Posted: Wed 25th Jun 2014
Introduced in January 2014, Growth Vouchers is a government programme to offer match-funding of up to Â£2,000 to small businesses to access strategic advice. Enterprise Nation runs the Marketplace on which you can find accredited advisers and we regularly profile case studies of success.
Here's one such story that tells how Marcus Whittington is seeing sales rise on the back of advice from sales pro, Alison Edgar.
The Growth Voucher Adviser
Name: Alison Edgar
Company Name: Sales Coaching Solutions Ltd
Specialist Advice Area: Sales and Customer Service Training
How many years' experience: 18 years and 4 with my own company
Percentage of small biz clients: 100%
Your approach to delivering strategic advice: Be honest, always practice what you preach and ask open questions!
Your view on why strategic advice makes a difference: Most companies when they set up put a marketing plan in place not a Sales plan. In general they do not know how to open a business conversation and ask the correct questions to create a "Pull" sale.
The broad type of advice you gave to this client and how it helped: I gave the client a process to follow which enables them to sell, as well as advice to target a new market to grow their business.
The Growth Voucher recipient
Name: Marcus Whittington
Company Name: Bath Boutique Stays Ltd
Age of Business: 3 years
Growth Voucher category: Marketing and Customer Service
Growth Voucher value: Â£1000
When did you start the growth voucher training and when did you finish? April 2014 - June 2014
Has it helped you get to where you want to go - and how?
We are Bath's leading independent holiday rentals business, offering a beautiful collection of boutique styled Georgian properties, providing luxury accommodation in Bath including Jane Austen's House.
Not only has working with Sales Coaching Solutions Ltd increased our occupancy and yield, it has also increased our profile and we have just won Self Catering property of the Year in the Bath Events, Hospitality and Tourism Awards 2014, something we are very proud of.
The business has been trading for 3 years and we were looking to increase midweek corporate business to maximise occupancy and yield, which is why we turned to Sales Coaching Solutions for advice.
Why did you want it/what did you want to achieve?
I wanted my staff to be confident when they contacted customers to close booking for my accommodation. In addition I wanted them to be able to look for contacts in the corporate market place and have a strategy to get them to ensure forward bookings.
How did it help your business?
It helped enormously, by being confident in what to say and how to say it, selling the benefits and asking for the order. It led to more clients, not to mention the coaching keeping staff focused and on task.
On the back of the advice, we created a list of corporate clients who would bring overseas and long distance visitors to Bath and sent them a marking postcard from the flagship property Jane Austen's House to invite guests to visit for Afternoon Tea. I felt by getting clients in the property they would have a higher conversion rate, so follow up phone calls were made using the processes advised by Alison and we have increased bookings as a result. Due to the success of this project, we are now looking to recruit additional sales and marking team members.