To get better results, get a better process

Most of us don’t think about the processes we use. We just keep using them. And that’s okay.

But when you think about the processes you use, chances are you can find a way to make them better. How to make a process better could come from a sudden flash of inspiration as you discover how to eliminate or simplify a step. Or it could come about systematically as you study the process, analyze it, measure it, and improve it.sales process chart v4a

That’s what I like best about processes – that every process can be studied, analyzed, measured, and improved.

If you’re in manufacturing, you can find a way to speed the assembly process, eliminate unnecessary steps, or increase efficiency. If you’re an online merchant, you can simplify your order handling or shipping process by making physical or data processing changes within the steps of the process. It’s not hard. You just need to study it and be willing to make a change.

Although people don’t usually think about sales as a process, it is one process I believe deserves constant attention.

In How to Close More Business in Less Time and in my private coaching program, I spend a lot of time talking about the sales process and, most importantly, how to improve it and perfect it so it closes more business in less time.

I use a chart (above) in my talks and coaching practice that shows a typical sales process. My sample sales process shows 12 steps. Yours may have more steps, or it may have less, and no two are alike. But every business has one.

Engineers use diagrams to study and improve production processes. You can do the same with your sales process.

By visualizing and graphically blocking your sales process, you identify areas where things aren’t working and, most importantly, where they could work better. Once you know your challenges and constraints, you can start to build an ideal sales process. That brings you closer to closing more business in less time!

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Have Ideas, Will Travel

Throughout my life, I’ve moved from city to city. From Cincinnati to Lansing, Michigan, to Cleveland to Florida to North Carolina to seven years in New York City and back to Florida. (Whoops, I forgot St. Louis.)

I look at my longtime friends who spent their entire life in one place. In many ways, I’m envious of their roots. But as new-york90I think of all the new people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had by being a vagabond, perhaps they were the ones missing out. (I sometimes wonder if they’re envious of me for the gypsy in my blood.)

I also have friends who have been in the same business or career their entire lives. In many ways, I’m envious of them for that. But I couldn’t do that. My nature has always been to try something else –– to learn about something new, to take a risk. Continue reading

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“Who Killed the Customers?” Returns!

Actors from the Centre Club’s Killer Cast have been invited to bring “Who Killed the Customers?” to West Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Week, January 23 through January 27, 2017.

In addition to original cast members Loren Murfield, Thanecha Anderson, David Scott, Tom Panaggio, and myself, we’ll be joined by Pasco Economic Development cast members John Walsh, Krista Covey, and Jet Hall and West Pasco Chamber cast members Chip Wichmanowski and Debby Jenkins.

The luncheon performance will be held at the Verizon Center, 8718 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey at noon on Friday, January 27, 2017. Advanced reservations are required. For information and reservations contact West Pasco Chamber of Commerce at (727) 842-7651.

This is the first time we’ve taken one of our Mystery Theatre productions on the road. We’re excited to see how it plays out. As always, “Who Killed the Customers?” will be challenging and fun for the audience as they attempt to identify the killer or killers of Zero Service Corporation and even more fun for the actors as they bring their respective characters to life.

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Thanks, Mike

A testimonial from Mike Bosch, film maker and entrepreneur

“Often consultants teach what worked for them; however, as humans, we are all different. Gil evaluated me and my business as a whole and built a plan that was suited best for my goals and personality and it worked like a charm. If you feel you deserve more out of your business, it’s time to look at a strategy. I highly suggest having a conversation with Gil.”

Thanks, Mike. I appreciate your kind words.

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Who Killed the Customers?

who-killed-the-customers1Last year’s production of “Who Killed the Business?” was so successful, we decided it was time for a sequel. So here comes the Centre Club Business Committee’s original 2016 production of “Who Killed the Customers?”

It was a logical next step because every business is challenged with issues pertaining to customer service. As consumers, we know more about poor customer service than we know about good customer service. We experience the poor far too often.

There are exceptions, of course. And the good customer service businesses continue to grow.

Being the author, producer, director, and copyright holder also gives me the right to play the part of Henry Bigcheese, founder and CEO of Zero Service Corporation.

Henry knows his most important customers are being killed. But he needs your help to determine who the killer or killers are. Could it be the CFO, customer service manager, field service technician, parts manager, or one of the other not-to-be-trusted employees? You’ll need to pay close attention.

