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Tag: Business coaching

Don’t fake it

tb 37 p.142S&A Coaching’s Susanna Statton takes a look at trust and how you can earn it before you’ve delivered.

It’s received wisdom that people don’t buy products as much as they buy from people. We purchase from people we like. More importantly, we purchase from people we trust. So looking after your existing customers, and keeping the relationship with past customers open is crucial. But what do you do when you’re engaging a new customer who’s never heard of you before? How do you build trust?

Here is my quick five-point plan for being able to build trust with new customers quickly:

AUTHENTICITY AND PASSION

Authenticity and passion encompass a lot. Would you do business with you? Would you buy your product or use your service? Why? If you’re not passionate about your offering, selling it will be hard.

If you don’t enjoy selling what you’re selling, you won’t engender trust. It’s difficult to fake it no matter how good an actor you may be. The customer will see through it. So sell what you love and sell why you love it. Bring your own personal values to the fore.

So, find yourself in your offering and then be yourself – it’s a recipe for success.

CURIOSITY AND DEEP LISTENING

This is the service bit. How much do you really care about your potential customers, their lives, and the problems they’re trying to solve? How much do you want to solve their problems for them? How important is it to you that your offering can help them?

The temptation to look for the opportunity to be the solution to just any potential problem can cause the over-enthusiastic sales person to jump in too quickly with the sales pitch. Listening deeply, with curiosity, and asking lots of broad, open questions will help potential customers to talk through their issues, and help them decide what they want. Once you’ve honestly been the one who’s helped them establish that clarity, and you’re sure your product or service is the answer, ask a few more specific questions that you might even already know the answer to. One way or another you now have the language the customer uses to describe their own problem, and you can use it. At this stage, if your product or service is the answer, it will be obvious to the customer as soon as you make your offer.  And even if your offering isn’t the solution for them, they will love you anyway and they might still be back.

PERSONALISE

Whether you’re the managing director of the company, or just answer the phones, personalisation goes a long way toward building trust and rapport. You can personalise just by using someone’s name the way they like it.

TESTIMONIAL AND FEEDBACK

There is nothing like the testimonials of previous clients singing your praises. They know like-minded people: your potential customers. They are the generators of your strongest leads. When you start out, take the opportunity to give these people discounts for honest, valuable feedback. The negatives can inform improvement. Help them feel like they’re helping you design your service. They feel a sense of loyalty. The positives can sell your service. And why not tell all your customers that you take the positives and the negatives, and use them to continually strive to be the best. Another opportunity to gain their trust.

DELIVER

Ultimately, you need to be someone of your word. A customer or client receiving poor service and left feeling unsatisfied will tell people, and the word will spread like a virus. A job well done may get talked about slightly less, but when someone’s looking for your service, they’ll ask your clients about the service level, and that’s when your customers will sell you. So aim to under-promise and over-deliver.

 

 

Take off the brakes with the GrowthAccelerator

tb 37 p.44-45Start-ups and SMEs contribute more than £473 billion to the UK economy each year. There is a whole wealth of funding and advice out there to help businesses keep that figure growing. We take a look at one of them – GrowthAccelerator – in a bit more detail to see how it can help you.

In 2013, there were 4.9 million businesses in the UK, 99% of which were small and medium enterprises[1]. Their value to the UK has been estimated at £473 billion, which translates to a huge 49.8% of the economy [2]. SMEs continue to be as important as ever to driving economic growth, so it is encouraging to see that, far from the recent challenging economic conditions dampening people’s appetites for running their own businesses, the opposite is actually true. Since the recession of 2008, the number of people classified as self-employed has risen by 15%. Interestingly, 60% of this increase has actually taken place even more recently – from around the middle of 2011.

