Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

#63 I Have No Idea How To Move Forward

iniartworksmallI feel stuck and have no idea how to move forward in my business. What should my next move be?

Hey Guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included and I am feeling stuck in my business here.

Aaagghhh! I definitely feel better than I did the other day when I had rehashed my membership into something that was worse than what it was before. So I am feeling better about that, but I am definitely feeling stuck about scaling my business and getting it to the point where it generates enough revenue to support me. I have had quite a few good months in the past, but the money just seems to have dried up. I am not getting new signups.

I still have some recurring revenue from old signups and that is going to cover my costs, but that is it. So it is not going to make any profit, or generate me any profit to live off or to grow my business off. Definitely I am in a place where I am starting to get concerned and frustrated. I feel like I am in an impasse where I just do not know how to move my business forward. I do not know if the products that I have are the right products.

I do not know if the way I am positioning them is correct. Maybe I just need to change the way I am positioning them, change the way that I do my marketing because I am getting more traffic than ever before to my site OnProperty.com.au. I am getting 2,000 people a day, coming to that site which is quite a lot for the Australian property space. And I just cannot seem to convert that traffic into revenue for my business. And so I am very frustrated at the moment. I do not know whether to just push forward to continue marketing the products that I have.

I do not know whether I need to change the pricing or change the positioning or if I need to go in a new direction all together and create new products. I am just feeling very stuck and I cannot work out in my mind what to do to move forward and to get out of this.

I am passionate about it; it is not that I am in a rut and am sick of On Property. I am keen to invest in On Property. I am keen to make it something awesome. But I kind of feel like I have lost that original vision of just trying to help people find and invest in positive cash flow property. It has kind of become this Frankenstein monster where it is a whole bunch of things and tools and courses and a whole bunch of videos that have nothing to do with positive cash flow property.

I just feel like I have lost my way, and I just do not know what I am doing. I do not know if I am at the point where maybe On Property, because I am not willing to compromise on my ethics and sell developments, maybe I am at the point where I need to realize that On Property is not going to be a full time gig for me. It is not going to be a one-site that creates a full time income, and I need to explore other revenue-generating avenues as well.

I have my site DreamyDad.com, which I have created. But that is probably not going to do anything for at least 6 months. I am really spewing that I got rid of Inspiring Audio Books and I got rid of Tired and Sleepy, because at least they were combined making a hundred dollars a month. And if I was at this point right now where I am struggling with On Property, I could work on those and try and scale those. But I am at the point now where really, anything that I want to create, I need to create from scratch because the public speaking site is not making any money and I do not think will be in the future.

I am making some ad revenue on that now, so probably a hundred dollars a month or something in ad revenue. And then the podcasting site that makes a bit of money, but I do not know how I want to scale that. And so I am just stuck and I am frustrated. And I do not know what to do next so I do not know.

I am just working an hour this morning, had to set a couple of things up but then I have date day with my wife. And then I am mentoring at a high school this afternoon, so I will not be doing much work today. And then tomorrow my wife is flying down to Sydney because her sister is opening a new business, so she is going down to help her with that. So I will be on dad duty Friday to Saturday, and then I am probably going to work on Sunday because I have lost a day on Friday.

So at least I have a couple of days where I have an excuse to not work and i can think about my business and I can think about where I want to take it. I have set up like an email mini-course that I am sending out over the next 4 to 7 days to people.

It is actually part of one of my courses, but the benefit is that it kind of suddenly markets my course on how to find positive cash flow properties. But I also use Property Tools inside of that quite heavily and so it markets Property Tools. And really, what I want to find out by sending this out to my list is can I create videos that use Property Tools, will that result in people signing up and using Property Tools.

That is what I want to find out because if I can find out that yes, that is the case. If I create free videos that I can give away where I use Property Tools, and if people will sign up for it because they have seen these free videos, well then I really have a marketing strategy that I can move towards and I can just look at what videos can I create where I use my product, and then I can focus on that.

Or I am even thinking, I am even at a point now, should I turn on Property Listings back to Evergreen? Should I change the pricing back to $30 a month? But should I change it to the Evergreen Launch Funnel where people go through this launch funnel and then it opens for 5 days for them and then it closes. So I am actually thinking of going back to that because at least the revenue for that was a bit more consistent than what I am getting for the moment, which is basically no sales at the moment.

