Know Your P’s

I was talking to a client just the other day who had over 6 figures out in proposals, yet wasn’t clear on where everyone was in the sales pipeline. She was worried about current cash flow in the business, because so much money was tied up in her proposals.

This is a great lesson for making sure you are identifying where each potential client is in the pipeline and taking steps to close them.

Proposals are great. Closed business is better.

  1. Don’t send a proposal blind, via email. Schedule a call or an in person meeting to review the proposal. By setting up a follow-up automatically, you’ve already made a huge step in closing the sale. You can answer questions and eliminate worry on the other end by talking it through right away.
  2. Get on the phone and find out where a prospect is in their decision making. Is it a yes, a no or a not right now. They will be happy you called. We are all busy and someone not returning your call is not a sign that they aren’t interested, it’s just a sign that they have a great business and they are busy closing their own sales. Calling shows you are being of service. Emails get lost and are impersonal.

My client contacted many of her outstanding prospects and the results were fantastic. They were happy that she took the time to touch base, because they really needed to talk to her.

I know picking up the phone seems scary at times. We feel like we are bothering someone or surprising them. That is not the case at all. Filtering through dozens of back and forth emails is a lot more bothersome than spending 30 minutes on a call. Plus, tone over email can be taken in different ways, whereas a phone call is direct and clear communication.

And that communication is key in booking business. Even though email is a necessity in this day and age, using the old fashioned phone is a real differentiator. You will see a direct effect on your sales, when you start dialing, instead of typing.

Work your pipeline consistently to create a full load of clients and a consistent cash flow. Find a few moments out of every day to reach out, say help, connect, stay top of mind.

If you want to talk your P’s, reach out to me at support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

Why you should go…to that holiday party

Holiday parties on your calendar? Not feeling it. Would you rather go home after work, take off those heels, grab a book to read and head to bed? Hey, I feel you. But getting out there at this time of year is not just about the holiday party. It is a way to network with ease and joy and make true connections that will help your business, your career and your life. Read on.

And, it’s about FUN!

All year we work with our clients and our mentors and don’t get to spend as much quality time with them as we wish. I have so many clients, team members and colleagues that I just want to grab for a coffee on a Saturday and finish that conversation about their kids. Or take to my dance class with me to help them de-stress or invite them over for dinner so I can meet their family and introduce them to mine.

I have a genuine interest in people and their lives. Whether I was running my printing company, working with clients coaching or facilitating, I am a people person and I enjoy learning about others. It’s why I became a business coach. And any chance I get to spend a little extra time with my network is special.

Business relationships are great, but personal relationships and connections is what keeps it all together.

This is the time of year to get out there, mingle, have a glass of champagne or whatever your fancy and just talk. It’s not as stressful as a networking event where you feel like the focus has to be on business. Focus on life.

A friend and business colleague was just sharing with me some medical issues her mom is having and we chatted about it because my mom has had some, as well. Our moms are the same age… in their 80’s. Funny thing is, she needed to make some arrangements, needed a specialist and rehabilitation plans and who came to her rescue, someone from her networking group. They had a connection to a great doctor and she is in good hands.  

At holiday parties, if business talk happens to enter the conversation, fantastic. When you have a chance to just catch up over a glass of eggnog and cheer –  many wonderful business opportunities and expansions happen. Allow yourself to enjoy the art of networking. It doesn’t have to feel awkward or yucky. When it happens organically and you realize you can help someone solve a pain point they are facing in their business or vice versa, you find someone that can help you, it reiterates why networking is the best way to build your business.

With just a few weeks left in the year, make the most of it. Yes, it is a busy time of year, identify a few parties that you will be able to connect and reconnect with a bunch of people and say YES!  I have one tonight in my calendar and I am excited.   

Have a great networking story? I’d love to hear it. Share with me on the SSC Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Reflection Exercise

Reflections__free_photos___1402132_-_FreeImages_comI did some pretty amazing things in 2016 and I KNOW you did, too! During my time off last week, I took some quiet moments to really reflect and I encourage you to do the same.

We are coming into the last month of the year and I have a short exercise for you to do to help facilitate your reflection and give you action steps to move forward.

Take out a notepad and write these answers out, if you’re old school like me. Or type your answers. Whatever fits you best.

  1. What have I accomplished this year? List your top three.
  1. What was my biggest financial accomplishment?

For example: did you sign the biggest contract ever or meet a new revenue goal?