Whilst the start-up rate is growing, it’s critical that the high growth potential amongst SMEs is harnessed, which is where GrowthAccelerator comes in. A partnership between Government and private sector business growth experts, GrowthAccelerator was specifically developed for ambitious businesses with the potential for growth, and offers business leaders support in the form of tailored, expert coaching. A consortium, led by Grant Thornton UK LLP, has been delivering the service since its launch in April 2012.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

SMEs looking to realise their growth potential will be assigned a growth manager, who will work with them to identify any current barriers to growth, and formulate a tailored plan to overcome these obstacles and achieve their ambitions for the business. These growth plans will typically focus on one of three areas: access to finance, business development, or growth through innovation. All three are supported by coaching, workshops and masterclasses.

Once the growth plan is agreed, the growth manager, in collaboration with the business, will select and appoint a growth coach against attributes including experience, skills and personality and relevance to the organisation. The expert network of growth coaches all have direct experience of running their own high-growth business, and their expertise spans a breadth of sectors and disciplines. This ‘matchmaking’ of a coach to a business is an especially important part of the process, as the growth coaches will work with them to deliver the growth plans, so it’s crucial that both parties get the most out of the relationship. Many businesses will deliberately select a coach with experience within their particular sector. However, many will seek out a coach who has run their own business in a completely different sector because they are keen to work with an expert who can inject a new perspective into their business. Once an appropriate coach has been chosen, a typical coaching schedule lasts around three to nine months, depending on the size of the business, growth targets, and the growth plan itself.

WHAT IMPACT DOES THE SERVICE HAVE ON BUSINESS GROWTH?

GrowthAccelerator is currently working with more than 18,000 ambitious businesses, who regularly tell us how much they value the opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day running of their business and get an expert view on how to unlock potential. The results speak for themselves; In 2012/13 the businesses using the service grew at least four times faster than the average SME, and between April 2012 and April 2014, they generated £1.5 billion of growth (gross value added)[3] and created 36,572 jobs.[4]

Looking ahead, in the next three years business leaders tell us that they expect to create an additional 2.6 million jobs and each generate a £295,000 turnover increase.

These figures show that the service is well on the way to achieving its overall goal of generating £2.2 billion gross value added and creating 55,000 jobs by April 2015.

IS GROWTHACCELERATOR RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

To be eligible for GrowthAccelerator, your business must be registered in the UK and based in England, have fewer than 250 employees, and have a turnover of less than £40 million.

Not every eligible business will be suitable, as GrowthAccelerator exclusively targets high-growth businesses who want to enter their next growth phase, and have the potential and determination to get there.

If you are interested in working with GrowthAccelerator to unlock the growth potential within your business, you can call the helpline on 0844 4632995, quoting Talk Business or contact Simon Stevens on 0207 728 3298, or email him at simon.stevens@uk.gt.com.

 

[1] Source: House of Commons Library, Small business and the UK economy

[2] Source: European Commission, SME performance review

[3] Growth in this respect is measured by gross value added (GVA) which is a measure in economics of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.

[4] Based on data taken from a representative sample of 476 GrowthAccelerator clients who completed their support between April 2012 and April 2014. In this period these businesses collectively generated £81.6 million in gross value added and created 1,683 jobs.

 

 

Coach outing

Business coaching may come with a hefty price tag, but it can be money very well spent, finds Peter Bartram

When Steven Herd set up his estate- and letting-agency, MyLondonHome, he decided he needed some business coaching. He says: ‘As a business leader, my staff look to me to lead them – but who is leading me, making me accountable and challenging some of the things I do?’

Herd has hired entrepreneur Chris Kaday as his business coach. Herd says that he was looking for a coach who’d had hands-on experience of running his own business. Kaday has a background in IT and marketing. He built his own successful marketing company which he sold 10-years ago to an American corporation.

Kaday says that business owners generally come to him for one of three reasons: ‘Sometimes they have a good idea which they want to turn into a business – but they realise that a business needs to be more than just a good idea. Sometimes they feel they are working too hard for the returns they’re making – and are seeking a remedy. And sometimes they would simply like to make more money from their business.’

But for any coaching to work, there has to be good chemistry between the coach and the business owner. And the owner has to be receptive to new ideas…

Read the full feature in our first issue or in the digital edition by clicking here.