Sales for Property Tools have dropped off. Sales for On Property Listings have dropped off. I was doing really well and I had my best revenue month ever, just like a month and a half ago. And now, I am feeling stuck and that is the process of a startup. And so I do not know how I want to get out of this. I do not know how I am going to do it.

I am really feeling stuck and frustrated. But I did want to document this to you guys and to me in the future to go back and to realize that this is hard, that I need to think my way out of this problem, and i really do not know what to do and I am hoping that I get some sort of spark of genius. I get some sort of idea that can help me, but at the moment I am really stuck.

And so, if you are religious, please pray for me to help give me ideas and to help give me a way forward; or shoot me an email, Ryan@RyanMclean.net and encourage me or share some ideas with me about things that you think I could be doing better because I need your help.

I cannot do this by myself and I think I am realizing that more and more. I really need the input of my wife, and also I need the input of other people and you guys. And I am just trying to work this out and I do not know what to do. Do I push forward? Do I change my pricing? Do I change my marketing strategy? Do I go to a new niche altogether?

If you have any ideas, please email me Ryan@RyanMclean.net. I am going to sign off now. I am just going to go and try and think of something to do. I do not know. If I get an idea, I will let you guys know.

Until next time, if you want instructions turn and listen to me because I have no idea what I am doing. Go and buy some furniture.

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#62 I’m Such An Idiot

iniartworksmallMaybe I hit the reset button a little too quickly. I made an idiotic decision that I had to immediately undo.

Oh my! I am such an idiot! My goodness!

Hey! This is Ryan from Instructions Not Included and I made a big mistake in my business. I was just silly. Last night when we were going to bed, my wife and I, I decided to ask her a bunch of questions because I felt stuck in my business and I felt like the idea that I had to merge all the courses into Property Tools to create this shopping center of property stuff was just a bad long-term plan.

I just had this feeling in my mind; bad brand name, bad idea, and talking to her I realized how bad of an idea it actually is.

Think about this right, the way that I was thinking, the courses that I created were not selling that well. So my idea was, how am I going to take the stuff on my site that is not selling that well, that people are not that interested in, and I make that that focus and I make those courses the focus of my entire product or big product.

Is it not that just ridiculous? If people are not interested in the courses, why would I put more focus on them? Really, I should be defocusing them and focus on the things that people actually care about, and the things that people are actually signing up for. And so I have been an idiot and I made a big mistake in that I created this, I sent out emails to existing members to say, “Here is what I am doing. You are getting a free upgrade.

Here is why it is going to be awesome. You are going to get access to all the courses that I have released.” And now I have realized my focus on courses – which is wrong to start with, that I should be focusing on other things.

So after talking to my wife about it last night, doing a big brainstorming session that went for well over an hour, we decided that my focus should not be on pushing more and more courses and marketing them. Sure, I should put out the courses that I have already created and the one that I promised which is the Property Evaluation Course – I promised that and it will be useful so I will go ahead and create it; and then just leave the courses there.

If they sell, they will sell; if they do not, they do not. Do not make them the big focus of your business, moving forward.

Another thing that I was stressed about was, my whole goal is 3 to 5 years’ time to have a pretty passive income online and have the freedom to explore and travel, potentially home-school my children, to do a whole bunch of things that we are potentially thinking about doing. And so if I am going to then create this website that needs new courses added to it all the time, and also I added a community aspect to it, a Facebook group.

That is a lot of upkeep and that is a lot of work and that is not going to create the business to free me up to do what I want to do. So I really need to think, not necessarily what is the best way to create recurring monthly revenue, what is the best way to make the most money from my site; but what is the best way to get to where I want to be in the next 3 to 5 years. And the plan that I set out, that I mentioned in the last episode, is definitely seems to not be the right plan. So what I have done – luckily I did not send out an email to my entire list so I do not need to backtrack on that. And so what I have done is I have just converted everything back, converted the sales page back.

And then inside my membership site I have added a new sort-of user role and that is like a tools user role. And so the people who I already promised to get access to courses and who I promised to get a free upgrade, they will still see all that stuff on the site. But then I have created this new user role called tools, so anyone who signs up now will just be a tools’ member and will only see the calculator.

They will not even know that the courses exist. They will not show up for them. It is not in the sales or marketing message at all. And I also did not create any free content around it. So I am glad that at least not too much damage was done.

