Leadership lies in understanding how and why customers will buy from your business.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
Successful businesses are led be leaders who have a clear idea of their core business – they know what they do and who they do it for.
Interestingly, while it might appear clear who and what a business stands for, often you need to look for what the business is really selling beyond face value.
“I always like to use the example of Harley Davidson,” says Michael Allschwang, managing executive of Vodacom Business. “If asked what Harley Davidson sells, you’ll probably say motorbikes, accessories, even leather wear.
“While this is all accurate, what they actually sell is the possibility for a 43-year-old accountant to ride through a small town in black leather and have everyone afraid of him. That’s the dream, and it’s why people spend so much on Harleys and the associated gear.”
Focusing on growth
So, as a business leader, how do you focus on the right areas of your business to ensure overall growth? Allschwang believes the following three areas are good starting points:
- Segmentation. If you segment properly, you will naturally become the market leader. For example, when Energade launched inSouth Africathere were a number of similar products on the market. “None of them had positioned themselves as the sports drink of choice though, which left a gap open for Energade, something they have executed extremely well,” says Allschwang.
- Look for clients.“A few years ago I was called to our Tanzanian office,” reflects Allschwang. “Sales were down and we needed to find a way to improve them. Step one was determining why they had dropped. Our sales leader on the ground blamed the market, but I wanted to determine what was happening for myself. When I arrived, the entire sales staff was there. I started looking through every cupboard and drawer in the office. The sales staff joined me. No one asked me what I was looking for. At the end of the day, I mentioned this. I then told them that I had been looking for clients, since all of them were in the office, and surely sales reps are where the clients are? You can’t sell if you aren’t meeting prospects.”
- Understand the formula for sales success. According to Allschwang , the equation is simple: [S + K] x [E + A] = [G + O]. “In this equation, S = Level of skill,” he says. “You can’t change the economy, but sales people (and managers) can change their listening, probing and closing techniques. K = knowledge. How well do you know the business of your clients and your product? E = Effort, and A=Activity. This is what you put in and where you put it – hard work does pay off. G = Goals, and O = Objectives. In other words, where your business is going. Skills, knowledge, effort and activity do pay off.”
Ultimately, understanding and implementing these three areas will lead you to the tools and processes that you need in order to see results as the leader of your business.
“First you need to know what you need to achieve though, and then you can determine how you are going to get there,” concludes Allschwang.
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