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4 Reasons Why Your Sales Call Will Fail

Small Business Trends - Mon, 2017-05-22 08:30

Making sales calls is one of the inescapable responsibilities of being a business owner. No matter what you sell or how big your company is or how much success you’ve enjoyed, as the business owner, you still need to stay actively engaged with the art of selling and finding new business for your company. Unfortunately, many business owners are falling short in the role of sales person. Many business owners don’t want to make sales calls, or think that they shouldn’t have to pick up the phone, or are going about sales calls the wrong way.

Sales Call Mistakes

Here are a few telltale signs that your next sales call will fail:

You’re too nervous. Sales calls require confidence. But if you’re sounding anxious and stumbling over your words, you’re going to make your prospect uncomfortable, and they will be less likely to trust you. Rehearse your sales pitch in advance. Practice recording yourself while holding the phone. Get your sales pitch down to the point where it feels comfortable and easy to remember; then you’ll be more likely to deliver it with ease and aplomb.

You’re too eager. The flipside of a nervous cold call is just as bad — being overly eager. If you’re too eager to get the prospect to agree to a sale or agree to a follow-up meeting, you will make the prospect feel pressured and mistrustful. If the prospect feels like you’re trying to pressure them, they will be skeptical of what you’re selling, and might even hang up. So try not to be too eager. Remember: this sales call is not the end-all, be-all of your sales effort, it is just the start of the process. You don’t have to close the deal on the first call, you just need to see if the prospect is interested, and try to get them to agree to a second call, a meeting, a demo, or whatever the next step of your sales process might be.

You don’t know why you’re calling. Every sales call needs to have a specific goal in mind. You need to know why you’re calling and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, are you asking them to sign up for a product demo? Are you asking them to agree to receive some sales literature for their review? Your sales process should be well organized with several stages to work through; know which stage you’re on and understand the goals for each sales call before you pick up the phone.

You don’t know who you’re talking to. Are you sure that you’re talking to the right person at the company that you’re calling? If not, don’t just launch into your sales script — ask questions to make sure you’re talking to the right decision maker that you actually wanted to reach. Sometimes getting the right person on the phone is a more complex and difficult process than ultimately making the sales call.

You haven’t done your research. B2B sales is all about doing your research and finding prospects that are the right fit for what you sell. Just like the old saying, “measure twice, cut once,” you need to spend a lot more time doing research into your prospects and their organizations before you pick up the phone to call. Make sure this company is really in the right industry, make sure your solution is a good fit, make sure that you’re aligned with each other. Better research leads to better sales calls; without doing your homework, you’re flying blind.

Picking up the phone to make a cold call to a new prospective customer for the first time is not “fun” for most people; it can be frustrating or nerve-wracking. But if you believe in your business, and you want your business to succeed, you need to find a way to keep making sales calls and keep getting better at it by avoiding the four sales call mistakes above.

Sales Call Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "4 Reasons Why Your Sales Call Will Fail" was first published on Small Business Trends

Dream Hotel Group To Triple Existing Portfolio By 2022

Hotel Interactive - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:40
NEW YORK-–Renowned hotel brand and management company Dream Hotel Group, home to its Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and soon-to-launch ...

4 Signs That You Must Pivot or Collapse

Small Business Trends - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:30

The vast majority of startups fail within the first couple of years. While this is sobering, the fact is that many of these failed ventures could have been successful if the entrepreneur behind the startup would have simply recognized the need for a slight pivot. Are you willing and able to face the reality that a pivot could be in store for your business?

What Does Pivoting Actually Mean?

Anyone familiar with basketball has heard the term pivot used by a coach. Within the context of the hardwood, a pivot is a move a player makes after he picks up his dribble.

“Pivoting is done on the ball of the foot,” coach James Gels explains. “You do not want to become flat-footed or have your weight back on your heels. The ball of the pivot foot must be in contact with the floor at all times and must not slide sideways. When you pivot, just actually spin around on the ball of your pivot foot.”

In other words, a pivot is nothing more than keeping one foot in contact with the ground and using your other foot to move around in order to find a new angle or gain an advantage over your defender.

But it’s also important to note the distinction between pivoting and immediately passing. When you pivot, you’re essentially saying, “I’m no longer in a good position to score/pass, but I’m not quite ready to give up the ball. If I could just gain a different angle, maybe I can successfully get rid of the ball.” In a pivot, you aren’t totally abandoning your current situation. Instead, you’re looking for new options that may arise out of your current state.

