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IMGP0006_3The year is almost over and it’s gone by quickly…

Chances are your month is really busy – closing the year, trying to get the last bit of business in, and perhaps clients trying to spend some of their budgets…making sure you year ends with a profit $$$

But if you Neglect these few things …

You might be sorry…Keep Reading:  Three Things to Do Before Christmas Hits…

1. Look back over the year – Remind Yourself.

Looking back is important – where did your business come from?  Is it repeatable, continuing, or maybe you didn’t really have a strong year – why not?  Next week I will spend 3 solid days looking at my year and planning for next.   I do this every year!

Some key things to look at:

  • Profile your buyers – what does your best client look like?  You can’t afford to be generic here – don’t tell me, “Small business owners,” or “Medical Clinics.”  Although the second is more specific than the first, I bet your most likely buyer is a certain kind of person, age range, race, political position…I don’t know.  I’m not talking about be prejudice here – I am talking about profiling.  I’m saying that your solutions, your geography, your price, and your personality, play best with a certain person.  I’ll sell to whoever can benefit and afford what I do – but I am marketing to a certain profile.
  • Is your business heavily dependent on one client?  If so, this is risky…You might have one client by design, and that too is risky – but if you sell into a broader market, make sure you are working on having a balanced portfolio.  I’ve seen too many profitable sales people go down when their one client leaves them.
  • If the year was great – make sure you know WHY?
  • If the year was down – Also ask, WHY?
  • Analyze this and figure out what went right or wrong this year.
  • Write this stuff down and ponder it…

 

2. Consider – “How Can I Accelerate Growth in 2014?”

  • If you are way over quota – perhaps you are doing well and don’t need growth.  If that’s the case, consider optimizing your business to reduce wasted time.  FOCUS on efficiency.
  • You can keep doing what you’re doing – but I bet there are some things you can do to really grow.  Is your marketing working for you?  Have you measured your response and conversion rates?  Even if you are a sales person working for a company with large marketing department – you might not be getting much out of marketing.  If that is the case, get a plan to change this.  Marketing is what generates leads and if you’re spending hours cold calling and leaving messages with people who don’t care, you’re wasting a lot of time.
  • Think EFFECTIVE – vs. EFFICIENT…what do I mean?  Most of the business people I run into are trying to be more efficient at doing things that don’t matter.  Fitting in more – waste-of-time meaningless meetings, fitting in more meaningless phone calls, and creating more no-sale proposals…this is all a waste of time.  Effective means – spending your time on the things that show a Return on Investment…revenue generating activity.

 

3. Is Your Family Life Healthy?

  • Maybe this should have been listed first – but I put it last so you’ll remember it most…and I might be too late on this…but too many sales people have sacrificed their family life to the point of losing it, just to make another dollar.  I’m urging you to make this part of your 2014 plan – to make sure you family relationships are strong.
  • If you are married – I have seen more successful business people go down fast after their marriage falls apart.  Everything is going strong, and suddenly your spouse announces, “I’m leaving.” or “I don’t love you anymore!”  15 years ago I came so close to this disaster it nearly destroyed me…I’m happy to say that I am one of the few that woke up in time and made a come back.  Strong marriages make for a stronger business plan.
  • How about your kids?  Talk about a distraction – having rebellious teenagers, teenage drug problems, an unexpected pregnancy with your high-schooler – it’s enough to derail anyone’s work life.  My kids range from 21 down to 5…(7 kids in total).  There’s nothing better than having the entire family on-board, with a common vision, supporting me in the work I do.  Make sure your 2014 plan includes building a strong family…a big factor in overall success.

© 2013, David Stelzl

P.S.  Here’s a great FREE offer to get your new year off to a fast start!  (CLICK) to get over $500 of FREE resources…

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Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

I had the honor of speaking the West VA. F.E.W. conference this past weekend on building profitable businesses…a couple of points worth reviewing:

1. Brand – memorable is the key word here!  I see companies depending on best pricing, certifications, status with vendor partners, and just thinking their people are great. The truth is, every company has people and certifications, and while customer service does vary, it’s hard to present your company as “Better” unless another company is failing while you are standing next in line.  This does not grow business.  Branding must be something unique and memorable.  I have written and taught on using positioning questions.  Download my free copy of the House & the Cloud (right hand side bar) to learn more about this.

2. Sell, then build.  Most do this the other way around.  Building an offering, and then looking to fit it into your client’s world is backwards.  Identify the needs, selling the client on fixing them, then create the solution.  This provides unique value and commands a higher fee.

3. Be the best.  Specialize…there is no such thing as high-involvement sales people who sell everything.  No one wants to pay big commissions to someone who takes orders.  Your value depends on expertise.  As a sales person, this expertise should be at the business level – learn your target prospects business, become an expert at solving certain problems that tend to exist in this type of business – using the tools your company provides.

4. Don’t paint yourself into a corner.  Specialization is important, but if you’re not careful, you might find yourself in a business that has no where to go.  Business expertise tends to provide greater options in the future, where highly specialized technical expertise will eventually commoditize – if you focus on the latter, be sure to watch the trends and grow your career with the market.  About every two years you should be looking to grow into a new technology area that seems to be growing.

5. Setting Fees.  Sales people who continually discount are on the road to disaster.  Work out the right pricing before you propose and make sure your value matches your pricing.  When it comes time to negotiate, change the scope when a price change is needed.  Honest pricing means you can’t change it without a scope change.

