71 things I learned from starting, scaling, selling and even failing in business

71 things I learned from starting, scaling, selling and even failing in business

I learned…

  • I learned the true meaning of customer service. That most companies claim to have great customer service but rarely back it by explaining it in such a way that leaves a lasting impression to the client or prospect.
  • I learned that listening to the client is more powerful than talking and that they can usually tell you exactly what you need to say or do to sell them, to bring them to the buying point.
  • I learned that new blood is the life blood of a B2C business, and that if you invest most of your time focusing on new clients, on prospecting and lead generation, you can really have a great thing going.
  • I learned that of those businesses that do indeed have great lead gen are bleeding out the back door and having to bring in new customers constantly just to break even.
  • I learned that data is priceless, and capturing that data is important but being able to USE that data is where the money really lies. Data alone is just noise.
  • I learned that having priorities and doing a minutes study of every employee is key to ensuring they are spending as much time on their priorities as they think they are. Far too many employees spend precious time on meaningless task.
  • I learned that although being face to face with a prospect is the most important thing a salesperson can do, most spend 90% of their day warming up, preparing, making notes, driving around, cooling down, pumping themselves up, and basically NOT selling.
  • I learned the value in staying top-of-mind, and making sure that when a prospect realizes they have a need in which you have a solution, you come to mind and not your competitors.
  • I learned the value in press releases, and how with a bit of effort one could acquire loads of free media without paying a dime.
  • I learned that most business people get fooled by media salespeople claiming to know and understand marketing, when they truthfully don’t they just want to sell their product or service.
  • I learned that markets change, and staying on top of the game is vital to long term success.
  • I learned that being an active part of the community matters, but it doesn’t compensate for poor service or products.
  • I learned that branding doesn’t just mean your website needs to match your business card and flyer, but that every single part of your business needs to be in line from the way you act, the way you write, the words you use, the way your staff acts, etc.
  • I learned that if you preach friendly service, and are seen getting irate with a service employee elsewhere, you have a branding problem.
  • I learned that if you’re website claims that your business is state of the art, but your location is falling apart, you have a branding problem.
  • I learned that the very first phrase or word you utter to a prospect at a trade-show booth or when someone walks into your store is the equivalent of a headline and can produce changes in results in the high multiples.
  • I learned that how you answer the phone can make or break that sale or future sale.
  • I learned that features don’t sell. People don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole. They don’t buy 8 megapixels, they buy the vibrant color that takes you right back to the moment the photo was taken. They don’t buy weight loss, they buy the confidence to wear what they want or be free in the bedroom.
  • I learned that people buy from people, and they want to see people with your products/service. An image of a product isn’t as powerful as an image of someone using it.
  • I learned that people buy based on emotion, and justify with logic.
  • I learned that knowing your market, who your prospects are can greatly lower your cost of acquisition and substantially increase your conversion rate.
  • I learned that choosing who you should market to directly can transform your business.
  • I learned that some clients aren’t worth acquiring, they cost too much, take too much of your time, give you the most headaches, etc.
  • I learned that following up on leads is vital, and that most salespeople don’t follow up past the first time.
  • I learned that a follow up without a value add on is a waste of time.
  • I learned that systematizing is key to scaling, and removing human error where ever it’s possible makes predictable success possible.
  • I learned that if you don’t know who your ideal prospect is, you can blow massive amounts of money on marketing mediums that don’t work.
  • I learned that most take the social out of social media and completely destroy any chance of forming a loyal online following.
  • I learned that poor staff management is a major cause to client dissatisfaction.
  • I learned that details matter. The garbage needs to be empty. The toilet clean. The shelves dusted. The floor mopped. The staff presentable. The booth organized. The staff engaged. Etc.
  • I learned that if you don’t know the lifetime value of a client, you don’t know how much you can spend to get them.
  • I learned that most put too many words on street side mediums such as billboards and posters.
  • I learned that up-selling is key to getting more out of each sale, and that it needs to be systematized to assure it actually happens.
  • I learned that by simply getting a client to purchase twice as often, you can effectively double your revenue with only minimal increase in overhead.
  • I learned that the by simply following up a marketing campaign you can see many times better results.
  • I learned that most are spending a fortune on display advertising, often encouraged by media salespeople because of its lack of trackability (proof that it works) rather than focusing on direct response marketing which allows you to track specifically if it worked or not – which is vital when you’re small and every dollar matters.
  • I learned that your best source of knowledge on what you should offer next comes from your current clients.
  • I learned that the only limit to your businesses potential is your resourcefulness.
  • I learned that utilizing joint ventures is one of the quickest ways to grow – and the cheapest.
  • I learned that by running a simple test before a campaign you can establish enormous changes in results before putting big money into it.
  • I learned that most people have no idea how to write a headline and spend more time working the copy yet without a good headline the copy will never be read.
  • I learned that bounce-back offers can give a great instant boost in revenue.
  • I learned that many will send a catalogue in the mail (or send via email) and not include a sales pitch.
  • I learned that speed matters, and when often a prospect will do business with the one who responds first.
  • I learned that competing on price rarely works and when someone enters the market and undercuts them they realize they never learned how to sell any other way other than price.
  • I learned that most aren’t optimizing their websites.
  • I learned that many companies do have some form of lead capture yet never do anything with it.
  • I learned that although many businesses rely heavily, as much as 80%, on word of mouth they have zero systems in place to track or at the very least ensure that those numbers don’t change.
  • I learned that often what you think you sell isn’t what your prospect is buying.
  • I learned that when a client leaves or decides to stop doing business with you provides you with an excellent opportunity to discover why and improve your faults.
  • I learned that when a sale is lost, a salesperson can often save it, or improve future sales, by starting to pack up and leave, then emphatically turn and say “Listen, I know you’re not interested, but I’m learning, and I want to truthfully know how I could improve my skills and learn where I went wrong?”
  • I learned that non-converted leads can be a gold mine.
  • I learned that often we get in the way of our own sales.
  • I learned that most businesses don’t have a strategy and are running blind year after year.
  • I learned that holding your prospects hand and telling them exactly what to do is key.
  • I learned the secret power of the word “because” and its substantial increase in action.
  • I learned that most salespeople can’t close and don’t ever ask for the sale.
  • I learned that most direct mail lands in the recycling bin because of poor or no strategy was put into it.
  • I learned that in advertising, both print and digital, most are going for aesthetic over effective and thus substantially decrease their returns.
  • I learned that most don’t have a USP and aren’t differentiating their business from everyone else’s.
  • I learned that educating your prospects is better than selling.
  • I learned that most don’t understand how to optimize not for profit opportunities.
  • I learned the power of a loss leader.
  • I learned the power of an irresistible offer.
  • I learned that anytime a prospect walks in you should be doing cartwheels.
  • I learned that if you have a strong moral and ethical code it shows in your marketing.
  • I learned there are many barter options available out there.
  • I learned that many use the spaghetti marketing strategy where they throw a variety of things at the wall and hope some sticks.
  • I learned that at any given time, 3% of the market is looking to “buy right now”, and to gear some of your marketing to them, but it’s equally as important to focus on the 97% that isn’t.
  • I learned that it’s important to take your customers by the hand.
  • I learned that there’s more to a guarantee than simply saying “guaranteed”.

And that’s a wrap!

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6 thoughts on “71 things I learned from starting, scaling, selling and even failing in business

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