The term pivot is used a lot in financial circles, as well. You’ll hear financial analysts and stock traders talk about “pivot points” all of the time. What they’re referring to is the point on a stock chart where the market changes directions for the day. By spotting a pivot point, a trader is able to identify a point of leverage and switch gears (so to speak) in order to profit from a change in the marketplace.

The business definition of pivoting, according to Eric Ries, entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, is a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth.” It’s akin to leaving one foot planted on the ground, picking up the other foot, and seeing if a better opportunity exists when you change your orientation. But instead of a basketball, high-tops, and hardwood, you’re dealing with a startup, revenue, and a unique product.

See, the term pivot is commonly used in many different areas of life. But nowhere is a pivot more critical than in the business world. A failure to pivot at just the right time can result in a total collapse of your business. A pivot in the wrong direction can also lead to failure. In fact, you have to pivot at the right time and in the right direction in order to reap the rewards of such a transition.

Groupon, the popular online deal site, is a relevant example of what a successful pivot looks like. Unbeknownst to many, the site actually stemmed from another website, called The Point. It was an online activism platform and was met with very little acceptance in the marketplace. But instead of closing up shop, founder Andrew Mason and his investors performed what has now become a billion-dollar pivot to become profitable.

The Point, which was basically designed to help fix what was broken in the online fundraising industry at the time, did a lot of things wrong. But Mason and his team noticed that it did one thing very well. It allowed groups of people to come together, combine resources, and enhance their buying power. So, instead of totally giving up on The Point, Mason merely pulled this “good part” out and turned it into a group deal site that’s now known as Groupon.

There’s obviously a lot more that went into the pivot — and you can read about it here — but the basic takeaway is that Mason successfully executed a pivot at a time when it looked like his only option was a collapse.

4 Signs That You Must Pivot Pronto

Okay, enough about basketball, stock markets, and deal sites — let’s talk about you. If your startup feels like it’s stuck in place or slowly dying off, it’s time to face reality and start thinking about your two options: pivot or collapse. That may seem overly dramatic, but unless something changes, this is where you’re headed.

But before you pivot, you probably want to be sure that you’re making a smart decision. So, let’s take a look at some of the top signs that you need to pivot as soon as possible:

1. Too Much Competition

You may have had a great idea when you first launched your venture. But the problem is that you won’t be the only one with the idea for long. Bigger companies with much deeper pockets and more powerful workforces often come in and run with somebody else’s idea and do a better job of executing. That’s just the nature of the business world.

If you launched a small tech venture last year and then IBM came in and essentially one-upped you, you don’t really have a choice but to do something differently. You aren’t going to go toe-to-toe with IBM and win. But instead of scrapping the business altogether, you may be able to use some of your resources to pivot in a proprietary direction that others can’t follow.

2. Limited Response from the Marketplace

There’s a difference between doing some customer research and testing before going to market and then actually taking a product to market and trying to sell it to customers. People often say they’re interested in something or willing to pay X dollars for a product, but then totally reject the product when it goes from a prototype to an actual item with a price tag.

If you’ve launched only to experience a lack of customer enthusiasm, then this is a sign that something isn’t right. Either your marketing and branding strategy is terrible, or the product itself doesn’t get people excited. A pivot may be your best option for getting out of the mess.

3. Your Perspective Has Changed

Sometimes a pivot isn’t rooted so much in the product or venture as it is in the founding team. Perhaps you’ve learned a lot since launching and your perspective has changed. As a result, you now see new opportunities that you previously didn’t know existed. This happens a lot when entrepreneurs get more familiar with a niche and begin to understand who their customers are and what they really want.

In this situation, the key is to avoid rushing into a pivot. Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank always suggests sitting on new insights for 72 hours to see if they still seem as good after reflection. If you still see more potential in the pivot, then you may want to start working in this direction.

4. One Part Works Really Well

The fourth sign that you need to pivot is that one part of your business venture is more powerful than the sum of the parts. This is what happened in the Groupon situation. Mason recognized that the best aspect of The Point was the collective buying power it gave people, so he chose to get rid of the other parts and turn that aspect into a new business (i.e. Groupon). Could you do something similar?

