Friday 29 May 2015

Understanding and appreciating your customers

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine told me a story – on the face of it the story has nothing do with business – but it is a touching story anyway.

I have no idea as to whether the story is true or if it just an urban legend, but like all good stories, it certainly carries an important lesson, and it’s a lesson that you should apply to your business - if you’re smart
Here it is exactly as it was told to me;
"A man and a young teenage boy checked in to a hotel and were shown to their room.
The two receptionists noted the quiet manner of the guests, and the pale appearance of the boy.

Later in the evening, the man and boy ate dinner in the hotel restaurant. The staff again noticed that the two guests were very quiet, and that the boy seemed disinterested in his food. After eating, the boy went to his room and the man went to reception and asked to see the manager.

The receptionist initially asked if there was a problem with the service or the room, and offered to fix things, but the man said that there was no problem of that sort, and repeated his request.

The manager was called and duly appeared. The man asked to speak privately and was taken into the manager's office.

The man explained that he was spending the night in the hotel with his fourteen-year-old son, who was seriously ill, probably terminally so. The boy was very soon to undergo therapy, which would cause him to lose his hair. They had come to the hotel to have a break together, and also because the boy planned to shave his head, that night, rather than feel that the illness was beating him. The father said that he would be shaving his own head too, in support of his son.

He asked that staff be respectful when the two of them came to breakfast with their shaved heads. The manager assured the father that he would inform all staff and that they would behave appropriately.

The following morning the father and son entered the restaurant for breakfast.
There they saw the four male restaurant staff attending to their duties, perfectly normally, all with shaved heads."
This story is a great example of going above and beyond what is expected of you by your clients… And going above and beyond what is expected of you is the only way you are going to turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong client and eradicate any and all competition.   And it’s the only way you’re going to be able to command premium prices for what you do.

Letting your customers know that you understand them and their needs is essential if you want to be recognised as a supplier of choice

At Blue Box (and our sister company Blue Box Recruitment) we understand the importance of understanding what our customers are saying to us and reacting accordingly
If you would like to see what we do and how it could help your business, then please contact us in all the usual ways – telephone 084 3289 3288 or email

Obviously you can contact Blue Box Recruitment in the same way (and we would be happy to pass the messages across – but if you want to speak to us directly, our details are – 08456 894 894 and

We look forward to hearing from you soon

Until the next time, be bold and do good business

Sunday 17 May 2015

If you are not selling then you are not winning

I thought I had seen a lot of businesses and met a lot of business owners – and in reality, I probably have.  There is a point in life (and in business) where you think that it is unlikely that you will learn anything brand new – you may re-learn things that you were already aware of, or had forgotten, or you may learn a different ‘flavour’ of something that you already knew.

I was wrong!  And so it came as a bit of a surprise when I started doing some research for a project that I am currently working on.

Because what I did was I went to some of the most successful business owners that I am working with or have worked with in the past and asked them;
“What do you do when it comes to selling your services and products that gives you the edge over your competitors?”
I have to say that I was shocked by some of the revelations – and I think that you will be too!
Here are some simple truths I discovered about selling services, which could give you a massive boost to your sales – regardless of what you sell
1. Nobody is a natural born sales person
The simple truth is no one is a natural born sales person. Selling is a learnable skill that anyone can master given the right tools, strategies and training.
2. Many sales tactics just don’t work anymore
The simple fact is, a lot of what’s out there is outdated, and in some cases just plain wrong and unethical. A good deal of what you read today, whether in a book, magazine, online or elsewhere has not been verified and checked out. 

3. If you think you don’t need a sales process – you are wrong

I don’t know anything in life that does not require some kind of process to follow in order to be successful – selling is no different.  If you think that you can just rock up and a prospect will buy from you, then you are at best a foolish optimist and at worst a danger to the success of your business!  Your sales process should have a start, a middle, and an end, all of which you can identify


4.  Don’t wing it, follow the script
Scripting is important – it allows you to control the sales process so you can steer the conversation and have a better chance of making the sale.

5. When done correctly Clients buy, and you don't really sell
If you script your sales message properly, the momentum you build and the objections you eliminate will make your prospect eager to make the purchase.

6. A client giving you and every other consultant a blanket order is NOT selling.

That is bit like saying you are dating a prostitute. As I am sure you are aware, it has to be mutually exclusive for it to be a deal.

If you want to be successful and you want your business to grow and prosper, then you need to learn some of these tactics – they are not secrets or tricks, these are tried and tested bona fide business skills.

Contact Blue Box today to find out how these and other business skills could be applied to your business.  Call us on 084 3289 3288 or email us at

If you are interested in finding out what Blue Box do, and who we do it with, then check out our website at or our sister company – Blue Box Recruitments website at

Until then, be bold and do good business

Sunday 10 May 2015

Getting out of trouble and staying out of trouble when dealing with staff

Welcome to our third post in our series about business administration. As promised we are delving in to the reasons why, as employers we need to have a clear and concise staff handbook which outlines the rules and expectations of the business – and in return, what employees can expect from the business

Let's look at the difference between an employee contract and an employee handbook:
         A contract is a legally binding agreement. In the UK each employer is legally obliged to provide a written document that states what the employee is expected to do, what considerations they should expect such as pay, an amount of hours to be worked. This has seen the introduction of zero hour contracts because now, even casual workers are to be given a document that outlines the expectations of the employer. An employee contract is also known as a Statement of Particulars of Employment.
         A handbook can be less formal and should contain dress code policies, grievance procedures, health and safety regulations and disciplinary procedures.

We have all heard stories about unfairdismissal, employees complaining loudly “that's not my job” and “you never said that...” are all pointers that suggest that employers of any number of employees should have a handbook that can be easily accessed and updated.

Now let's move on to the implications of not having these documents available to your employees:
1.    If you do not have a statement of particulars of employment you are breaching employment law which can have legal implications. It is exceptionally important to run your business within the law.
2.    If employees are aware of the rules, whether they are in the contract or handbook they are more likely to follow them if they know about them.
3.    For breaches of company policy the consequences are set out and if the company polices have been signed by the employee then there can be no claim of ignorance.
4.    If these policies are not in place it can be difficult to sever a relationship with an employee who is not behaving or performing as required.
5.    If you are unable to sever the relationship it can be expensive to pay the wages of an employee you are having to carry and then of course there is the damage to your company reputation if the employee is not providing the service up to your required standard and it impacts on the customer.
The bottom line here is that it is far easier to deal with staff who are happy and content, and who know what is expected of them, rather than going through an employment tribunal – which, apart from being expensive and time consuming, will also take your focus from your primary reason for being at work – to run your business!

Blue Box Management Consultants have many years of experience helping businesses of all sizes to recruit and retain the right staff, increase productivity,  and to improve and maintain morale within organisations.

To learn more about Blue Box, the things we do and the people that we do it with, have a browse on our website at (and now you can also have a look at our sister company website at if you are an employer with a vacancy to fill, or you are an executive looking for your next challenging role)

If you want to contact us, please call any member of our team at 084 3289 3288 or email us at or we look forward to speaking with you soon

Until the next time, be bold and do good business!