Grow Your Service Firm – Step 4 – becoming an expert

We’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re putting the book to the test and reporting through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

Part 2 in the book is a step by step guide to becoming an expert.  Robert argues that if you are perceived as an expert in your market, then potential customers will deal with you over your competition.  Is he right?  I think so… If I consider the business purchases we make, especially services, then we will always want to deal with a person or a business who is clearly an expert in what they do.

Robert describes the attributes of an expert like this:









… and the starting point is the one minute intro.  Anyone that has been networking at any point will know and often dread the one minute intro.  When asking “so, what do you do?” I’ve heard everything from a one word answer to a half hour lecture!  And few of the replies were informative.

Robert describes a simple process for creating your one minute intro:

1)      We work with…  interesting businesses

2)      Who have a problem with… finding new clients or getting more sales from existing clients

3)      What we do is… put your name and offer in front of potentially interested buyers and let you know which are interested

4)      So that… You can (or we can) qualify them as potential clients

5)      Which means that … you get a stream of people buying from you each month

I’ve used this new intro twice so far and it’s generated a far better response than my previous rambling explanation.  So thanks Robert!

As part of this process, we’re reviewing our company branding, hence the website change from blue to purple and the new logo.  We’re just finishing off business cards that are designed to stand out and highlight our uniqueness.  More soon…

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 3 – what do you REALLY do for your clients?

We’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re putting the book to the test and reporting through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

The next step in the book is what Robert calls “Action Point Questions”.   Here are his questions and our answers:

What is your client’s problem/need/hurt?
They want/need more sales OR have not got enough sales coming in.

Why and when do they have the need?
They have the need because most businesses are poor at finding new prospects to turn into new clients.

They feel this need most when they look at the bank statement or overdue bills they can’t pay.

What can they do to have this hurt resolved/sorted?
Engage us to find them more prospects that they can then turn into clients!

What can you do to resolve the hurt/pain?
Find them more prospects that they can turn into clients.

List the benefits of working with you (make them measureable and quantifiable)

  1. Our  clients get a regular stream of new prospects to turn into customers
  2. Our clients get consistent, regular communications out to their customers to ensure they stay engaged and don’t fade away to the competition next time they have an order or requirement
  3. By working with us, clients have regular discussions about their business and how to generate more sales for it.  These discussions and our expertise always enhance the client’s ability to sell and help them convert more prospects to customers
  4. By paying us, clients have a strong desire to get a return on their investment and so put a lot more effort into sales.  And we drive this too!

Our view:  Writing this down makes it clear to us that we should be working for everyone!  Our whole business model is founded on the belief that most companies are unable or unwilling to find sufficient prospect to turn into customers to drive their business growth.

ie.  Our clients are good at turning prospects into customers, but finding these prospects is the hard part.  Are we right?


Grow Your Service Firm – Update on progress so far

OK, we’ve taken a week to get clear on what we’re good at and where we need to improve.  Based on what we found out in Step 1, it’s clear that clients are getting great value from what we are doing for them, but sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we could about what it happening, going to happen and when for their monthly campaigns.

What have we done?  Our first instinct was to build an extension of our CRM system to log and update clients, but we quickly discounted that and instead have a new extra large whiteboard in the office!  We’re using this to track each client’s monthly campaigns and make sure they know about each step in the process.

The result.  Having just taken on three new clients, this is already making life easier in keeping track of all our client campaigns.  Thanks Robert – first measurable result.

Praise for Grow Your Service Firm

This is great!  Not the usual boring testimonal for a business product.  Take a look…

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 2 – The Big Question

So, we’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re going to put the book to the test and report through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

Following on from the questions in the last step, Robert has one, big question next:

Why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?  Write down 5 reasons…

  1. Clients get high levels of personal attention from us that gives them a bespoke promotion that allow them to stand out
  2. Clients gain access to our wealth of expertise in running campaigns that get results.  They know we will do the best possible job for them.
  3. Our pricing is very competitive, priced to suit the budgets of smaller businesses, NOT corporate level pricing.
  4. We use the best possible systems and resources to get the best results for clients.  And we re-invest in our knowledge to ensure we stay at the forefront of our industry, so we can offer best advice to clients.
  5. If the competition is DIY (or Do Nothing Atall)… then the best reason to buy from us is because we will take action each month to push clients’ sales forward consistently when they won’t.

… and out of the five listed above, which is the main reason that people buy from you…?

5 is the main driver for most clients.  1 to 4 are the reasons that clients choose us, not someone else.

Key Learning
So, it looks like our competition is nothing to do with other companies offering our services, but far more to do with convincing clients that they should take action.

What does this mean for our business?

To me, it means that our marketing and promotion should be nothing to do with convincing prospective clients to choose us over another company offering to find them more sales. Rather it should focus on persuading businesses that it’s a good idea to get someone else in to help them find more prospects that they can turn into customers.  Good stuff!

When we have prepared some new promotion material, I’ll post into this blog so you can see what we are saying now – and by writing this here, it means I’m more likely to do it quickly 🙂

Grow Your Service Firm – Step 1 – Review

So, we’re putting the lessons contained in Robert Craven’s new book “Grow Your Service Firm” into action.  We’re going to put the book to the test and report through this blog what we have done and the results we achieve.

The starting point in Robert’s book is a couple of key questions.  Here they are along with our answers:

What is your market position now, and in the future?

We’re well differentiated from our competitors by majoring on getting sales results for our clients through email marketing and follow up.  Rather than this being just one creative marketing task amongst many others – which is where most of our competitors are.

Our biggest competitor is DIY – which usually means NDA (Not Do Atall)

What is your customer position (how are you seen in the minds of your customers) now and in the future?

Currently we are well perceived as experts in a narrow field, but we need to define (and keep to) a pathway for each client so they know where they (and we) are, what is expected of them, what we are doing for them and when we are doing it.

How will you achieve and sustain this new position?

We need to implement (and use!) a system and way of working that lets clients know where they are in this “Nett Sales process”, what activity is on going, results, next actions, etc. etc.

This will allow us to be able to clearly show value to clients each and every month…

Key Learning points
Wow!  I wasn’t expecting this sort of learning so early on.  It looks like I have identified a need to communicate better with our customers and tighten up the system we use to keep them updated.


Grow Your Service Firm – taking action on this book

A French Ski resort is a strange place to begin a blog on growing sales – but that’s where it started, so that’s where I will begin.

In February this year I was skiing with Robert Craven and other business friends.  During the week Robert injured himself and so was unable to ski for the rest of the week.  So he spent the daytime writing his new book which launched on Friday last week.  The book is called Grow Your Service Firm.

As we are a service firm that wants to grow, it’s almost like the book was written for us.  And as I was there at the start, I felt compelled to be one of the first to put the book into action.

This blog charts our progress in putting Robert’s ideas into action for us.  If you run a services firm, you will see that the lessons are universally applicable…