Author: Michele Margetts

Maximize Your Resources – Part 1

Maximize Your Resources – Part 1

Over the next few posts we’re going to discuss how to take a hard look at your current
resources and get the most out of them. This can help your capital go further and increase
your profit margin.

Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximize what you already have. These include:
• Recognizing the obvious
• Unconventional breakthroughs
• Facing the facts

Recognizing the Obvious
Sometimes when you are too close to something, you are unable to see the big picture.
You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in
front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help
your business become more successful.

Unconventional Breakthroughs
Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs, create them yourself. A breakthrough is
simply a new way of doing things or discovering new things that yield the same or better
results. You should be having regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team
to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas whenever they occur.

Some great examples of breakthroughs are:

  • A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be remarketed and sold;
  • A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ball
    point pen;
  • The founder of Nike poured rubber onto a waffle iron and created the most
    innovative and successful running shoe ever.

When attracting or strategizing for a breakthrough there are some key objectives you
need to keep in mind. They are:

  1. Look for the hidden opportunity in every situation;
  2. Look for at least one cash windfall for your business every three months;
  3.  The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough;
  4. Create multiple streams of idea to find the best breakthroughs;
  5. Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.

Facing the Facts
Before you can put your breakthroughs to work, you must face the facts of the processes
and systems that are not working for you and devise a plan to correct or get rid of them.
System analysis is a good way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and
weaknesses, you need to compare them to the strengths and weaknesses of your

There are some great questions for you and your team to get a handle on where your
business is right now. They are:

  1. Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
  2. What products and/or services did I offer when I started this business?
  3. Which were the most popular?
  4. Why are my customers and/or clients buying from me right now?
  5.  How did I generate new customers and/or clients when I started this business?
  6. Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results when I started this

Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll have a better idea how to
approach your weaknesses.

These three areas we’ve highlighted will provide you with a starting point for how to
utilize your current resources to their fullest potential. Reach out me now if you need any
help with your strategic or systems analyses.

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 2

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 2

In the last post we covered the first two of the 5 biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with big fish clients. Today we’ll cover the third and fourth ones: Taking on More Than You Can Handle and All Your Eggs in One Basket

Taking on More Than You Can Handle

When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and as a result you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself unable to function. There is no doubt that you want your business to be successful, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect exceptional customer service and high-quality products and/or services, they are not familiar with, nor do they care about your behind-the-scenes operations to get these things done. Look for the following signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:

  • Clients’ needs aren’t being met;
  • Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a downward spiral;
  • You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts;
  • Your current clients are suffering as a result of you trying to keep up with new business;
  • Profits are declining;
    You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business;
  • You are losing clients and/or customers;
  • Resources are being reallocated.

There is a trick called the Mock Fish Plan. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of the above issues, and can help you get your business back on track. This plan will:

  • Help increase sales in a short period of time;
  • Alter your products and/or services for the better;
  • Fulfill promises you made to your clients.

There are six steps to this plan:

  • Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the fish’s needs;
  • Review your operational system;
  • Anticipate future problems better;
  • Communicate better;
  • Include costs in your quotes;
  • Always have a back-up plan.

All Your Eggs in One Basket

You can allow your company to become dependent on any one fish. Eventually or during certain periods there will inevitably be a slowing down period with your fish. To stay in the game, you need to diversify.

If you’ve ever mishandled a fish, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do:

  • Stay in the loop and be informed on what’s going on inside your fish’s company;
  • Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry;
  • Stay exclusive;
  • Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts;
  • Spread your contracts out;
  • Price your products and/or services correctly.

You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your fish. This can generally be measured in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.

These strategies will help you avoid the killer mistakes that can make you lose it all. If you need help with any of these tips or tricks, please reach out to me for guidance.

Next time we’ll talk about the last of the killer mistakes and how to prevent it from annihilating your business.

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 1

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 1

There are 5 big mistakes that will kill a deal with a big fish.

They are:

  1. Not meeting the client’s expectations;
  2. Mishandling a client crisis;
  3. Taking on more than you can handle;
  4. Putting all your eggs in one basket;
  5. Up cash creek without a paddle.

