The Business Advisory Blog

The Business Advisory Blog

Insight, news and updates from Alliott NZ Chartered Accountants, Auckland New Zealand. The views expressed here are the views of the author and should be discussed in further detail should an article be relevant to your individual circumstances.

While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.

Greg Millar
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Think bigger and create change to accelerate your business growth

Business growth acceleration expert Ford Saeks of Prime Concepts Group gave an inspiring and fun presentation at the 2018 Worldwide Conference that gave new insights into how to think bigger, adopt a growth mindset, improve their value propositions and, most importantly, take action.

ford saeks-146Ford Saeks, author of Superpower! How to Think, Act and Perform with Less Effort and Better Results, explained to members in a highly entertaining presentation that it’s not what you know, it’s how you execute that matters.

Referencing some of the current market challenges mentioned by members, Saeks remarked that the same challenges were around 20 years ago! He emphasised the need for action and that member accountants and lawyers should “Do something different or nothing changes.”

The importance of effective communications

Saeks encouraged members to take a critical look at their digital footprint to see if it is congruent with the level of quality of service they provide. He joked that some businesses have ‘sales prevention departments’ without realising it.

“Call your office and see how the call is answered,” advised Saeks. “Mystery shop yourself. Fill out a form on the website to see how fast you get a response. Google your company and see what comes up. Check any online business listings, review websites and social media profiles to make sure they are congruent with the image you want the market to see.”  

In Saeks’ view, anyone who has customer facing communication is to some degree involved in marketing. He expressed the need for everyone to embrace this mindset even if they don’t have a marketing title, and suggested/joked that staff who can’t adapt should perhaps be ‘freed up for new opportunities.’

Understand your purpose and communicate the benefits to customers

While Saeks agreed that having goals is important, the challenge in his view is that you don’t own your brand, the marketplace does: “Your brand is what your customers say about you when you’re not there.”

Saeks encourages business owners to consider why their customers chose them. It is not a good omen, in Saeks’ opinion, if your staff have divergent opinions of this. This reason or ‘why’ must be embedded into your mission statement so that staff are aligned and can share the correct message with others.

We were reminded that customers do business with us because of the benefits they get and that these are emotional and intangible or ‘a feeling’.

“Your being ‘15 years in business’ is not a benefit to the customer. The benefit is the results you get.’

Saeks encouraged people to express it in a different way such as: ’We have been in business for 15 years which means you can trust us.’

At the end of the day, customers buy trust, commented Saeks, so business owners need to ensure that our marketing communicates trust and credibility:

“You have to communicate with benefits – they are the only things that will interrupt your current or future customers and make them pay attention to you. Don’t talk about you, that is a feature. Talk about the emotional state of mind that your customer gets when using your services – that’s the benefit. You then need to tie the benefits to the features.”

In Saeks’ view, everything in marketing and sales comes down to communication – the message needs to be clear and specific. Without this, said Saeks, there can be incongruency between what you think is happening in your business and what is actually happening. This can happen in your marketing when you are trying to communicate your brand’s values.

Who are your ideal customers?

Saeks encourages business owners to define their ideal customer and gave his view that sometimes it’s best to let certain ones go. He also cautioned that unless the company has defined its ‘why’, there may be disparate views among staff on what the ideal customer looks like.

How to communicate with customers

Saeks referred to the DISC personality test (Dominant, Influential, Supportive and Cautious/Conscentitious) as a useful tool for professional firms looking at how they communicate with their clients: “Be clear about your clients’ characteristics and modify your behaviour to ensure a better connection.”

Referring to those who have the ‘Influential’ trait, Saeks commented that people can be interactive and sociable in their work role, but in private they may be less so. He added that customers need to be able to communicate with staff on a personal level or they won’t do business with them as they need that personal connection for trust and credibility.

Related reading: Powerful Customer Communication

You determine your own success

Business leaders were also advised that success starts with them: “Be the change you want to see in your organisation, be open to it.”

Alliott NZ is a member of Alliott Group, a worldwide alliance of independent accounting, consulting and law firms. As a member of Alliott Group, we are able to provide seamless national, regional or international support for our clients in more than 80 countries whilst supporting the local needs of businesses here in New Zealand. Our clients benefit from the collective resources, advice and experience we can tap into to help their businesses succeed and grow, both here in New Zealand and overseas.