• Dennis Kelley

    David Kelley

    Dennis Kelley is a seasoned professional with over 30 years experience leading teams and coaching people to success. Dennis is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, trainer and an author... Read More

    David Kelley

  • Inspirational Quote

    “The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -- Michalangelo
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  • March 2018
    M T W T F S S
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Quick…When I Say Salesmen What Comes to Mind?

salesWhen I ask most people that question the typical responses are a wrinkle of their nose and words like, pushy, intrusive, won’t take no for an answer, an interruption, and even rude. It is a reaction born from experience and stereotypes. Just think of the last time you interacted with someone trying to sell you something. Was the experience a good one? Did you find yourself becoming defensive?

Salespeople who act in ways that make us uncomfortable have confronted us all.  For example, there is the sales person that just would not leave you alone or tried to push you into buying something you didn’t need. Not all of our experiences have been bad, but they are the ones we remember…and tell others about! The good experiences tend to be ones that feel right and you did not feel pressured into the purchase. The salesperson may have been very persuasive, but their style and approach did not leave you feeling pressured.

Many times, I find my clients struggling with the concept of truly selling in their business. They are concerned others will see their business in this same negative light. “If I’m just nice to my customers and give them a good product, then they will buy,” is the common position many owners take.

But, here’s the real shocker…we are all salespeople! That’s right; we are all salespeople.  We sell every day…in our personal life, with our spouse, kids, friends and others we meet, during our normal daily activities. In your business life, you are selling to your employees, co-workers, vendors, and yes, even with your customer.

You see, selling occurs anytime you are trying to persuade someone else. In fact, the most successful sales people are those who can talk to people, listen actively, and uncover their needs to reach agreement. Selling is actually a very positive activity and extremely important in every business. No business can survive if selling is not a key priority that is practiced and coached daily.

It is also critical to understand your sales numbers. Three areas you must focus on in order to improve your results are: your conversion of prospects into paying customers, the average amount each customer spends with you each time they make a purchase and how many times they buy from you. Let’s take a quick look at each one.

Sales conversion rate – set up a simple process to measure the number of prospects your business generates and how many of them make a purchase. Your business already generates prospects so converting more of those prospects to paying customers is a low-cost way to increase revenues. This includes how many people contact your business through website visits, phone calls, personal visits, pro-active salesperson contacts, etc. Improve your conversion rate and your marketing efficiency increases making your business more profitable.

Average amount sold to each client – measure the average ticket size per sale in your business. Increasing this average through cross-selling and up-selling will increase revenues very cost effectively. Your average will increase by offering your prospects and clients additional services or adding value to their purchase. It goes without saying that this must be done ethically and be in the interest of the client. However, there are many ways to increase the average amount sold. Some of these include offering additional products or services, service agreements, or other valuable items that are in the best interest of the customer.

Number of times a customer buys from you – keeping your current customers coming back again and again is cheaper than finding new people to buy from you all the time. Build a base of loyal customers and keep them coming back to grow your business. Successful businesses know how to keep their customers coming back while also attracting new ones. Build customer loyalty programs, communicate with them on a regular basis, understand and meet their on-going needs and be sure to thank them for their business.

I define selling as “professionally helping others to buy.”  Note the term professionally as that is a critical part of the process.  It is not about being pushy, rude, aggressive, etc.  It is about finding a need and showing the prospect how to meet the need through your business and its products…professionally. 

Changing perceptions, either yours or those of your team, about what selling is and how to do it will help you grow your business revenue and even more importantly your profits. 

Now go sell, sell, sell…professionally!

To your success,


Build a Successful Business Through the Art of Budgeting

Budget Your Way to Success

Budget Your Way to Success

Statistics show that only 43% of small businesses that have employees prepare a budget that projects revenues, expenses and profit. If you include sole proprietor type businesses then that number is closer to 80%. There are many reasons for this staggering statistic. Many owners simply believe their business is too small to need to budget. Others feel they don’t have enough money to worry about budgeting. Probably the biggest reason small business owners don’t manage their business with a budget is that they don’t like to do it and they don’t know how to do it. 

What is a budget? A budget is a plan that establishes goals for how you will manage the financial resources and expenditures for your business. It is a simple equation of revenues (sales) minus expenses (costs) to determine profit. An annual budget, commonly referred to as an operating plan, broken down into monthly projections allows you to capture infrequent expenditures as well as see trends and the seasonality of your business. 

