I have presented on this topic at conferences and I have blogged about this area before. You may be fed up with reading about it but it is a core value for me as the Managing Director of The Consultants’ Community. For a bit of a change, I won’t ask you to read about it today, instead you can watch a video I recorded at a recent meeting of the ACL Business Network and hear me talk about it instead:

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Like many aspects of our lives, we can either leave things to chance and hope that they magically fall
into place; or we can make a plan in order to identify, prioritise and execute the various activities
required to achieve an outcome. There is also the concept of too much planning, which can cause
“paralysis by analysis”. So creating a business plan is not about any plan, but the right plan.

Bstar released a SME Research Report for 2017/18 in April 2018. The report, based on a survey of small
businesses, identified business planning as the number one Business Concern, unchanged from the
previous year. Encouragingly, 98% of business owners believe that there are opportunities to grow their
business, and most have ideas to do so. What they lack is a plan – only 20% had prepared a business
plan. Whilst this is sobering, the good news is that it is never too late to create a business plan. And it
has been proven in numerous studies that companies with a well-conceived plan achieve on average
three times the profitability of their industry peers.

One of the key outcomes from the right plan is prioritisation. This involves making the choices necessary
to create a world-class business. Having too many options creates confusion and stress for the owner.
Confidence is required to make the effort to change. As the Bstar report notes, business owners need to
believe in their goals and trust in the plan to achieve them.

Finally, accountability is key to successful implementation of the business plan. Every person in the
organisation needs an accountability partner, most importantly the owner. Do you have one?

Want to hear more about how PAIR Planning and other members of The Consultants’ Community can help your business? Contact us today to set up a meeting.

I’ve been looking at what the major problems facing sales managers and professionals are. These are four of the most common:

1. Lack of response from prospects: 

Often the biggest problem is that we are not addressing the client’s ‘why’. We make it about us, not them; how we solve a problem is about us, what we’ve solving is about them.

Focus on the problem you’re solving, not how you solve it.

2. Difficulty closing sales:

There are many reasons for this; a common cause is that the sales person has missed or ignored the emotional drivers behind a client’s buying decision. For example, they may want to feel safe with you.

What is the emotional need your client is trying to meet?

3. Not engaging with decision makers:

It’s normal for the first contact with a client’s organization to be through an influencer or other staff member. To move any deal forward, we need to engage with the decision maker at some point. Typically their needs will not be the same as the influencer. Understanding the difference is key to moving sales forward.

Do you know what the decision maker wants you to deliver for them?

4. Avoiding discounting:

This is a big one where a product has not been sold properly. The first point is simply not to do it. The second is that, if you understand your clients’ ‘why’ and the problem you are solving for them, price will not be a key factor.

The value of your proposal is in the solution you offer, not the product or service

Once you look at sales from the perspective of meeting the client’s emotional needs, as well as the issue they present, you’ll increase both the frequency and consistency of your sales. It’s tempting to remove the emotional aspect of decision making from the sale process. This is why so many people struggle. The focus must always be on the client’s ‘why’, not on our how. If you’re focussing on facts and figures you’re likely to be talking about yourself. If you’re discussing what your solution will give the client, you’re focussed on them.

To quote Ben Feldman: “Don’t sell life insurance, sell what life insurance can do.”

There are some great models around to make this process practical and straightforward. Many sales people (and ‘sales’ itself) get a bad rap because they do not know how to apply these simple models to what they’re doing.

If you would like to learn more about these models, contact me directly, or register for my one-day workshop on the 25th August:


Want to hear more about how Graham Elliott Coaching and Training and other members of The Consultants’ Community can help your business? Contact us today to set up a meeting.