This article is a continuation of the interview transcript with Anne Graham from legendaryvalue.com and she has some magical tips for your business to move forward.
David: Hello Anne. Thank you once again for your time. I really appreciate it.
Anne: My pleasure.
David: Last time, you were talking about innovation and invention. Let’s continue along those thoughts.
Anne: I’ll give you a very simple example here. We all know that ball bearings are pretty boring products, right?
David: Mostly, yes.
Anne: Okay. So, in this case, I was working with a ball bearings company. Their innovation, what they do is, they ask their customers what they use the products for. What they found is that when the ball bearings were used, there were a bunch of other stuff that were needed as well, such as some lubricants and other basic tools like nuts and washers and other stuff. So basically, you would need more than just ball bearings alone to make the repair happen. And oftentimes, these things were stored in different areas of the factory, and oftentimes they would be out of something, so they couldn’t do the repairs as quickly as they needed to, and that forklift truck would sit idle. The innovation was nothing more than a ziplock bag. Think about it. What they did is they created a little repair kit. They didn’t come up with a bigger and better ball bearing; instead they just made their clients’ lives easier. They did the equivalent of putting all the needed things in a ziplock bag. They saved the clients time and energy from placing multiple orders and managing the inventory of putting all the little bits and pieces in place. They will help you fix the forklift and put it back in place. Now is that an innovation that people would want to buy?
David: Oh absolutely! And it’s funny that you mentioned ziplock bags, because, if you buy a game from a game shop for your family or a group of friends, and then you open the bag up, and the thing disintegrates and you can’t put it back together. Why don’t they include a ziplock bag in one of those things?
Anne: So here’s what you can suggest to your readers! If they are selling games and stuff, say that they should include a ziplock bag as well! It’s just that easy sometimes. If people can focus on those five key areas, business leaders, owners of small companies, you’re going to transform your business and your profitability, and you’re just going to make your life so much easier. But guess what? All the fun is on the other side of your desk, it’s not doing emails and all that. It’s out here, dealing with your customers, figuring out what’s going to work for them and what’s not, and making it happen. That’s why we’re all in the business in the first place.
David: So it really sounds like you’ve got to be in touch with the actual end-user and the target market.
Anne: Absolutely. One of the things that I’ll tell you and your readers more about in the video is I use a technique called a value creation conversation, a VCC. It’s not a sales call, it’s basically an executive to executive conversation about where your business is going, how we can do a better job of serving you, what are some of your fears when you look at your market base, what makes you roll your eyes when you’re dealing with us… just about ten or twelve questions. In a typical value creation conversation, the richness of the insights that you will pull out from your customers and the opportunities are going to drive the entire future strategy of your business. You won’t have to dream out your innovations, you won’t have to try and guess whether or not you’re getting the next order, you’re not going to have to worry about where your topline or bottomline is going to come from, you’re going to know exactly what you need to do in your business. I had a client; he had a kitchen cabinetry manufacturing business, which is a pretty common type of business. We were going through this process to get through all five stages and it starts with going out and talking to your customer. And he said, “I don’t know Anne, I’m pretty busy right now…” This and that, other things coming up. And part of my role as coach is to hold people and keep the fire, so I said, “Allan, you said you would and you made a commitment, let me help you do it. What are we going to do first?” So he went out and did a little road trip, and went to twelve customers in one week. In the third customer that he went to, he uncovered a 600,000-dollar opportunity. Did that just move his needle?
Anne: So here’s the rest of the story. It turns out that customer used to be a million-dollar customer for him and had gone down to the 400,000-dollar business. So Allan said, “You know, you must be struggling in your business. We really used to do a lot of business together, and your business has drawn back, what has happened? I’m worried for you.” And the customer said, “Our business has never been stronger. We doubled our business last year, what do you mean you’re not getting much business from us like you used to?” He said, “I can guarantee you twice as much business next year as you’re doing this year.” They had different communication levels. Their sales people were still calling him, but they were calling on the purchasing level. The CEO said, “No. I love your product; we have a great working relationship. I am sending more business your way.” That was an hour and a half of the CEO’s time, to go and find a 600,000-dollar opportunity, that’s simply not available to the sales people. The sales people were not doing anything wrong; they just took a different conversation. It took a different level of conversation to uncover that opportunity that they’ve been missing on.
David: So they were just asking different questions and got a different answer.
Anne: They certainly do. Won’t that be a fine way to spend your day?
David: These are gemstones, they really are.
Anne: Well, I’m glad you think so because they are the things that made me successful during my years doing corporate turnaround. These are the things that, when you hear them, you’re sort of like, “I knew that.” Or on some days, you don’t. But all of these are very easy to accomplish. Talking about having a conversation with your customers, talking about raising your prices or lowering them by just one percent, or talking about making sure the experience is memorable rather than a nightmare. We just think we should be doing our business in any way. But when we get caught up in all this junk, we fall away from these things. Sometimes we just need that awareness to get back on track.
David: Yes. Well it really is a difference between working on your business and working in the trenches in your business, isn’t it?
David: Yes, that’s right.
Anne: So today, what I’ve tried to do for you and your readers is I’ve tried to give you a whole lot of wet diapers. You should be squirming right now and demanding to be out of this cold and wet thing and wanting a change. When you get that feeling of a cold and wet diaper, change becomes absolutely effortless. For example, when you share at an executive level or as an entrepreneur or with your management team, depending on the size of the company that you’re with… that Roger Banister story, and how much your return on people is today versus what is actually possible… that’s a wet diaper. When you have a customer grinding you on price and you know you’re worth more, now you know the difference. You could just do a one percent increase. So you can do a one percent cost increase, you can recover from that. It’s a wet diaper going to a dry diaper. Everytime you want anybody on your team to change, just figure out how to put them in a wet diaper, and they will follow you anywhere.
