Tag Archives: Ciaran Mcguigan

Time for Coffee

In North Sydney up the road from my office is a small coffee shop. There is nothing particularly unusual about this shop – it looks like any one of the thousands of other cafes and restaurants littered across the country.

Each morning as I walk by on the way to my office there is a fantastic smell of freshly roasted coffee beans swirling around the pavement delighting pedestrians’ noses as they walk by. This fantastic, evocative aroma wakens my and all other commuters’ senses. Something they are doing works. Inside, groups of customers are seated on bentwood chairs, leaning in on small round tables holding their latte or flat white cupped in their hands deep in conversation. The working day has started and the buzz of laughter and conversation empowers the beginning of their day.

Now only a short walk, just some 10 meters away, I also regularly pass by another café – this one is noticeably quieter. Almost library like, a few silent customers are sitting alone reading the morning’s first edition. This bugs me – why is this so? Why is one café flat out and another struggling? I think the first coffee shop does actually sell better coffee but not that good. Not good enough to explain why their business is at least five times busier.

Prompted by this puzzle each day this question has been bouncing about my mind looking for resolution. Recently one Saturday afternoon while watching my son’s football team playing in their local league I started thinking about sport and winners and losers in relation to the café scenario.

Often the difference between coming first and second is very small in terms of actual technical performance [hundredths of a second in a 100m sprint] but vast in terms of reward for the athlete. Take golf for example. In golf the difference between the world’s best and players ranked much lower [around 150th down the list] is about one stroke for each round played. An average round of golf will take 72 shots. In his best year Tiger Woods earned over 115 million dollars – many times the revenue of those whose actual golfing ability is really not that far off.

My point is this; it is essential when you are starting out on any venture to aim to be the very best. Identify the characteristics of the current #1 business; create a measure and set targets and goals to exceed them. If your business is to be successful you can’t afford to be second in sales.

An excerpt from  ‘How to Build a World Class Sales Team’ by Ciaran McGuigan


Tip #2 – Explode Your Opportunities

When I use the term ‘Explode Your Opportunities’ I want you to do just that, not go out and use a couple of sticks of dynamite, but create a map to show your existing relationships with your existing customers and THEIR customers. Here’s how to do it:

Identify a client who is delighted with your product or service. Now get hold of a whiteboard or a clean sheet of paper and put your client’s name in the center of one page in a circle. Spend a couple of minutes and identify six businesses / individuals who also sell products and services to your client. I like to draw each one of them in a ‘circle’ centred around, and connected to, the key relationship. In this way you can ‘drill down’ into each subset to explore the relationships.

Make sure you ask your current client for permission to contact this network and that you have some illustration, demonstration or proof of how your service helped them through a challenge.

The key to using this is twofold. Even if you only have a small client base of six, by using this system, you immediately have at least 36 new businesses to contact AND you will be in a position to leverage your existing relationship! As each new relationship develops you can continually expand this model and in a very short period of time ‘Explode’ your potential for business growth.

Ciaran’s book can be bought from our website at http://www.strikeforcesales.com.au.

Don’t forget Ciaran is running a Sales Seminar on Thursday the 29th of September entitled “Fix Your Sales & Profit”.  Call us on +612 8080 3621 to reserve your seat.

The Price of Clarity

By Ciaran McGuigan

Joint Managing Director


Roy Williams in his book; ‘The Wizard of Ads’, said; “The Risk of Insult is The Price of Clarity. And it’s a Price few are willing to Pay”


Clarity in business is a rare and valuable commodity. In my experience, business owners are often very clear regarding their outcomes and vision for their business. But tend to look at their world from a somewhat biased point of view. To be successful we need to build and develop an environment of clarity – an environment where we can take on the risk of insult – safely. Who and what we are can be viewed as a collection of experiences built over time to a point where we have recognised expertise.


I imagine you probably have a lot of experience and skill in a particular discipline. In my opinion most people do not distinguish between skills and qualities. Skills can be learnt – Qualities however, are developed over an extensive period of time and are often founded in instinctive attributes which were nurtured from an early age. You have to assume that your competitors have the skills and the experience to compete with you and profit. If this is the case [and assuming that you also have the core skills needed] then what is going to make the real difference in whether you succeed or fail in business are the qualities you personally bring to the table when you meet & engage with staff, potential customers and advocates.


Qualities most of us would associate with business owners are often attributes such as Decisiveness, Determination, Resilience, Courage, Flexibility. All good you think? Well perhaps not, because what can happen is that we naturally tend to over-rely on our key qualities and this can lead to the development of blindspots – weaknesses which are essentially the opposite of our asset, because we focus so much on our strengths. For example; Decisiveness. It is easy to overlook how it’s opposite; Patience can also be a valuable asset when running a business.


Take ten minutes and give yourself this quick assessment. On the left hand side of a sheet of paper write down five or six positive qualities [not skills] you believe you have. Ask your spouse or a friend if they agree – with honesty. Then on the right hand side write the opposite for each of the qualities. Often when you conduct this simple analysis it is apparent that the attributes on the right hand column [what were the negatives] could be as useful to running a business as what comes naturally to you. It may be worth while investing in the development of these qualities to ‘balance’ your natural business management style.

If you are prepared to pay the price and can put ego to one side perhaps by allowing your peers to give real feedback, you potentially will be developing a real and sustainable competitive advantage.

Prioritise your prospects

By Ciaran McGuigan

Joint Managing Director

Would you agree that some prospects are more valuable than others? You can easily waste time and effort on the wrong prospect. They are easy to recognise, they are usually easy to get hold of, have lots of time to see you and tend to avoid making decisions. Your activity should be prioritised according to a ‘contact value’ system you have set up.

Write down the six main types of roles that you prospect to and then put them in order according to their authority to make independent YES decisions (everyone can make NO decisions). This means that they have the power to decide without consulting others. The further down the ‘food chain’ the less YES power they will have. Once you have them in order allocate a point value for each position. Below is a sample prospecting value system. Yours will be slightly different according to industry / service.

Position                                     Points
M Director / Owner / CEO               12
Line Manager / Head of dept             9
Senior Influencer                             8
Centralised Manager                        6
Other Director                                 4
Company Contact                           2

How this works is simple, each day give yourself a budgeted activity target of say 20 prospecting points. Remember the old ‘make 10 calls by 10am every day’ mantra? Well this is a more detailed look at that system. You can reach my prospecting score by either just calling 10 firms and making ten company ‘contacts’ or maybe contact one CEO and two directors in three different firms to reach my daily target. You can easily adapt this method to incorporate a customer relationship contact plan.

Have a daily target of prospecting points and key customer contact points. Maintain your current client base AND grow new business in a planned methodical way.

This is an excerpt from ‘The World’s best Sales Tips’ by Ciaran McGuigan