So a couple of ideas that came out of our brainstorming session last night: the first idea was that listings generate the most of my revenue and obviously there is this thing in Australian property where people do not want to do a lot of things themselves. They want someone else to do it for them or they want it provided to them. And so we are kind of running off that idea and that thesis about the property market is that the stuff that I put out that people wanted done for them. People seem to gravitate towards that, stuff that are really easy like the listings, like the tools, and the stuff that works like you need to learn how to do this yourself and it is something that you are going to do yourself, does not sell as well. So I am thinking Property Listings, bulk of the revenue, how can we expand that?

We went through a whole bunch of different things. We looked at potentially expanding into reports that we could provide people on the suburb or on the property, and how much we could sell that for. But then, we came back to the fact that that is a lot of increase work. There is a lot of fact-checking that I need to do. There is a lot of human error because we go out and get those reports ourselves. So that probably was not going to be the most viable option for us. It was a good idea and I think it would create revenue but it is not going to lead to the life that we want in that 3 to 5 years’ time.

So the next thing that we thought about is something that I have been thinking about for a while, which is selling access to the archives of On Property, which over 500 high rental yield property listings now, so people can go back and they can see where these properties used to be listed, what areas they could potentially be looking in, and so it just expands people’s minds there. So we are considering doing that as an upsell and so we decided on that. And basically today, I just fixed Property Tools, put it back to normal. And then I am working on creating that upsell for the archives there.

Another thing that kind of inspired that was I was listening to a video by a guy that I would not recommend because he does not seem very ethical, but they were talking about some sales and strategies and even though a lot of their stuff is really sleazy, one of the ideas that came out of that was that when people are buying something they often want an upsell. And so there are upsells that you can offer them so that is what I think I am going to do there.

And then with the tools, we decided to reinvest in that, reinvest in the design of the calculator to make it easier to use and to make it look more professional. And also we had an idea for a tool that we could create for people doing suburb research. So I am going to think about that and explore that more.

So I guess the idea to roll all my courses into one big university fort of thing has fallen flat. And the idea now is to focus on tools and services which is my listings, which is my calculator. And then basically, the eventual goal is to be able to give all my content away for free, but within that content I am using my tools; within that content, I am using my calculator and that sort of stuff. So the free content encourages people to buy the paid tools because it makes doing the research for them a lot easier.

So that is, I guess, the end goal that we are working towards at the moment. So I feel like an idiot because I went down the wrong path, but luckily not too much damage is done. And I am now back, back to where I was but with a more clearly defined path of how we are going to move forward.

So hopefully this just encourages you that often in business, especially in startups, you are not going to get the product right first go. There is going to be a lot of innovating around the product and changing the product but I do not hear many people talking about innovating around the product in a way that you absolutely destroy it and go down the path that you do not want to go and then having to backtrack from that, which is exactly what I have had to do. So be encouraged by that.

If you end up down that path where you have created a product and you have to backtrack, do not be too alarmed and just find a way to make it happen. And tomorrow I am not working. I have a date day in the morning with my wife, which we do every Thursday morning. And then I am actually mentoring at my child’s school; there is an entrepreneur class or this program that is going into the school and help teaching young kids the concepts of running a startup and many valuable product and all that sort of stuff, so they are looking for mentors.

So I put up my hands up that after date day I am going to try and mentor and help a bunch of high school kids as well. That should be fun and I will let you guys know how that goes, what I got out of it, and I feel like whenever you give something, you always get something back in terms of ideas. So hopefully by giving my time to these kids, by hanging out with them, hopefully I can get some clarity as well and some things that I could do in my business and jump start some ideas of things that I could potentially be doing.

So that is where I am at. Hope your business is moving forward, and until next time, if you want instructions, go and buy some furniture.

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#51 My Best Customer Ever

iniartworksmallOf all the customers you have in your business what is the absolutely most a customer can make you. For me it was previously $400-$500, but that just got increased.

What is your best customer worth? Of all the customers that you have in your business, what is the absolute most a customer can make you or has made you? For me, with OnProperty, my best customer – up until a couple of days ago, made me probably somewhere around maybe $400, maybe $500 or something like that.

They might have purchased an annual subscription to OnProperty Plus for $300, maybe some eBooks or courses up to the value of maybe $500. Or, I could have had some that was a subscriber for $300 subscribed to 2 years. Okay, maybe $600 is my best customer ever.