A budget creates the plan that allows you to determine if you are making progress toward your goals. It gives you the information you need to make informed, intelligent decisions about how to run your business successfully. Budgeting is important because it helps you determine if you have enough money to fund operations, expand the business and create profit and long-term wealth for the owner. Every small business owner should budget, no matter the size of the business. 

In 84% of small businesses, the owner or a partner prepares the budget. This can be done in conjunction with your accountant or CPA. There is nothing difficult about this task, however, most small business owners are not familiar with the process and therefore avoid it. 

Business budgets do not need to be a monster. You can create simple and effective business forecasts using a simple set of guidelines. If you are still unsure of how to approach it, ask your CPA or a trusted business peer. There are also many great resources from books to on-line programs to seminars on the subject. Accept the fact that there will be a learning curve in both how to create a budget as well as how to use it to manage the business decisions. 

Here are some guidelines to follow in creating an operating plan and using it to build a strong company that provides a great return for you. 

Review Your Financial History or Industry Standards

If you have been in business for a few years, pull out your records from the past 2 or 3 years and build a spreadsheet of the revenues and expenses. Break the expenses into fixed costs and variable costs and by easily identifiable categories. If your business is new, research industry standards to determine your starting point. Not all businesses are alike, but there are similarities. You can also check the IRS Website to get an idea of what percentage of revenue goes to various cost groupings. Once you have this information, you will be ready to build your forecast. 

Build a Spreadsheet with Your Expected Results

Construct a spreadsheet to estimate the dollar amount to budget for each revenue category and expense category. Review your history and / or research to determine how much to budget for each category. As your revenues increase, your expenditure for materials and other variable costs will also increase. Be sure to consider this as you create your spreadsheet. Factor in any seasonality to your estimates. Don’t just decide what your annual expense is and divide it by twelve unless your business has not seasonality or you are not expecting growth. Don’t forget to budget for marketing and promotion to build your business. 

Look for Ways to Reduce Costs

Now that you have your revenues and expenses plugged into the spreadsheet, take a look at the difference between the two. This is your profit. Is it as large as you want it to be? Fine-tune your numbers by looking for ways to cut cost. Where can you get a better deal from suppliers or make adjustments that will add to your bottom line? Or you can reallocate to give you more money for marketing that will improve results. Every penny saved in expenses will boost the bottom line. Small changes can add up quickly. 

Err on the Side of Conservative

Watching expenses and cutting wherever possible is important however, you still need to be conservative in your estimates. Be realistic in your revenue expectations and build in some cushion for expenses, as there will always be surprises along the way. 

Review Your Results Against the Plan Regularly

After each month, compare your actual result to your budget. Look for any variances and make sure you can explain them. By understanding why you missed the budget you will be able to better manage the results. If costs increased then maybe you need to review pricing or service providers. Are lower revenues a result of ineffective marketing, pricing or some other factor? If necessary, make some minor adjustments to the plan to improve your forecast for upcoming periods. By actively reviewing your results, you will quickly get a clear picture of your business and be in a position to manage it effectively. 

Use Your Budget as a Form of Restraint

The budget is not intended to constrain your business but to help you restrain from making poor decisions. Sticking to a solid plan is the most effective teacher of fiscal restraint and teaches discipline. However, don’t let the plan keep you from busting the budget on occasion should something exceptional occur. As an example, if you have discovered a marketing program that drives exceptional results, invest more in it even if it exceeds the budget. Take advantage of opportunities that arise to grow your business and adjust your plan accordingly. 

Budgeting is an easy but essential process that all business owners should use to forecast results. The goal is to provide enough fiscal discipline to keep your business running smoothly and growing to ensure success. In addition to the operating budget, it is critical to develop a cash flow budget to monitor cash levels. This is a separate but critical budget for business owners. Learning to apply the fiscal discipline of budgeting to your business will keep the business healthy. 

To your success,

More Great Learning Tools Available

0f5a1v1dI’ve talked before about a great product that I recommend and use for my own business called iLearningGlobal.com.  The worldwide launch of the program occured at the end of March and the program is in an amazing growth pattern right now. Thousands of people around the world are seeing the value in this continuous learning program and taking advantage of it. These are the people looking to build their wealth, success and personal growth. 

The team at iLearningGlobal are introducting new products all the time. One of the new programs is called The E.D.G.E Business Training Program.  It is an incredible 52-week training and development package designed to specifically give personal, small & medium size businesses the EDGE to succeed, even in today’s economy. The unique format to this system ensures you will have up-to-the-minute, cutting-edge information and strategies along with action plans, implementation systems, accountability and support.

