Break Business Records with These 7 Principles of Success


Failure vs. Success
Avant's Ian Kieninger

Ian Kieninger

Before Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954, most people believed that such a feat was impossible. Human beings simply couldn’t run that fast.

As soon as Bannister shattered that misconception, however, others began to follow. Since 1954, more than 20,000 people have run sub-four-minute miles, including some high school students. All that changed was that people started to believe a faster mile was possible.

There’s a lesson here for trusted advisers. What’s your sub-four-minute mile? Maybe it’s a level of monthly revenue that seems impossible, or a dream client you’d love to land. Goals like these may seem out of reach — but in many cases, your mentality may be holding you back. By following these seven principles, you can push yourself beyond your perceived limits to reach success.

7 Principles

1. Invest in branding, marketing and image.

Companies in the trusted adviser space tend to underinvest in these areas, especially when they’re just starting out. When you’re young and have limited funds, you’re faced with many difficult choices. Investing in a new website, a branding project or strategic marketing campaigns may mean putting off other priorities, like hiring new staff or entertaining clients — but it’s worth it in the end.

Small businesses that want to sell to big enterprise companies have to look the part. Good marketing and branding will show the customer your capabilities and help you rapidly expand your market.

2. Define your pitch.

You’ll often be in situations where you need to make an impression on a potential client in just a few minutes. A good pitch gives them confidence that you know what you’re doing — and a bad pitch leaves you digging yourself out of a credibility hole.

Your pitch should distill the complexities of the work you do into a few clear, simple sentences. To quote Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t know it well enough.” As with any skill, practice makes perfect. Test your pitch on colleagues and peers, and polish accordingly. Create multiple versions of your pitch and continuously update it to match new environments.

3. Create a repeatable sales process.

Clear, repeatable sales processes are the key to scaling to a national or global level. When you’re just starting out, a founder or member of the executive team may be enough to handle most sales. But to grow, you need to train new salespeople to do what they do — and that means you need repeatable processes. By adopting a process-oriented approach, you’ll not only scale faster, you’ll also garner insights that enable you to identify areas for innovation where you can streamline the sales process.

4. Follow the 60/20/20 rule.

Time allocation is key to growing your trusted adviser business effectively. A good rule of thumb is to spend 60% of your time on whichever technologies are currently in high demand, so you can catch a tailwind and draft behind what’s already growing. Then, spend 20% of your time looking ahead to emerging technologies that will eventually become mainstream.

Use the remaining 20% to …

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