Posts Tagged ‘sales training south africa’

4 expert tips for better planning

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Originally Published in: Succeed in business
Most business owners have lost control long before the proverbial horseradish hits the fan. “It is all about proper planning,” says Bill Gibson, author and founding partner of Knowledge Brokers International. “Lack of foresight when starting out is the main reason why promising businesses fail further down the road.”

The key to ensuring a better chance of success is to plan your business properly while it is still in the concept stage. The better the foundation you lay when setting up, the more likely it will be that you can keep control when trouble hits.

Admittedly there are many variables to take into account, but Gibson says the following four points are vital and should not be overlooked.

1. Know with whom you are getting into business

Spend some time getting to know possible business partners before trusting them with privileged information or formalising business deals. Admittedly, it is difficult to make accurate judgements about people after just a couple of meetings, but it is sufficient to get an idea of their ethics.

“A person’s hierarchy of values is a powerful indicator of how they will react when the pressure is on. Unethical people will ruthlessly pursue their own interests and do whatever it takes to get what they want – even if it means screwing you over. These people also often make sure that they are well protected before agreeing to the terms of a deal.”

“Lack of foresight when starting out is the main reason why promising businesses fail later down the road” – Bill Gibson

2. Take care in drawing up the Articles of Incorporation

The Articles of Incorporation is the most critical document in planning a new company, because it details how the ownership and management of the business are organised.

“You need to be absolutely meticulous in drawing up the Articles of Incorporation, because you never know what is going to happen down the road,” says Gibson.

“Seek out all possible scenarios and try as far as possible to plan for any unforeseen circumstances that could arise. Think about how you would raise capital in a crisis situation or what would happen if a key partner had to leave. It makes people uncomfortable to think about partners walking before they have even opened their businesses, but the truth is all partnerships come to an end at some time.”

Gibson suggests forming a company or a close corporation right from the outset. This prevents crisis situations occurring if one of the partners leaves or switches allegiances should another company be brought on board as a shareholder.

The other thing to look out for at this stage is giving away too much of the business. This can really come back to bite you when your company enters a high-growth phase or if it lands in financial difficulties.

In both cases, you will need capital to either grow the business or keep it afloat. Very often, this means selling shares to raise funds. The problem is that if you have given too much away in the beginning, you could find yourself in a minor shareholder position and ultimately on the outside looking in.

“This does not mean, however, that you are safe as long as you are the major shareholder,” says Gibson. “The business could be set up in a way that a majority vote on the board in terms of numbers can rule even if you hold most of the shares. It really is all about the how things are stated in the Articles of Incorporation and it is vital that business owners do their homework in this regard.”

3. Be realistic when doing projections

Never over-project when selling your concept to potential investors, because this is what you will be held to once the business is up and running.

“If you fail to meet the conditions you agreed upon with investors, you could find that their expectations eventually wear you down. When you suffer emotionally you lose heart, which is extremely dangerous.”

In situations like this where your self-worth has taken a knock you end up agreeing to unhealthy terms out of guilt or because you feel that you do not have a choice. Ultimately, it could cost you your dream.

4. Ensure you have effective financial controls in place

Too often, small business owners wing it when it comes to instituting proper financial controls. This is mostly because these systems can be costly to implement and time consuming to set up. And because time and money are the two things in shortest supply when starting a new business, entrepreneurs do everything themselves and make it up as they go along.

Besides the obvious risks that come with not really knowing what you are doing, unwitting business owners could also fall victim to theft and fraud by employees or partners. Good financial systems also become more vital as the business grows.

“Increasing sales is good, but it is a cost leader because it requires administrative and financial support,” says Gibson

“You need to have implemented strict budgetary controls and debt collecting measures by the time you business enters its growth phase. Otherwise you will grow too fast for your own good and ultimately lose control due to financial mismanagement.”

Bill Gibson of Knowledge Brokers International can be reached on 011 784 1720 or 082 450 9877.