Pivoting is Not a Sign of Weakness

Entrepreneurs often put off a pivot because they feel like it’s a sign of weakness – as if they’re publicly admitting failure for everyone to see. But the reality is that the opposite is true. A pivot shows that you’re aware of your surroundings and willing and able to recognize new opportunities as they arise. Investors, business partners, and customers respect this.

So next time you find yourself facing one of the four circumstances outlined in this article, consider the viability of a pivot. It might be the best decision you ever make – just ask Andrew Mason.

Pivot Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "4 Signs That You Must Pivot or Collapse" was first published on Small Business Trends

First Hospitality Group Inc. Honored With Two Prestigious Awards

Hotel Interactive - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:16
ROSEMONT, IL-–First Hospitality Group, Inc. (FHG), a leading hotel management, acquisition and development company, announced today that its Residence Inn Grand ...

Kelly Rohrbach says wearing Baywatch swimsuit hid her burger bulge

Topix - Mon, 2017-05-22 07:08

The 27-year-old blonde beauty plays C.J. Parker in the upcoming movie reboot of the iconic 90s TV show of the same name, which starred David Hasselhoff and focused on a team of Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Model-and-actress Kelly is considered to be one of the world's most beautiful women, but even she suffers from bloating, especially after fast food, but the swimsuit - as famously worn in the TV series by Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra and others - pulled everything in which was great.

Categories: Today's Food News

How Luck Affects Investing in Startups

Small Business Trends - Mon, 2017-05-22 06:30

Suppose you were given $1 million to invest equally across ten start-up companies and you were told that you would receive $100 million if all ten failed and lost your entire investment. Are you sure you could lose all of your money?

This seemingly bizarre question highlights an important point about the role of luck and skill in angel investing. If you cannot guarantee that you will lose money on your angel investments, then there must be some luck involved in the activity. Moreover, if bad luck is necessary to lose all your money on the downside, then good luck might also be necessary to make money on the upside.

How Luck Affects Investing in Startups

Now suppose that there is a cost to trying to lose all your money by picking start-ups in which to invest. Maybe you are required to incur a $10 million loss to try to make the $100 million by identifying ten start-ups that would fail and wipe out your entire investment. Would you take this deal? If you would not accept this deal, then you must believe that there is some amount of bad luck that could result in one of your companies surviving and thereby causing you to lose $10 million.

Remember that luck cuts both ways. You can get lucky and happen upon a winner and you can get unlucky and fail to pick any winners at all. That point has another implication for investing in start-ups. If you’re not sure you can pick losers, then why do you think you can pick winners?

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking luck has a symmetrical effect on the upside and on the downside. Human beings love symmetry and tend to assume that good and bad luck will have similar effects on angel investments. That need not be true. As one angel investor who has funded over sixty startups pointed out to me, “a single stroke of bad luck can destroy a company, but a single strike of good luck cannot make a company successful.”

When luck plays a role, you need a large portfolio. With long shot outcomes, which is what angel investing is, you need a very large sample size to identify whether or not someone has any skill at the activity.

Moreover, the relative balance between luck and skill in an investment tells you something about the size of your investment portfolio. The more luck-dependent something is, the larger a sample size that is needed to draw inference. As the French mathematician Abraham De Moivre found, “the variation of the mean is inversely proportional to the size of the sample.”

What about the balance between the base rate and the individual case? Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman said that prediction depends on identifying the balance between the two. Translated to luck and skill, this means if skill is the most important, you should heavily weight the individual case. But if luck is the most important, then you should focus on the base rate.

A final point I would like to make about luck is how bad human beings are at making attributions to luck. Most people are terrible about understanding the cause of outcomes. We tend to look for patterns in random data. This means that just because someone got lucky and picked a winner the first time doesn’t mean they know anything about picking winners. Following the advice or investment choices of someone who was lucky the first time won’t get you higher returns. Emulating someone else’s approach makes sense only if their skill has contributed to their investment performance.

*This piece is my interpretation of several presentations of an experienced angel investor who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Luck Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "How Luck Affects Investing in Startups" was first published on Small Business Trends

Apple Hospitality REIT Announces June 2017 Distribution

Hotel Interactive - Mon, 2017-05-22 05:46
RICHMOND, VA--Apple Hospitality REIT, Inc. (NYSE: APLE) (the “Company” or “Apple Hospitality”), today announced that its Board of Directors declared a ...

