Well, here I am in Skipol Airport in Holland, in transit towards Edinburgh, Scotland, and about to start one of the biggest challenges of my life so far. This idea has been in the works for many months, as I knew that I would be moving to Edinburgh for a short while to help my 15-year-old daughter through her National 5’s, or O Levels in my old fashioned language.
Why is it a challenge?
Surely spending 2 months with your daughter in one of the most beautiful cities in the world is something to be celebrated..? It is, but the challenge does not stem from there. Although, teenagers are not the easiest thing to manage or understand, my issue is more around my business as a sales consultant and sales coach. I specialise in building models for companies, helping them to carve an effective sales process, working with sales people and managers to give them solid frameworks with which to build their careers. I preach the value of system, metrics, and having a qualitative and quantitive set of data. In having this, you can build a business in any industry, in any city in the world, and in any environment, crisis or no crisis.
I am now heading to Edinburgh with the aim to prove my theories and put my money where my mouth is. I am going to step into Edinburgh from scratch and in 2 months attempt to build a business from the ground up. I have set myself some pretty simple goals, and am going to blog and vlog my journey to share with you the highs and the lows of this process.
Where am I now? Well, I started planning properly for this around four weeks ago. I assessed where I was in relation to building out the model and started to prepare hard in time for yesterday, when my journey started. I did not know anyone personally in the local area. I think I had roughly 35 contacts on Linkedin in Edinburgh, and I knew my brother had a couple of loose contacts around there, but that’s all I had to work with. Pretty terrifying when you consider that in Singapore I have over 3,000 contacts, a network of over 300 people that I know well, a dozen centers of influence and a steady flow of 3 to 4 referrals every week. Almost all of my meetings this year have been referrals, and this has created a solid pipeline, something I would not have in Scotland.
My plan was simple. I reckon there are a half a dozen lead sources that I am going to follow up with and I started building them out four weeks ago. They are as follows.
- Public speaking
- Networking events
The breakdown of these and how I am going to optimise them is as follows:
This is the holy grail for me. It, along with networking events, will be my starting point. Currently, I have been sending out connection requests, to build up my base, and am having conversations with these. All messages are personalised; I read their profiles and I start the conversation with a chat about them. From there I am being pretty honest with people, explaining I am new and that it would be great to build up my network, before asking for a meeting.
These are what I need to build out. Sadly, my experience shows that it takes time to build up trust and I reckon it will take about three or four weeks to build up a steady flow of two referrals a week. This is my main method of building my base in Singapore and I hope that I am able to really drive through on this area.
I need to bring in people that are happy to introduce me to contacts and friends. Again, this is similar to referrals but a much deeper level of engagement with the person, while getting a steady flow of names coming in. To start with, I have one of these. With about 30 contacts in the UK, I need to go back to drawing board on this, as I have about 20 contacts in Singapore with a strong database there.
Public speaking –
My plan is to bring Asia to Edinburgh and vice versa. With 21 years of understanding the culture of how sales in Asia works, I am keen to do a series of talks on this while I am back. The team will reach out to federations, groups, business groups, coworking spaces etc to book these for me.
My only paid source of leads. They provide leads for training companies and I am excited to follow through on this. In Singapore we get about four leads week.
Networking events –
Finally, my old favourite. Networking. This, along with LinkedIn, is the best place to start. The quality can be poor, but we found that it works well and allows you to step into conversations with a smooth transition. I aim to do three per week for first three weeks and then drop down to two if I have the lead flow. I reckon I will pick up one extra COI per week on the back of these.
I have been working on these now for four weeks and the results are promising thus far. I am looking at things from a slow burn point of view for two weeks, but aim to get at least four solid first meetings in week three. This basically means that the first two weeks are for meeting people, doing events, and building up my bank of contacts that will then allow me to drive personal contacts into my world.
My goals are as follows over the next 8 weeks:
- Pull in 20 new names per week from week one onwards.
- From week three, three referrals per week and balance other sources.
- Four first meetings per week, two with referrals and two with other sources.
- Do two fact finds each week from week three.
- Do two collaboration meetings each week from week four.
- Bring in one new client per week from week five onwards.
- Bring in a total of five new clients – corporates.
- Put five people on Bootcamp.
- Do two workshops.
- Do two in house training sessions.
These goals are simple, straight forward, and I will share with you the spreadsheet as I navigate through this exciting journey.
So, let’s start with today and how I move forward from here:
I have been busy on Linkedin and reaching out to contacts that I know well, who know people in the UK and am pushing hard to get them to reach out and help build my database of LinkedIn users in Edinburgh. From 31 names in Edinburgh in January, I have now increased that to 358 contacts on. I also have 12 conversations going on in LinkedIn, and have six people committed to meeting up, with two of them booked for next week. I also have three networking events booked in for week one and we are pushing hard for week two.
My contacts in Asia have been super cool, and have introduced me to four people in Scotland and about 30 solid contacts in the UK inside my target market.
So, the journey begins. I still have to firm up my accommodation today; that’s a big hurdle. I have to make sure I have high speed internet, pick my daughter up from the airport tomorrow, and then we are ready to roll. The good news is that I have a solid first on Monday at 8am, from LinkedIn, and will keep you updated on that.
Follow my vlog or blog and feel free reach out, give me advice, or share any contacts you may have.
All help will be appreciated.