Make money in the dark

Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Make money in the dark
by Marilyn Parr

Bill Gibson reveals how to keep your business afloat during the power cuts

Originally Published in: Succeed in business
There is no getting around it: the power cuts are a major blow to South African businesses. And unfortunately, among the hardest hit are the little guys running small and medium enterprises.

“We need to get real about this,” says Bill Gibson, chairperson of Knowledge Brokers International. “If your company is barely breaking even every month, the power cuts could put you out of business. Even if you are turning a profit, you need to prepare for the possibility of lean times ahead.”

“Do not wait  around for Eskom, the government or your landlord to give you a hand – you have to help yourself” – Bill Gibson

By nature, smaller businesses are more agile than large corporations. This is the time to exercise your flexibility and out manoeuvre your bigger competition. “Do not wait around for Eskom, the government or your landlord to give you a hand. The truth is that you have to help yourself,” says Gibson.

Analyse your business’s needs and gather as much information as quickly as possible. This empowers you to take action. Businesses that have moved swiftly are capitalising.  “There is a steakhouse in Sandton that was the first to get a generator. While other restaurants are in the dark, it is scrambling to seat the people queuing out the door.”

The secret to making money in any economy, good or bad, is to keep your business lean and keen. In other words, determine how you can keep your overheads down and direct your energies into growing your core business.

“Getting lean is one thing but staying keen requires hard work psychologically,” says Gibson. “The market is still there – even if it is smaller.”

Many companies tend to withdraw and stop advertising in tough times. Never do this. Redouble your efforts. Make more calls and be proactive. Now is the time to advertise, because everyone else is pulling back and it is easier to get above the noise level.

There are a number of aspects to managing your people effectively during a crisis. The first and most important is keeping morale up.

“We all need outlets for our frustration and anger. The trick is not to get bogged down in the negatives,” says Gibson. “Look for good news and make sure you tell your staff. Set aside a certain part of the day for complaining and then concentrate on making the most of every opportunity.”

He adds that in some ways the power cuts have helped to stimulate much-needed dialogue in companies. It has forced people to hold impromptu meetings and to talk about issues that are other-wise sidelined.

Gibson says that losing good people is not an option. He suggests that you work closely with your staff and be upfront about the state of the company. Involve them and listen to their suggestions.

“Try to be fair when it comes to reimbursement. Instead of letting people go, try to find an agreement where you cut back working hours equally. Consider going onto an hourly rate of pay but institute half a day’s pay as the minimum.”
During tough times, the survival instinct kicks in and people tend to look after their own interests. According to Gibson, it is more effective to pool resources and work together with others, especially if you run a small or medium enterprise.
“Try splitting the cost of a generator with other small businesses in your building. It can be a huge expense for one company alone but together it is manageable.”

Dealing with the power crisis may mean adjusting the way you do business. For instance, working hours may need to be revised. Once there is a schedule in place, work around the power cuts or go in on weekends. Try to arrange that activities that do not require power take place during load shedding times, like meetings or training sessions.

If a large part of your business is about calling for sales, print out hardcopies of your client database. Plan your calls in advance and divert landlines to cellphones so that you are able to take calls wherever you are. Better planning with regards to petty cash and petrol is a necessity.

Retailers may have to consider processing credit cards manually. Gibson admits that this is risky but says that it is better than not being able to make any sales at all.

A restaurant in Sandton is scrambling to seat customers because it was the first to get a generator

Lastly, consider investing in technology to alleviate the power crunch. Laptops and cellphones work on batteries and can give you a few extra hours. Buy extra batteries and keep them charged. Investigate 3G connectivity for laptops and uninterrupted power supply for other computers.

Realise that although you are not in control of the situation, you can control your reaction to it. “In any given situation you have three choices,” says Gibson. “You can speak out. You can accept it. Or you can exit.”

For many people who own businesses, exiting now is not an option because of the time and money they have invested to grow their enterprises. And because there is only so much talking to be done, it seems that adapting to the circumstances is the most sensible route.