6. Great products die without great marketing…plan and execute marketing plans and messaging.  Working hard to sell is a waste of time without it.  Sales people should plan out there marketing each quarter – use social media, events, webinars, and email – be sure you have one core message you are representing.  Build your brand by continually focusing everything on one central theme – perhaps you are the Retail Automation Expert.  Your company may do it all, but you should be known for one thing!  Make it memorable.

7. Learn how finances work.  Understanding how businesses make money, where they lose, how debt, depreciation, ROI, TCO, op-ex vs. cap-ex, and budgets work will go a long way.  Defining the terms is not enough, learn how they work.  Read The Wall Street Journal and Google terms you don’t really understand.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Merry Christmas

December 23, 2010 — Leave a comment

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

Enjoy your Christmas holidays! Some of my favorites include:

1. Family time

2. Our annual Christmas party here at the house

3. Attending Handel’s Messiah – which I did earlier this month

4. Watching my little ones open presents

5. Working in my wood shop – making gifts such as wood-turned bowls, cutting boards, etc.

6. Listening to some of my favorite Christmas songs

 

7. Enjoying the decorations, gifts, hospitality, and wonderful food,  and this year, maybe even some snow which is rare in Charlotte!

Make wise use of your last two weeks in 2010!

© 2010, David Stelzl

Character and teamwork are critical in almost every aspect of life…this past weekend in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area was a great test all around, and a lot of fun!

We started our trip at Big East Fork, west of Asheville NC with loaded packs and an excited team of young entrepreneurs.  This is most of the student body right here, along with their faithful leader (me).  It rained most of our drive up, but the sky looks pretty good at this point.

On the trail, we have about 5 miles to go, starting at an elevation of 3500 ft, going to nearly 6000.  Most of it in the last two miles.  Notice Bethany is sporting her new shock absorbing trekking poles and a new Osprey pack!  A big improvement over the old one.

This trail is full of scenic waterfalls, undergrowth, large trees, and moss.  A great place for picture taking as the trail follows the stream almost the entire way up the mountain.  One caution, the trails out here are not marked so you do need a map and compass if you plan on hiking here.  (It helps you know how to use them).

There is plenty of water as long as you have a means of purification.  Once you leave the stream you’ll need to carry it.  There is a small spring on top, but a pump is almost a requirement to get it into a bottle.  Here is Jonathan filtering through an MSR ceramic filter.

And a few hours later, we are on top!  Shining Rock has a great 360 views overlooking the Blue Ridge mountains, including Cold Mountain at 6030 ft.  We attempted to day hike Cold Mountain on day 2, but didn’t quite make it with the little ones.  The trails were overgrown with stinging nettles and lots of bee infested flowers, not to mention a significant altitude change and limited water supplies.

One great lesson we learned – when we finally reached our campsite on top, and prepared to eat, we discovered that our MSR stove pump was not working.  The gasket in the fuel system had deteriorated and would not build up the pressure needed to move gas to the burner.  Not sure what to do with our freeze dried meals we began to brainstorm.  My 11 year old son produced two rubber bands he had brought just in case we needed them – and we were able to fabricate a make-shift gasket from them.  This actually worked!  Shortly after, we were eating hot lasagna!  Who would have  thought…?

Despite hot temperatures, steep climbs, and a downpour on the last day, it was a great trip.  We learned all kinds of things about plants, stoves, teamwork, sharing, encouraging each other, and much more.  We are hoping to head out again when the leaves are in full color.

Despite a multitude of information on success, time management, and customer satisfaction; performance goes down the drain when life is out of balance.  Issues with marriage, kids, finances, and health quickly consume us when the balance of work and home is out of balance.  Four issues I’ve identified above, mainly:

  1. Health
  2. Marriage
  3. Children
  4. Finances

are the four areas most commonly and dramatically impacted.  These four things have the power to bring the most successful people I know, right to their knees.  I’ve identified ten things you can do to reclaim this balance which I will be presenting tomorrow at 11:30 est – check out this link and be there (by phone): http://www.stelzl.us/business_strategy_TeleS.asp

© David Stelzl, 2010

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Most weeks I am attending a sales conference, partner summit, or training event for high-tech sales people…this week I am with 300 fathers working on establishing a successful home – today is day two.  A couple of key points from last night’s kick off.  First, if you are a father (or a mother), you can’t achieve the same level of success if your home life is dragging you down.  Many have reached new levels of success in business only to look back and realize they’ve lost their family in the process.  Here are three top stress areas (out of 15 we reviewed last night) that drag people down:

1. Lack of an exciting and fulfilling purpose – if you don’t have a mission you believe in, you’ll be second guessing what you do every day!  This has to be bigger than work – but carry over to work.

2. Believing the lies – everyone carries with them some level of messaging that is playing over and over in their mind.  What’s yours?  If it’s negative, it will drag you down – “I’m ugly”, “I’m not as important as the executive I am meeting with”, etc.  Whatever it is, if it’s negative it will hinder success.

3. Painful memories from wrong decisions…this is a big one.  We’ve all made mistakes.  Some with business decisions, others with spouses, children, finances (investments in 2000), etc. How often do you recall painful memories in a non-constructive way?

Imagine 15 more of these…well I won’t go on, but just fixing these three will dramatically affect what you do today!  Give it some thought and let me know if you want to know more.

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2009 — 2 Comments

In case you didn’t get my electronic Christmas card this year here it is.  Enjoy your holidays and enjoy time with your family!