2 approaches to lifting client satisfaction levels



This formula shows how people calculate their satisfaction with what you’ve done for them.

Satisfaction = Reality – Expectation

Obvious, I know, but all too often forgotten. So here are two ways to lift your clients satisfaction levels .

  1. Make whatever you deliver for them much better.
  2. Promise them less.

Option 1 is by far the best but if you’re a bit short of time I’d probably go for option 2.

Hope this helps.

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Posted in Customer Service, Relationships

Make your whole organisation part of your sales team

That way you fools!

That way you fools!

Just supposing you wanted to get everybody in your organisation behind the growth of your business.

You know the sort of thing: everybody promoting the same message; looking for suitable new clients and engaging anybody who has shown even a modicum of interest in what you do.

Well you could hire a consultant to help you or maybe even attend a course or two but supposing you didn’t have the time or the money to do this. Well there’s a very cheap (free) and simple alternative that’ll do you proud and all you need to do is answer 5 questions. Here they are: –

  1. Who do you want as clients?
  2. What challenges do they have that you can overcome?
  3. What do you do?
  4. How do you do it?
  5. What is the final outcome for the client?

Let’s have a look at my answers to these questions then: –

  1. Anybody responsible for the growth of a small to medium sized business.
  2. Insufficient growth or looking to eventually sell their business
  3. Create a robust method to consistently find, convert and cultivate new clients to maximise incoming revenue.
  4. Onsite consultancy; a mixed business growth programme or online.
  5. Be completely in control of how their business grows.

Duh duuurrr!

Your first drafts will probably have too many words in them; aim for about 60 words or less because when it comes to this kind of message less is very definitely more.

If you struggle to do this my advice is to give it to somebody else and tell them they HAVE to make it less than 60 words – you may be quite surprised at what they come up with!

All you need to do now is make sure that everybody in your organisation can answer these 5 questions. Take your time but be very persistent until everybody from the receptionist to the CEO can answer them in the same way.

You can turn this into an “elevator speech” just add the following words before each answer: –

  1. We work with those people responsible for the growth of a small or medium business
  2. Who are experiencing insufficient growth or perhaps want to sell up one day
  3. Well what we do is create a robust method to consistently find, convert and cultivate new clients to maximise incoming revenue.
  4. We do this by onsite consultancy, a mixed business growth programme or entirely online.
  5. The result is they become completely in control of how their business grows.

It may not make a sale for you but it’s likely to start a conversation that just might.

Let’s see what damage you can do now. Give it a go and feel free to publish as comments on this blog post and I’ll happily critique them for you.

Courtesy of

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Posted in Business Development, Differentiation

Stand out from your co-workers – buy a red cap (and use it).

Do we need a national Red Cap day?

Do we need a national Red Cap day?

A while back I was sitting on a flight from London to Singapore when I struck up a conversation with the chap sitting next to me.

He was a freelance accountant working for an Indonesian company but based in England. After the usual small talk the conversation drifted around to business travel (in his job he had to do rather a lot of it).

He said that years ago any travel whether by car, rail or plane was his thinking time or, if he was with a colleague, the time they talked strategy not tactics. He went on to say that with mobile devices and 4G his only refuge now was long-haul flights.

We both agreed that the accepted belief that “you must be available 24/”‘ held by most businesses these days just results in everybody living in a tactical world with little time left over for innovative or creative thinking.

He then told me of an accounts department he’d worked for once who were big on open-plan and so low on the opportunity for strategic thought. The deal was if you didn’t want to be interrupted you wore a red baseball cap. Nobody, not even the MD apparently, would talk to somebody who was sporting their chapeau rouge.

They recognised that everybody, especially leaders, needs some uninterrupted time when they can focus their thoughts.

Think about that for a moment. A busy office environment; a real need to focus and concentrate and a sign that says “leave me alone”. How cool would that be! So perhaps we all need a physical version of a red hat (or maybe even just a red hat) to enable us to fence off some personal thinking time that everybody respects, even the boss.

Or perhaps we could all just take more long-haul flights.


