For the CEO, stagnation is a myth. You’re either moving forward or getting swept backward in the lightning-fast world of business. There is no standing still.
The world is constantly evolving, and your mindset should be as well. Purposefully shifting your mentality will ensure that you continue thriving as a CEO in 2024.
Here are four critical shifts you should consider making as you work toward becoming an even better leader.
1. Embrace Your Creativity
I recently read a Grit Daily article that talked about embracing your “artist power.” The idea is to rediscover and nurture the boundless creativity and vitality within yourself.
Garrain Jones, who coined the term, said, “artist power is the little kid who remembers, the little kid who’s filled with life, vitality, boundless energy, creativity, bigness. It’s truly the magical world of the inner YOU. You don’t adopt it; you accept it.”
It’s a journey back to the pure, unadulterated joy and imagination of childhood. And as we enter the holiday season, our inner child often wants to come out already.
To tap into your “artist power,” revisit activities you found fun or meaningful during childhood. I will be decorating Christmas cookies to hand out to my neighbors this year. I don’t claim to be a great artist, but it’s something I used to do with my grandmother, and it brings me joy.
If you lose the connection to your creativity and child-likeness, you may feel empty, which can result in compensatory behaviors like overworking. While there are times to buckle down and throw yourself into your company, don’t neglect yourself. Channel your inner child, unlock creativity, and take a moment to enjoy your success.
2. Strike a Genuine Balance
Balance is your new power word. Yes, you’ve heard it a million times, but let’s frame it differently. It’s not just about work-life balance but balancing every aspect of your business and personal undertakings.
Leadership coach Mitch Garber says, “All sorts of people work all sorts of hours, and arguably, if you want to work 24/7, you should be able to without being restricted. CEOs, who notoriously work incessantly through high-pressure situations, need to actively put things in place to make sure they reach some sort of work-life balance and don’t arrive at their deathbed wishing they’d done things differently.”
Make sure you’re taking the time to be your best self. Wake up 30 minutes early to get that workout in, be mindful of your nutrition, and take steps to minimize stress. When you feel your best, you can perform your best.
3. Build a Team Around You
You may be the most capable person in the company, but let’s face it — you’re not a superhero. And that’s OK. Many entrepreneurs and CEOs notoriously fall into this trap. The sooner you realize you can’t do it alone, the better. This is the year to lean into the power of teamwork, collaboration, and delegation.
Start by building a team you trust. Then, truly empower them, giving them the autonomy to make decisions (and mistakes). When you truly trust your team, they’ll do their best to deliver for the business and demonstrate that they’re deserving of the responsibilities placed upon them. This not only produces buy-in from your team, but it shifts the burden from being placed solely on your shoulders.
Also, work to broaden your network. Seek out mentors, join peer groups, and never underestimate the power of a casual chat over a cup of coffee. Having a solid support system around you is imperative to your success.
4. Don’t Marry Your Ideas
Being passionate about your ideas is a sign of a great CEO. But it’s never wise to get married to them, no matter how sure of yourself you may be. The market is constantly changing, and your plans and strategies should reflect that. It’s all about being adaptable.
There’s a thin line between passion and stubbornness. One breeds innovation, the other stagnation. Being married to your ideas can also create friction with your leadership team and cause you to miss out on great business opportunities.
Instead, host regular brainstorming sessions with your team and other trusted advisers. This creates an environment where ideas are welcomed, and free-flowing thinking is embraced. Encourage (and execute) other’s ideas to show that you’re willing to actually consider other perspectives. Do everything you can to avoid being the only thing standing in the way of a great idea.
Your mindset is everything when it comes to growth.
2024 will undoubtedly bring more change and a need for adaptation. CEOs must remain in a constant state of flexibility and growth. The four mindset shifts recommended in this article offer a holistic approach to leadership.
By heeding this advice, CEOs can remain resilient and successful when it comes to navigating the uncertain waters of the future. Those who dare to embrace personal growth will be well-positioned to lead their companies and be an inspiration to those around them.
Image Credit: GETTY
There’s an old saying in sales, that “you eat what you kill.” This line of thinking is typical in the traditional sales mindset — the job of being a salesperson is supposed to be like being a hunter — you’re supposed to be aggressive, proactive and competitive. You’re supposed to get out there and make things happen and win people over and triumph. This mentality has served sales people well for many generations — but what if there is another way of doing sales? What if the new rules of sales are slightly different, and requiring a new approach?
The truth is, in B2B sales, in the new era of digital marketing and social media lead generation and content marketing, when customers are more informed than ever before, the role of the sales person has changed. Successful sales people now are less like “hunters,” and more like “gardeners.”