  1. What milestones did you reach in your business AND in your life?

For example: did you hire a support team member or pay in full for that family vacation?

  1. What event did you attend or hold that really worked, reaped the most benefits?

Now look at your answers.

#1 – How did you make those accomplishments happen? What actions did you take to reach those goals? Can you do the same things in 2017 and can you do them even better? For example: if you spent more time on social media and found you added new clients using that strategy, make sure your plans for 2017 include an even bigger online presence. If you found you speaking as a tool to move high quality clients through your pipeline, set up those speaking engagements for 2017. Find out what else you can be doing and decide who can help you.

#2 – Why was this your biggest financial accomplishment? Did you raise your prices? Did you ask for a retainer rather than an hourly fee? Was the client a more ideal one and it just worked better? How can you model all of your packages and pricing after this one for 2017? Review your current contracts and prices. What needs updated for the coming year? What action steps can you take to find more clients and more projects like this one? Use it as a model.

#3 – Celebrate!!! You know I’m big on this. Give yourself a break and get out there and enjoy this fantastic life you’ve created. It will pump you up for an even bigger 2017. If you hired your first support team member or your tenth, you deserve to celebrate that. Let everyone cut out of work early on a Friday and take them out for dinner before year-end and buy that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting. Celebrate the life milestones, too. Did you send your child off to college? Or finally get that in-ground pool put in? These moments happened because you worked hard to secure that income. Part of growth is realizing how far you’ve come in a year and letting that confidence and inspiration propel you to even greater heights.

#4 – Make sure you get this event on your calendar for 2017. Don’t just look at the first quarter and fill in where you want to be. Look at the entire year and make sure the time is set aside to attend training, workshops, retreats, masterminds, speaking engagements. And also schedule time for your own events. If you know the date NOW, you are way ahead of the game.

Another bonus question would be what didn’t work? Don’t focus on the negative. Use the experiences to move forward.

Reflect.

Get those calendars out and after you’ve added in the work events, get those family and vacation events on there. If you do all of this before the calendar turns to Jan. 1, you just set yourself up for one amazing new year.

If you want to share any of your answers on the SSC Facebook or LinkedIn pages, please do! I want to know how your year went and what you’re ready to accomplish in 2017. If you want to chat with me further, you can always reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

Falling short when asking for your value?

IMG_6379Why do we too often fall short when asking for our value? What scares us so much? I speak to too many people who truly underestimate what they should be charging.

Does this sound like you?

Do you find yourself slashing prices because you’re afraid to charge what you deserve?

Have you signed a contract and instead of celebrating, felt defeated, because the work far exceeds the payoff?

I wish I could say this trend of undercharging is just with new business owners or entrepreneurs that lack experience, but that’s not true. In fact, I saw it last week with veterans in the field at a mastermind retreat with my coach in Washington D.C.

If you think I don’t practice what I preach, think again. I attend retreats and events as often as I can to continue learning and growing.

My coach gave us tons of homework in preparation and one of the things we had to do was look at our goals for next year and breakdown our price points on what we sell.

Many of us in the room were undervaluing ourselves. We spent a couple hours looking at our numbers and how to determine the right pricing.

Here is one major tip to asking for and earning your value:

  • The price you charge when you’re a service-based business is not based on YOU, rather on the results you get for your clients.

Example: When an attorney charges $1,000 to write a contract for you, protecting a client’s investment of $25,000, it makes total sense. That contract needs protected should anything go wrong. Sometimes a contract is used for many clients, so the value of the investment grows.

Example: If you’re a writer, designer, SEO specialist and your client celebrates a higher open rate, more clicks to their sales page and more opt-ins, more response from social media ads, etc. you have directly affected their bottom line. If your services helped them grow by 25% in one year, shouldn’t your value be recognized?

For the product-based businesses, there is more of a formula based on cost, overhead and markup on goods.

When a client invests in your business, they want value and quality. Figure out what that value is and put a dollar number on it that you deserve. Stay focused on the results your client attains from working with you. Identify and acknowledge the amount of time that goes into the transformation for your client. You know your numbers and your skills better than anyone, so don’t look at someone else’s pricing and compare yours.

Own your value.

I’ve invested heavily in marketing support for the results in growing SSC and these investments have paid off tremendously. Was it scary to do that? SURE. But when the results started coming in, I could sit back and smile, knowing I made the right choice.