Well, there was actually a customer the other day, on Sunday – a day when I wasn’t even working, that beat that record and spent somewhere around $800-$900. Almost $1,000 and this was absolutely awesome to see. I through phases where I get a bit worried about money.

Last month was really good in terms of I closed down OnProperty Plus, changed it to OnProperty Listings and as a result, increased the prices. So, I got a big influx of income – about $4,000 or something like that from that promotion and people signing up as a result of that promotion.

So, I’m going into this month, into October, thinking, “Okay, a bit more stressed about this month.” I don’t have $4,000 automatically coming in. I’ve got about $1,000 revenue from Property Tools as well as OnProperty Plus/OnProperty Listings monthly subscription. So I’ve got about $1,000 coming in. I’ve also been working closely with Ben Everingham, recommended a few people to him. So, it might be $2,000 coming from him, but it’s never certain with buyer’s agents.

They’re working with a couple of clients and if they can’t find the property, then, Ben is so honorable, he gives the money back. So, that could potentially result in no money coming in. So, I’ve got about $1,000 guaranteed and I’ve got about $2,000-$3,000 a month in expenses now. Things just go up as you become a more profitable company.

So, going into the month, just a little bit more stressed about how much money I’m going to make. What am I going to sell? How am I going to do this, blah, blah, blah, blah… And then, I get this customer on Sunday who spends $900 – almost $1,000 with me. And I go, “What am I stressing about? I’ve got people who want to spend this amount of money with me. I must be doing something right.” And anyway, there was one offer – I had 2 conflicting offers, one for $50, one for $80. So, I emailed this customer, I said, “Thanks for being the best customer ever. I just want to let you know there was an offer on this for $50 for people who bought this other course.

I’m going to honor that and refund you $30.” emailed them, blah, blah, blah… I got an email back from best customer ever yesterday and they said something really interesting to me over the course of this email, which was quite long. But they said, “Ryan, don’t underestimate yourself.” He said, “I wanted to buy everything that you had and it was a lot of work for me to go through and to find all your products and to purchase all of your products individually. So, don’t underestimate yourself and why not have a ‘buy the lot’ option as a way to convert every customer into your best customer ever?”

I was like, “Oh my goodness! You are a genius! Thank you so much. You’ve just gone from best customer ever to absolutely best customer ever because you’ve given me an awesome idea.” This customer has shown me that the buying process that I have isn’t ideal for my customer. I create videos, audios and blog posts so customers can consume my content in whatever way they want. But when it comes to my products, I haven’t exactly made it easy for customers to purchase everything.

I guess part of that was I wanted to break things down for customers and service their needs. So, kind of like a supermarket where you go to the supermarket and they’ve got thousands of items and they never intend you to buy everything in one shop, but what you need is there for when you need it and when you need something else, then you come back.

I guess my product strategy was the supermarket sort of strategy where I’ve got a whole bunch of different things there that service different needs. Come and purchase this product when you have that need. And when you’ve got a different need that I can serve, come back. But I never thought that maybe there’s customers that are passionate enough they just want to purchase everything all at once and I need to make their experience better. So, definitely going to add a “buy the lot” option to my products page.

At first, I was like, “Well, how am I going to do this?” Because OnProperty Listings has monthly, annual and 2-year options. Property Tools only has monthly and yearly. How am I going to do this? But I think the way I’m going to do it is I’ll scrap the monthly because if someone wants to buy everything, then they’re pretty keen on spending money and I’ll just offer a yearly and 2-yearly options. Yearly for OnProperty Listings is $480.

Yearly for Property Tools is $50. So, that’s $530 plus everything else. And then, the 2-year option for OnProperty Listings is $720 and then I’m just going to leave 2 years for Property Tools at $100, so no discount for getting property Tools for $100. So it goes $720 to $820 plus then I’ll have 3 courses at $300 each so that’s $1,120. Plus I’ve got the eBooks that’s $7 so it’ll be like $1,127. So, I could, eventually, once all my products are out, I could have a “buy the lot” where someone could spend $1,127 with me in one go.

All of a sudden, I only need 4 customers a month in total in order to achieve my income goals that I set for the year. Obviously, not everyone’s going to do that, but maybe get 1, 2 or maybe 3 of those customers a year and that’s a nice little kicker. Definitely, big thank you to my best customer ever who has now spent the most money ever with me and has also given me a great idea in order to improve how much my customers are potentially worth. That was a really cool breakthrough for the week.

