Monthly Archives: November 2014

The December Purge

While helping a former client close the business, it has been amazing at how much “stuff” has been accumulated.  Hence the title of this week’s blog.

Business owners typically defend every part of their company, and that’s good.  Where that defense can falter, however, is when the business acquires assets, property, or “things” that have value at some point but become worthless to the company at another point.  Those items should be purged and sold, destroyed, trashed, donated, recycled, or whatever can be done to eliminate them.  We do not advocate clearing room to add more clutter.  Far from it!  The point is to eliminate what is not necessary to do business.

A Native American casino printed 10,000 newsletters to send to their player’s club members.  We found boxes upon boxes of those newsletters in storage.  When we asked why they were in storage and not in the hands of club members, the response was that newsletters were only mailed to the most active members of the club – about 1,500 people.  The remaining 8,500 newsletters were purged, the storage space was put to better use, and adjustments were made to future printing and mailing orders.

Shred and dispose of paper files that are no longer needed for tax or accounting purposes.  Old furniture, desks, chairs, computers, file cabinets or whatever else is sitting in storage should be sold or donated.  There are countless not-for-profit organizations that would welcome donations and enable your company to take a write-off (make sure you check with your accountant on deductions).

Purging gives you an opportunity for a fresh perspective.  Look at what you have through impartial outside eyes.  Update your signs if your market segments have changed, and get rid of the old ones!  Clean up your office to give yourself new energy.  Try to get it done in a day, even if you give up a Saturday to preserve your sanity at work.  Bring in a spouse or a different set of eyes to look at everything, and try to avoid getting defensive.

Now, by purge we are not talking about a wild spree of firing employees.  Do, however, take a look at your staffing requirements, job responsibilities, and employee performance.  You may find staff who deserve accolades and some who deserve to be let go.

The December purge enables your company to clear the debris from the current year and make room for the challenges of the next.  The holiday period may also be a slow time that serves well for the house cleaning process.  Think about purging again in six months, around the 4th of July or whenever it’s convenient.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand 

Sales Confidence

Once upon a time, there was a sales person who should have been in a different line of work.  At a trade show, they were standing in the aisle and as prospects walked by would ask, “You wouldn’t be interested in buying a web site, would you?”

Every answer was a resounding “No!”

Business man and meeting table background

This sales person, and many others like them, lacked the confidence to be convincing in their introductory pitch.  That’s a sign of either poor training or the need to choose a different occupation.  It was later discovered that the sales representative had clients who had never been asked to pay for the work being done on their website.  More later.

A sales person must have a thorough knowledge of the product and/or services he/she is offering.  With the wisdom comes belief in the product or service’s ability to meet the needs of the consumer.  That implies the sales person also understands what those needs are and how the company they represent can fulfill those needs.

Other elements that generate confidence in a sales person:

Empathy – Merely rattling off a sales pitch to a prospective customer is likely to turn off the potential purchaser.  People, in general, do not like to be sold, so the sales person who fails to ask questions or show concern for the prospect is bound to be viewed as pushy.  Some will get the sale through persistence.  Without listening, though, the chances of that sale falling through increase exponentially.

Presentation – The empathetic sales rep presents information to the prospective customer in a manner that appeals to what they hear the prospect saying.  Yes, some elements of the presentation need to be canned and rehearsed so they come out of the rep’s mouth with confidence, but the knowledge of how the product or service can be of value to the consumer is more important.

Closing Skills – One of the primary reasons that sales people fail is they lack the confidence to ask for the money, and close the sale.  Part of this involves being sensitive to the prospect.  If you can sense that the person in front of you is ready to make the buy, ask for the sale.  If you’ve dealt with all the objections, make it official and get the consumer on the way to enjoying the product or service you’ve convinced them is worth purchasing.

Back to our website sales person:  It was obvious they were not cut out to be in sales, so she was let go.  A week or so later, she came back in and expressed her gratitude for being fired.  Why?  She said it was the best thing that ever happened to her because it made her realize she wasn’t cut out to be in sales.  She found a job in technical support, which made her happy.

Do your sales people have confidence in marketing your products and/or services?

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand   




Branding Your Services

Smoking brand ironWe’ve blogged several times since 2012 about brand-related topics, yet rarely have we been specific about how to create a brand for services.  Here we’re going to show you the tip of the iceberg with the intent of encouraging you to contact us (Brand Irons) about going through the entire proprietary process.  We know you’ll find value in this, so we beg forgiveness – or at least temporary memory loss about trying to generate business.  You can contact Brand Irons by clicking on the link in the tag line at the end of this blog.

The first step in creating a brand identity for your services is to define what those services are, and what they look like to a prospective consumer.  If you believe you sell a tangible service, consider whether it may – in reality – be a product offering.  A true definition of a service is something that is intangible because it rarely involves a physical item that the consumer can use on his/her own.

An example might be a cleaning service.  Yes, the service provider has cleaning products – either cleansers and equipment they provide or yours – but the actual service they provide is a cleaner, healthier, and perhaps neater, more organized home or office.  That’s visible but intangible.  How well the cleaning company employees do their job is subject to your perception and expectation.  You see the tangible end result, but how the work is done can vary from cleaning person to cleaning person.

Enough on tangible vs. intangible.  What you need to define is your service in terms of what the consumer receives.  If you offer a motor vehicle service, it’s less about the qualifications of the technician or mechanic than it is about providing customers with safe, comfortable, and trouble-free vehicles to use on the streets and highways.

A second step is to identify your strengths.  What are you good at providing, and can that be a profitable aspect of your business?  This soul-searching process can be beneficial if you and your business are in a transitional stage as the answers provide clarity on direction.  This is an area where a consultant can help you achieve that clarity.  You may also think about the weaknesses of your services and phase them out of your business model if it makes sense.  Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water, though.

Keep in mind that these steps may take place in a different order when you engage Brand Irons for your branding strategy sessions or think them through on your own.

A third step is creating a strategy for your brand that can be implemented relatively easily and sustained for as long as you own the service, product, or niche market.  This involves identifying your target markets, geographic range (if applicable), and other variables to put the package together and get it in front of potential consumers.  The look and feel should reflect your strengths and the power of the services you offer that differentiate your business from your competitors.

Brand Your Work – Work Your Brand