Sales Mindset Tips
Here are a few reasons why your sales approach might require a change in mindset — and why the best sales people are more like gardeners than hunters.
Sales is a Long-Term Effort
B2B sales success requires steady, incremental effort — like planting and tending a garden, instead of a one-time “kill” from a successful hunt. Just like a good gardener knows how to be patient and stay in it for the long haul, good sales people today need to conduct long-term lead nurturing of their sales prospects. You can’t just expect to go out and make a big sale immediately; these things take time. Especially for major account B2B sales, it might take 12-18 months (or longer) to close a sale, start to finish.
Sales is Collaborative, Not Adversarial
Too many companies seem to think that they are at war with their customers. “You eat what you kill” sounds strange when you really think about it — after all, you shouldn’t want to “kill” your customers, you should want to help them! Ultimately, your job as a sales person or small business owner talking with customers should be to approach the conversation as a collaborative effort. “How can I help you and your business? How can I make your life better? We are on the same team here!” Look for opportunities for your customers’ interests to align with your own.
Ideally, what you are selling should improve your customer’s condition. You’re selling something to the customer, it’s true – but what you’re selling should add so much value to your customer’s life that it is worth more than it costs: in terms of time savings, efficiency gains, productivity boosts, cost reductions, and intangible emotional benefits. Just like gardeners often exchange gardening tips with their friends and neighbors — in a spirit of collaboration — you as a sales person need to be generous and helpful, not aggressive and overbearing.
Sales is About Mutually Beneficial Relationships, Not Zero-Sum “Wins”
Another problem with the traditional “hunter” mentality in sales is that it tends to treat sales as a zero-sum game: “I win, you lose.” If you treat your customers as just points on a scoreboard, they will start to feel that you don’t really care about them. Don’t treat your customers as means to an end. You’re not just there to rack up sales and run up the score; you should be there to create a mutually beneficial sales relationship.
This is not just “the right thing to do,” it’s also smart business. Because in today’s highly networked economy, customers’ word of mouth spreads faster than ever. If customers feel well treated and respected by you, they’ll be likely to tell their friends and give you referrals. If customers feel disrespected or shortchanged or deceived by you, they will shout it from the rooftops on social media and beyond. It can be hard to recover from a damaged reputation and today’s sales business is all about trust. Make sure you are sincerely, earnestly adding value and bringing a spirit of care and connectedness to your sales conversations. Customers aren’t there to give you a sale — you are there to help the customer.
Think about it in terms of gardening: do most gardeners hoard their vegetables and brag about how great their tomatoes are? No! They tend to share the bounty at harvest time. At its best, gardening has a sense of abundance. People don’t garden because they want glory and trophies, they do it because they want to learn and share and grow. Successful sales people today should have this same attitude — it’s about growing relationships and having a rich bounty of sales opportunities over time.
You are not fighting your customers, you’re trying to help them. You’re not enemies, you’re on the same team. If you can bring a spirit of generosity and cooperation to your sales process — thinking less like a “trophy hunter” and more like a “gardener” — your sales success is likely to blossom.
The Principles of Gardener-Like Sales Success
As businesses evolve in the digital age, sales strategies are undergoing a profound transformation. The outdated hunter mentality, where salespeople aggressively pursued leads for quick wins, is being replaced by a more nurturing and collaborative approach inspired by gardeners. This shift is driven by the recognition that lasting success requires cultivating relationships, fostering trust, and tending to prospects over time. Here are key principles that define the gardener-like sales success of today:
1. Cultivate Long-Term Growth
In the realm of modern sales, the gardener-like approach emphasizes collaboration, value creation, and cultivating relationships that stand the test of time. By embracing these principles, salespeople can sow the seeds of lasting success, nurturing an abundant harvest of satisfied customers and sustainable growth. Just as gardeners tend to their plots with care and dedication, successful salespeople tend to their prospects with a commitment to value and mutual benefit.
The evolution of sales in the digital age brings forth a fundamental shift from the traditional hunter mentality to a more nurturing and collaborative approach inspired by gardeners. While the hunter mindset of aggressive pursuit and quick victories has its merits, the changing dynamics of B2B sales demand a new perspective. Today’s successful salespeople are akin to gardeners, recognizing that the cultivation of relationships, trust, and mutual benefit holds the key to sustained success.
In the contemporary landscape, the principles of gardener-like sales success shine brightly:
As salespeople transition from being mere hunters to becoming adept gardeners, they sow the seeds of sustainable success. Just as gardeners cultivate their plots with dedication, successful salespeople tend to their prospects with unwavering commitment to value and partnership. The garden of sales success flourishes not through aggressive pursuit but through collaborative nurturing, resulting in an abundant harvest of satisfied customers, enduring relationships, and a thriving business ecosystem.
