Insights 2010 is over. So much great information. So many informative sessions, Hands On Work Shops, keynotes, got to see old friends and make new ones. Now that I’m back in (You Fill In The Blank) what do I do first to make my business better?
It’s been a week and some of the “feel good” is getting up and going. While I was away, the business continued on, customers called, prospects were wondering why I wasn’t calling, it’s time to get back at it. But what’s the first thing that I should do?
I’ve read that it’s usually the second to fourth week after a conference that attendees completely forget everything that they learned and then they’re back doing the same thing(s) prior to going.
I want to learn more about this thing called The Cloud, but Mrs. Smith is calling with a problem, my sales manager wasn’t selling or managing while I was in Denver. His golf handicap mysteriously went down 3 strokes. I’m in Denver and his handicap goes down, coincidence? I think not.
Mr. Brown is calling because he’s heard about this Social Media thing and wants to bend my ear about what’s the best approach for his business. Of course he wants me to set it up for him, but he doesn’t want to pay. I then remember what Ed Kless was saying about Pricing On Purpose. I want to put Mr. Brown on a Access Level Agreement but I don’t know how to accomplish that. I should call Ed but I don’t know him. I have kept track of all the time that Mr. Brown has usurped from my available time and the number is astounding. I’ve essentially worked for free for him with no hope of ever making him an “A” customer. I need to start putting a price on my Knowledge because my knowledge is all I have left to offer. I’ve let customers like Mr. Brown get it for free and I’ve given them the unwritten permission to do so. Not any more! I’m not a commodity!
I run the risk of losing him as a customer, but what kind of a customer is he? He doesn’t respect me or my staff, my staff doesn’t like working with him because he’s abusive and refuses to deal with anyone but me. I heard at Insights that when customers like Mr. Brown leave they’re better off with another VAR and my business will get more productive. I understand that it will take time but I believe that I’m willing to take that step. I met a partner from Knoxville who lost 50% of his customers when he made the switch but his business has continued to grow and flourish as a result of taking that leap of faith.
I want to read Rob Johnson’s book Kick Your Own Ass, because I’ve attended the 5 day Sales Academy and got a lot from it but I don’t have the time right now because Mr. Brown is on the phone again. I know that I need to make my business more lean and mean.
I want to blog because I’ve heard that blogging can work together with a well thought out Social Media plan for my business. I also heard that it’s another way of building a network. I see a lot of people blogging sporadically but there are some partners who provide a valuable message in their blogs. The first name that comes to mind is Wayne Schulz, I think he’s in Connecticut but I don’t him either.
How do the successful VAR’s operate? How do they seem to be at the top of the heap year in and year out? I have no clue because I don’t run my business any longer, it runs me.
What about this LinkedIn Group? Someone was talking about it, well actually a lot of people were talking about it. Should I join? Will I learn anything? Will I build a bigger and better network? By the way, the answer is “yes” to the prior questions. Then I heard that to get the most out of it I need to participate in discussions, etc. I don’t have the time, remember? Crap, Mr. Brown is calling again. Instead of picking up the phone I do something differently this time, I ask my assistant to tell Mr. Brown that I’m in a meeting and won’t be available for a few hours. Hey, that felt pretty good.
I think what I will do is look at my business from the “outside.” I need to look at it realistically, it’s important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses are. Then and only then can I start to make well informed business decisions. Then I need to make those decisions and stick by them. I don’t want my business to continue running me any longer, I think that I might connect with some of the Sage Power Houses and pick their collective brains to see what they’re doing that I’m not. I want to be successful, I want to be recognized as a leader and someone that other people come to when they have questions, but I’ve let my business run me around like a mouse on a hamster wheel.
So here’s what I’m going to do and my new Mantra;
ANALYZE, STRATEGIZE AND UTILIZE
See you all next year!