Some of the topics covered include; business strategy, tax strategy, asset protection, hiring, team development, sales, leadership and much more.

Vist www.ilearningglobal.biz/dkelley57 to learn more about this program and all the rest of the great content available through this great program.

To your success…

One Simple Idea to Increase Revenues

Watch Sales Grow
Watch Sales Grow

Here is a simple idea that will help you increase your revenue with just a little focus and effort.

Calculate the dollar amount of each sale that you make. Take the total dollar amount of sales you make and divide it by the number of sales made. This will give you the average of each sale you make and a starting point for measuring your improvements.
Once you know what your average is, make it your goal to increase this average. Start a simple system for keeping track of your average on a daily or weekly basis and keep a record of it. Your objective is to create ideas to increase the average.
These will be the sales tactics you employ. Some ideas to get you started include;
  • focus your sales on the higher dollar value items
  • use suggestive selling to add items of value to the sale. Think about Wendy’s and their supersizing strategy
  • bundle items that compliment each other to create a package that creates value for the customer and a profitable sale for you
  • add service contracts or similar support programs to the sale

You get the idea. Come up with your own list by brainstorming with your team. There are many ways to do this that can benefit your business. Just be sure to keep your customers at the forefront of your thoughts. Make sure you are adding value to their relationship with your business.

Just making this one minor adjustment to your sales process can increase sales significantly adding profits to your bottom line.

To Your Success,

Creating Trust with Your Customers

business-people3Over the past several months there have been many instances where consumers have been left with trust issues about business. From E. Coli in spinach, to lead in toys — there have been many concerns about product safety lately. Add to that the trust concerns consumers have about price increases in energy, food and health care and trust in business would seem to be taking a hit.

It’s interesting then that a recent study called the “Edelman Trust Barometer of 2007” indicates that 58 percent of U.S. college-educated opinion leaders age 35 to 64 say they trust business, up from 44 percent in 2002. That is a significant increase over the last five years. The study indicates that overall, people trust local brands more than global ones. That could be a major factor in the message you convey to your clients and prospects.

Another interesting finding is that, “People are nearly twice as likely to believe a regular employee of a company as they are the CEO,” says Laurence Evans, president of StrategyOne, the research arm of Edelman. Typically, your customers are interacting with your team members on a day-to-day basis so empowering your team to make decisions and take action to WOW a customer will pay big dividends in your customer satisfaction levels.

Take the time to train and build credibility with your team. Create a culture of truthfulness and integrity in your business and this culture will come out when serving your clients. If they trust you and they believe you then they are much more likely to buy from you … and come back for more!

Creating and Keeping a Healthy Business- Part IV

gearsThis is part four in the series about the critical steps you must focus on and understand in order to build and maintain a healthy business. In the first part I addressed the importance of key financial drivers to your business. The second part focused on truly understanding your business and how it works – how it makes money and what drives it. In the last post I reviewed the importance of establishing the shared values for your business and why it is important to communicate this culture to your team.

The fourth critical step is to have a realistic and complete understanding of the competitive environment you operate in. This is not just those direct competitors in your marketplace but also the overall environment in which your business operates. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about this:

  • Where is your industry on the product life cycle? Are you in an industry in its infancy, in a growth mode, at its peak or in decline?
  • How much does the competitive environment directly affect your business? Is your product/service unique in the marketplace or are you competing with everyone else on the same value proposition?
  • How does this environment align with your beliefs and personal goals?
  • Who are my main competitors, how do they position themselves, why would someone do business with them instead of me and what do I like and dislike about them?
  • What does my target customer really want or need from their relationship with someone in my industry?

The better you understand what is happening in your market the better you can build your strategy to compete.  Most business owners tend to just look at the few competitors that are taking business from them. The most successful companies look at the competitive environment and determine what the marketplace wants and then fills that need.

It may mean adjusting how you do business or bringing new products to the marketplace. The important thing is to understand what your target market wants and needs and figuring out how to position your business as the solution. If you stay attuned to the target audience instead of just trying to one-up your local competitor you will be the market leader and success will follow.

Thanks for tuning into this series. I hope you have found it helpful and would love to hear your feedback.

To Your Success,

Join Dennis on September 19th and Increase Your Profits

If you are in the Akron, Ohio area you won’t want to miss our upcoming seminar:

5 Proven Ways to Increase Profits in a Tough Economy

Discover how to keep your business growing and profitable no matter what the economy does. Learn our proven 5 step formula for increasing revenues and profits. Call me today to learn more and register for this business changing event.

Hampton Inn – Akron, OH

I hope to see you there!