Source : https://smallbiztrends.com
Image Credit : Shuttershock
Some people go into business to pursue a passion — but if that passion doesn’t pay, the business won’t last. One way to keep a passion going in the modern marketplace is to create a marketing strategy designed to increase online sales.
Whether or not your business has a brick-and-mortar presence, it is critical to focus on enhancing the digital home for your company. It’s the way of commerce these days. In fact, in 2014, global ecommerce sales were around $1.34 billion, according to Statista. By 2026, these online sales are expected to reach nearly $8.15 billion — and that’s likely due to the way people are shopping today more than the realities of inflation.
Regardless of your industry and niche, you’ll be wise to plan and execute a sales strategy that will enhance your online presence and improve your bottom line. When you implement sales techniques that are proven best practices, you’ll be more likely to continue sharing your passion with the world for as long as you wish.
How to increase sales for your business
A comprehensive marketing strategy should be part of any business plan, as the sales process starts with connecting with a potential customer in some way. In today’s sales world, your digital marketing strategies can be one of the most effective ways to make those connections, strengthen relationships, and encourage people to become loyal customers for years.
Selling on the Internet requires substantial planning if you don’t have time or money to waste. To begin, schedule some time with your marketing team (even if you’re the only member).
Learning how to increase online sales — to understand what works specifically for your business — takes time and often requires experimentation. Be realistic with this process; the more time you take to brainstorm and consider the most effective sales tactics, the more success you’ll see.
1. Develop detailed buyer personas to define your target audience
The first step in understanding how to improve sales is to gain a clear vision of who exactly you wish to have as a customer. Do not make the common mistake of having a very broad concept of who you are trying to connect with. The narrower the focus on your ideal customer, the easier it will be to attract that kind of person.
To develop this definition, create what is known as a buyer persona. Also known as a customer avatar, this starts by imagining a particular person who is your ideal customer. Give this person a name and physical description, list all their personal demographics, and consider aspects of them, like their pain points, habits, and interests.
Once you have this idea of a happy customer, you can speak directly to them with all of your sales prospecting and marketing efforts. Don’t worry about leaving out other potential customers. Once you’ve connected with people who relate to your buyer persona, you can always create a new one and implement a new strategy for a different avatar.
2. Craft a unique selling proposition (USP)
A question I ask all new clients is, “What makes your brand first, better, or different?” When you can clearly answer this, you’re on your way to creating what is known as a unique selling proposition, or USP. Understanding what makes you stand out among the competition is the very heart of an effective sales pitch.
Your USP should be focused on two important things: First, you need to understand the problem that your buyer persona is facing, and then you need to provide the best solution to whatever the problem is. When you focus on this end result, you are on your way to creating a clear marketing message that will help you improve sales online and offline.
3. Build strong customer relationships by establishing trust
Once you know who you’re marketing to and how you can help them, it’s time to create marketing materials to connect with them. As you learn how to make sales, you’ll eventually realize that sales are all about relationships.
Relationships mean forging a connection that is built on trust, respect, and confidence that you can consistently provide the desired product or services. Because trust is so important, it’s important not to endlessly pitch online sales but instead focus on excellent customer service. If your potential buyer thinks all you care about is money, they may look elsewhere — no matter how great your brand is.
4. Optimize your sales funnel to maximize conversion rates
One way to create this relationship is through a method known as a sales funnel. This is a sales marketing automation process that starts with a wide net to attract as many prospects with a free offer, such as an e-book, a discount code, or another lead generation tool.
One way to create a funnel is by announcing the offer on a social media platform or paid advertisement campaign. Once the person provides their email address, perhaps through a pop-up on a landing page on your website, they are in the funnel. You can create an automatic email campaign that sweetens the offer and keeps your business top of mind until they complete the sale.
When you optimize this process by focusing on your buyer persona, you’ll improve your sales conversion rate — which is just one metric you can track along the way as you determine if your strategy is successful.
5. Continuously improve and innovate your products or services
Even if you follow all the best sales tips and implement marketing efforts flawlessly, you won’t see results if you aren’t constantly innovating. The reality is that you must also put time and energy into refining your catalog of services and products to continually meet the needs and desires of your target audience.
This is usually the fun part of having a business you’re passionate about, but constant improvement can also be a challenge. So, it’s worth noting that learning how to improve sales requires a brand that gets better every day.
6. Develop a strong social media presence
To connect with your target audience, you need to meet them where they are. Today, most people spend time on social media. Statista reports that nearly six billion people worldwide use at least one social media account. Make sure you determine where your buyer persona hangs out online and focus your presence there.
