Are Your Selling Relationships 1:1?Chia-Li Chien, Ph.D., CFP®, PMP®, CPBC
Chia-Li Chien | Aug. 16, 2011
Make a change to M:M and become a Business Architect.
You work only three hours a day, three days a week and take twelve weeks of vacation each year. Your business pays you an annual salary of six or seven figures.
Does this describe you? Then congratulations. You are a Business Architect.
Through years of working with business owners, I’ve come to the conclusion there are three categories of entrepreneurs: Technician, Manager and Business Architect:
Technician—Your business provides you a salary of less than $100,000 a year. (Please make a note here; I said “salary” not “revenue.”)
Manager—Typically, you’ve managed to create a lifestyle in which the business provides you a salary of around $250,000 a year.
You should strive, beginning now, to become a Business Architect. Other than the fact that the business provides an annual salary of greater than $250,000 for the owner/architect, there is usually also a minimum of three to five times of business value back to the owner when you become the Architect of your business.
So how do Business Architects make it happen? Well, they most likely have deployed a platform with a selling relationship of many to many (M:M), as opposed to one to one (1:1). The selling relationship of M:M allows the Business Architect to focus on other important factors of the business. These factors could include maximizing value for employees, customers, investors or the innovation of processes to create or improve products (including services).
There are three basic types of selling relationships:
- One to one (1:1)—You sell one product/ contract/project to one customer at a time. When there is no customer, there is no income. For example, the contractor who builds a deck for a customer one at a time.
- One to Many ( 1:M)—You sell one product to many customers at a time. Or you have other sales teams selling the one product to many customers at a time. For example, a coach provides a group coaching session with many customers at the same time.
- Many to many (M:M)—You have many sales teams out there selling multiple products to many customers at one time on a platform. For example, a CRM software company deploys affiliate programs to allow many affiliates to virtually sell multiple levels of software to many customers at one time, using a pre-defined platform.
For the most part, the majority of small business owners (mostly Technicians or Managers) engage in 1:1 selling relationships. Some of the more savvy Managers perhaps deploy 1:M selling.
Do you remember what Amazon.com used to sell on their website in 1994? Books right? Then they effectively created a platform to allow a M:M selling relationship. Today, anyone can list their products with Amazon.com—as matter of fact—Amazon.com sells pretty much everything today.
So does that mean in order to have a M:M or platform selling business sales model you must be on-line? Not really. Take a look at fast-food franchises such as McDonald’s, Burger King®, etc. A franchise is also a platform. Many mid-sized businesses are already using this as a platform before they even consider franchising or licensing.
Here are some practical strategies to help move your business from a 1:1 selling relationship to M:M.
- Carefully define the market makers—Base your definition on your products (including services) and market space. Each product line should naturally fit into a specific market space, therefore ensuring there is always a market maker to help you move from 1:1 to 1:M to M:M selling relationships. A Market Maker is an entity that has your exact target customers. In other words, they’re well established in your market space. Market makers can include strategic alliances, specific interest trade groups, or even just another complimentary business. They are all around you.
- Develop a consistent marketing system—No matter what type of marketing you currently deploy, whether on or off line, you must have a consistent marketing system in place. A system is a series of processes that allow you to consistently fill your prospect pipeline. This allows you time to continue to do what you do best. The key word here is consistent; most entrepreneurs engage in marketing strategies and tactics when they have finished up their last 1:1 job. A consistent system will allow your market makers to successfully market or sell on your behalf.
- Develop a Platform—Take a look at your existing products, customers and suppliers. Could you leverage what you currently have and duplicate that process to become a platform? A platform allows others to market/sell for you. Fundamentally, this is a strategic move to allow your business not only to create tremendous value, but also to grow revenue in a non-incremental way.
Along with the right packaging of your products in place, a M:M goal will greatly enhance your selling relationships and enable you to become a Business Architect. Look for the Right Packaging article coming next month.