I’ve also invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last eight plus years in coaches and speaker training and these investments have paid off, as well.

I look back and value the investments, even the large amounts, because the value I received enabled me to create the business I run today.

Now take a mirror and look back at yourself. Are you charging your worth and asking for your value in your pricing structure? Or, are you pulling numbers out of the air because you think it’s what someone can afford?

If you want support on making sure you ask for your value and charge what you’re worth, feel free to reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com

Traveling? Still time for sales!

I’m back from LA where my family and I attended parent’s weekend at USC. We had so much fun! Great meals, tailgates, football games and quality time spent together.

I love time with my family, especially now that my kids are adults and we have fun in an entirely new way.

People always ask me,”Ivy, you’re on the road so much and you always make time for family, but how do you keep moving your business forward and have time for sales while you’re away?”

I talk and teach about sales all the time. A businesses success and growth potential is based on strong and consistent sales. It’s the backbone of any business. The result of sales is what pays our bills, gives us money to invest in marketing and growth and allows us to live the lifestyle we desire.

Here’s how to continue making sales even when you’re on the road or spending time with family.

Here are some of my personal tips I use at SSC:

  1. Always have a short list of follow-ups with you. It could be in your phone or printed out, but most importantly have it handy. Keep yourself on people’s minds.
  2. Don’t rely on Wi-Fi.
  3. Delays and downtime will happen. Be ready to take action, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.

I use the three I’s as a resource to stay connected:

Information. Send a great article of something that you believe from getting to know someone that they would find interesting and would add value for them.

Introduction. I love to introduce people who would be good connections. It’s thoughtful and will be remembered in great light.

Invitation. Invite someone to an event, or anything you might be doing that you think they would find of interest. This can be a networking function or even a movie or cultural event if you have this in common.

When I travel, I always have downtime to think and spend time catching up on airplanes. I make great use of this time and I recommend it highly. In fact, I’m writing this newsletter from the sky right now!

There is always time for a quick call or email. Make it work.

Let me know how you use your travel time to sell or if you have any other thoughts on staying on top of sales.

Let me know on the SSC Facebook and LinkedIn pages. If you are struggling with sales, don’t wait, reach out to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com.

My Vegas Trip and Lessons Learned

Vegas Trip & Lessons LearnedVegas. You get an automatic picture in your brain as soon as you read that word. Bright lights, crowded streets, casinos on every corner, amazing live shows, fine dining. And the feeling that often surrounds Vegas is excitement! It’s a place you go to have fun, walk on the wild side and if you’re like my family, try your hand at a little gambling.

There are games of pure luck, like the roulette wheel and the slot machines. Then there are games that require a little more skill, like Blackjack and Poker.

In Blackjack, for example, there are some rules that you ‘should’ follow. Rules that aren’t technically required, but if you don’t follow them, and you’re sitting at a table of seasoned players, you might get an annoyed sigh or a glance in your direction.

For instance, when you hit instead of stay because “you might get a low card” or you don’t stay on a lower hand even though the cards the dealer are showing makes for good odds that they will bust.

Strategy comes into play. Yes, luck is always there. You might hit and you might get a lower card and you might stay and the dealer still might win. If you know what I am talking about or if you are not a card player let’s talk the facts about what is important here, knowing the risks and calculating them, is the best way to win the game, be it Blackjack or business.

In business, we evaluate the risks and create our strategy. You might be deciding if you are ready to open that business you have talked about. You might be ready to stop running your business as if it is a hobby and instead become a CEO of your business and run it with a financial plan and solid strategy. Maybe you are ready to expand or reevaluate your marketing efforts. Sometimes you need to hit. You need to go for it. You need to take the action. It’s scary, but it’s worth it. And sometimes, you need to stay. Maybe it’s not the right time. You need to get a support team in place. You need to do further research. Look at the risks and make the plan.

blackjackAt a Blackjack table, you have mere seconds to make a decision. In business, you have more time, which can make you slow down and lose focus. I’ve always said, “what CAN you do today.” Take some kind of action.

And if you need help, ask! Even at a Blackjack table, the support is evident. At the tables, I was not sure if I should or should not split 6’s. I asked the dealer for her advice and with a lovely smile she told me should would recommend splitting according to the rules of the game. They are there to guide the table and I personally have always found them to be incredibly helpful. As  you know, I also believe in asking for help in my business when I know it will help me move forward. I ask a mentor, a coach, a colleague or my team.

