“The secret is the system.”—Michael E. Gerber
Secret #1: A Phenomenal Marketing System
Marketing is everything you do to attract prospects to your business. Notice that I said a phenomenal marketing system. The marketing of most small business owners is poor. Marketing is the key to business growth. Without customers you have nothing. You can do a wonderful job, but if you don’t have enough customers, nothing else matters. So, you want to have not just good marketing, but phenomenal marketing. What is phenomenal marketing? Marketing that is remarkable. Extraordinary. Outstanding. Phenomenal marketing creates experiences that engage, educate, and build a sense of belonging.
And you want to have a marketing system. Once you determine what phenomenal marketing looks like in your business, you want to figure out how to duplicate it without you having to be involved in every detail.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that you determine that mailing a newsletter to your database helps you bring in more business. You write a procedure on how to compile the newsletter and get someone else to do the mechanics of it. You might still write it, but let someone else lay it out, print it, mail it, get the database together, etc. Then put the task on a calendar so it happens without your direct supervision.
Secret #2: A Phenomenal Sales System
“Sales” is everything you do to turn a prospect into a paying customer. Once you generate prospects through marketing, the sales system is what turns them from prospects to customers. Remember, you want a phenomenal sales system.
This system includes answering the phone, your phone scripts, responding to an email opt-in, presentations, and so on. Once they have actually purchased something from you, they are now customers.
Many times you may not need more prospects, but you need to take better care of the leads you get. Is your phone answered live? Is your phone answered in the most professional way possible? Do prospects and clients have a great experience when they call your company? Are your closing ratios what they need to be? Do you consistently make the add-on sale?
Do you have proven scripts for your people to follow so that you aren’t the only one who can close the “big deals”? Do you have phenomenal on-site sales materials? How effective is your response to Internet leads? Increasing your closing ratios and your job averages can have a big impact on your business.
Secret #3: A Phenomenal Operations System
Operations is everything you do to service your customer, patient, or member. The level of service you provide determines whether they will ascend the “loyalty ladder” and go from customer to client. What’s the difference between a customer and a client? A customer buys something solely on the price, value, or special, but doesn’t have any loyalty to you. A client wants a consultant, an adviser, or a partner, so to speak, to “take care of that area of their lives.”
You wouldn’t choose a doctor based on price, would you? Or how about finding the cheapest accountant or attorney? If you do, you’ll get what you pay for. Clients are loyal, they want a relationship, they want information, and they refer others like them.
Do you have service systems in place so that your clients get the most phenomenal service experience ever, consistently every time? Without you having to be personally involved?
Secret #4: A Phenomenal Administration System
Administration is tracking results. It is also internal office systems that include financial, accounting, legal, insurance, and those types of things.
Do you know what your cost of doing business is? Do you know what your marketing efforts are producing? Do you know what your sales closing rates are? Do you know what your production rates are? Do you have a budget for the next 12 months? Do you have the right insurance and legal protection?
I think I just felt you become overwhelmed with all the “work” you have to do. If you want to build a predictable, profitable, turnkey vehicle that will take you where you want to go in life, it will be a lot of work to build it. But it will be worth it.
Can you imagine a 747 flying across the ocean without knowing stats? Without knowing what the fuel level is? Yet, this is what small businesses do every day. They guess. They don’t track. This is one of the most important parts of your business.
If you don’t make money, your business isn’t working! A business without a profit is just a hobby! And the only way you know whether you are making a profit is to track.
Tracking helps you make more while working less.
Read that sentence again. Tracking will help you work less and make more. Why? Because when you get in touch with your actual numbers (prepare to be surprised), it will cause you to stop running harder on the hamster wheel and take action on the things that actually matter.
Secret #5: A Phenomenal Leadership System
In 2011, I had the opportunity to meet John Maxwell, the world’s number one leadership expert. As the first person to become a founding member of John’s very first coaching program, The John Maxwell Team, I had the opportunity to spend time with John. The highlight was watching the Super Bowl at his home in Florida.
John says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Everything? Can that be true? He goes on to say that “leadership is influence.” Nothing more, nothing less. And to gain influence, you must “add value to people.” Is leadership required for marketing? Only if you want to influence people to do business with your company. And remember that all of business is about relationships. Marketing, sales, and service is about relationships. Tracking your numbers reflects your relationship with yourself! Are you serious about your life goals? Or are you using your business just to get by in life? To have something to do?
Speaking of this, John Maxwell also says the toughest person to lead is yourself. When you begin to understand your strengths and weaknesses, and you begin to understand how to add value to other people—to influence them and to “enlist their willing cooperation to reach a goal” (Dale Carnegie)—you can begin to build a phenomenal team.
This means that you don’t have to do everything yourself. It means you can now find those people who can do the things you don’t like to do (and probably aren’t very good at). My strengths are marketing, sales, service, and leadership. Did you notice that administration wasn’t listed? I hated the numbers! Until I got in trouble. Then I began to love the fact that I could predict a loss in the future and do something about it before it happened!
I have a staff of 40 who run my companies for me. I can tell you without hesitation that one of my greatest joys in life is watching my team grow. To watch my managers grow as leaders (there is a difference you know), is thrilling.
The reason it is thrilling is because we now have a phenomenal leadership system.
—Howard Partridge, Ziglar.com's Exclusive Small Business Coach.