• Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi, I’m Alison Edgar, The Entrepreneur’s Godmother and Managing Director of Sales Coaching Solutions.
• What is your brand philosophy and how does it give you a competitive advantage?
My motto is “When it’s delivered correctly, sales and customer service is exactly the same thing”. I don’t teach pushy sales techniques, I educate around my methodology ‘Four Key Pillars of Sales’ which is proven to work and that is my unique selling point.
• What customer-centric strategies do you use and why?
I am a people person and that doesn’t stop when it comes to my customers. I always make sure that every communication I have is a positive one. With my online courses, I can see how a customer is progressing, and so one strategy I always implement is giving them a call to see if there is anything I can help them with. I have endless testimonials thanking me for my contribution to their businesses. It may only take a few minutes out of my day to improve somebody else’s massively.
• How does your business recruit and retain your employees?
I recruited my last employee through Indeed – I think it’s a great tool. Previously, I teamed up with Bath Spa University via the Santander Internship programme. I believe working with young people gives my business a fresh approach and new lease of life. I believe in a relaxed environment for my employees. As an example, we have “think-tank Monday’s” where we do our Monday morning ‘stand up’ in the hot tub to get our brains churning. It is really important to me that my employees should have a good work-life balance. When they are having a good time, they are more likely to be more productive, and I think that is just common sense!
• What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your business and how did you overcome it?
When I incorporated my business, there was government funding which helped subsidise coaching and training, unfortunately this ceased at the end of 2015. The lack of subsidy meant start-ups, micros and owner managed businesses struggled to afford consultancy rates. As a result, we created The Entrepreneur’s Godmother to work with them in groups to make it a more cost-effective way for them to learn.
• What inspired the launch of your business?
I spent 25 years working in BlueChip sales and realised there was a clear difference in sales technique between the high flyers who were hitting and exceeding target such as myself, and the ones who were struggling to hit target each month. This inspired me to investigate the differences and create my ‘Four Key Pillars of Sales’, an easy to understand sales technique which guarantees results. Working in and around small businesses on a daily basis, I found one of their biggest challenges was to pro-actively sell so I thought “Not on my watch!” and made it my mission to teach them.
• What is the number one factor in your business success?
Me! People buy people, I always try to get along with everybody and a positive mental attitude goes a long way. I always believe that I can do anything I want and that’s got me as far as going to Downing Street, attending The Queen’s garden party for my work with enterprise, and becoming one of the UK’s Top 10 business advisers.
• Describe your business model and what makes your business unique?
My business has two sides, Sales Coaching Solutions, the more corporate side, which works with larger organisations and sales teams. The Entrepreneur’s Godmother, on the other hand, works with start-ups, micros and owner managed business and promotes a more fun approach to learning. There are lots of sales trainers across the world, but there is only one ‘Entrepreneur’s Godmother’.
• Explain your growth-funding path?
The business was started with no investment and all growth has been organic. This is the joy of being able to sell! When you can sell, you can do anything!
• What technology has made the greatest difference to your business?
For me, the e-learning and online courses has made a huge difference to my business. It gave me the ability to put my knowledge into an online course which everybody around the world could access with the click of the button. The challenge for any service-based business is to avoid saturation by trading your time for money, so it is imperative to create products which can generate revenue, which don’t involve your time. This is what I call a hole-in-one for marketing and allows me to make a passive income.
• What future advancements do you foresee in your market and how are you preparing for them?
Social media is already a huge part of the way we do business; however, I definitely see this expanding massively. I’ve spent hours learning about social media, we even visited Facebook’s HQ in Dublin, and I’ve developed a new course called ‘The Secrets of Social Selling’, which I will be discussing at the BIO2018 event.
• What’s your favourite business book?
Secrets of Successful Sales” by Alison Edgar for sure! Just kidding, I would say how to start your business for £99 by Emma Jones MBE.
• How could you become a better leader?
My employees always tell me I’m a great leader. I always offer rewards and recognition and I try to employ millennials to keep the ideas fresh, so we’re always implementing new things. They love that they have autonomy and an opportunity to contribute. I always try to motivate them with keeping a positive attitude and listening and communicating. I’m passionate about what I do, and they see me as a role model and I love that.
• What will you discuss in your BIO2018 presentation?
In my BIO2018 presentation I will discuss my ‘Four Key Pillars of Sales’
This is my award-winning methodology and it proves to have seriously great results – just check my testimonials on LinkedIn! I will also discuss the ‘Secrets of Social Selling’, and how social media and influencers are shaping the way we do business in today’s society.
• Who is the Target Audience for your BIO2018 presentation?
Anyone from SME’s to multi-nationals, everyone will walk away having gained something.