Bit of an update from last week, when I worked 25 hours a week, took me a little bit to get used to it. The first 2 days I think I finished the day and I was a cranky shit. I was like, went down and I was just cranky for some reason.

I was quite rude to my family. I don’t know why exactly, but I think it was just the stress of it. And the mindset of working less and feeling like my family is taking away from my work time, which is not the intention at all, you know. I value family over work, so I don’t know why I was thinking that. But I kind of felt like that and I was like, “Oh, well, this is crap. I don’t get to work” So, the first couple of days were hard.

Third day, I had about half an of being cranky after I finished work. And then, by the fourth and fifth day, I was quite happy with the work schedule that I had and what I was doing and I was less stressed. So, I had a great day on Friday with the family. I had a great weekend. And then, Monday was a public holiday up here, it was super hot. So, we ended up going to my mother-in-law’s place to swim in her pool.

Even though technically, I’m not doing 25 hours a week anymore, my stress levels – oh my goodness, have they gone down so significantly! Because I was like, “Yup, absolutely. Let’s go for a swim in the morning.” We went for a swim. I started work at 11:00 and then I finished work at 3:30 of 4:00 or something. I actually wasn’t feeling very good that day. I had a super sore back and ended up passing out asleep at 5:00.

My stress levels have gone down significantly. So, Tuesday, I did 8:00-4:00, that was yesterday. Today, I’m doing kind of 7:30 until 3:00-ish because as soon as the kids come home from school, we’re going to go for a swim because it’s hot again. Then, tomorrow, I’m going to see The Martian, which is an absolutely awesome book that I read and apparently, it’s a good movie, too, so I’m going to see that. And then, hopefully, got Smash Brothers tomorrow night. We’ll only work a few hours on Thursday, which I’m fine with. And then Friday I’ll probably do a full day there.

I think the 25 hours a week, definitely something that I want to move towards. It was great to that example and to do that week. As well, to work with my wife and to be able to help her out more with the 3 kids. Because having 3 kids and taking care of 3 kids is really hard. Not just for her, but just in general. And so, being able to help her more reduced her stress levels, leads to a better family balance, better emotional health; which leads to a better relationship that we have together. Definitely something that I want to pursue more is work less and be more focused.

Another thing that I realised about working 25 hours a week is I’ve got more important shit done! Often I’ll spend a day and I’ll just fat ass around. I’ll get some emails done. I’ll do some admin stuff. I’ll get stuff done, but it’s not stuff that’s super important. When I got 5 hours a day, I lean on my virtual assistant more. I’m like, “Okay, I’ve got 5 hours. What am I going to get done? Alright, I’ve got to get some videos done.

Let’s get these videos created, let’s get these videos edited and uploaded.” Bam, they’re done. Off to Dipti in order to manage them and publish them. So a lot of work that I was doing was more valuable work. I can actually potentially achieve more working 25 hours than I could working full time. Because I just do less stupid tasks that I probably shouldn’t be doing anyway. So I’m going to have to think about this.

We’ve got school holidays again in about 8 weeks. The kids have 9 weeks off or something like that. So, I think, over that Christmas break, I’m probably going to do 25 hours a week for maybe 8 weeks or 9 weeks or something like that. In Sydney for a week, so that’ll be a holiday. Probably have another week of holidays, but I was thinking and talking to my wife and we’re saying, “Yeah, well, let’s just do this.” At least we know if I run out of money or we start running out of money or I’m not making enough, I can just increase my work hours again and find out ways to make more money.

So, yeah. That’s where we’re at. That’s where we’re at. Enjoying my Smash Brothers, practicing that pretty heavily and getting into that. So wanting to become good and, eventually, would love to be able win some competitions, win some tournaments in Smash Brothers as my Peach player. But that’s another topic for another day.

That’s it for me today, guys. Until next time, stay positive.

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#49 Hoping and Praying To Sell A Copy Of My Course

iniartworksmallI finished my public speaking course but it took me 4 attempts to create a sales page for the product. I also added a sales email to my autoresponder.

Hey guys! Ryan here from Instructions Not Included. I just want to give you an update on my week. I had Monday off which was great. Working today, doing a shorter week this week and today I was just focusing on my course on Outspoken.co on How To Become A Better Public Speaker In Private. You want to check that out, just go to Outspoken.co/private, if you want to see the course and the sales page over there.