David: Anne, you make it sound so simple. Coming from you it just flows like a river, it’s fantastic! That is really good and I’m sure that anyone in business or even a young entrepreneur can actually see it now, given these small tips that we’ve been talking about; that there is an opportunity to have little changes, which gives great big results.
Anne: Absolutely. These are tiny changes that give great impact. Whether you are thinking about starting a business, these are foundational changes. If you’re getting them and you’re starting a business, as an entrepreneur, your life will be so much easier and so much more successful than the people who are merely saying they want to create the next big thing. These are average foundational pieces on how to build a great business. If you’ve already been in business for a while, you might be thinking that you’ve been doing this for a while now, but then again, it’s just taking those small steps. One at a time. If you’re in a larger organization, it is a matter of getting your people on site. And that’s when things like books and videos and so on really come in handy because then, you don’t have to do all the explaining. These are things that I can help explain to your people. That’s what makes a difference.
David: I heard a speech by Bob Proctor, talking about if an organization changes, you need to make sure that everyone in the organization changes at the same time. Otherwise, people will be left back on a shelf. And little changes are little subtle things that everyone can change altogether.
Anne: Exactly. There’s also nothing worse than a business leader who tries to do it all himself. If you don’t have your team or your people changing with you, then nothing good is going to happen in your business. This wonderful client of mine, Allan, the one I was telling you about, I worked with him and his team on the following week in New Orleans during their sales conference, and I have never seen such a passionate group of people who want to follow their leader. And it’s because he does the right things, he does it with a great deal of enthusiasm, he does simple things, and he lays out his plans saying here’s how they’re going to go and how they’re going to get there. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm in a group before in my life.
David: You know, the funny thing is, as we’re talking, once again, I noticed I’m smiling as you’re talking about these stories, because they actually mean something, and they actually show that these things work.
Anne: They do. They work like a charm and it does not take a lot of effort. You know, one of the other pieces that I’m really committed to, is something that I’ve experienced in my own career. Let me ask you a question. How long do you think it takes to implement all these great stuff that you and I have been talking today? How much time will you spend every week doing all of this?
David: Well, like most people, not much.
Anne: Not much at all. Let me tell you something. The average business person spends about 90 minutes per day on emails. And unless you work in the ordering department, email does not move the needle in your business. If you take 90 minutes once a week, not once a day, and follow the road map that takes you through these five key areas, it becomes very easy. So what do you want to do? This is a personal choice for you and your readers. Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing emails? Or would you rather go out there and take 20 percent of that time and go do something way more fun for your business?
David: Hard choice, isn’t it?
Anne: Very hard choice. And you can get back to me on that one David.
David: So you’re mentioning about this road map and this steps. How can I, as a business owner, as a reader now, how can I find it and where do I find it?
Anne: Okay. The book, Profit In Plain Sight, will be released in six weeks’ time, and it will be on Amazon, broadly, around the world. If you want to get started a little bit more easily and quickly, all you have to do is send me a quick email to email@example.com. What I’ll do is I’ll send you back a little free video, 15 minutes long. It’s going to take you through those five areas we’ve been talking about, it’s going to have a few quick solutions for you, and it’s going to point you in the direction of the book when it’s going to come out of the press. Now, you’re very welcome to start this whole process at no charge whatsoever. Just take your time and watch the video, and if you feel like you want to step up a little bit more, the book will be available to you. There are links throughout the books to more free training videos. And there’s also something that I call ProfitU, Profit University, that gives you the full real deal in terms of exactly the right agenda that you need to follow every week. That’s how to make it happen.
David: Being in business, obviously, if you’re going to get some sort of consultant, like yourself, to help out and actually do a good job, then having a full-on consultancy work with you, then you don’t mind paying. Could you offer these services as well?
Anne: Yes I did. When I do work in person with clients, usually, I need the high five-figure investment. So we’re talking somewhere between 50-100 thousand dollars. That is for a full-year, with typical coaching. That includes millions of dollars of income, over and above. But that’s not going to reach all the entrepreneurs, especially the small business owners, and that’s why I put all the training into an online format as well, in this thing I call ProfitU. And it’s at your own pace, at your own speed. But I’m always available by email and I’m always available by phone to help out if you get stuck along the way.
David: It really sounds like if you’re in business today, and you don’t know where to go next, and you need to make small intimate changes, then you need to go to Anne Graham straight away. Just send her an email, and at least have a look at legendaryvalue.com and see if you can download that free report and video that she has got to offer, and take it from there. You can move forward in small incremental steps and make a real difference. Everyone is afraid to change. However, small changes are a lot easier.
Anne, this is fantastic stuff. I really appreciate you having on board today. It really means that people can move forward in their business without too much drama.
Anne: And it’s actually my pleasure to be with you and your readers today David. If I can serve you in any way, don’t forget to stay in touch. We’re going to help you how to go from here and how to get there. There’s no one size that fits all.
David: Well that’s really good news. The funny thing about the world is that it’s such a small place today. So, if you as a small business owner or entrepreneur want to get going, once you’ve actually made that initial contact, then a quick phone call to Anne would seem like you’re talking face-to-face. And with video conferencing and with all those other tools, it literally means the world is such a small place. Anyway, this is fantastic stuff. I’ll put this up on our website too so that people can find you there, at mywealthyweb.com and also at businessvideomarketingstrategies.com, they can find you there as well.
Thank you so much Anne. It’s been a pleasure.
Anne: My pleasure David. Now go use this stuff. It’s worthwhile.
David: Absolutely. Thank you so much. So start implementing these strategies today. The time to do it is now.