Gibson says that adapting means you have to get real about where the country and your business are.
He adds that while disbelief is a normal reaction under stressful circumstances, you cannot stick your head in the sand and pretend that all is well. “Power cuts are a reality. The sooner you believe it, the quicker you can do something about it.”

Now is the time to advertise, because everyone else is pulling back and it is easier to get above the noise level

Bill Gibson has spoken to over one million people around the world and is the chairperson of and a partner in Knowledge Brokers International SA (Pty) Ltd (KBI), along with Marius Liebenberg. Bill Gibson is the author/developer of the 25-module sales system titled The complete sales action system and the eight-module Managing complex business relationships system. For more information about Bill Gibson as a speaker and the KBI products, contact 011 784 1720 or

Avoid the blame game

There are many possible reasons why the country is experiencing an electricity supply crisis. And while it is important to figure out the cause, the truth is that pointing fingers is counterproductive. Looking for someone to blame is energy sapping and prevents you from moving forward.

“South Africa is not Zimbabwe, but it is not a fully functioning first world country either. At least now we know what we are up against and this gives us a basis from which we can operate. We are not the only country in the world experiencing an energy problem. China, Brazil and Cuba have found solutions and we can too,” says
Bill Gibson.

Amid the disappointment and the outrage, business owners need to adopt a rational approach if they are to keep on top of the situation. Although it is not possible for the average person to solve the country’s problems, they can solve the challenges facing their own companies. With the right attitude and through honing your tactics, you may even find ways to increase your sales.

What is UPS?

You may have noticed, over the past few weeks, that there has been a less than continuous stream of electricity to everything in your company. But not to worry, spokespeople for the relevant authorities say that it will not continue for more than another seven years. Yes, you may kill yourself now.

However, there is a solution to keep your computer systems running so that production and productivity are not completely decimated – the ever faithful UPS. This translated from tech-speak into English is uninterruptible power supply. What it does is immediately supply power to computers to maintain normal operation during a power failure until a backup generator can be activated.

Except for online UPS, a short transfer time between two minutes to 10 minutes can be expected. Usually, when the blackout happens, the power supply of PC continues for 16 minutes, and therefore most PCs will still work during the transfer period.

According to UPS Direct, there are five criteria to choosing the right UPS:

1.    Understand specifications of all UPS
2.    Consider the requirements of power quality
3.    Understand the current capacity of the UPS and consider expansion in the future
4.    Choose the reputed brands and manufacturers
5.    Choose a UPS based on your requirements

Coupled to this, there are also five important evaluation criteria of which to take note:

1.    UPS reliability and stability
2.    High efficiency and low noise
3.    Suppliers’ reputation and financial situation
4.    International safety approvals such as TUV, UL, CSA etc
5.    Plant certifications such as ISO9001, ISO9002 etc

Getting out of a cash flow crisis in a hurry

Friday, February 1st, 2008
Bill Gibson

Bill Gibson

While you are saying this you are in denial and valuable time is passing by. Rather face reality. “If it walks like a duck, and it talks like a duck, it is not an eagle,” says Bill Gibson, director of Knowledge Brokers International (KBI). Succeed asked how he would get out of a cash flow crisis:

Act immediately

Do not waste time and energy on trying to figure out how it happened or who is to blame. You can do that later. Focus all your resources on correcting the short-term cash flow problem.

Be proactive with your creditors

Visit or call them and explain your situation. Ask for a specific payment or non-payment plan over the next 60 to 90 days. It is simply a matter of scheduling payments that both you and the creditors can live with. Get the payments as low as possible with a commitment to increase the payments if things get better. Find out the minimum payments your creditors can accept. Perhaps you can even just pay interest. Tell them you will phone at the end of the month to inform them what you can pay. Ask them to not phone you in the first three weeks. That way you can devote all your time and energy to bringing in the cash, rather than handling calls from creditors which depletes your time and energy. I am not suggesting that you misuse your creditors, but facts are facts. If you owe a large amount of money to creditors it is not just your problem, it is also theirs. They want to see you stay afloat. Swallow your pride and invite them to help. You will be surprised at the solutions with which they may come up.