New US Beef Export Deal with China Could Be Huge for Domestic Producers

Small Business Trends - Mon, 2017-05-22 05:00

Sonny Perdue, President Donald Trump’s secretary of agriculture, said once China begins importing American beef under a new trade deal, they will want more.

“When the Chinese people taste our high-quality U.S. beef, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll want more of it,” Perdue said in a statement Friday.

US Beef Export Deal with China

“This is tremendous news for the American beef industry, the agriculture community, and the U.S. economy in general,” Perdue said. “We will once again have access to the enormous Chinese market, with a strong and growing middle class, which had been closed to our ranchers for a long, long time.”

The bi-lateral trade deal announced Thursday will open Chinese markets for American beef by July, allowing American producers to export meat for the first time in 13 years.

China banned U.S. beef in 2003 after it discovered imported meat contaminated with mad cow disease. American beef exports dropped from $3 billion to $1.1 billion by 2004, but the market has since recovered to pre-2003 levels without exporting to China.

Under the new trade deal, China will also be able to export certain cooked poultry products to the U.S. Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said that the impact of poultry products on U.S. producers is uncertain but would not be severe.

American beef producers are pleased by the deal, which finalizes a preliminary agreement to lift the ban on beef imports in China reached in September.

“After being locked out of the world’s largest market for 13 years, we strongly welcome the announcement that an agreement has been made to restore U.S. beef exports to China,” the National Cattleman’s Beef Association said in a statement.

Beef Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "New US Beef Export Deal with China Could Be Huge for Domestic Producers" was first published on Small Business Trends

Good Morning Britain catapulted into meltdown after 'ridiculous' fast food debate

Topix - Mon, 2017-05-22 04:54

For some reason the hot topic of today's debate was fast food on the go and whether it should be ended once and for all. One guest, who was against public transport users eating fast food in transit, said: "Healthy hot food is fine.

Categories: Today's Food News

Duck Donuts Announces New Franchise Location in Alpharetta,...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

Duck Donuts is expanding to the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Georgia, as franchise owner Youn Hee Lee plans a May 19 opening. Duck Donuts will welcome 25-40 new jobs to the Alpharetta community.

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14327493.htm

The ARS Network Announces National Partnership With Nest

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

American Residential Services (ARS), a Memphis, Tenn. based, privately-held national provider of air conditioning, heating and plumbing services, has partnered with Nest Labs, Inc. to include the Nest...

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14333806.htm

Dutch Bros Gets Caffeinated with New Edition of Cold Brew

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

On Friday, May 19, all Dutch Bros officially launches its newest product: handcrafted, nitro-infused Cold Brew Coffee.

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14334427.htm

Creative Learning Corporation Reports That it has Filed its 2nd...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

Creative Learning Corporation announces submission of its 2017 2nd Quarter 10-Q.

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14338233.htm

The Brass Tap Launches Contest to Send Top Tapsters to Prestigious...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

Customers Nationwide to Vote for Their Favorite Local Brass Tap Server Through May 21

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14332492.htm

Slim Chickens Continues Expansion in the Valley, Brings “Better...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

Fast-Casual Franchise Brand Meets Growing Demand in Arizona with East Valley area development

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14333575.htm

As Demand Rises for Top Quality Residential Cleaning Services, Maid...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

The rapidly expanding franchise concept is actively looking for Master Franchisees to own and develop the previously untapped area that’s poised for growth.

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14334228.htm

Local Entrepreneur Brings Pet Wants to Rehoboth Beach

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

Pet Wants Rehoboth Beach is located at 146 Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth Beach and offers free delivery to Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, Henlopen Acres, Lewes, Milton, Harbeson, Oak Orchard and...

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14335270.htm

Engel & Völkers With RPM Mortgage Sponsor the Beverly Hills...

PR Web - Mon, 2017-05-22 03:30

The lifestyle real estate brand upholds its devotion to community and culture in supporting the beloved affair

(PRWeb May 15, 2017)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/05/prweb14334063.htm

EV racing gains momentum

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 02:00
FIA Formula E Championship is gaining traction among automakers as many look to hybrid and all-electric powertrains to lead the next generation of performance vehicles.
Categories: Latest News

Penske, Crain and the obsession that unites them

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-05-22 01:01
As a young man, Penske did well enough to be named Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 1961. But Penske soon would make a decision that would change his life.
Categories: Latest News