Any one or combination of these may not only kill the partnership, but also has the ability to take down your entire company. We’re going to take a bit of time to discuss each one of these; in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.

Not Meeting Client’s Expectations

It is essential you give your clients exactly what was promised during the negotiation phase of your relationship. If an event does happen where you find yourself unable to meet your client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but it is also your responsibility to find out where it all went wrong.

A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:

  1. Bad salesmanship. It is possible that your salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs;
  2. Lack of communication. This breakdown usually occurs between the salesperson and your operations department.

In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff is required to follow:

  • Think before you speak;
  • Give yourself a break;
  • Perfect your process;
  • Pre-format over-deliverables;
  • Stay hands-on throughout the entire process;
  • Define success.

Mishandling a Client Crisis

Crises will happen, it is how you respond to and fix them that will define your company and your interaction with clients. You must respond quickly and effectively. This will help you build trust and confidence with your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:

  • Take responsibility and apologize, regardless of who is at fault;
  • Act swiftly and effectively;
  • Step in and take control of the situation;
  • Never point fingers or place blame;
  • Stay in constant communication with your client;
  • Stay calm throughout the situation;
  • Keep your eye on the ball.

Now that you know the two primary mistakes that can kill a big fish deal, you will be better prepared to avoid making these mistakes in the first place, and know how to put a plan of action into place in the event of a crisis.

If you need help with any of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for guidance.

Next time we’ll highlight the 3rd and 4th killer mistakes you can make in working with big fish clients.

Keep Up the Momentum

Keep Up the Momentum

The last post focused on negotiating with your big fish and how you can nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Today we’ll discuss the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.

One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the ally you created in the company that needs to stay loyal to you in order for you to continue a profitable partnership with your fish. There are a number of ways to keep your champion in your corner, such as:

  • Sharing the limelight;
  • Helping them thank their company with new products and services;
  • Emotionally connecting them to your company;
  • Knowing when to leave them alone;
  • Keeping your “family” happy;
  • Remaining on the front lines.

Now that you have some ideas of how to build solid relationships, you will need to seek out people with whom to build these relationships. These alliances will help you get bigger clients that will stay with you indefinitely. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need:

  1. Power
  2. Information
  3. Better work experience

These are all great ways to feed your alliance. You need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These may include:

  • The opportunity to expand your business;
  • The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow;
  • The opportunity to improve your processes, systems, and other means of doing business.

These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong and your partnerships fresh and content.

If you need help with any of these tactics, reach out to me for great tools and resources that can assist you every step of the way.

Bring Them Flowers

Bring Them Flowers

There are a few things you must do to prepare for your first face-to-face meeting:

  • Make a list of what you want to accomplish during the meeting;
  • Anticipate potential concerns from the client;
  • Check to ensure you are completely prepared;
  • Listen more than you talk;
  • Bring support staff with you;
  • Use and respect the client’s format;
  • Always follow through;
  • Ask for what you need and seal the deal;
  • Simplify your prospect’s life;
  • Find ways to boost your credibility;
  • Build and nurture relationships;
  • Learn from “no”. Find out what didn’t work so you know how to change it going forward.

These are all important things to do both before and during your presentation. With confidence behind your company and product, you will catch that big fish. The next step of the process is negotiation. This can seem a little intimidating, but with a few tips and tricks, it will become natural to you.

Here are some tips to help you negotiate successfully:

  1. Build a pricing strategy and stick to it;

  2. Prioritize what you plan to offer. This should include what really matters to you

    and what you are willing to give in on;

  3. Don’t give in too quickly;

  4. Negotiate with a person, not a “company”. Don’t allow their answer to be that

    they would like to, but can’t;

  5. Don’t sell yourself short;

  6. Mitigate your pricing. If you go too low you won’t be able to substantially increase

    prices and you need to make a profit;

  7. Don’t sacrifice quality for the deal;

  8. Your services should always count as costs;

  9. Boost margins with add-ons;

  10. 10. Handle request for proposals with the utmost care.

