Tag Archives: #onlinebusiness

How to Stop Selling and Start Building a Business

Originally published on Aug 26, 2021

By Paul Cowan


The Day I Stopped Selling and Built a Business

The advertising agency I’d joined was the most competitive and ambitious in London. Building business was hardwired into every one of us. Competition with other internal teams as part of the process. Jumping to the top of the queue above other teams for the next new business prospect gave us more opportunities for winning new business. We were trained to present, to sell, and sell again and again. And I was desperate to succeed.

Failure could be challenging. Our creative teams could be fearsome to deal with. Emotions ran high — sometimes way too high, with unpleasant consequences. I planned to stay for a year or so. But twelve years passed quickly, and I ended up running a big group. The rewards for those of us who succeeded were good, but I wanted more.

I took a big, big risk and started a breakaway agency with seven colleagues. With a full team and a great office in the center of London, we had a stupidly large overhead from Day One. We also had no client and no income. We had to sell to survive. Every single opportunity, every new business prospect, however small, was critical. Our family houses, the school fees, the grocery bills, and everything we owned depended on winning business.

We were good — mostly, very good. Even if we lost a new business pitch, we didn’t give up. Sure, this irritated some prospects, but mostly they appreciated our hunger.

Every idea had to be sold and nurtured. Every opportunity, however small, is exploited. Our lives and our families depended on it. And at the end of the first year, we broke even. Our bankers were so amazed they threw us a private lunch to celebrate.

Then times got edgy. We had big debts. We restructured, redoubled our efforts, and focused harder on winning business. We survived — and produced some outstanding work.

After years and years of selling the agency to prospects, to staff, stakeholders, and selling work to clients, I realized something. I was dog-tired. I was exhausted from filling the leaky bucket of revenue over and over again. I knew it was time to merge my agency and get out. I stopped selling.

New Business. No Selling

After a stint at business school, I was back in business, but this time, on my own. I had no website and no nameplate in my office. I was invisible, and I didn’t sell. I just told past clients and colleagues what I was planning and doing.

For four months, the phone was quiet. Then it rang. I met with the prospect — and instead of selling and telling him about my offer, I just asked questions about his company and what problems required attention. I checked the size, importance, and cost of those problems.

He was interested in working with me, and I was interested in working with him. I wrote a two-paragraph summary of how to tackle the issues and added a price range. It was large and provided good value.

And the phone continued to ring, despite no website, no marketing, no sales activity, and no long submissions. I refused to write submissions – only one-page outlines. I just asked questions.

“Telling is not selling. Only asking questions is selling.” – Brian Tracy

Really. No Selling.

A few years later I co-founded The Client Relationship Consultancy. Again: no website, no marketing, no selling. I met with past colleagues and explained our philosophy. We made them sign a two-way NDA — we would never talk about them, and they would never talk about us.

But they wanted to work with us. As clients moved to new agencies, the word spread and we got more calls. These new prospects wanted credentials presentations. I explained that I would tell them about our business for less than sixty seconds, and about our philosophy and approach for four minutes. At that point, if they did not agree with our approach, we could cut short the meeting and I might be able to suggest others who could be a better fit for them. But no one ever said that. And we still had a two-way NDA.

We never chased after a meeting. If I thought a prospect would not be right for us, I would decline their business. Occasionally, existing clients wanted to do things differently. If whatever they suggested failed to meet our philosophy, we refused to work with them.

I loved this new way of carrying out business. I felt re-energized. And our clients stuck.

To my business partners’ intense irritation, I refused to set annual targets. I did not want to feel that I needed to sell. But over sixteen years, our business grew and grew — to offices and consultants in London, Windsor, Boston, Mexico, Munich, Singapore, and Sydney. Still no website. Still no new business or marketing activity. Still a two-way NDA.

Why It Worked

Why did this approach work? Not having objectives for sales, and not selling, meant that I had a powerful position, equal to that of a prospective client. I could relax. As a result, so could the client. We were able to have adult-to-adult conversations. The prospective clients became less defensive, and more open to me. They were comfortable disclosing deeper, underlying issues.

Both parties had the opportunity to ensure that the ‘fit’ between was tight. Both sides had the chance to ensure that our beliefs were in synch. The result: long-term, enduring relationships, and no leaky buckets anywhere.

RELATED:

How to Sell Anything to Anybody – business.com


How To Make Seafood Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce

Seafood Freeform Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce

FEBRUARY 5, 2021 BY MARIE3 (Originally Posted on 02/05/21)

 

 
 

If you’re looking for a special date night dinner, something a little fancy but not so hard to make try this seafood freeform lasagna, what makes it even more special is the subtle lemon cream sauce that’s spooned all over.

