One of the questions I’m most frequently asked as a business coach is “Do I really need a business plan?” It happens once every few weeks, and I’m asked by surprising variety of business owners, startup founders and soon-to-be entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I still don’t have an easy answer, and by trying to provide some context for my take on the subject, I’ve gotten something of a reputation as a business-plan skeptic.
It’s time for me to set the record straight: I’m a huge believer in business planning, but I’m not a fan of business plans. If that sounds strange to you, allow me to explain. These two concepts aren’t as closely linked as you might think. Continue reading →
Biking can be an expensive hobby. Between your light, sleek racing bikes and beefy, rugged mountain bikes, there are a range of frames, wheels, saddles and other options. A serious cyclist could easily end up with a garage filled with bikes and bike parts, each suited for a specific kind of riding. But what if there was a single bike that could do it all?
In today’s episode of the Success in Business podcast, host and business coach Tom Ryan talks with Jeff Welch and Shawn Moore, co-founders of the Grava Bike Co., makers of a bike that is shaking up the cycling status quo. As always, Tom is joined by co-host and producer Jason Pyles. Continue reading →
What does the alignment-based sales approach look like on the ground level? It’s one thing to conceptually understand the theory, but it isn’t always obvious how to take that 10,000 foot view and apply it to your sales process. How do you start an alignment-based sale? What do you say to make sure both parties are still in alignment? How do you walk away when there isn’t an alignment?
Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into some real-world techniques for implementing an alignment-based sales process. There are three basic steps: The Alignment Statement; Qualifying; and Continuous Testing. Let’s take a look at how each of these work. Continue reading →
Your customers have a problem. They came to you in the hopes of finding a guide who not only understands that problem, but who can also help them come up with a plan for solving it. It’s your job to not only walk them through the changes and challenges they will face, but to show them what the consequences of failing to act on that plan will be.
Host and business coach Tom Ryan explains the role of “The Plan” in business storytelling in this final installment of his review of Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story ebook. As always, Tom is joined by producer and co-host Jason Pyles. Download your own copy of Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story ebook today, and be sure to keep listening to the Success in Business Podcast this week for our continuing review. Continue reading →
In every great story, there is a hero who needs a guide. Every Daniel LaRusso needs a Mr. Miyagi, and every Luke Skywalker needs a Yoda. When you tell your company’s story, it’s important to remember that you aren’t the hero. Your customer is the one facing the challenge, and it’s their story they care most about. Your role is to be the guide who helps them overcome their challenges.
Host and business coach Tom Ryan dives into this important element of business storytelling in this multi-part breakdown of Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story ebook. As always, Tom is joined by producer and co-host Jason Pyles. Download your own copy of Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story ebook today, and be sure to keep listening to the Success in Business Podcast this week for our continuing review. Continue reading →
A truly compelling story isn’t defined by the hero, it’s defined by the challenge or problem the hero must face. The same is true when constructing a compelling story for your business. Your customer has a problem, and it’s your job to explain how your product or service helped them overcome it.
In today’s episode, host and business coach Tom Ryan talks about Donald Miller’s concept of the three kinds of problems a protagonist can face, and what this means in the context of creating a persuasive narrative for your business. Tom is joined by special guest co-host and producer Natalie Pyles.
We’re all consumers, and we all know what it’s like to walk into a store where the salespeople are paid by commission. From that very first moment we see the sales associate walk towards us, our guard goes up. No matter how helpful and pleasant they are, there’s an almost instinctual reaction we have as shoppers. We say something like “Just looking!” and hope that’s enough to keep them at bay.
Why is this? It’s pretty simple, actually. As shoppers, the last thing we want is to be pressured into buying something. This is the exact same instinct that your prospects feel when they agree to hear your sales presentation. Even if they know they need the product or service you provide, they don’t want to go through the ordeal of a high-pressure sales presentation. They put up the same sort of “Just looking!” defenses.
This is exactly why the alignment-based approach is so powerful. It changes the very nature of the interaction, removing the tension and apprehension completely. Here are five core benefits you will experience while using an alignment-based sales method. Continue reading →
How do the lessons of storytelling relate to creating a compelling business narrative? Learn how host and business coach Tom Ryan helped his students apply this concept a recent meeting of the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneur in Residence program, and some of the misconceptions he was able to dispel along the way.
In this special episode, Tom is joined by guest producer and co-host Natalie Pyles to continue this multi-part series discussing Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story. If this sounds interesting to you, download your own copy of Donald Miller’s How to Tell a Story ebook today, and be sure to keep listening to the Success in Business Podcast this week for our continuing review. Continue reading →
If you’ve spent any time at all in sales, you know how stressful it can be. Going into a selling situation often feels like contest, where the goal is to find the prospect’s pain, and to slowly press on that pain point until they become desperate for it to go away. You want them to become just uncomfortable enough about that pain to spend their money on your solution.
Is it any wonder that prospects often feel like salespeople are trying to trick or manipulate them into parting with their money? If you’re an empathetic person, which the best salespeople often are, it’s a process that really sucks.
The exciting part of an alignment-based sales approach is that it can make selling a lot more fun. Instead of creating a stilted, adversarial dynamic between the salesperson and the prospect, the process becomes much more about finding common ground. I also know it works, as I’ve personally sold millions of dollars of products using this exact sales philosophy. Continue reading →
Allow me to destroy a major misconception about sales for you: Closing isn’t everything. It’s an important step in the process, but it’s not the winner-take-all endgame many inexperienced salespeople believe it to be. Closing a sale — particularly when it’s an initial sale with a new customer — should mark the start of a relationship, not the end of contest of wills.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my biggest issue with the “ABCs of Sales” approach is the puzzling emphasis on closing. It implies that sales is fundamentally about delivering a knockout punch to the customer, or that it’s something of a deception-driven, non-consensual relationship between the salesperson and their prospect. That’s a terrible way to build a customer base, particularly if you’re running a business where long-term contracts, renewals or subscriptions play a major role. Continue reading →