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Become a Converge ‘Champion’?

A champion is basically a driven and impatient member.  These are the members who are not happy to wait to be invited to a Converge Network, they go and start their own.

We encourage these driven, impatient and successful people to give us a call.  We provide full training and weekly support for Champions and your time requirements are not as big as you might think.  Champions drive the recruitment of members as well as chair / lead the meeting.

What do you get?

  • The opportunity to grow a network of local businesses selected by you.
  • Increased profile in your local area, the Champion is the education facilitator for the group and you form great bonds when you are in a position to help someone’s else’s business.
  • Increased skills – you are frontline for all of the coaching material and as a result you often learn more than the members, these skills translates into your business.
  • Database – on acceptance as a Champion you will be given a database of every business in your area to source your members.  The database is yours to keep.
  • Income – not enough to stop doing what you do but it helps
  • Personal and business growth – just joining a Converge network provides a good level of growth for you and your business, starting and driving a network gives the opportunity for enormous growth that translates into your business.

If this is you, call or email us today and let’s get started.

Christmas Party 2012

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Christmas Party 2012

Champion’s Lunch June 2012

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Champion’s Lunch June 2012

We hosted our first Champion’s lunch yesterday – a thank you for our brave Champion’s who lead the groups each week.  Great opportunity for the guys to get to know each other and talk about their groups, their backgrounds and their experiences.  As you can see there was a tiny bit of drinking as well.

Business Forums

Posted by on 11:22 am in Business | Comments Off

Business Forums

Why a Networking Group?

Many small business owners feel very alone in their endeavours. We understand that the best way to develop a sustained, rewarding business relationship is to work with people you like and trust. With more and more people working for themselves, successful marketing is becoming harder. Developing mechanisms to connect your business with the people who need your products and services is imperative and a Converge Business Network provides such an environment.

Networking also provides the perfect platform for business owners to get together. Being part of a Networking Group is like having a supergroup of entrepreneurs working with you – promoting your business and acting as a sounding board for any challenges that arise.

The benefi ts of referred business over non-referred business are well known – the challenge is finding the time and having the skills to build strong referral relationships. As part of your business growth strategy, Converge Business Networks can provide you with a comfortable networking environment and assist your development and success.

What makes Converge different?

At Converge, we don’t just provide the platform for business referrals. We believe that business networking is great for referrals and strategic business growth – but what makes us different is that we combine high level business coaching alongside our business networking sessions.

Converge is the leading organisation in combining business networking with business coaching. Not only do we offer you the ability to generate quality referrals and receive support from fellow business owners, but you will also benefit from our comprehensive coaching and education program.

Why join a Converge Business Network?

People join Converge to grow their business and develop themselves personally. Business coaching is just as important to the growth of your business as the referrals that networking provides. In many cases you are your business, so if we can help you to grow and develop, then your business will benefit even more.

Converge Business School.

Converge members have open access to our extensive business coaching and education resources including articles, books and book summaries, presentations and tutorials. New resources are added weekly and articles are updated regularly. As the saying goes, “you are either green and growing, or ripe and rotting”. It is our belief that ongoing learning (regardless of the topic) will benefit you, and your business. We are so enthusiastic about business coaching that if you can’t fi nd a resource that fi ts your needs, just let us know and we will source it for you.

What does it cost?

Membership costs $100 plus GST per month (plus whatever you order for your breakfast).

Return on investment.

As a Converge member your ‘Return on Investment’  may come from:

  • quality referrals and leads generated from your network
  • tips and market intelligence
  • advice on business issues from the ‘Board Sessions’
  •  skills improvement from the extensive business education and coaching provided through the Converge Business School
  • confidence that comes from public speaking, ‘selling’ yourself and your business, leading a ‘Board’ and delivering training and educational material.

For many members, all that is required to cover the cost of membership is one or two successful leads per year

Common Mistakes of a Start Up

Posted by on 11:08 am in Blog, Business | 0 comments

Common Mistakes of a Start Up

In the excitement and enthusiasm startup business often make some or all of the following basic mistakes:

  1. They focus on a product that they want and know about, rather than one that potential customers want.
  2. They neglect to speak to potential customers or users.
  3. They have no idea whether there is a market big enough to support their product.
  4. They have no grasp of marketing or sales, and their concerns about secrecy keep them from seeking expert advice.
  5. They do not validate any of their key assumptions in the market.

I thought this list was very interesting when I came across it the other day.  The ones that I have been guilty of in some earlier business ventures are numbers 1 and 4 (particularly the secrecy).  It is easy to convince yourself that what you have developed is what customers are surely going to want.  It is also easy to see people as potential threats to your exclusivity when they are really just trying to assist.

