doing it to leaders, or leaders doing it with employees or employees doing it to each other, talking about someone without them in the room creates distrust among the team. You need a rule, a policy that encourages team members to talk about team members or leadership, but only on rare occasions outside of the presence of the other person can no longer be allowed to that without the presence of the said employee. Just this minor change, will rapidly build respect for you as the leader. The more respected you are, the more you can invoke change.

Allowing Change Resistance   – allowing employees and leaders to fight change for no other reason than they don’t like it. Fighting change for change sake and not being open to at least trying something new, or doing something a different way. If you have members among your team who fight everything, have objections every time you even try to make a simple change, then you have a problem you can no longer ignore. Allowing that person to continue sends a strong message that the team does not need to get on board.

Bad Communication – communication is everything when it comes to ensuring change happens and it happens effectively. As a leader you have to communicate, heck, you have to over-communicate. You need to ensure team members not only understand what you are doing, but why are you doing it, and most importantly what is in it for them.  Also, you have to stop communicating anything of importance through email, and never allow an email chain to go longer than three exchanges. Email is an effective way to communicate when you need to share information that does not evoke strong emotion or the threat of resistance. When the communication is essential, choose to do it the old fashion way: face-to-face.

Defining the change your organization needs to make is your first step as a leader, getting your team to embrace it, own it, and implement it is the next step and far more important steps. To get those executed, you need to stop ignoring negative team behaviors and start paying attention to the details.

Leaders spend a lot of time, energy and resources on consultants, speakers and trainers to help you build the organization of the future, so while they’re busy doing their jobs do yours and stop ignoring the small stuff.  Build a culture where future leaders can thrive.

Continue Reading

[Click to hide]

Leave A Comment

Posted by Meridith Elliott Powell in leadership development and tagged , , , ,

Quit Losing to The Competition Before You Start!

In sales, competition is tough – period! Someone always has a better product, a lower price, better results and the list goes on. The truth is you can usually come up with more reasons your customer should be buying from your competitor rather than why they shouldn’t. However, if you want to succeed in sales […]

[Click to read more]

Quit Losing to The Competition Before You Start!

How to Beat the Competition in SalesIn sales, competition is tough – period! Someone always has a better product, a lower price, better results and the list goes on. The truth is you can usually come up with more reasons your customer should be buying from your competitor rather than why they shouldn’t.

However, if you want to succeed in sales you need to stop focusing so much on your competition. Why? Because what your competitor does or doesn’t do is outside of your control. Think about it; there is nothing you can do about the competition – you can’t make them lower their price, you can’t make them create a faulty product, you can’t even make them worse at sales– you can’t do anything.

Also, when you focus on your competition, you usually focus on what they are doing well. That positions you to lose the sale before your even get started. When you spend time looking for your competitors’ strengths, you’ll never see their weaknesses. So, if you can’t see their faults, you will never find your competitive advantage.

Now certainly you need to know your competition, understand who they are and their approach to sales. However, once you have the basics, turn your attention and your focus back to you and the strengths of your products and services. Invest more time there.  Learning how to use your assets to position yourself more valuable with your customers, and leave your competition in the dust.  One of the secrets of top sellers is that they strive to understand and know their clients – very well. They dig down, deep on their clients and their industry. Their mission is to find problems and opportunities for their clients before the client is aware of it.

Sure, competition is always tough, but it is rarely the best product or service that gets the job done, it’s the best sales person that closes the deal!

ACTION: Invest more time understanding the value you bring to the marketplace, and how to quickly and effectively convey that in your sales conversations.

 

Continue Reading

[Click to hide]

Leave A Comment

Posted by Meridith Elliott Powell in Sales Tips and tagged , , , ,

How To Sell Your Consulting Services

A New LinkedIn Learning Course I am very excited to announce my newest course, Consulting Foundations: Building Your Sales System, just released on the LinkedIn Learning Platform. . .  is now available on LinkedIn Learning: https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system No matter how great a consultant you are, no matter how well-educated, talented or experienced you are, without sales […]

[Click to read more]

How To Sell Your Consulting Services

A New LinkedIn Learning Course

How to Sell Your Consulting Services

I am very excited to announce my newest course, Consulting Foundations: Building Your Sales System, just released on the LinkedIn Learning Platform. . .  is now available on LinkedIn Learning:
https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system

No matter how great a consultant you are, no matter how well-educated, talented or experienced you are, without sales nothing else about your consulting business matters.

Think about it, to have a consulting business and to grow a consulting business; you need customers. The only consistent way to get customers is to go out and sell.

Sales is the lifeblood of any consulting business, and it is the art of attracting, developing and retaining customers to generate revenue for your practice. The revenue you need to pay the bills, invest in the company and ultimately make a profit.

