In two recent posts I covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your fish, but possibly your entire company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.
Even when business is good there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales (such as many businesses today with the impact of the Corona Virus) or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business.
Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
- Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
- Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
- Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
- Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
- As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
- Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
- Always know which accounts need paid and when.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
- Have a bank contingency plan in place.
- Build your own inventor network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for fish transitions and slow sales. These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.
If you need help with any step of the process of catching your fish or subsequent big fish clients, try our GUIDED TOURfor access to a wealth of great tools and resources as well as our business coaching staff.
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There are 5 big mistakes you can do that will kill a deal with a big fish. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations
- Mishandling a client crisis
- Taking on more than you can handle
- Putting all your eggs in one basket
- Up cash creek without a paddle
Any one or combination of these can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your company as well. We’re going to take a bit of time to talk about each one of these, in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client’s exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.
A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship. This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs.
- Lack of communication. This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your operations department.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
- Define success.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
Crisis’ will happen, but how you respond and fix them will define your company and interaction with your clients’. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologize no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to kill a big fish deal, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
If you need help with any of this, try our GUIDED TOUR to get all the help you could ever need.
Next time we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistake you can make in working with big fish clients.
In a recent post, we talked about negotiating with your big fish and how to nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Today we’ll talk about the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.
One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the ally you created in the company and who needs to stay loyal to you for you to continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your champion going by offering or doing a number of things to show appreciation. Some of these things are:
- Share the limelight.
- Help them thank their company with new products and services.
- Emotionally connect them to your company.
- Know when to leave them alone.
- Keep your “family” happy.
- Stay on the front lines.
Now that you have some ideas on how to build solid relationships, you need to seek out people to build these relationships with. These alliances will help you get bigger clients that stay with you forever. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need:
- Better work experience
These are all great ways to feed your alliance. You need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These can include:
- The opportunity for your business to expand
- The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow
- The opportunity to improve your processes, systems and other means of doing business
These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong and your partnerships fresh and content.
If you need help with any of these tactics, try our GUIDED TOUR for great tools and resources that can help you every step of the way.
There are a few things you need to do and consider to prepare for your first face to face meeting:
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the meeting.
- Anticipate potential concerns from the client.
- Check to make sure you are completely prepared.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Bring support staff with you.
- Use and respect the clients’ format.
- Always follow through.
- Ask for what you need and seal the deal.
- Simplify your prospects life.
- Find ways to boost your credibility.
- Build and nurture relationships.
- Learn from “no.” Find out what didn’t work so you know how to change it for the next time.
These are all important things to do both before and during your presentation. With confidence behind your company and product you will catch that big fish. The next step of the process is negotiation. This can seem a little intimidating but with a few tips and tricks can become natural to you.
Here are some tips to help you negotiated successfully:
- Build a pricing strategy and stick with it.
- Prioritize what you plan to offer. This should include what really matters to you and what you are willing to give in on.
- Don’t give in too quickly.
- Negotiated with a person, not a “company”. Don’t let their answer be that they would like to but can’t.
- Don’t sell yourself short.
- Mitigate your pricing. If you go too low you won’t be able to raise it back up and you need to make a profit.
- Don’t sacrifice quality for the deal.
- Your services should always count as costs.
- Boost margins with add-ons.
- Handle requests for proposals with the utmost care.
These are the ways you make sure that both parties are getting the best possible situation from the partnership. Once you start meeting or working together, it’s important to continue to build your relationship so that that representative becomes a big of an ally for you. They are more likely to vouch for you and build on the partnership you have with their company.
We like to call this person a champion. They are champion for your company and can bring a stronger, brighter future to your company. Here are the characteristics of a great champion:
- They are respected by supervisors.
- They are socially networked.
- They think in the best interest of their company’s long run.
- They are able to quickly navigate through the company to get things done.
- They are willing to give credit to another person.
- They share the same business philosophy, values and vision as you.
Now, that you know how to negotiate for what is best for both parties and build on relationships, we’re going to talk about how to use your fish’ power to the best of your benefit.
If you need help with any of the negotiation or courting process, try our GUIDED TOUR to get access to a wealth of great tools and resources to help you be successful. You can also check out our selection of Online Courses.
Do you currently have any established joint venture partnerships?
JV’s involve two or more businesses who decide to form a partnership to share markets or endorse a specific product or service to their customer base… usually under a revenue share arrangement. The key to creating successful joint ventures is to find partners who service the exact same type of clients that need or want what you sell.
Let me give you an example and I’ll use one we’re both familiar with… a florist. One of the most financially lucrative product lines for a florist is providing flowers for weddings. The average floral bill for a wedding often exceeds $3,000. But what we discovered about florists is they fall into what we refer to as an “event chain.” An event chain simply refers to a series of businesses that customers purchase from in a specific sequence.