These are the ways you can ensure both parties are getting the best possible arrangement from the partnership. Once you start meeting or working together, it’s imperative to continue to build your relationship so that the representative becomes an ally that best suits you as they will be more likely to vouch for you and build on the partnership you have with their company.

We like to call this person a champion. They are a champion for your company and can bring a stronger, brighter future to your company. Here are the characteristics of a great champion:

  • They are respected by supervisors;

  • They are socially networked;

  • They think in the best interest of their company, long term;

  • They are able to quickly navigate through the company to get things done;

  • They are willing to give credit to another person;

  • They share the same business philosophy, values, and vision as you.

Now that you know how to negotiate for what is best for both parties and build on relationships, we’re going to explore how to utilize your fish’s power to your benefit.

If you need help with any of the negotiation or courting process, reach out to me to get a wealth of great tools and resources.

Who’s Your MVP?

Who’s Your MVP?

The previous post dealt with making first contact with your prospective big fish and how to make a positive first impression. Today we’re going to cover feeling out the personality of your prospective big fish in order to match the right salesperson to the fish.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile your salespeople’s personalities;
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish.

There are essentially three different selling personalities:

  • Sage
  • Pal
  • Pit Bull

The Sage
This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. In order to be successful they need plenty of information, a demo of the product and/or service, and references and case studies if possible.

The Pal
Much like it sounds, this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them feel like old friends in no time. They work best with clients who are looking for friendship, and information and are in a similar peer group as the salesperson. This peer group can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and respectful. The resources these personality type needs are assistance pairing with the right client, an entertainment (or schmoozing) budget, and the right information to meet the client’s needs.

The Pit Bull
Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others; their focus is solely on the business and the bottom line. While this personality may seem harsh to a majority of people, there are some business people who respect someone who can get
right down to business and focus on the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will be required to have some authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They will also need plenty of resources and access to products and services. This salesperson is best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly.

These three personality types can all be successful when used appropriately in the right selling environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson to the right client has the potential to secure more big fish for a longer period of time.

Please reach out to me if you need help figuring out which personality type each of your salespeople fits into to get your big fish plan in action.

The Perfect Bait

The Perfect Bait

Our last post covered how to learn about your big fish and prepare for your initial contact with them. This first contact is essential to your success so you will need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price, and of the quality, you promise.

Today we will explore the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you devise your plan of approach, you need to identify which big fish you will be targeting. Review your notes and research you’ve compiled about prospective fish and then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.

The following is a series of things to review when deciding which fish to target first:

  • Position Your Business
  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Select the Best Target

Position Your Business
You must position your business to make the first move by listing your revenue streams, your operational procedures, where your fish is initially positioned, and your big-customer research, and putting it all together.

Compile Your Hit List
Begin with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering then narrow it down to the ones you know could benefit from your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Even small companies could be big fish in the future.

Select the Best Target
Once you’ve got your list narrowed down, you need to decide which one is the best fish to target first. You must consider the following:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision complement yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products
    and/or services?
  • What is the company’s real need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

By now you should have a target in mind to proceed with first. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.
Here is the step-by-step plan to help you make a good first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Divide your leads into three different categories: hot leads, great fits, and secondary leads.
  2. Send out introductory mailings to your target to introduce yourself, your company, services, products, and your vision. These mailings must be clear and concise.
  3. Follow up with your initial phone call 2-3 days following their expected receipt of the mailings. During the phone call identify who you need to speak with in the future and try to arrange a meeting with this person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offers more details about your products and/or services. Use this letter as an opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after their receipt of the letter. The purpose of this phone call is to further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them.
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute for you to stop by and introduce yourself in person.

Now don’t get discouraged if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people take a little longer to persuade. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but when you know you are offering a quality product and/or service, you can’t go wrong.

Once you’ve gone through this process and made first contact (and hopefully a good first impression) it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If  you need help putting together your approach and making a good first impression, reach out to me for a wealth of great resources and tools.

Untangle the Red Tape

Untangle the Red Tape

In our last post, we covered how to bring the big-company mindset into your business and your team. This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. Now that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to discuss how to identify who your fish is. It is important to be familiar with the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We will also take a moment to highlight the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits and procedures. There are four main things you need to work on in order to be successful:

1. Responsibilities: You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who has the ability to kill a deal if desired.