Your support team wants you to do well. They want success for you. Your success directly affects theirs. You are a team and you all want to walk away winners.

Look at your business today. Are you using strategy or taking risks without research? Are you asking for help when you need it? Are you taking action or staying stagnant?

If you want to talk about this, let’s chat. Send me an email to support@slatersuccesscoaching.com and we will figure it out together.

Creativity = Money…REALLY?

 

Stepping Outside The Comfort Zone

One of the things I love about my business is that I have created retreats as Creativity = Money…REALLY?
parts of different programs I offer. I have seen entrepreneurs thrive from these retreats, stepping outside of their comfort zone and into the next level.

Sometimes it’s a room full of strangers. Other times, a small intimate community or family who works one-on-one with me and gather several times a year to support and grow their businesses.

Keywords for Success

Recently, I held a “Money Masters” retreat. These are my high-level clients and we worked together using two keywords: Creativity and Structure.

I truly believe in the combination of these two powerful words as ingredients for growth in your business. Too often, entrepreneurs ignore the importance of Creativity and the vital piece it plays in development.

Systems and Structure are great, but a business lacking Creativity, lacks the power to expand.

During the retreat we looked at wildly successful business people like Bill Gates, Sara Blakely,  Richard Branson, Elon Musk and how they are always on the cutting edge of Creative.

Start with Structure and then use Creative ideas to build it into a system that expands, develops and creates income.

One of the fun activities we did to bring home the key aspects of Creativity and Structure was a cooking class, just for us, with a private chef.

Development of a recipe begins with the Structure, the primary ingredients. Then, of course, the Chef adds their own flavor and Creativity to the dish to make it in their own style. Those unique styles set famous chefs apart from ordinary ones.

Be the Chef in your business. Get creative! What is one Creative idea you’ve had lately that you really want to explore further? Share with me on the SSC Facebook Page and LinkedIn page.

 

Ivy

12 Actions For An Awesome 2016

This week, work is winding down. Many are on vacation, traveling, getting

ready to host family celebrations, so I have a little gift for you to get you excited and keep you motivated these last few work days of the year.

I was listening to the “12 Days of Christmas” while driving to an appointment and I found myself humming along, but instead thinking about business. I quickly came up with 12 things you can do in the New Year to make 2016 one of the best.

  1. Join a networking group.

This can be your local chamber, a professional women’s group or even an online entrepreneur group. Any organization that gets you out and about with like-minded business owners.

  1. Write a consistent newsletter.

Or blog or email sequence, wherever you find yourself lacking. Set aside time in your calendar to do your writing each week. Or better yet, delegate the task to a copywriter or member of your team. As being part of your team and an experienced copy writer they have your voice down, your brand in a message.  I do a ton of my own writing and I have a great copywriter who supports me as well.

  1. Get your desk or office organized.

Clutter breeds chaos, so spend time getting those business cards into a digital system, throwing away the old “to do” lists or cleaning out your email inbox and desktop. This is a gret time of year to turn over your files, including your financial paper for the new year.

  1. Get a CRM system and put a plan in place to use it.

If you’ve let your client follow-up fall by the wayside this year, make sure next year you are reminded by your system to send an email or make a call. One less thing for you to think about.

  1. Get active on social media.

Created a business page on Facebook or a Twitter account months ago but haven’t made a post? Delegate this task to someone on your team or get yourself educated on the networks and start making posts a part of your regular marketing routine. If you are taking the action make sure it is scheduled on your calendar and use a timer to keep you on track… this is a time sink whole.

  1. Block out time for sales calls.

Go through each month and add in days and times for sales calls. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t scheduled yet. When the time comes to put them in, the dedicated slots will already be there.

  1. Expand your current team and delegate tasks.

Free yourself from some of the daily duties by giving more responsibility to your team. And think about the year ahead. If you need to add more staff, get them in place before you need them so they will be ready to go.

  1. Know your numbers and get familiar with them.

Look at your 2015 and use it to guide you in your 2016 planning. Know how much you spent, what worked and what didn’t work, what expenses look like, what you want to make, etc.

  1. Work with a coach or mentor and ask for support.

Hiring outside support and someone to get you out of your own way of thinking is one of the best gifts you can give yourself next year.  I have worked with my own coaches for years and attribute a large portion of my success to their objectivity and accountability.

  1. Schedule speaking engagements.

Look for upcoming opportunities and start getting your ideas together so when the event comes, you’re one step ahead of the curve.