Be proactive with your debtors

Sit down face-to-face with all clients who owe you money. Offer a discount of 10% to those who can pay much faster than normal.

Negotiate payment advances

Ask for advances of 30% to 100% on jobs that you are doing. This could carry you through the tough period. The last two months before year-end large companies, parastatals and government departments often have budgets they have not spent. If they do not spend the money, it is not carried over to the next financial year and so they often pay in advance.

Do not waste timeand energy on trying to figure out how it happened or who is to blame

Be sales oriented

Every single person who works for the company has to be sales oriented. Reg Wightman, the owner of a building supply dealership, one day accompanied his truck driver on a delivery. He walked around the site and talked to various people working on the job. When he left the site he had a bigger order than when he arrived. It made him realise that the person doing the delivery is also really a salesperson, so he rearranged his whole operation. He delegated a lot of his responsibilities as manager to other employees so he could be on the delivery truck a lot more. His sales increased markedly.

Find innovative ways to sell

Terry Stalker is the owner of a bed company. He decided to place lamps, comforters and sheets in his delivery trucks so that his delivery people could sell them when doing deliveries. Installers were also trained to look around the house and report any needs they noted in terms of furniture. A few days later, one of the salespeople would give the client a call saying, “Well, our driver was at your home and he noticed you seemed to need…” They got a lot of add-on sales that way. When you have a cash crisis you need to find innovative ways to sell.

Last resort moves

* Take your short–term debts, such as lines of credit, promissory notes, credit card balances, income tax and supplier balances, and try and get a consolidation loan. Spread the payments over three years. This frees up monthly capital and lowers your monthly overheads. It might cost more in terms of interest in the long run, but it could be the short-term fix needed to get you out of trouble.
* Consider offering shares in your company to major creditors to wipe out all or part of the balance you owe. Have a good buy-back clause.
* Sell your receivables at a discount to the company that buys receivables.
* Use equity in your home with a second bond to pay off some of the debts.
* Consider a financially sound co-signer for a large consolidation loan. In return, you could put that person on your payroll for an agreed amount until the debt is paid.
* Seek advice from business owners who survived cash flow problems.

Get a quick start in 2006

Sunday, January 1st, 2006

by Bill Gibson

In sales you cannot afford to lose your momentum. My gift to you in the new year as a professional in the field of selling is a few proven tips that will help you start 2006 on a high note.

Originally Published in: Succeed in sales
•  See people
One way to quickly get in front is to do a large number of courtesy calls, service calls, birthday calls, etc. It is a soft approach to moving to action and getting to see clients and building momentum rather than sitting in the office.

•  Go home
If your schedule is not booked several weeks in advance, take a few days, go home or find a quiet spot and get on the phone and “book out” your schedule two to five weeks in advance.

•  Move your mind
Get your mind moving by sifting through your data base or contact lists. This will trigger new thoughts and opportunities. If the mind gets moving the body will follow.

•  Avoid only seeing problem clients
Getting stuck into dealing with clients who have issues to be solved can slow down even the most senior account executives. Try to see as many “bright lights people or pleasurable people” as possible in January.

•  Newness
Early in the year, try some new idea, new avenues to find prospects, talk to other salespeople and pick up some new approaches and look for new opportunities and new products.

•  Set your goals and targets
Having a focus on a self-determined destiny or goal is one of the qualities consistently found in people who are high achievers. Achievable goals create happy people. Set goals for:

1. High self esteem
2. Happy, loving relationships
3. Mental improvement
4. Good health, energy and vitality
5. A successful career and financial security
6. An enhanced spiritual life

Bill Gibson is the author of The Business Success Series, The Complete Sales Action System and The Managing Complex Business Relationships System as well as the author of several business books and publications. He is the chairman of Knowledge Brokers International S.A. (Pty) Ltd. He can be reached on 011-784 1720 or