Last week small business stakeholders gathered in Phoenix, AZ for #ICON17, a conference coordinated by Infusionsoft – a company whose mission is to help small businesses succeed. For three days I immersed myself in the world of owners, support staff, CEOs, managers, and dreamers. My head is spinning with new information and perspective, but there are three points that I keep coming back to.
1) Follow-up is crucial to your success
In any business opportunity, the deciding factor in whether or not you get the deal could rest heavily in your persistence to simply follow-up. It typically takes 7-12 points of contact with a potential client before they pull the trigger purchase – depending on your industry. If you’re not willing to commit and come back to them time, and time again, you’re losing. It’s that simple.
Ask for an update, offering information, ask questions, answer questions, educate on your products, ask if they’re still interested, share a nugget of knowledge, check in – eight approaches for reaching out to a potential client.
2) Take time to think
We get bogged down day after day with the chore of running a business. Emails need answering, calls need returning, tasks need completing. That leaves very little time to sit and think. Stop for just a moment and try to remember back to the last time you pressed the pause button (and put away the laptop, tablet, phone, etc.) to ponder? Me scowling off into space trying to remember was probably the longest period of uninterrupted thought I’ve allowed myself in quite awhile.
What expert after expert said was to schedule a minimum of two 30-minute blocks of time each week to think. Ideally, do so in a non-office setting where you won’t be interrupted. It’s the foundation of creativity and innovation.
3) There’s still a long way to go
In one presentation, a speaker made a reference to, “the ladies getting together for a Tupperware party.” In another, a woman got up and asked Jillian Michaels how she maintains a work/life balance, heavily inferring the balance between work and motherhood. Odd, I don’t recall any of the men getting asked that question. Could you imagine? “How do you make sure to carve out time to be a Daddy?” It just wouldn’t happen. And then my favorite – when talking to a partner of the event, I said something like, “This looks good. I’ll pass it on to my CEO.” to which the person replied without hesitation, “Definitely give it to him and let me know what he says.” I couldn’t resist. “Her.” He tilted his head, “Huh?” I smiled. “Her. My CEO is a her. I’ll pass it along to her.” He was very gracious about his mistake and hopefully a lesson was learned – but still. It was the hat trick that made me acknowledge it wasn’t in my imagination.
I’m not someone who goes looking for these gender bias, but instances kept hitting me in the face. For the record, this wasn’t the culture at #ICON17 whatsoever, yet I couldn’t seem to avoid it even though the room was filled with female CEOs, business owners, and executives. Brilliant women. Driven women. Outstanding women.
My week at #ICON17 was well worth the next several days I’ll spend catching up on the business of doing business. It’s an amazing opportunity to take a break from the daily grind and think about the big picture. Quality, service, and growth. I’m grateful I was able to attend.
Interested in learning more? Head on over to the Infusionsoft site for details about #ICON18.