Make your reservation today by calling the Centre Club at 813-286-4040. You’ll laugh and you’ll learn. Guaranteed!

Great menu choices when you call to make your reservation. Yes, there is a cash bar.

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How I learned to write like a marketing pro

I learned to write the hard way.

Many years ago I owned and operated a boutique advertising agency in Cleveland. It was easy for me to find talented artists and designers. In some respects, they were a dime a write like a pro cover3 v03dozen. But it was impossible to find marketing writers – writers who knew how to sell using only the written word.

There was one exception. Her name was Donna. I hired her based merely on the cover letter that accompanied her resume. I read her page-and-a-half letter, completely ignored the resume, walked into my assistant’s office and said, “Mary, this is the one. Get her in here right away!”

Just a year or two out of college, Donna was an exceptional marketing writer. How she learned it, I don’t know. Where, I never knew. Perhaps she was born with the talent.

The problem was that Donna didn’t stay very long. Within four or five months, one of the larger marketing firms in the city offered her a position – and a lot more money than I was prepared to pay.

At that point, I determined two things.

First, no way was I going to waste time footslogging through hundreds of resumes from self-proclaimed writers who didn’t bother to take the time to write and include a cover letter to sell themselves the way Donna did.

Second, if I wanted something done right, I had to do it myself!

FREE EBOOK LINK BELOW

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“You can’t steer a boat that’s tied to the dock”

Boat to dockYou’ve heard the story of the man who prays continually about winning the lottery. He’s resolute in his prayers, but nothing happens. He doesn’t win. He doesn’t even come close. After many months of praying a loud voice from heaven speaks to him. “I can help you, but first you must buy a lottery ticket.”

As a business consultant and marketing strategist, I’ve seen how businesses get so bogged down in planning and the what-if process they never launch, never take action.

They’ll argue about this or that. They’ll discuss options and debate opinion after opinion with their team members and inner circle. They’ll discuss what would or would not work without ever setting it adrift so the marketplace can speak and respond to them.

It is only when you untie that great plan or idea from the dock and add some forward motion, some momentum, can you modify your course, restate and improve your value proposition, rewrite your offer, or reach out to an entirely different market segment. Continue reading

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Join me at Marketing Week NYC, June 15, 2016

MW logo4The New York Public Library, Science, Industry & Business Library invited me to be a guest speaker during Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s upcoming MarketingWeekNYC.

My topic is Boost Profitability: Connect The Dots Between Marketing And The Sales Process. I built my presentation to be a highly interactive workshop that helps business owners develop and define specific strategies for their business and to help them close more business and more profitable business in less time.

Save the date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 — 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Click the link below to learn more.

http://www.nypl.org/events/programs/2016/06/15/boost-profitability-connect-dots-between-marketing-and-sales-process

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Big advantage for small business

I don’t know about you, but almost everywhere I look these days the quality of service (aka customer service) seems to be declining. (Perhaps plummeting is a better word.) This is especially true in the mega corporations.

For many major corporations, the quest for increased revenue and record profits forces red carpet33corporations to look for ways to cut corners. Too many times they determine customer service – or service in general – is an easy place to cut.

There are, of course, a few exceptions. L.L.Bean provides exceptional customer service. So does Amazon, Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and Zappos. But they are far and few between.

I believe this not only opens the door to a huge advantage for smaller businesses, it rolls out a red carpet.

The reason is smaller businesses are typically closer to their customers or clients. There’s more direct contact and communication. Or, at least there should be.

Smaller businesses can use this proximity to create a culture of exceptional service. In my book, How to Close More Business in Less Time, I refer to this not only as service or customer service, but as creating an “exceptional experience” from beginning to end. Continue reading

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What’s your business’ personality?

As a business and marketing strategist I freely admit to being considerably more than a little critical of the way businesses do things.

Mature car salesperson talking with young couple.Just as people have only one opportunity to make a first impression, so do businesses.

Case in point. Yesterday afternoon I dropped off my car for service. I walked from the service area into the dealership showroom. While I was waiting to be picked up I kicked a few tires. Then I went outside to kick a few more.

During my entire visit lasting about 15 minutes, not one team member in the dealership looked at me, spoke to me, smiled at me, or asked if they could help me. I was completely ignored by salesmen and staff.

When I arrived home, I looked in the mirror. Perhaps it was me. I was dressed casually, but definitely not dirty or homeless. What was it that made me invisible to everyone in the sales department? Continue reading

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