I would argue that sales is just about the most important skill you need if you want to run a successful consulting business. While down the road you may want to hire salespeople to help run this area of your practice, it is essential as the owner of the business to understand this vital strategy and to develop the skill yourself.

There is more to sales than just physically engaging customers and asking for business.

Here are three strategies to help you more deeply understand the role of sales in your consulting practice.

  1. Understand the Sales You Need – before you even begin to sell, you need a plan. You need to perform some numbers crunching and set some goals. You need to determine how many sales you need to hit the revenue goals you have established for your business. Let me give you an example. Let’s say I have a gross revenue goal of $100,000 for my business. So my question would be how many products or services do I need to sell to make $100,000? If I sell widgets for $100, that would mean I need to sell 1000 widgets right?

This is a great process to work through, and an important one to get a deep understanding of the role of sales in your practice. So I want to give it a try. Go to the exercise files and download the worksheet that goes with this module. Determine your numbers to understand the revenue you want to generate and the sales you’ll need to achieve it.

  1. Prioritize Sales – while you may have started a consulting practice because you love and are good at your area of expertise, understand that you will now spend as much or even more time selling than you will be as a consultant. For your consulting practice to grow and thrive, you need to prioritize sales and make it your number one job. Making time to network, make sales calls and most importantly follow-up, are the keys to ensuring you keep your sales pipeline full and your consulting practice healthy.
  2. Invest in Sales – and last but not least you need to invest the time in learning to get good at sales. Just like you want to keep your consulting skills sharp, you want to spend the same time in improving your sales expertise. So you have to be willing to invest in sales, both the time and the resources to continue to develop your sales skills.  Take a class, find a mentor, or assess your own sales ability.  Pay attention to where you are winning sales, where you are losing and what you can do to increase your sales success.

Sales is one of the most important and valuable skills you will need to run a successful consulting business. Always remember, if you put a strong focus on sales then you have built a solid foundation for growing successful consulting business.

I invite you to take a sneak peek at our course, see what we have to offer. I welcome your input and your feedback, as you learn the lessons it takes to sell more!

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/consulting-foundations-building-your-sales-system

 

Continue Reading

[Click to hide]

Leave A Comment

Posted by Meridith Elliott Powell in Sales Tips and tagged , , , , ,

How To Prepare For Rising Interest Rates

5 Strategies To Get Your Business Prepared Will they or won’t they? Raise interest rates that is. To date, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice this year and is forecasting two more increases before year-end. While President Donald Trump is breaking with tradition (President’s do not typically interfere with the Fed’s decisions) and […]

[Click to read more]

How To Prepare For Rising Interest Rates

How to Prepare for Rising Interest Rates5 Strategies To Get Your Business Prepared

Will they or won’t they? Raise interest rates that is. To date, the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates twice this year and is forecasting two more increases before year-end. While President Donald Trump is breaking with tradition (President’s do not typically interfere with the Fed’s decisions) and trying to talk the fed out of more increases, it appears that despite his protests they will move forward nevertheless.

Most of us have been in business long enough to know that a single rise in interest rates can have an impact on the economy, but four in one year? That that will change on how people will borrow, spend and put money back into the marketplace.

So no matter which side of the fence politically you sit on –  thinking the Fed should not raise interest rates – or being that person in full support, the truth is you and I have no control over what the Fed does. Their decision may impact our plans for growth, but in the end, we have no say.

However, we can anticipate the decision they will make, and make some changes now to position ourselves for a different marketplace.

So how do you prepare for rising interest rates? What can you do now as a business to ensure that changes with the Federal policy and their impact on consumer spending will not derail your plans for business success?

5 Strategies to Get Your Business Prepared:

  1. Pay Attention – to the Fed that is. What the Fed may do and what they ultimately do will both have an impact on consumer mindset and your plans for growth. You need to pay attention, read the reports, watch the news, and follow those economists that will be making predictions. The marketplace changes as much based on what the Fed is predicted to do, as it does based on their final interest rate decision. The better informed you are, the better positioned you will be.
  2. Pay-Down Debt – rising interest rates can impact the flow of money into the economy, the rate at which businesses growth, as well as the cash flowing through your business. When the signals come that the Fed is going to raise interest rates, it is time to start thinking about taking those final steps to pay off debt. Especially debt that carries a variable interest rate.
  3. Find Lower Interest Rates – if you have debt that you can’t pay off or revolving debt that you use the fund your business in times of tight cash flow, then it may be time to shop around. Before the Fed raises rates, look around and see if you can find a lower interest rate. Doing so before the Fed raises funds may make it easier to find, qualify and ultimately move the debt. You will also, if the fed raises rates, be better positioned to absorb the cost.
  4. Do A Business Review – rising interest rates will impact the economy, and most likely slow down consumer spending and the level to which businesses buy and borrow. The rising interest rates could affect the cash flowing through your business, and your ability to reach your business goals. So now is the time to do a business review. Take a step back and analyze, before it happens, what a rising interest rate may do to your business. Maybe you keep six to eight months’ worth and do a final push knowing sales will be harder in a higher-interest-rate environment.
  5. Get Smart – and last but not least, get smart! Interest rates go up, and they go down. That is just the world that we live in, and the Fed is doing what needs to be done to make this economy healthy. Your job is to know the interest rate environment and adjust your business strategies accordingly. To succeed in business today, you need to be proactive!