2. Get on Their List: You need to figure out how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name not only needs to be on that list, but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for additional interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what is required to go through the application process.

3. Lingo: You need to learn the company’s unique language and communication style. This could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.

4. Fiscal Budgets: It is essential for you to be familiar with the fiscal budget of your fish so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.

Now that we’ve identified what you need to know about your fish, let’s take a quick look at the “red tape”.

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil that you can use to your advantage by learning from their system. There are two ways to learn from their system:

1. Analyze their activity;

2. Review their correspondence.
Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape”, imagine how their employees feel dealing with it.

If they need to crunch some
numbers, offer to take care of it for them. If they need more info, make sure you are providing it in a user-friendly way.

The things we talked about in this lesson will help you prepare for the big approach. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need assistance with untangling the “red tape”.

Be One With the Fish

Be One With the Fish

The previous post started our series on catching big clients, or “fish”, which will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by exploring how to turn your mind to think like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.

Before you can begin the process of landing big clients, you must make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to realizing big client success. They are:

  1. First Impression: You must remember you only have one shot to land a big client. If you make a mistake, they aren’t going to consider you again. Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities.

  2. First Priority: Your potential big fish must always feel like they are your first priority. Show them that you are highly responsive by returning calls and emails immediately, and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible.

  3. Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a special service or customization of a product, comply for the long-term benefit of their business. A little hassle now could potentially be a substantial pay off down the road.

  4. Long-term: This goes hand-in-hand with flexibility. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish clients you need to consider the long-term benefits for your business. If you push for a one-off big score, you are sure to lose their interest and any future business.

  5. Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when you are trying to land big clients. In fact, this should be the most fun as you are sharing your vision with new people and involving them in your future success and vice versa. People simply work harder in a fun, happy environment. Your passion for your work is contagious and big fish clients will be drawn to your energy.

  6. Help Them: If you take a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, they will feel as though you are really invested and interested in the success of their business. Strive to find the balance between your business needs and those of your clients.

There are also a few tactics you can use to bring in a big-company vision to the people on your team. You can:

  • Post these six keys for all to see;

  • Create a performance-based incentive program;

  • Conduct frequent team meetings;

  • Use a “right now” policy that dictates any big fish calls be answered immediately;

  • Offer awards and/or recognition for big-company ideas and subsequent


  • Develop a training and certification program based on the six keys above.

    These 6 keys and tips will help you instill a big-company mindset throughout your company, which will help you be more prepared and more likely to land your big fish. Once your entire team is aligned with this thinking, your business will be unstoppable.

    Reach out to me today if you need help putting together an incentive program or another way to push your team toward the big-company mindset.

Are You On The Right Path?

Are You On The Right Path?

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you may ever work with.

Today we will begin with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take when expanding its business:

  • Snail Speed
  • Shooting Star
  • Catch the Big Fish

Snail Speed
Unfortunately, most business owners end up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is the inevitable result when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also fall onto this path when you are avoiding change.

Shooting Star
This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast that you become overwhelmed and are not prepared with adequate resources in place to adapt to the sudden growth. This can also occur when you are overwhelmed by smaller clients and do not take the time to try to land the larger clients that would sustain your business once the small client sales start to decline.

Catch the Big Fish
This is the path that allows you to build at a steady manageable pace by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can accomplish this by putting these tips to work:

  1. Attract, keep, and lock in big clients;
  2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees;
  3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow;
  4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and focus on the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to identify and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in a small business mindset, it will be harder than you think.

Think of some of the benefits of focusing on larger clients:

  • Inexpensive
  • Highly Profitable
  • Longevity
  • Security

In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can provide a benefit to their company. It is easy to second guess yourself into the belief that a large company couldn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is definitely flawed thinking!

Once you take a look at how large companies operate, it is important to identify which ones are the best fit for your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is through a connection with someone on the inside who will be able to put in a good word for you.

If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, reach out to me for assistance.