Essentially, we would discuss your business as every core remains different (even though your business might be identical to others I have worked with). That core is the business owner. We discuss and agree which direction you want to take the business, a proposal is then produced which is up to you, as the customer to confirm in writing to accept.
Do you work from my office?
No, all work is done remotely. Whilst this confuses a lot of people, a lot of my customers have never actually met me.
Do I need to work with you full time?
No. Most of my customers are of the misconception that they need my services 5 days per week. That would be unproductive and would bring too much to the table. I build sensible businesses, not bring critical mass to the table which you cannot handle.
How long would I need your services for?
If we all had a crystal ball, it would certainly make life a lot easier! Businesses are different, customer bases are different and the approach is different as well. Some customers, I have worked with for years, others for a couple of months. Generally speaking the lifespan of our contract is six-twelve months.
How long is the contract for?
The contract is rolling for both parties (you and I). A 30-day notice period of termination is required from either party in writing or email to give the relevant notice period.
Do you make any exceptions of this notice period?
No. Employees (or Employers') would be treated the same, and it is common practice for a notice period of any contractual arrangement.
So how do you communicate your activity?
At the end of each day, I provide an Excel document which details all of my conversations and other activity during that period. For some people it is simply 'too much information'. In this instance, I provide 'Work to do' lists bullet pointing action required.
So what do you do?
I make contact with customers and develop relationships with them and only hand over to you when there is a site meeting, proposal, technical or job process to follow.
So you will not meet the customers yourself?
Actually I do; although it depends on location and reason. Very much common sense approach....
Do you help me with ideas on the business?
Yes, I actually act as your business partner with major differences: You do not hand over any percentage of your company and I am answerable to you.
Do you help other businesses in my area?
Potentially, I have (or do) work in your area. Sometimes even with the same trades; however when there is a clash in route to market, the customer who I deal with first takes exclusivity on that area.
So do I keep this area of exclusivity permanently?
No, you have a cool off period of six months before I can explore the same data.
Do you use other customers' data?
I have to use new data each time I take on a new client. Whilst I am familiar with certain processes and customers - it is a breach of data protection as my customer owns the existing data not me.
Can you come and work at my offices?
Dependent, I have done in the past for customers but all travel time is on the flat hourly rate.
Do you work on commission only?
Sorry this is for door-to-door salesman. I am an experienced business developer who has built multiple businesses from the ground upwards and need to be treated as such.
Do you work on an hourly rate / commission basis?
Dependent, but I have nailed customers for this before and they have reverted back to the hourly rate. Remember if you are going to introduce a commission basis to any sales person, it needs to be attractive and if they deliver - well it is going to cost you. Furthermore, if we agree an hourly rate with commission, you will not receive any benefits for any other services as I am targeting sales, not talking to you about how to negotiate a supplier down on their fees.
So, you build websites. Are you a web developer?
No if we are talking code (.asp / .html) I am clueless. Like any technologies, you have programmers and users. I am the latter but have worked so extensively in CRM bench testing, this has allowed me to pick up other skillsets along the way.
Are you a online marketing specialist?
First of all there is no such thing. An online marketing specialist is like saying your in the armed forces, there are a number of different specialist fields within this e.g. PPC / Facebook Marketing / LinkedIn / General Social Media / SEO / Keywords / Web Developers / Advertising Specialists...the list goes on..
As far as my skillsets go, I am average across the board; a jack of all trades if you will.
Do you take on every contract?
No. Not every business is capable of being grown, or the director as a narrow view of growing the business. It could simply be a case of setting unrealistic goals which I could not possibly achieve.
Do you know investors?
Yes, but I do not offer them to any of my customers as it is a conflict of interests.
Do you introduce your customers to us as well?
Sometimes, only if the circumstances dictate it is a good idea. Most of the time, I will not make any reference to them.
So you work with multiple customers and you give out your mobile. How do you know which company you are working for?
Very simple. I answer the phone as Karl Lacey and the caller always explains in details why they are calling and this allows me to isolate where the call has come from, and which customer I am working for at that time. It is something I have never got wrong.
What if you are on the phone?
It goes to my answerphone which is none specific.
Do I need to give you email access?
Yes, I would need access to your webmail system - it allows me to send/receive and manage emails remotely.
You mentioned you do credit control, to what level?
Every credit controller in the country from start to finish does a specific role. I do all of them, right from an overdue invoice, picking up the phone, to visitations, to court issuing, to court appearances, CCJs and Sheriffs.
You do health and safety documentation, but are you a H&S advisor?
No, I am not. As part of my information; I recommend H&S is always sought. This is why with each and every infrastructure I carry out, there is always a C.V. of a health and safety advisor. I pass my referrals onto them, so they do know me.
How do I know you are any good?
When a proposal is produced, I provide three references. Not only do I give you their contact details, I actively encourage that you speak to them as you are hearing the benefits of my services from someone else.
I am not comfortable dealing with a particular situation, can you help?
I am here as a support mechanism for you, so anything you might not be sure about - I will happy discuss this with you. If I do not know, then I will tell you. If I do, then you might have saved yourself a big headache.
But you know nothing about my business, you are not technical, so how are you going to sell it?
Sales is rarely about technical ability, it is about relationship building and people. You are my technical arm, I am the relationship side of things. If I am out of my depth, I can field this with customers and pull on your assistance if required.
Yes, I have sold artwork up to the value of £250,000, technical solutions up to the value of £100,000 amongst other things; they all have one thing in common - I had no idea about any of them. Hard to believe, but true...
But are you just another 'Teflon' sales guy?
It is easy to use this term for a sales guy and I know the types which it refers to. The ones that fudge the figures and basically try and cover their tracks at every opportunity. Right or Wrong, Good or Bad - you need to know the truth about your business and that's all I give.
Are you there for an advisory service?
Yes, although it is to a point. If you keep ringing every evening for an hour chatting about your business, it will not be long before I say that we need to put it under contract. Keeping things simple is the best way forward.
What are your payment terms?
Invoices are sent towards the end of each month and are payable at the end of the very same month. I do believe in a little flexiblity but any invoices which reach 30-days overdue are subject to further action. Communication is however key in all cases.