Is your business looking to improve sales techniques? Perhaps you want to avoid poor time management habits. Experts, such as Jeff Bezos, offer the advice that you need.
When was the last time you stepped back and took a look at your business?
It probably wasn’t that long ago. Most business owners constantly look for ways to improve their businesses.
They may want to try different strategies to improve sales productivity. Or, they want to lessen the effects of poor time management on their business.
It’s not something that you have to do alone.
In fact, many of the world’s leading business minds can help you. People like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have unlocked the secrets to success. From sales secrets to the habits of billionaires, they can show you how to improve your business.
Here are six things you can do to improve your business today.
Jeff Bezos – Embrace High-Velocity Decision Making
Each year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos writes a letter to the company’s shareholders. As well as dealing with financial issues, Bezos details Amazon’s sales secrets.
In his 2016 letter, he tackled the topic of high-velocity decision making. Bezos says that making fast decisions gives you the edge over your competitors. However, many people get so bogged down in minutiae that they delay the decision making process.
He makes four points to help you understand high-velocity decisions:
- Decisions are usually two-way doors
- Don’t collect too much information
- Disagree and commit
- Tackle misalignment
Let’s look at each point in sequence.
Bezos uses the “two-way doors” phrase to emphasise that there’s a way back from most of the decisions you make. That’s important to remember, as many delay their decisions because they’re scared of the potential outcome.
“Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors,” he says. “Those decisions can use a light-weight process. For those, so what if you’re wrong?”
As for information, Bezos says that 70% of what you think you need is usually enough. Going for 100% means you’re delaying too much. By the time you have the information, the opportunity has often disappeared.
Disagree and commit refers to Bezos’ decision making philosophy. Often, you’ll find that people in your organisation don’t agree with you. These situations often lead to standoffs, which place your company at a standstill. Disagree and commit means understanding that others have different points of view, but asking them to take a risk with you. Make the decision in this fashion and you’ll keep everybody pushing in the same direction.
Finally, there’s the issue of misalignment. In large companies, it’s easy for different departments to end up misaligned. Each ends up with different goals, which delays any decisions that involve the misaligned departments. Spotting and remedying this misalignment plays a crucial role in high-velocity decision making.
Combining these four points turned Bezos’ decision making into one of the top time management success stories. You can do the same. Implement his philosophy and you’ll make important business decisions faster. This leaves you with more time to do things, rather than think about them.
Bob Parsons – Don’t Fear the Consequences
GoDaddy.com founder Bob Parsons has his own philosophies when it comes to decision making. In fact, his 16 rules of business define some of the key habits of billionaires.
As for Parsons, he currently has a net worth of US$2.9 billion. As a result, his ideas carry plenty of weight.
Parsons says that fear of the consequences often leads to leaders avoiding risks.
“Very seldom will the worst consequence be anywhere near as bad as a cloud of ‘undefined consequences’”, he says.
“My father would tell me early on, when I was struggling and losing my shirt trying to get Parsons Technology going, ‘Well, Robert, if it doesn’t work, they can’t eat you.’”
Here’s what Parsons means. Your fear often comes from the unknown. Every decision you make carries some sort of risk. However, many of us fail to define this risk. We just know that something “bad” will happen if things go wrong.
But what does “bad” mean?
Without knowing the worst possible scenario, you can’t make good decisions. An unclear idea of “bad” just makes you even more fearful. Define the potential negatives for every decision you make. Usually, you’ll find they’re less severe than you thought they’d be. This gives you the confidence to actually make the decision in the first place.
Ross Perot and Bill Gates – Don’t Ignore Your Customers
Both Ross Perot and Bill Gates achieved international business success. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems, making billions of dollars over the course of his career. He even went on to run for the office of President of the United States in 1992.
Bill Gates made his fortune as the CEO of Microsoft. Formerly the world’s richest man, he’s still one of the most important names in the technology sector.
Both see customers as your key to increasing sales productivity and performance. They stress the importance of listening to what your customers say.
“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face,” says Perot. “You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.”
Perot’s point is that your customers are the best source of information for how your company performs. They’re the people that you’re trying to make happy. Nothing that you do to improve sales techniques will work if you’re not offering a quality service.
Gates takes this a step further. He says: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
It’s a simple point. Your unhappiest customer is also the one who’s picked out the problems in your service. If you don’t listen to them, that problem goes unsolved. Over time, it affects more people, which leads to lost customers and lower sales.
Listen to your customers and take action based on what they tell you. It’s one of the simplest sales secrets around, but it’s also one that the world’s most successful business people swear by.
Bob Parsons – Don’t Accept “No”
Parsons 16 rules also offer some insight into his business mentality. He says that refusing to take “no” for an answer is one of the most important characteristics of billionaires.
Parsons talks about the possibility of encountering bullies along the way. From investors to business leaders, a bully is somebody who creates obstacles to prevent you from succeeding. Their opinions usually carry weight, which is why they’re so dangerous.
Parsons says: “In our society, with our laws and even playing field, you have just as much right to what you’re doing as anyone else, provided that what you’re doing is legal.”
Here’s what this means. Nobody has the right to tell you that you can’t do something if you’re following the letter of the law. Fight for your right to implement your ideas and innovate in the way you see fit.
Of course, that raises the possibility of failure. But Parsons has advice for that too. He says: “Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work.”
Your failures may add fuel to a bully’s fire. But that’s not a reason to stop pushing for success.
Learn from your mistakes when things go wrong. You’ll come back a little stronger and a little wiser for your next attempt. You’ll also develop one of the most important habits of billionaires: persistence.
Tony Alessandra – A Good Price Isn’t Enough
Public speaker and author Tony Alessandra writes about the importance of the customer experience. He’s written more than 30 books, covering important sales secrets and talking about the art of communication.
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game,” he says.
Many make the mistake of thinking that a good price is the key sales secrets to success.
It makes sense, on the surface.
If your product has a low price attached, customers gravitate to your company.
Or do they?
Your pricing is an indicator of your quality. Furthermore, it tells customers nothing about the experience of using your business. Some may even take it as a sign that they’ll receive poor service, despite knowing nothing about you.
Here’s the point. If you don’t offer a service that exceeds customer expectations, you can’t expect to keep them on board. You could sell your product for half the price of a competitor. But that means nothing if the customer isn’t happy.
Prove your value as a company. A good price always comes second to excellent customer service.
Jeff Bezos – Always Aim For More
Let’s end with some more advice from Jeff Bezos. This time, he offers sales secrets on how to keep customers engaged with your organisation.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts,” he says. “It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
It’s obvious what he’s saying about customer service here. Your customers have certain expectations when they interact with any business. If you can exceed those expectations, you impress your customers.
Impressed customers come back when they need what your company provides.
But that’s not all you can take from this advice. Successful entrepreneurs succeed because they strive for more in everything that they do. Offering exceptional service isn’t enough.
Aiming for more means constantly innovating to bring new products to the market.
It means analysing your organisation to see where you can make improvements.
It’s simple. “Good enough” isn’t good enough. Strive to be better than everybody else and you’ll improve your organisation.
The Final Word
Running a successful company requires more than having a good product. Those who become successful persevere when everything’s against them. They make high-impact decisions quickly with the knowledge that they can adapt to the consequences.
Successful people also know that customers lie at the heart of their strategies to improve sales productivity. Happy customers means repeat business and better word of mouth.
Follow the advice that these entrepreneurs and business coaches have to offer. You’ll create a focused and efficient organisation that stands a greater chance of achieving success.