These are not necessarily fatal mistakes and they could still be a part of your business even if you are approaching maturity.

Can you see any of these in your empire?

Handling Objections

Posted by on 10:00 pm in Communication, Customers | 0 comments

Handling Objections

We had a discussion about this at yesterday’s development day with very positive feedback.  Two hints for your sales process; dealing with common objections and dealing with one of the toughest questions that we get asked.

Dealing with Common Objections

By no means sophisticated but very effective – feel, felt, found.

“Wow, that is expensive!”
“I understand how you feel” (make the person feel that the objection is valid)
“Other people / clients have felt the same way” (let them know that they are not alone in their concern)
“And what they found is that……” (these other reasonable normal people, just like you, have overcome their objection with us and are now happier for it)

This simple technique requires practice and when practised come across very naturally, giving you a response to tough objections while allowing you the time to formulate the answer.  Stops the stunned silence or the errs and umms.

That Tough Question

Ever had a prospect ask you, “why should I use you?”  That terribly direct question that cuts through the fluff and sales spiel to the core of your pitch.

The challenge with this question is that it generally generates a response that is in the first person – I am very good or we are the best or our product is the best suited etc.  The first person response tends to miss the mark with the prospect and makes you feel like a dick for giving it.  We (Australian’s) do not respond well to people telling us how good they are nor do we feel natural telling others how good we are.

So what is the solution?  3rd party language.

“Why should I use you?”
“The majority of our clients tell us that what they like most is ….” OR
“When we ask our long term clients that questions they tell us ….” OR
“Clients that buy from us a second time tend to do so because of our ….”

The ability to use 3rd party language allows you to answer this and other tough questions, tell them how good you are and why they should use you – all without sounding like a dick.  It is a very powerful addition to your sales language.

 

Averages vs Trends

Posted by on 9:11 pm in Blog, Business, Featured, Strategy | 0 comments

Averages vs Trends

Which statistic is better for use in your business?

The idea for this blog came from a debate with my mother-in-law over shark attacks – an area high in my attention as a surfer.  The argument was whether WA or QLD was more dangerous for shark attacks.  My MIL’s argument was that QLD had the highest averages in terms of attacks – my counter argument was that the figure she quoted was the average since they started recording attacks whereas the current trend certainly favoured WA.

When we discussed the ‘since started recording’, plus the fact that historically QLD has probably had more swimmers / tourists since the 50′s and finally that they used to have a waterfront whaling station (Morton Island) – I started to come out on top.

What’s the point?  In my view averages can hide a lot of information and/or truth.  Likewise trends measured over too short a period might actually turn out to be a fad.

In terms of applying this to your business think about your clients.  How long do you keep a client in the ‘A’ category based on their average spend as opposed to their trending spend – and vice versa?  What about with sales staff (if you have them) or sales methods – on average we get more leads from X vs the current trend is that more leads come from Y.

When you tell yourself things about the business that you use to make decisions are you using averages or trends?  And if you used the alternative one would you be making different decisions?

 

What is Your Positioning?

Posted by on 10:00 am in Blog, Communication | Comments Off

What is Your Positioning?

This week we are working on a concept that comes from a great book that I recommend as many people as I can, called Positioning, The Battle for the Mind, written by Al Ries and Jack Trout.  It is tough to get.  You may have to get it online.  I have only found a handful in book stores.  The book was written in the 70s and has not needed to be updated significantly since then.

This book started a different thought process in the world of marketing; taking people from actually promoting their goods as new and improved or bigger and better, instead it started looking at where your product or your brand or your business sits in the minds of the consumer.  So your positioning is like a ladder, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, etc.

The argument is once your business is positioned at the top rung in any ladder  it is very hard to dislodge.  So, once something comes out and becomes the best, it is hard to dislodge that business by being better in that specific category.  A great example is our airline industry; Qantas is at the top rung in the ladder in terms of safety and then is in the top rung in the separate ladder in terms of service.  So, when Virgin entered the market for it to try and become the safest or the highest service or even the biggest which is another rung Qantas occupies, would have been a very difficult battle.  It would take a long time and a lot of money to dislodge that perception from our minds.  So, instead Virgin started with two other ladders, one being fun and the other being price or cheap.  Overtime, Virgin occupied the top rung of the ladder in fun and Qantas in a countermove created a new ladder in our mind called price and took the top spot with Jetstar.

