Awards & Engraving

January '18

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A&E JANUARY 2018 • 13 improve it and make it saleable. After all, a buyer wouldn't want our business if it wasn't profitable with positive margins to show him or her there was opportunity for growth. Our business should show that we are healthy and have a vision for a suc- cessful future; a good buyer wants to buy a business with a positive vision. First, there must be a track record with some sort of success. Often this means showing at least three years of success with positive profit margins and reason- able growth. Success is often measured with a business's profitability, success in community status, success as to the life of the business (how long have you sur- vived), success as to assets, and success as to clientele that have supported it year after year (your client following). These are but a few of the issues to consider as we look at what makes a valuable business with real marketable value. Keep in mind that out of 100 businesses started, only four will live until the 10th year—I want one of those businesses to be you. It is easy for the owner of the business to feel as if they are making everything happen, and maybe they are, but a good owner must be a better leader if the busi- ness is going to maximize its potential. It is my belief that small business starts with the dreams and aspirations of the owner. However, if the business is going to survive then it is the responsibility of its leaders to set the tone that maximizes the efforts of the business. The owner is but part of the equation of the business's success… it takes a complete team. The owner is the one who must be the coach and orchestrate the direction of the team's efforts. PROSPECTS: THE NEXT FACTOR IN THE BUSINESS EQUATION Before we have a sale, we must have a prospect; this is a process that takes many steps. The prospect may or may not become a client, but the prospect can be valuable even if you don't make an actual sale to them. A little over four years ago, one of our eight grandsons started in our sales department. It was determined that with his personality and demeanor that would be a good direction for him to contribute to the family business and set into motion his personal journey and career. He had worked in production, ware- housing, and shipping and receiving, but he liked talking with and helping people, thus sales seemed like the right fit for him. He started making cold calls, which is normally the hardest segment in selling for most beginning sales people. Of course, we didn't tell him that—if he could make that work, he could succeed in almost any area of selling. He started picking up accounts that were new to our firm. This got my attention and I started listening to his elevator speech to new prospects. He was polite and represented our firm well. He came to me and said, "Papaw, how can I close more sales?" I said, "Tyler, how many out of 10 sales calls are you receiving a sale?" He said, "About three, but I want more." I thought for a minute then asked him, "If you were a baseball player hitting three out of 10 at bat, wouldn't that be hitting 300? How much would you make in baseball if you hit 300?" He said, "That would be great if I could do it consistently, but how can I do better?" I was inspired by his desire to be better but knew it would take time, so this is what I told him: "Tyler, if you want to get six sales then just call on 20 prospects. If you continue to receive three out of 10 then this means you will hit six out of 20. There you go—you have doubled your sales!" I started walking by his office as he talked to new prospects and noticed one thing he did that I hadn't told him and it was really good: he started asking people (prospects) to tell others who might need awards about him—he was asking for referrals from pro- spective sales leads even if he didn't sell them. He let his prospects sell him, making sure that he received something from the sale even if it wasn't a sale. Sometimes a big referral can be more valu- able than a small sale. Need I say his sales got better and better and he has developed some areas that we never had before; he sells Tyler, then when he gets the prospect's attention, he sells the product and services of our firm. He learned that he must solve the prospect's problem and then they will solve his, but they come first. If you can't ask for the sale then ask for the referral from the prospect! If you have any questions, feel free to call 1-317-546-9000 or e-mail me at stephen@a- or write me at Stephen L. Capper A-1 Awards, Inc. 2500 North Ritter Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46218 Stephen Capper, along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and operates A-1 Awards, Inc. in Indianapolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry since 1958, and has given numerous seminars since 1979. Sales & Marketing A&E

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