This is the perfect dinner to have on Valentine’s Day…

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How To Make Seafood Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce

Seafood Freeform Lasagna with Lemon Cream Sauce

FEBRUARY 5, 2021 BY MARIE3 (Originally Posted on 02/05/21)

 

seafood lasagna

 

 


If you’re looking for a special date night dinner, something a little fancy but not so hard to make try this seafood freeform lasagna, what makes it even more special is the subtle lemon cream sauce that’s spooned all over.

This is the perfect dinner to have on Valentine’s Day which is coming up soon and I’m quite sure many of us will be dining at home. This is meant for two people but you can certainly double the recipe for more to enjoy if need be.

I used a mix of scallops and shrimp in this easy freeform lasagna, which is highlighted with a touch of Limoncello for a smack of bright lemon flavor! 

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chopped shrimp and scallops

The prep work is all done in advance so when it’s time to eat all you have to do is pop your dish into the oven, warm it up and get that golden top.

You’ll be spending all your time with your date instead of cooking and cleaning in the kitchen all night, and that’s a good thing!

filling ramekins

The lemon sauce is very light, you can use half lemon juice and half Limoncello or just all lemon juice. I wouldn’t do all Limoncello because that would be too sweet tasting and overpower the seafood.

If lemon is not your thing, you can make a nice white sauce to top it off like a béchamel, that would be equally as delicious and creamy to top it off.

Cut your lasagna noodles to fit into individual ramekins if using or if you end up using a bigger dish,  it doesn’t have to fit perfectly.

seafood filled ramekins

Then you’re going to layer all that amazing seafood on top. It’s a delicious mix of chopped scallops, shrimp, garlic, shallots with a little ricotta and mascarpone for creaminess and to help bind it all.

shrimp and scallop lasagna

Save some whole shrimp for garnish it makes a striking presentation. This can be served alongside a beautiful salad or if you really want to go all out, a steak for some surf and turf!

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Print A date night or Valentine’s Day dinner for you and your special someone.

Author: Marie

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. seafood, I used a combo of ½ lb. shrimp and ½ lb. scallops, you can also use all shrimp or any combo of your choice, peeled and deveined leaving a couple of whole shrimp or scallops for garnish
  • 6 lasagna sheets, pre-boiled
  • SEAFOOD MIXTURE INGREDIENTS
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, small dice
  • 2 large garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped parsley, extra for garnish
  • ¼ cup of ricotta
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mascarpone cream
  • 1 tablespoon, limoncello in the seafood mix or use 1 tablespoon, lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE LEMON CREAM SAUCE
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter and extra to butter your ramekins
  • 2 Tablespoons, Limoncello ( or use all lemon juice to make up the 4 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Pre-boil your lasagne noodles, according to the time directions on the box, cool them down, and set them aside.
  2. Chop up your seafood into bite-size pieces, making sure to clean your shrimp beforehand, and setting aside 1 or 2 for garnish.
  3. For the whole shrimp garnish, season them and stick into a 420F oven until cooked through, then set aside.
  4. Butter 2 -6 inch” ramekins or 1- 12 inch”
  5. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a sauté pan, add the shallot and garlic till soft then toss in the chopped seafood, tossing gently till cooked. Don’t overcook!
  6. Add 1 Tablespoon of Limoncello to the mix or lemon juice as well as the parsley.
  7. Let the mixture cool down then add the ricotta and mascarpone, folding it in and mixing it till incorporated.
  8. Make your lemon cream sauce by placing both Limoncello, ( 2 tablespoons) and lemon juice( 2 tablespoons) in a small saucepan together ( or use all lemon juice( 4 tablespoons).
  9. Once warm whisk in your butter.
  10. When the butter melts in add the heavy cream gently stirring on low heat until the cream thickens.
  11. NOW FOR ASSEMBLY
  12. Line the bottom of your ramekins with a few cooked lasagna noodles, cutting them if need be to fit.
  13. Spread a little of the lemon cream sauce on the noodles.
  14. Divide your seafood mix between the two ramekins and spread on top of the pasta.
  15. Use the remaining lasagna noodles to fit over the top of the seafood mixture.
  16. Spoon some of the lemon sauce all around.
  17. This all can be prepped ahead of time.
  18. When you’re ready to serve you can place the ramekins under your broiler to warm it up and get some golden color on top, but if you do you can’t walk away!
  19. Stay near the oven broiler and keep checking to make sure it doesn’t burn,.
  20. You can also heat them in the oven at 375 just til heated through, ovens vary so keep checking, it won’t take too long, and remember everything is cooked already.
  21. If you want a little more golden on top, stick it under the broiler for that, but again do not walk away!
  22. Spoon some of the lemon cream on top to finish, garnish with chopped parsley and top it off with the whole cooked shrimp.
  23. Enjoy!
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