In the book, there is a great example of a beer company in America which was the first in its competitive industry to explain to people how they make beer.  Now, how this company made beer was nothing special.  When I say that I mean everyone use the same process but what happened in this advertising campaign is that it was the first time that a beer company had explained to the consumer how they actually make beer as oppose to simply running commercials with young people drinking alcohol in their board shorts and bikinis on the back of pick-up trucks.  What this did for the company was in the consumer’s mind they became the quality beer because they had explained the process that no else understood and to the layman it was quite a complex process.  The response from the competitors was that “this is how we all make beer” but by this stage it was too late.  The consumer had already decided that this company because they explained what they had done or were doing were the expert.  They occupied the top rung in the ladder for quality for a number of years and they went from fourth to first in the competitive beer industry.

This is a great example of the earlier blog post around Sharing Your Recipes, do not be reluctant to tell people how you do what you do in great detail because sometimes that is enough to; a) make it clear in the minds of the consumer and; b) give you a competitive positioning against your competitors.

Getting started with the New Promoter Score

Posted by on 9:51 pm in Customers | 0 comments

Getting started with the New Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a key metric used by large and small businesses around the world as a key measurement for customer satisfaction.  We have discussed this across the groups as something that might benefit many of our businesses.

Probably the easiest way to implement it is to use a free sign up to Survey Monkey, use their NSP template and start sending it to every client.

Get measuring……

 

 

 

No-Man’s Land – A Pricing Issue

Posted by on 10:29 am in Business, Sales & Marketing | 0 comments

No-Man’s Land – A Pricing Issue

Is your business playing in no-man’s land?

 

If you are a tennis player then you will be familiar with the term no-man’s land – it is the area between the service line and the baseline, where a player is most vulnerable.   Standing in no-man’s land you are not back far enough to effective play the baseline power shots and not close enough to effectively play the net.  Often the balls will be bouncing at your feet requiring you to make the difficult pick up shot and stopping you from returning the ball with any power.

 

I don’t play a lot but when I do it is with a good friend (names changed to protect the innocent so let’s just call him Steve) and he plays in the no-mans land – and when he does, I win.

 

Relevance to pricing?

 

This analogy came up in our discussion this morning about premium pricing and the attempt by many business to set a premium price  and still try to compete with the cheaper providers – not quite at the net and not at the baseline = playing in no-man’s land.

 

You can’t do both and win.  Also your opponents (in this case they can be both competitors and clients) will take advantage of your vulnerability.

 

Businesses that truly have a premium price strategy rarely discount or go on sale.  They also rarely have a cheaper version of their offering.  Rolls Royce don’t have a run out sale and Bentley don’t have a compact hatch.

 

The temptation to try to play for both is strong but difficult.  If you have a premium offering (I mean a real premium offering) and you charge a premium price then the same people who will are your clients will be the people who are turned off as soon as you cheapen your offering or sell a lower version or go on sale etc.  If the airlines let the people from cattle class up in first class it would cease to have the same appeal for the people who usually buy first class.

 

So you can play in no-man’s land but you will struggle to win and will have to work much harder.  Like many aspects of successful business choosing where to play that will give you the best opportunity to win.

It is never about the price

Posted by on 10:36 am in Blog | Comments Off

It is never about the price

Clients don’t say no to you because of the price.

??????

It is never the price.  It is never the cost.

It is always the value (or lack thereof)

People get so caught up on the price that they miss the real message in the rejection.  What that client is really saying is that they can’t see the value in what you are offering at that price level.  For example, a bottle of water is good value (translate as cheap) at $1, it is fair value at $2 or $3, but at $6 – $8 it is now expensive.  In other words the client (in this case me) see the value up until about $3 but beyond that I am struggling to understand what makes that bottle of water worth $8.  I can’t see the value therefore I will not buy it and my response will be, “boy that is expensive” or “what a rip off”.

Now if  that was the last bottle of water and I was in the desert then I would probably see the value at $8 or if it gave me some magical powers then maybe.

People pay enormous amounts of money for absurd things (e.g a $20,000 handbag – my view) and at the same time struggle to pay small amounts of money for relatively important things (example is life insurance).

Why?  It is not price or cost – it is value.  They either can’t (insurance) or can (handbag) see value in the good or service.

So when you or your staff come back and say “they thought we were too expensive” or “the price we charge is too high” – you need to remind them (or yourself) it is probably that you have not fully communicated  the value versus the price and as a result the prospect did not buy.

Now the caveat to this is if you are talking to the wrong target market.  I see the value in a Ferrari but can’t afford to buy one.  I am therefore not the target market for the Ferrari sales person, regardless of how much drool and how many buying signals I am displaying.  If the client standing in front of you can’t afford your product or service then regardless of seeing the value you will not make the sale.  However if the client can afford your product or service and still says that it is too expensive – make sure you hear what they are really saying which is, “I can’t see or don’t understand the value”.

Agree or disagree?