  1. Live by the family first rule and make time for yourself.

Want to take that trip with your daughter? Want to spend that vacation weekend with the girls? Want to get a weekly manicure? Put in family plans and “me” time into your calendar for the entire year. Take care of YOU so you can take care of business.

  1. Celebrate the journey every day.

Every day brings new milestones and accomplishments. Remember to celebrate even the tiniest ones. Enjoy being a business owner, embrace each moment.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays!

Cheers to your Success.

Ivy

Did Your Plan Work?

I am a planner by nature. I come from a family of planners, list makers and in general, obsessive organizers.

I have moved many times over the years, hosted many family and friends for dinners, with up to 30 at the blink of an eye, and this time of year I am all over my personal/business plan for 2016.

Yes, I do a plan for my business and a financial plan and I’m happy to share with you how I strategize this. It starts with a family plan. I wish I could double bold that last sentence. 

I start to look at the year ahead by bringing out the big, paper wall calendar. Of course I use an online calendar too, but in working the start of my plan I use the big wall calendar and different color markers to really create the big picture for the year. I am literally seeing it all laid out before me.

I have done this since my kids were small and through all their years in school. It looks a bit different now as it did back then, but the concept behind it has remained the same. Family details go in first. Vacations, weddings, holiday events, our family reunion every Labor Day, etc. I block out my personal time first, because it’s my priority. 

Then I look to my business planning. I review my financial goals for 2016 and try to view my business objectively. For me that means, how many clients do I need to make my numbers? How does that fit into my life plan with time commitments, meetings and responsibilities? What programs will I offer? What worked last year and what do I want to add in or try this year? Does this all fit my brand for SSC? I build my business around what I want in my life. If it doesn’t work with my personal life, it doesn’t work, period.

I love holding this planning session with my team and my coach, because bringing in outside views help me see various perspectives and erase any tunnel vision I may be experiencing. Let’s be honest, we all have a little of that going on. My coach and team help me keep an open mind and creativity flows when we put our heads together. 

Make sure you block out time in your calendar for a couple of hours to do your calendar! I know that sounds funny, but seriously, if you plan on making the plan, you have committed to making it happen.

If you want to chat about your plan for 2016, check out the link below. I am in planning mode, my clients are in planning mode (in fact, I just held a workshop last week on this topic) and I want you in planning mode, too.


Share with me on the SSC Facebook Page and LinkedIn pages, your strategy for putting together your 2016 plan. I love to learn from our community.

Cheers to your Success.

Ivy
Ivy Slater

I am growing… HELP!


Growing pains is a great problem to have until you have growing pains. 

Since hosting SSC Live, I have had many conversations with different business owners, as well as continuous conversations with my clients who are all growing their businesses.

See the photo of my high-level clients, the Money Masters, on your right? A continuous dialogue that goes on is…

“Ivy, when should I hire?”

“Ivy, should I move to an office?”

 “Ivy, should I take on this sponsorship?”

What do all these questions have in common? They all end up with you investing money into your business. And you want to know when is the right time? Is there a right time? Is the time now?

These are the toughest decisions we have to make and the bottom line is… we need to address growth in the early stages of growth.

Many business owners want to wait until they feel they can finance the growth more comfortably. Yes, this would be wonderful but know this, by waiting you are taking the risk and the high probability of stunting your growth.

Look at the analogy of a growing child. Are you going to feed them after they grow or give them the nutrition, brain power, education and sleep that will help them grow into flourishing individuals?

When looking to your goals for the year, look at your business and see if what you have in place will support the achievement. Do you have staff in place to service the achieved goal?  Do you have space in your office to house your business at this goal?  Do you have back-end systems set up to work efficiently once you achieve this goal?

Based on how you answered the above, start putting things in place. You want to hire at least 60 days prior to your needs. This will give you the opportunity to train and get your new team up to speed.

Next, get on the financial plan. It’s vital for growth and expansion.  As I have said before, every business must be able to be supported financially. In many small businesses, we use credit cards, or loans (personal or business) to support our growth. I have a system in place that includes putting aside small amounts of money into a rainy day or expansion day fund. You will be surprised how a small amount grows over time. The important part is getting started.

Your action step today is to join me on the SSC Facebook Page and LinkedIn page and share how you will be planning the growth of your business. What are you committing to?

Cheers to your Success.

Ivy