So basically I spent the day finalizing that course. So once they purchase it, there is a page that they go to that has all the videos; I had to set that up. And I have also gone ahead and created the sales page for the course which actually took me 4 attempts to create the sales page.

First I did a text-based sales page which was pretty average. And then I started writing an email to send out and realized how bad it was. I then created a second sales page and while I was creating that I realized it is probably better if I create a video or an audio for this. And so I recorded an audio for it. And then I created a page on that. And then I realized that this is just overkill, the audio went for 7 or 8 minutes for a $30 course.

It was not even an awesome audio either. And then the last thing that I did was just create a products page at Outspoken.co/products and just have a little description of the course, a little square image like a title cover for the course and then a buy-it-now button down the bottom.

And so I decided to sell the course for US$30. I just thought US$20 was not enough and made it sound like a cheap and crappy course so I upped it to US$30. I would like to go for $50 or $100 but I just do not have a good enough relationship with my readers and stuff. I do not think to charge $100 for a course. So I thought $30, happy medium.

I also went ahead and added like a salesy sort of email to my order responder for Outspoken.co and so that will go out to everyone who signs up for my course which is probably about a person-a-day or something or maybe even less than that. I do not actually know. I have never tracked it.

And then I have just sent out a broadcast email as well to my subscribers and I have 750 email subscribers for people that are interested in learning more about public speaking and who have signed up for my public speaking crash course. So I am hoping and praying that one of those people actually buys the course. And the next time that I am recording, the next time that I am talking to you guys, I will have a beer in hand.

I will be drinking the beer and we will be celebrating the first sale of this course and also my first US dollars in a long time. And if this course sells and i this course is something that people are interested in, then that all of a sudden makes Outspoken.co a profitable side project and will make me more inclined to invest more heavily in that site because at the moment the site is in shambles. It is a bit buggy.

It is missing a lot of things that need to go on there but I just have not done anything with it because it does not make me any money. So if I fix it I might get more traffic. People might stay engaged longer on the site but it is not going to result in any profit for me and so it has not been worth it.

But if this course proves profitable, if this is something that people are interested in then I will go ahead and invest more in the site. And I will also try and think of some other courses that I can create that I could sell to people and try and make this site profitable.

I would definitely like to diversify away from On Property because at the moment 99% pf my income is coming from On Property and if the Australian property market was to crash then that would severely affect my income. Or if something was to happen to this site, I am too exposed and I would rather spread my risks across the 2 sites. And as well, if I can make money from Outspoken.co then I feel like I could then teach how to make money from a podcast through PodcastFast.com.

So we will see how it will go. That was what I was up to today, not as many hours to work today which I am finding a little bit difficult, a little bit stressful. But I will get whatever I need to get done this week.

There is nothing urgent that I need to get done so it is no big deal. But I am working less this week. Spending more time with the kids and doing my test for working 25 hours a week. So we will see how we will go. We will see how I can handle it, not working as much. Can I do it? We will see how it works with the family and stuff as well. So I will keep you guys updated on that.

I am bout to finish. I am about to go pick up the kids from kindergarten in about 20 minutes. They just have vacation care today. I will pick them up soon and hopefully we will sell a copy of this course. Come on! Let us sell a copy! Hopefully tomorrow you will be hearing from me that I sold a copy. Or you will be hearing that I have not. But hopefully I will have.

Alright guys, that is it for me today. Until next time, if you want instructions go and buy some furniture.

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5 Things I Learned From My Sales Mentor

My current sales mentor is Nathan Wilson, and he has taught me a lot about being a great salesperson.

I wanted to take the time to write down some of the best kernels of wisdom that I have learned from Nathan in the last 12 months working with him.

Be The Best
When I came into the company I was 100% green. I had little to no experience in the type of sales I now found myself working in.

I was promoted quickly because I had promise but even after 9 months in the trenches (on the phones) I was still very green when it came to running a sales territory. I had a natural talent for developing relationships and driving growth but I didn’t really believe I could be great.

Nathan believed in me and taught me that I could not only be great but that I could be the best.

I had never really aimed for “best”. I always made excuses and performed well enough to be above average but never #1. Nathan showed me that not only could I be #1 but that my customers and company were counting on me to be the best I can be.

In 2012 I didn’t finish #1 in the company but I did finish in the top 20%. Not bad for my first year on the job.

Nathan still encourages me to be the best and in 2013 I am gunning for “rep of the year”.