Planning Day – 16 Jan 2014

Posted by on 9:43 pm in Business | 0 comments

Planning Day – 16 Jan 2014
The first coaching day of 2014 is this week, Thursday 16th 10-5pm in the CBD (Sydney)
This year we will run a quarterly format and we have made a workbook for the process to improve the accountability and leave you with a tangible plan for your business.  This day will set you up for the first quarter of the year.  Will be a great day.
All members & champions attend for free.  The cost for non-members is $220 for the day
It will be followed by social drinks for those interested.  You are welcomed for the drinks even if you can’t make the day.
If you are interested please let me know ty@convergebusiness.com.au

What’s new for Converge in 2014

Posted by on 10:00 am in Blog, Business | 0 comments

What’s new for Converge in 2014

Happy New Year from Converge!

2014 is shaping up to be a sensational ride, with many exciting changes ahead!

Like every good business, Converge listens to its clients and values your feedback.  You said you love the business education and coaching we offer in our groups and you love the business resources we provide.  You love our meeting style that you said creates great value for you as members in terms of growing your business acumen and your businesses!  And we loved hearing it!

Our members are clear that they value business education, and our group discussions because they helped you to build solid business relationships with the other members.  These important relationships are the basis of our Converge community, and you said you would rather focus on building these relationships than attend meetings solely for the purpose of gaining referrals.  In fact, you expressed dissatisfaction with network groups that use high pressure tactics to generate referrals from you and for you – you told us you want to build business relationships that go deeper than that, and we listened.  We have never and will never pressure our members to give referrals because we believe from the authentic business relationships that are formed in our groups solid, genuine referrals will flow.

In 2014, we are referring to our groups as Converge Business Forums to reflect the focus for these meetings will be on Business Owner Development.  We have our goal set to provide you with better resources, which we hope will generate insightful discussions and offer you key concepts you can realistically apply to your own business.

In fact, we are implementing more accountability in 2014 to make sure that what we are teaching our members actually gets implemented into their businesses! All our forums nationwide will work on the same resource over a a two-week period: the first week being the introduction of the concept; and the second week will cover how this key concept could be implemented appropriately into your business.

New Forums!

We are launching new forums this year – in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Our goal is as always to attract the right people, not simply lots of people, and in order to be successful in this we rely on our champions. Our champions are key to the ability to deliver our value proposition, so we have invested in ensuring a high level of support and coaching will be available throughout the year to our champions.

If you know of any business owners who you think would benefit from being a part of the Converge community, please let me know.

Networking Events

2014 will see a range of social networking events hosted by Converge. We are planning regular invitation networking lunches in addition to networking drinks evenings across the year.

Coaching Days

Our 2014 Coaching Days will be held quarterly. Our aim this year is to ensure all the great concepts, ideas and information you gain from our forums and coaching days can be practically, realistically and easily implemented into your business so that you see the benefits immediately.

Our Coaching Days will involve attendees working through a workbook over the four sessions that will result in a comprehensive plan for their business as they complete the course.  This exciting offering will also include our “90 Planning” process, which we have successfully used for several years with some of our largest clients.

The first coaching day for 2014 will be Thursday 16th January, 2014 in the CBD (Sydney).  This first day will take you through the foundations for your strategy and business plan for 2014.  Converge members & clients attend for free, and the cost for non-members is $200 (plus GST) per session.  RSVP’s are essential by Friday 10th January as these spots go quickly.

The second session will be held in the first week of April.  The coaching day will run from 10am-5pm and will be followed by social drinks in the city – which is an open event so even if you don’t attend the day you are welcomed to join us for a social networking drink.

New Year – New Look Website!

In the first quarter of this year, we will be launching a new-look website that will allow for all of our members to gain access the full suite of resources available, plus manage their membership and event payments directly through the site.  This new website will also allow Converge members to better promote the services they offer to all of our members.

So we are excited about 2014 – and we hope you are too!

If you are looking to grow as a business owner across 2014 and benefit from being part of a constructive, supportive business community now is the time to contact me and come along to one of our forums.

As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Let Converge help you make 2014 the year that you achieve your business’s goals in a community that offers you the support and resources you need to take your business to the next level!

Here’s to 2014

Posted by on 8:59 am in Blog, Business | 0 comments

Here’s to 2014

Happy New Year.

For many of the businesses in the Converge Community 2013 was a good year – new businesses created, growth both in revenue and profit and new roles created.  Although it did have a ‘grind’ feeling about it.

2014 is looking to be a great year for business – a year full of opportunities.

Hopefully we will all be able to see the opportunities for what they are and choose the ones that are right for our business in 2014.

Remember….

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”
Thomas Edison