How can a business go from being a negative to making money? In this episode, Ken Courtright talks about his incredible business turnaround. Sharing the things he did to get a genuine opportunity back in 2004, Ken also points out the mechanical skills and the three essential nuggets that can turn your business around.
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This is the show that drops little nuggets here and there, some short, and some long that can grow businesses. They’re not nuggets that worked in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s that may or may not work now. These are sales nuggets that work right now and hopefully always. This episode is sponsored by Digital Footprint. I’ve said maybe ten different things in the last ten episodes. I’m out of stuff. If at this point you haven’t looked at DigitalFootprint.net and you haven’t decided to go to the event, I don’t know what else to say. How many of you following this podcast view yourself as a salesperson? Raise your hand, and I noticed worldwide that the people in Germany, 80% did not raise their hands. I noticed the people in Costa Rica, Canada, and 80% did not raise their hands. How do I know that when I can’t see through this microphone into the people following this podcast? Because when I speak and I ask the audience, no matter what country I’m in, only one out of five people raises their hand.
Let’s start with some fundamentals. If you’re a father, you’re a salesperson. If you are a brother, you’re a salesperson. If you’re a teacher, you’re a salesperson. If you are a son or a daughter, a mother, a chef, if you’re human, you are a salesperson. You are selling people on marrying you, dating you, you’re selling people on loaning you money. You’re selling kids on behaving. You’re selling employees that you know what you’re talking about. You’re selling bosses and management that you have something to say. We are all salespeople. This is going to be a short episode. I was going through some notes for a different meeting and it came to me that, in 2004, I was brought in to consult on an appointment setting company in North Aurora, Illinois. Sure enough, I took the project. I was about 3 to 5 months in. I remembered this is awesome. What we’re about to do here is amazing. Right about 90 days in, the gentleman that owned the company got a call from his father that the family needed help. They were in the roofing business.Being 100% invested in something means putting your heart into it. Click To Tweet
The gentleman turned to me and he’s like, “We brought you in because we’re severely upside down. I don’t know how much money we’re losing, but we are upside down. Would you have any interest in possibly buying this company?” I said, “None whatsoever.” We have a rule. We don’t get in bed with our clients, so to speak. This was unique, he genuinely had an opportunity and it was upside down, it was losing money, that I was able to buy the company for $1. It had eight sales reps at the time, and nineteen months later I was able to sell it back to the gentlemen. We went from losing money to making $20,000 a week. I had something like 207 reps working from home when I sold it back to him.
It was an incredible turnaround. Being 100% vested in, my heart was there. Not that my heart isn’t with other clients, I’m saying this was unique. I had to be there three days a week, at least four hours. It was unlike a project I had ever tackled. After going back and looking and analyzing, I only did two things, but I hit them hard. The first thing I did is I switched the concept of the work habit from an activity model to an accomplishment model. For those loyal podcasters, somewhere in the first 30 episodes, I cover that in detail. I use the same technique to take an office for MCI WorldCom from 33rd place out of 33 to number one in 91 days. At one of the podcasts in the early 30, the details are there if you want to check that out.
The second thing I did goes back to what a mentor of mine used to teach me in the late ‘90s and it was something like, “If you think you’re a leader and you can’t lead people to study in self-improvement, you’re not much of a leader.” I was always intrigued by that. I’m an avid John Maxwell fan. All I did in this company is, number one, I switched them from activity to accomplishment, and you’ll have to check out one of the old podcasts to dig through that. The second thing I did is, I recommended a few key sales books, and quite frankly over time, I made them mandatory. It’s not mandatory in the sense that you had to read them or you’re fired, but I used the books as a leverage point and I would do some pop quizzes to a degree, I would embarrass people into quitting. I wanted an army of soldiers that were willing to do what I knew worked and were there to be part of the team and part of the cause.
The long and short of it, I want to read you these books because we’re all salespeople and I don’t care what your technical title or position is. Every one of these books has 3 to 5 nuggets of gold that are valuable and most of these books are short. It’s up to you if you want to read them. Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work), the author is Stephan Schiffman, and there’s version 7 or 8 of that book. The next is, The One Minute Salesperson, that’s Spencer Johnson. There’s The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard. There is Rhinoceros Success, what a book. It’s a quick short read. Every entrepreneur has to read that book. There’s The Magic of Thinking Big, The Psychology of Selling, The University of Success, what a book. I’m reading that for the fourth time, The University of Success by OG Mandino. There’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and then Florence Littauer’s famous book, Your Personality Tree. I’m not going to elaborate on these. I’m going to let that hit you. For those reading, when the student’s ready, the teacher appears.
If it’s the time of your life that you need these books and you know, you know that you do, I read them in a specific order, I recommend strongly that you do not change the order. There is a method to the madness and understand the fruit on the tree says, “I bought a company for $1 with eight sales reps. I sold it nineteen months later with 207 sales reps going from a negative to a profit of $20,000 a week. These were the mechanical skills I taught through these books. I strongly recommend it. If you want a better relationship, if you want to get more loans and you want to sell people on loaning you money, if you want to get sales reps to get action and move. If you want to sell something, if you want someone to date you or love you or trust you, it’s in these books. I hope this helps.
- Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work)
- The One Minute Salesperson
- The One Minute Manager
- Rhinoceros Success
- The Magic of Thinking Big
- The Psychology of Selling
- The University of Success
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Your Personality Tree