Be Creative
My old boss Lisa said something to me once that stuck with me. She was comparing me to another employee.

She said if she told employee X to do something he would ask for the steps and execute it flawlessly. If she asked me to do the same thing I would think of the quickest and easiest way to get it done and do that.

Nathan took it a step further by showing me to go above and beyond and be creative in your role. He leads by example and is continually pushing the status quo.

Don’t settle for what everyone else is doing, get creative and create something new that will drive even better results.

Be Bold
Fortune favors the bold and in the last 12 months I have learned to be more bold.

Bold in my abilities, bold in my ideas, bold in encouraging team mates and bold with my customers.

Know what needs to be done and be bold in doing it. Not arrogant, not egotistic…but bold.

Be Yourself
Again something I have leaned through his living breathing example. Nathan is eccentric, outgoing and one of a kind.

He doesn’t try to hide behind who he is, but he uses his flare to drive business growth.

He can talk the talk with customers, but he goes an extra step and creates pizaz in his presentations. He puts on a meeting for pharmacists and has dancing girls and fireworks.

He isn’t putting on a show he is being authentic to himself. Something I strive to be in my interactions with team mates and customers.

Be A Standout (Be A Star)
Don’t just do things well, don’t just be #1 in results but be a standout. Be #1 in everyone’s mind whether your #1 on the leader board or not.

Set an example, be innovative, network, ask questions and go out on a limb.

Do what you can to share your insights with those that can either add to it or benefit from it.

A few months ago as I heard my name popping up here and there as an example of someone doing good things I got scared. I didn’t want to make a target for myself or to fail extremely publicly.

But Nathan encouraged me again to be bold and do what I thought was right.

It reminds me of my favourite quote

Your playing small does not serve the world. As you let your light shine you unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As you are liberated from your fear you automatically liberate others.

I’m Extremely Lucky
10 months ago I had a big decision to make. Should I take an internal promotion opportunity and move to Newcastle for my work.

I am so glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to work closely with Nathan and I will always remember him and what he taught me.

The biggest gift he gave me was belief. Belief in myself not that I could be great, but that I am great and just need to prove it to the rest of the world.

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My Used Car Salesman Experience

My wife’s car was on the brink of death and we needed to find a new car fast. This is the story of why used car salesman have a bad stigma attached to them and what I learned from the experience.

“Used car dealers can’t be that bad” we thought, plus we will get to trade in our own car instead of selling it”

So we did what the salesman (let’s call him Ben) advised on the phone and came down to the dealership.

First Impressions Count

Ben was with another customer at the time so someone else had a look over our old car and we perused the lot. As we were looking around and looking in the boot of a Mazda 3 Ben walked pasted us while with some other customers.

His first words to us were “How much are you going to give me for that car?”

I was taken aback. What response was he seriously expecting? Was I going to make an offer as he walked past talking to other customers?

The lesson: First impressions give you an opportunity to get someone’s back up or help them let their guard down

Too Much Information
Then finally came our turn. He sat down with us and asked us what we wanted.

We discussed our desire for an SUV and our budget of $5,000. When we discussed the fact we had kids Ben went into a rant about his family, even though he probably only talked for 60 seconds it seemed like forever.

The thing was I really didn’t care. What I wanted was his help in sourcing a suitable car in our price range.

The lesson: Engaging in excessive small talk can actually damage your reputation not build it.

Not What We Wanted
Ben then went on to discuss purchasing a car outside our price range with financing. We were adamant not to do financing and we had the cash we needed to buy a car outright

He then proceeded to show us around the car yard despite the fact all the cars there were out of our price range.

One of the reasons we state we didn’t want to do financing was because we want to start saving for a house after this. He tried to convince us that if we want to buy a house we need to acquire car debt first…as if it was a stepping stone to house debt.

I could tell he was wasting our time so I brought it to a head.
Question: “Do you have anything in our price range here”
Answer: “No”
Question: “Do you have any cars suitable for us available off site”
Answer: “No, but I will keep a look out and text you if one became available”

In the end they didn’t have what we wanted. The thing that annoyed me was we had already discussed our desires on the phone and in person and it was almost like he wasn’t listening.

What I really wanted was a suitable SUV from a dealer that had a warranty so I had little risk of buying a dud. What he tried to sell me was a $20,000 car I didn’t want on financing I couldn’t afford.