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Posted in Creativity, Efficiency and Effectiveness

Half a million deal on the strength of personality

By Christmas 1997 I was the MD of a multi-million pound IT services business and bored to tears. My partner and I had our usual festive lunch and based upon this fact and our firm belief that “if you lose passion for your business sooner or later you’ll lose your business” we decided the time had come to sell up.

The last remnant of the once mighty Software Knowledge - a coaster.

The last remnant of the once mighty Software Knowledge – a coaster.

We had connections with two of the big four consultancies: one through a “fastest growing private company” thing we used to feature in and one through a mutual friend and so we approached both.

After the initial meeting they both asked for very similar information with which to do their research and produce their pitch. So far so good and all very exciting. Then the day came for them to present to us – we arranged for both presentations to be on the same day.

The first team did a great job of presenting their approach and what they felt they could get for us and if I’d needed to make a decision there and then I would have gone with them. What you’d expect from one of the “Big 4” I guess.

After lunch we sat in the second presentation which was remarkably similar to the first. In fact if you hadn’t known it was impossible you could’ve been forgiven for assuming that both teams had written their presentations together in the same room they were so identical. But we had to make a decision.

In the end we went with Mark Asplin and his team at KPMG, for 3 reasons: –

  1. He seemed to really understand us as people: our fears, what we wanted and the enormity of what we were about to do.
  2. He insisted I call up at least one person he had recently sold a business for and take a personal reference. That impressed me a lot!
  3. We just got on with him more than the other guy.

The reason I’ve written this blog is simple. In today’s corporate world of tenders, supplier lists and purchasing departments its sometimes easy to forget that given the choice people will always buy from those that they like, trust and feel valued by. 

Mark’s fee was £500k; he earned every penny and he won the deal because he demonstrated his abilities (Big 4 – never in question really), his understanding of us as people and we liked him and his team.

Never underestimate the power of personality.

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Posted in Business Development, Differentiation, New Business, Relationships, Uncategorized

Proxy measurements: how some numbers can be misleading and dangerous

Lies, damned lies and statistics.

Lies, damned lies and statistics.

People like numbers. Read a piece of text and our eyes are naturally drawn to any numbers it contains: percentages, ratios, fractions, money and even plain old numbers just draw us in.

The problem is that some people use this to their advantage by measuring things that have no real effect upon the end-goal. Check these out: –

  • Number of inches of published PR/how much it would cost if you’d paid for it.
  • Number of people who attended an event.
  • Number of business cards collected at a trade show
  • E-Newsletter subscriptions
  • Number of connections on LinkedIn; followers on Twitter, blog subscribers or friends on Facebook.
  • Numbers of likes, shares or retweets on anything.
  • One law firm I know (not a client) even measures the total number of words in their blogs – how desperate is that!

None of these numbers have a direct connection with how much revenue a business makes. People like to think they do but it’s mostly anecdotal evidence and therefore so much hocum-pokum.

So here is the definition of a real performance metric. Anything that you can relate directly to your end objective – in most cases revenue or bottom line profit.

Now, I’m not saying don’t collect numbers and statistics (I love to see how many followers I have on this blog – “oh vanity thy name is Michael”) but what I am saying is either treat them as a bit of fun and attach nothing important to them (budgets, pay rises etc.) or gather additional data that will allow them to become meaningful performance metrics.

So for example recording the number of new prospects added to your pipeline each month really doesn’t tell you anything useful (they might all be poor candidates). But if you also happen to know the average conversion rate of prospects into clients this figure takes on a completely different importance. If you also happen to have an average revenue per client figure you can estimate the effect on your  revenue an increase in prospects is likely to lead to. Now that’s a performance metric I can get behind!

Measurement by proxy is often championed by those who can’t prove their worth but feel the need to do so. They’re pointless, misleading and sometimes delusional statistics. My advice? If you see them simply ask “and so how does this affect the bottom line?” and see what happens.

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Posted in Business Development, Communication, Efficiency and Effectiveness, Lead generation, Leadership, New Business, Targets, Uncategorized
Mike Ames

Passionate about making business development a profession not just a job. Built and sold a £40m group in less than 9 years. Doing it all again and loving it!

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