It’s better to have a robust presence on one or two social media accounts than to spread yourself thin by trying to be everywhere all at once. Some businesses naturally make more sense on some platforms — wedding photographers, for example, should show their work on Instagram — but it’s most important to be where your customers are.
Once you have narrowed your focus, create a plan for regular posting. You can use scheduling tools to post email newsletters automatically to your Facebook or Instagram accounts. And be sure to reply to comments and encourage discussions, to improve relationships over time.
7. Send targeted and personalized email campaigns
One of the best strategies to increase sales is to implement an email marketing campaign. The average return on investment for this type of marketing is $36 for every $1 spent, making it one of the most effective practices. One reason for this is the ability to personalize email campaigns.
As you gather email addresses through your sales funnel campaigns, keep your lists tidy. Email segmentation is a process in which you have various lists rather than one huge one. This makes sales promotion easier because you’ll know how to directly target specific buyers who are interested in what your business has to offer.
You can use templates to make the process of creating emails easier, so you can send messages frequently. If your messages are targeted to address the specific needs of your target audience, the receivers will appreciate your efforts.
8. Run paid targeted digital marketing campaigns
To speed up the sales process, you can increase your marketing budget and pay for targeted digital ads. Many entrepreneurs struggle to get noticed — especially in the face of huge corporate marketing budgets — so it’s crucial that you narrowly define the potential buyers you want to target with any paid advertising campaign.
With all marketing efforts, start by identifying the goals of your paid ad campaign. You may want to increase the number of prospects in your email list, the number of followers of your social media accounts, or simply a better conversion rate. When you have a goal to measure, you can create a customer journey that drives people to complete the action you desire.
9. Leverage the power of data analytics to refine your marketing strategies
As you implement new, unique ways to increase sales, you’ll want to make sure you’re hitting your targets. The only way to ensure that your efforts are hitting the mark is by tracking the metrics associated with your strategy’s goals. Pick no more than a few quantitative marketing metrics to track at least monthly. Some options are:
10. Implement a customer feedback system to identify areas for improvement
You know the importance of customer service for encouraging your buyers to become lifelong, loyal shoppers of your brand. One way to share this priority with your customers is to ask them to share valuable feedback about their customer experience.
You can do this by creating a short customer survey emailed directly to their inboxes. Another way is to provide an incentive that encourages them to post testimonials on sites like Google Business or Facebook Business.
Then, be sure to reply in a constructive, professional manner to each person who took the time to share their thoughts. Always view criticism as constructive and an opportunity to show how much you value the thoughts of everyone — even when you think their opinion isn’t fair. Always look for ways to improve.
11. Continuously invest in the professional development of your sales team
Another way to constantly improve is to support your team’s learning through professional development opportunities. It may not seem like how to drive sales, but a happy, growth-oriented team will have greater motivation and better skills to convert sales.
Instead of requiring your team to attend specific webinars or workshops, consider having an open-door policy of encouraging them to come to you with professional development ideas. Let them know that you have a budget for them to grow within the organization, and you may be surprised by the ideas that interest them — and help your bottom line.
12. Identify strategies to upsell to current customers
Once you have a satisfied customer, you can offer other ways to deepen their relationship with your brand. Instead of simply focusing on getting new prospects, look at how to increase sales with people who already know and love your products and services.
Brainstorm with your sales team new ways to create packages, long-term solutions, and whatever makes sense for your niche. If you’re looking to understand how to increase sales on Shopify, for example, start with people who have already purchased from your online store. Since you already have their email address, you could create a VIP program that offers a special discount for new products or services.
13. Form partnerships with complementary business
While you may think of other businesses as competition, you can enhance your current position in the marketplace by working with others. When you partner with businesses that offer complementary services or products, both you and the other business owners can leverage each other’s customer base.
Be creative as you consider what businesses you’ll want to partner with, but also be cautious. A crisis with another brand could negatively impact yours, so thoroughly interview whomever you want to work with.
14. Implement a customer loyalty program to reward your clients
You don’t have to own a café with a punch card that offers customers to buy nine coffees to get the 10th one for free. You can have a customer loyalty program no matter your industry. Start once again by figuring out what will most motivate your buyer persona. If you offer something no one actually wants, they won’t feel special — and making them feel special is the point.
One way to find out what matters most to your best customers is to simply ask them. Would they like to learn about new products before everyone else, or would they prefer to get a discount with their purchase? One of the most popular perks for customer loyalty is free shipping on online sales. Be creative — but be strategic, too.
