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Could your business be bigger?

He’s renowned not just locally but nationally for his ‘hit you between the eyes’ talks.

And he’s just published his first book – ‘I am Human – 30 Mistakes to Success’ – topping off a phenomenally successful career so far.

Which are some of the reasons we can’t wait to hear Martin Johnson, from Trans2Performance, speak at our InspiringBusiness2018 seminar later this week.

Another, and perhaps even more important, reason – as far as our campaign is concerned – is that his is a properly inspiring boy-made-good story that is certain to give everyone who hears it something to think about, and hopefully act on, in their own business life.

This year’s business campaign is centred on the inspiring stories of local businessmen and women who’ve been there, done that and succeeded against the odds. Martin is kicking off our series of quarterly seminars at our first event, taking place at the Hallmark Hotel, North Ferriby, this Thursday, 12 April, between 10 and 2.

Having left school at 16 with very little in the way of qualifications, Martin will describe how it was his early career in the Royal Navy that shaped him. And someone there must have spotted his potential, as he ended up in the highly responsible position of maintaining and launching ballistic missiles on warships as a member of the Senior Service.

He then went on to work at a very senior level in sales for international IT company Gartner. However, having discovered his passion and talent for keying into what makes people tick, he ultimately turned down the opportunity to take a global director role and emigrate to the States, to set up Trans2. Now three years old, the business is all about rocket-fuelled training and people development based around an acute sense of what makes human beings do what they do, succeed, fail or settle for the mediocre.

Needless to say, Martin has never looked back.

A tasty takeaway

But, as will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever heard Martin speak, he’s not going to stop there, and he’ll also be giving our company owner delegates a nugget of practical business wisdom to go away with.

He’ll be exploring a really common observation from his work with businesses, which is the difference between being sales-driven and demand-led, and why he believes sales are the key to true success.

“I want to look at an issue I see all the time in the companies I work with. I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that there are two types of businesses – sales-driven and demand led. In my experience, there are real benefits for any business, to adopting a sales-driven approach,” he said.

What defines a demand-led business?

“If a business is demand-led, it has a product or service that is relevant for a particular audience, and a loyal customer base whose needs it will very often build its activities around. Different times of each year are therefore busier and quieter as a consequence.

“This kind of business will typically achieve a certain degree of success but because it has built its services and structures around the demand of existing customers, it is probably not really focused on growth.”

So how about the growth and sales-driven type?

“A growth led business will be focused on growing on a monthly or yearly basis, and scaling up its operations, investment, capability and people around sales, not demand,” added Martin.”

He continued: “These are basically two completely different appetites. Then, you get organisations that think they are focused on growth but they are not really investing in their sales capability to get the results they need.

“Some of it comes down to fear because taking cash out of their rainy day pots to pay for investment in sales capability is risky. Taking a sales-driven approach will always involve some gambles, and business owners need to be prepared that some will fail and they will have to write off some money. They might even have more initiatives fail than succeed, but those that do take off will offset the others massively.”

Got you thinking yet?

If so, Martin has some trademark advice to help you capitalise on your newfound curiosity about selling… which is to start to understand what companies buy, in order to cater for it, by answering these four, simple questions:

  1. Can you help me increase my sales?
  2. Can you reduce my business costs?
  3. Can any of your products and services wow my clients and help me deliver a better experience to my customers?
  4. Do any of your products and services help me engage and develop my workforce?

If your answer to any of the above is ‘yes’, then they will buy from you. If not, you’ve got work to do.

“The mistake many companies make is that they take an inward-looking approach to selling products and services, based on features, functionality and price. In this loop, they forget to talk to their customers about the results they will get from their purchase.”

Could you do more, be more?

Martin certainly thinks so.

“In a way, it’s the companies that have achieved a degree of success that are the most vulnerable, because they get comfortable.

“They have a reasonable amount of profit coming each year without stretching themselves too much.

“However, there’s a danger that, if they’re not looking over the horizon to spot the next trend or ‘big thing’, they could easily become obsolete and start to see their markets shrink.

“To avoid this, they could be constantly asking what products and services you can bring to market, to meet evolving customer demands.

“Apple is a great example of a company that understands the need to innovate constantly. It brings out a new phone every year and never stands still, often creating demand where there wasn’t any to begin with.”

If you’re inspired by what you’ve read above and would like to hear more, we have a handful more tickets left for Thursday’s seminar, bookable here.

For more information about InspiringBusiness2018 and what it’s all about, read our recent article.

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