A while ago, I had the opportunity to sit in on a class taught by my friend and mentor, Paul Johnson. Paul is a high school math teacher at Westwood High School in Mesa, Arizona, and is a master at communicating unique ideas, concepts and thoughts that can be applied in real life situations. Paul’s discussion centered around a recent talk given by former BYU president, Dallin H. Oaks, where Mr. Oaks compared the Sears model of “Good, Better, Best” to the choices we make on a daily basis.
Oaks talked about how the Sears, Roebuck catalog that came to his home when he was a youth often offered three choices. The example he used was men’s shoes. Some were labeled “good” ($1.84), some “better” ($2.98), and some “best” ($3.45). Oaks went on to say, “…that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. Even though a particular choice is more costly, its far greater value may make it the best choice of all.”
As I listened to Paul relate Mr. Oaks’ comments to the choices we make in our daily lives, I thought about how that relates to our consultants and the value they bring to their clients.
TopLine consultants specialize in helping business owners grow their businesses and add additional profit dollars to the bottom lines of their balance sheets. And the way they do it is by carefully analyzing their clients’ businesses and determining what specific things in those businesses can be altered, changed, improved, eliminated or capitalized on to help bring about their goals in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of human effort, the lowest amount of capital invested, and the least amout of risk.
In other words, what very specific things can be done to quickly, easily, inexpensively and risk-free put money in their business owner clients’ pockets. When business owners understand this concept and see how others have achieved the same results for their businesses, it makes doing business with our consultants practically a no-brainer.
But left on their own, many business owners are lost when it comes to growing their business with those concepts. We know that it costs 6 to 8 times more to gain a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. And it’s 16 times easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new prospect. The easiest sale to make is to someone who is already doing business with you. They know you, they like you, and they trust you enough to give you their money. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of sending them a postcard to announce a special “preferred customer” sale or to let them know about a particular product or service that might be of interest to them.
The next easiest sale is to a former customer or client. They’ve done business with you before, and hopefully if you’ve done your job right, they’ve had a good experience with you, your company and the products or services they’ve purchased from you. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of contacting that customer to find out what went wrong or why they’re not buying from you any longer, and if they still need or are buying similar products, but from someone else, make them an offer that is difficult for them to refuse.
The third easiest sale is to someone who has “raised their hand” and in some form expressed interest in doing business with you, but have not yet done so. It may be that they visited your website; came into your store, shop, or office; or called you on the phone for more information. They’ve expressed interest, but have not purchased from you. (Hopefully, you’ve captured their contact information so you can follow up with them.)
Next on the list is a brand new prospect… someone who hasn’t done business with you in the past, and may not even know that you exist. This is the absolute most difficult sale there is. It takes considerable time, money and effort to get your message through to them in such a way that they recognize who you are and the value you can be to them and then to develop the right level of trust and confidence in you that will cause them to give you their money.
Unfortunately, most people in business spend an inordinate amount of time, effort and money trying to attract the most costly and time intensive sale there is… brand new prospects… when a far faster, easier and less costly sale would be to current customers or former customers, or even those who have expressed interest in some way, but have not yet bought. Not only is what these business owners are doing is not efficiently productive, it’s frustrating for them, it adds to the overhead of the business and decreases the business’s profitability, and ultimately costs the customers and potential customers more money.
And this is where Johnson’s and Oak’s comments hit home for me yesterday. If a business owner wants to grow their business and provide a better lifestyle for him or herself, they really have a couple of choices… some good, some better, and some best.
For instance, they might consider trying to change or improve their business on their own using the knowledge, expertise and skills that they presently have. That might be considered a “good” choice. But when you get right down to it, it’s that same knowledge, expertise and skills that got them to where they are in the first place. The old adage, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got”, is one of the most erroneous mindsets a business owner can have.
Why? Because it’s simply not true. If “Company A” keeps doing what they’ve always done, thinking that they’ll keep getting their share of the market, but “Company B” decided to change things and more aggressively go after a bigger share of the market, it stands to reason that “Company A” is going to have to give up a certain percent of that business to “Company B”. For things to change, things have to change. In other words, if a business wants to grow, they can’t keep doing what they’ve always done. They have to change some things.
So what might be considered a “good” strategy might not be the right choice.
A second stragegy might be for the business owner to buy a book, attend a seminar or buy a home-study course of some kind that gives them ideas on how to run a more effective, a more efficient or a more profitable business. That would be a “better” choice than trying to improve things on their own. But a close look at the shelves of most people will reveal several books, courses and seminar notes that were bought or taken with the full intent of applying the information in the business, but the books haven’t been read beyond the first chapter, the courses haven’t been listened to, and the ideas in the notes still unapplied.
A third option for the business owner who wants to grow his or her business is to enlist the help of a qualified consultant who can see the business through unbiased eyes. Someone who can dig into the business and ferret out hidden or untapped profit centers that can produce immediate windfall profits and continuing and ongoing steady streams of recurring income. Someone who has the training, ability and expertise to capitalize on those revenue sources and convert them to profit dollars on the business’s balance statement.
The consultant who can do that for their business owner client frees that owner up so they can concentrate on the things they do best, and in a sense “outsources” the growing of the business to the consultant in much the same way they outsource their tax issues to a CPA, their legal issues to an attorney, their sales calls to their sales staff, and the delivery of their products and services to their delivery department.
Smart business owners don’t get involved in things that they’re not good at or that others can do better, more efficiently, or less expensively than they can. If a consultant is good at what they do, and they follow a proven step-by-step system that produces predictible, measurable and quantifiable results for their clients, and that frees up the business owner to focus on what they do best, that will produce more money for the business owner, more available time away from their business, and more satisfaction because they know they are providing more and better products and services for their customers.
And this certainly qualifies under the “BEST” category.
And this is exactly what TopLine consultants do. They offer the “BEST” option for their clients. And the results they get? Well, when you consider that they get paid based on the results they produce for their clients, and that many of them are earning $80,000, $90,000, $100,000 in personal income in their first 90 to 120 days, I think you’ll agree that the results are pretty impressive.
But what about you? How does this apply to you?
What are you doing with your training, your experience, your expertise and your time?
Are you living up to your potential? You may be giving your employer good value, but what about you? Are you giving yourself the “BEST” you have? How about your family? Are you providing them the “BEST” lifestyle you can? How much time do you have to spend with your spouse, your children, your church, your political party, your community, or whatever you enjoy doing most? Are you giving those people, things and activities the “BEST”?
Or are you settling for “good”or “better”?
What do you deserve? What do those you love deserve? What do the causes you can support and give back to deserve?
If you’re currently making all the income you want and providing your family and the causes you support the BEST you can, congratulations. You’re one of the fortunate few.
But if you’re not. If you’re finally ready to quit living life on someone else’s terms and start calling your own shots and living the BEST lifestyle possible, then maybe it’s time to look at some alternatives.
As always, please let me know your comments… I’ve very interested in your success and stand ready to help you succeed in anyway I can.
Martin Howey, CEO
TopLine Business Solutions
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