The lesson: Find out what customers really want and find a way to sell them that. If you don’t have an offering for them see if they are open to other options. If not send them on their way, don’t waste their time trying to sell them something they don’t want.

A Difficult Customer
Maybe I was being a difficult customer. But I wasn’t trying to be unreasonable and I was trying to be honest.

The difficulty was that me and my wife had done a lot of Internet research. We came knowing what car we wanted and the price range that car was in.

Our problem: We didn’t want to buy privately due to risk of problems with the car and we were having trouble finding the car we wanted in our area.

The Lesson: Try to determine whether your customer has done research and knows what they want and get them to tell you what they need help with and what hurdles you need to overcome so they buy from you

In The End
In the end we bought a car privately (an old Range Rover) and are very happy. We are up for an extra $1,500 in servicing to fix the aircon in the car, but I am overall please with the purchased.

As for a used car dealer I now know unless I want to spend $20,000 or more it isn’t really worth it.

Even with the risk of buying a dud I would almost always go private over a dealer now.

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Taking Ownership

2013 for me will be all about taking ownership of my ideas and testing an implementing them in an effective way.

I have realized that the ideas of others are awesome and I will run with them, but I CANNOT rely on others to think the same way as me or to help me execute on my ideas.

This means I need to find ways to create ideas that can be easily implemented with minimal hurdles to jump over. Maybe it is the small simple ideas that can be implemented immediately that will generate more results than the one big idea that probably won’t get implemented because of big corporation difficulties.

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Reviewing My Goals After Conference

1) Climb the rock
– I did get a group together to climb the rock, but unfortunately we were unable to climb it due to excessive winds.

2) Come out with 10 brand new ideas for my company that I CAN IMPLEMENT (in the trenches) in 2013
– This I didn’t achieve. I don’t know if I didn’t try and find the time, or if there just wasn’t room for it in the agenda. This is something I will need to work on this month. I want to reward my customers and my company with new ideas.

3) Begin a “think tank” with just a couple of the most engaged reps
– Lots of sharing ideas but no official think tank. More work to do here.

4) Speak to key leaders about what they think about the “new media marketing”
– Not a priority so I didn’t get it done. I currently have no ideas to take to key leaders either so I am looking forward to coming up with some in 2013

5) Gain sales tips and confidence in winning new business from the reps that have a proven track record in winning business
– This I did achieve and I am walking into territory with some new insight and ideas. I am now more confident in approaching new business acquisitions.

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What I Want To Get Out Of Sales Conference 2013

Tomorrow morning I leave for the red centre of Australia, Uluru, for the national sales and marketing conference for my company.

This is a time when all the reps can get together, share ideas and learn about our plans for the year moving forward.

Here is a small list of what I want to get out of this year’s conference

1) Climb the rock – I can’t see myself going to Uluru without climbing the rock. Maybe I can lead an expedition to the top.

2) Come out with 10 brand new ideas for my company that I CAN IMPLEMENT (in the trenches) in 2013

3) Begin a “think tank” with just a couple of the most engaged reps

4) Speak to key leaders about what they think about the “new media marketing” (web 2.0, Facebook, twitter etc) and how they believe this can be used to drive the company forward in 2013

5) Gain sales tips and confidence in winning new business from the reps that have a proven track record in winning business

My goal have nothing to do with the content that will be delivered at the conference because I have no control over that.

My goals are specifically things I can do to grow over the course of the week.

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Changing One Of My Sales Goals

Late 2012 I created the goal for myself to achieve “rep of the year”.

This prestigious goes to the sales rep who finishes in the top 10% of sales to target and who is seen to be the greatest contributor to the company as a whole.

However, upon reflection I have decided to change this goal.

Henry Ford is known for a number of things. One thing he is known for is the fact that he was always surrounded by people smarter than him. He was not intimidated by these people but saw it as the best way to learn and grow.

There is another rep in my team, Shaun, who I believe has the potential to be “rep of the year”. He is gutsy and diligent and works on the right things.

Even though he started after me I believe I have a lot I can learn from him. He has the potential to be phenomenal in 2013.

My new goal is to help make Shaun “rep of the year” for 2013. I still plan to finish in the top 10%, but I get more pleasure out of seeing others succeed and the company succeed that this would be a huge career success for me.

I am looking forward to partnering up with Shaun in 2013 and being “peer mentors” to each other.

All for one and one for all.

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