15. Implement a referral program with loyal customers
Finally, ask those loyal customers to share the news about your brand with their friends and family. Referral programs are an excellent strategy when figuring out how to increase sales. These methods are win-win: You offer the customer an incentive as well as provide an incentive to the new customer.
Send an announcement as part of a content marketing strategy and post the new plan on your social media accounts. Then, when a customer refers a friend, you can thank them publicly, too.
Continuously embrace technology and simplify your sales processes
All of these steps to increase your sales online have something in common: Continuously embracing the newest technology to meet the ever-evolving needs of your current and prospective customers. Even if your business was at one point completely off-grid, the economy is shifting — and you can too.
As a first step in this process to expand your reach and improve your bottom line, take a critical look at your website. After all, much of the marketing work you’ll do will drive traffic to your website. So make sure it functions well on all devices and is designed with your buyer persona in mind. If you find that it doesn’t match these goals, then it may be time to refresh your website and build new landing pages as part of a refined marketing strategy.
Also, there’s no need to make this process a one-person show. Get the opinions of your team members and other stakeholders in your business. Reach out to some of your most loyal customers and trusted business associates. It will help to get a fresh perspective on your current digital presence, which will make it easier to improve your brand in the future.
When we "grow up" in the business world, we are taught the importance of hitting goals within a timeline:
Close the sale this week!
Call 25 new prospects!
Get a yes today!
And yet this is a very masculine approach to business. I'm not talking gender here, but rather energy. Masculine energy in the workplace looks like:
But as we see more of a spiritual approach to business, we are also seeing the feminine aspect come in, which often involves:
It's when we allow this feminine aspect in that we invite flow in.
What is flow in business?
When you try to force something, how often do you actually achieve what you wanted? Maybe you're trying to close a deal. The potential client hasn't given you an answer. So you call her.
And email her.
And tweet her.
As a result, she never responds and you lose the sale. What might have happened if you just allowed things to take their natural course? Maybe she didn't respond because she was ill. Maybe she just takes longer to make a decision. In that case, you forcing the issue will not convince her to buy your product.
Sales experts try to convince us that if you let a lead get cold, you'll never make the sale. That's a masculine point of view. Certainly, follow up. But then back off. Realize that you likely aren't the center of this potential customer's world, and by bugging them too much, you may lose the opportunity.
Yes, it takes a shift to move from that assertive/aggressive approach to sales we've all been taught to simply sitting back and waiting, but in my mind, the latter is a better way to succeed in business.
When things don't go according to plan
If you have a business plan, I invite you to take it out and look at it. Depending on the last time you updated it, the goals you have in your plan may no longer align with where your business is.
And that's okay.
Businesses are living, breathing entities. They are meant to change and adapt to their surroundings (how many of us had to adapt because of the pandemic? Show of hands?). A business plan should be only a loose guide for where you want to take your business in the immediate future. It should be updated to reflect where you currently are. You might need to change your target audience, the products you offer, your price point, or your marketing plan.
I've learned the hard way not to expect things to go according to plan. Clients abruptly end contracts. Project scopes shift and creep. Clients pay late. Rather than get bent out of shape that things aren't going the way you expected them to, just let go of expectations and go with the flow in business.
To go with the flow, see the big picture
When I used to lose a client, my mind would immediately go into panic mode, thinking about the loss of income. That no longer happens because time and again, I have seen that gap in income replaced by an even bigger client.
It's often hard to see beyond the moment you're in, especially if you have no idea how the problem will be rectified. Just remember: this is temporary, and there's a reason for everything. You may have had a client leave to make room for an even bigger and better one a few months down the road.
Just try to be present and know that good things are coming.
An exercise for allowing the flow
If you're Type A, the idea of going with the flow in business probably is stressing you out. You have trouble letting go of expectations. Let me ask you: what good does having those expectations do if they always fall short?
Humor me by trying out this meditation and visualization.
Get comfortable and close your eyes. Take three deep breaths.
Envision a stream, with water flowing in one direction. Simply observe the water for a while.
Now imagine the issue that is bothering you. If it's a demanding client, see that person. If it's a stack of unpaid bills, see the bills. Whatever the thing is, see it flowing down the stream away from you.
Let it drift away.
You might even snicker a little to see your demanding client flailing as he flows down the stream. Humor is healing.
Now see something positive replacing that first stressful thing you sent away. See clients you love working with. See piles of money. This you can envision flowing toward you from upstream. See yourself standing in the water, accepting this gift. Feel gratitude for the gift.
Take three more breaths. Open your eyes.
You can do this visualization any time you feel blocked or stressed by a situation. You might even write down what you see so you can look back to see how you overcame those obstacles later.
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