This is going to be an interesting year, if the Fed raises rates two more times, it will significantly impact how we grow our businesses, and even just the hint of rising rates can make a shift. Don’t wait for the Fed’s decision to affect your business. Use these five strategies to get prepared!

 

Continue Reading

[Click to hide]

Leave A Comment

Posted by Meridith Elliott Powell in Business Growth and tagged , , , , , , ,

The Only Sales Strategy You Will Ever Need

Think about this, most things that can impact your sales success today are  outside of your control.  For example, new competitors entering the market,  advancements in technology or even the fluctuations of the market. Anyone shift or change of direction with any of those and your sales strategy can be greatly impacted – positively or […]

[Click to read more]

The Only Sales Strategy You Will Ever Need

The Only Strategy You'll NeedThink about this, most things that can impact your sales success today are  outside of your control.  For example, new competitors entering the market,  advancements in technology or even the fluctuations of the market. Anyone shift or change of direction with any of those and your sales strategy can be greatly impacted – positively or negatively.

So as a sales professional you need to be adaptable. You need to be open to trying new things, resilient in the face of challenges, and even be willing to change up your strategy now and then.   The one guarantee you have with sales is that change is constant, and it is those sale professionals who can embrace change and go with it, will be most successful.

Recently, I was working with a client who was one year into a three-year sales strategy. One that they had been consistent in using and were quite successful with when all of a sudden their top competitor went bankrupt.  Out-of-no-where they announced they were going out of business.

At the time, my client had thirty-one percent of the market share, and this competitor that was going under had close to forty-percent. For my client, this was a major opportunity.

She quickly went to her sales team and asked them to change their strategy immediately to focus on their failing competitor’s clients. Great idea right? Accept that her sales manager was not adaptable, he was struggling with why he should walk away from a strategy that is working, one his sale team was succeeding with, and change direction to take advantage of the opportunity.

Sounds crazy right? Why wouldn’t you immediately drop everything to take advantage of a situation like this? Because often change can be hard, and as sales professionals, we are creatures of habit, we know what works and pushing out of our comfort zone can be difficult.

However, the one thing I can guarantee you have with sales is that everything changes.  New products come out, better technology, new competitors and even periods of financial challenge. Your ability to embrace those changes, to take advantage of them and remain positive will greatly contribute to your sales success.

Change for most of us is hard, and just going with the flow can be easier said than done. Here are a few strategies to help you be more adaptable.

  1. Stop Whining – it is a waste of time and precious energy – energy that you are going to need to adapt. I get it, whining is fun, but the problem with it is that when you are finished whining nothing has changed. You still have to deal with the change, even having to adjust, and you have solved nothing. So stop!
  2. Shift Your Paradigm – we tend to think of change as something that is being done to us. You need to shift your paradigm and start to think about change as a good thing. Change is progress, and if your company and your customers are not asking you to change, then there is a good chance you are going to be left behind. So, shift your paradigm, how you see change, embrace it as a sign of progress rather than an obstacle.
  3. Get Your Head Out – of your office that is! You can get so focused on the day-to-day things we have to do, what is happening in your own world that you don’t see the need for change or the changes coming. If you get your head out and think about what is happening with customers, competition or even the economy, you will see the need to change and see the changes coming. If you see change coming it presents an opportunity; if you don’t see it coming, it can be a significant threat. So get your head out now and then, look around and see what is happening in the world and your marketplace.
  4. Have Plan B – change is unpredictable and knowing what is going to work and what won’t is less than an exact science. So, having a plan and using a strategy is essential, but so is having a backup plan. To be adaptable, you must be willing to get back up and try again when things don’t work.  You have to see failure as just another opportunity, and you need to be full of lots of ideas and strategies of what to try next. You need a plan B.

No one can predict what is going to happen in today’s marketplace. How many new competitors will enter your market, what interest rates will do, and what new technology will completely change how you and your customers do your jobs. However, we can predict that everything about the way you sell today, will be different tomorrow, and to succeed you will need to adapt!

Continue Reading

[Click to hide]

Leave A Comment

Posted by Meridith Elliott Powell in Sales Tips and tagged , , , ,

© 2018 Meridith Elliott Powell. All Rights Reserved. Legal Information Sitemap