For example, a wedding will never take place until an engagement ring is purchased from a jeweler. So jewelers are at the forefront of every wedding chain. Once the young lady accepts that engagement ring, this event chain kicks into high gear. First, this young lady knows EXACTLY where she wants to get married, so number one on her agenda is to book the church, chapel or synagogue where she wants the ceremony held.
Second on her list is to line up her wedding planner. Weddings today are a really big deal, and often women like to use the services of a professional wedding planner. Next up, she wants to secure the venue for her reception.
She knows most venues book out months in advance, so locking in that venue is high on her priority list. After that comes the wedding dress, so she begins the search for the perfect dress at an affordable price.
Next is our florist. The bride-to-be will want to begin selecting her floral arrangements for both the wedding and the reception. Then after the florist comes the wedding cake… the printer for the invitations and thank you cards… and depending on the financial ability of the bride to be, she may also be interested in hiring a limo… a DJ for the reception… a travel planner for the honeymoon… the hotel… catering and so on.
This event chain is typical of this industry. And for the florist, it specifically identifies a multitude of potential and very lucrative JV partners. But here’s why this becomes so important.
Every business ABOVE the florist has the potential to ENDORSE and SEND prospects to the florist. Unfortunately, the florist has NO control over that flow of prospects. Every business above the florist controls the JV relationship, so it’s critical the florist create such a compelling offer and relationship with these businesses that they feel obligated to send prospects their way.
But here’s what’s even better. The florist controls the prospect flow to ALL the businesses BELOW them in the chain, and by establishing specific processes and procedures to make sure their customers use those businesses, the florist can negotiate compelling offers with those business owners as well. So consider these numbers.
Let’s say this florist cultivates a JV relationship with at least one of each business throughout this entire chain. Staying ultra-conservative with our estimates, would you agree this florist… since they have NO control over the flow of prospects from these businesses… is it likely they could obtain at least ONE referral each month from just one of the businesses above them?
OK, would you also agree conservatively that since the florist controls the flow of prospects to the businesses BELOW them… that they could easily send at least ONE referral to EACH one of them every month? Keep in mind these are VERY conservative estimates we’re using here.
Since the average floral bill for a wedding is $3,000… then just ONE referral per month from those businesses ABOVE the florist increases their annual revenue by $36,000. Now let’s consider the businesses BELOW the florist where the florist controls the referrals. Let’s start with the wedding cake maker.
The average sales price for a wedding cake is also $3,000, and the florist could easily negotiate a 10% referral fee. So, just a single referral per month produces an additional annual increase of $3,600 for the florist.
Now consider the printer. The average sales price for printing is $1,000, and the florist again could receive a 10% referral fee, so that single referral per month produces an additional annual increase of $1,200.
If we stop there, this florist has just increased their annual revenue by more than $40,000… and that’s using ridiculously conservative numbers. Imagine if you continued to add up the revenue produced by all the additional referral fees the florist would earn from all the other vendors in this chain.
This same process holds true for businesses that aren’t in a chain. But just like the florist, they simply identify partners who service the exact same type of clients that need or want what they sell. Now I realize this looks easy, but it’s not… and here’s why.
You not only have to properly identify who would make an excellent joint venture partner for your business… but you also must determine the order to approach each one… how to approach them… and when to approach them. It’s critical you do this properly or you wind up burning through all of your potential JV partners and come out with nothing in return.
Let me ask you a quick question. Just off the top of your head, how many potential JV partners would you estimate might be a fit for what you sell? Would you believe that I could identify more than a dozen for your profession? So conservatively, how many referrals would you estimate might be possible if a dozen other businesses were compelled to refer their customers to you for additional purchases?
Conservatively, let’s say you only get 3 referrals every month that buy from you. That’s less than one per week. How much additional revenue would that add monthly? Now multiply that by 12 to see your annual revenue increase.
One more thing before we move on. Remember earlier we discussed the critical importance of creating a highly compelling informational offer that would promise so much value to prospects that they would knock your door down to get it?
Suppose the florist offered this informational offer in their marketing, “5 Things Every Bride Should Know to Avoid Disaster on Their Wedding Day”. This offer would place TONS of prospects into their drip campaign and result in a tremendous increase in sales. Those new sales can then be referred to their new JV partners and they collect multiple referral fees every month.
This would absolutely dwarf the revenue we just uncovered for the florist in this example. What I find really exciting about JV’s is this is a strategy I help my clients implement immediately… and it begins generating instant cash flow for them right out of the gate.
In a recent case study I conducted, I found $75,000 in additional annual revenue just using the JV strategy.
And again, that’s revenue that business will generate year after year after year.
$75,000 in additional annual revenue increases the valuation of that business somewhere in the range of $225,000 – $300,000.
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