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The Turnaround King's Plan to Save Your Business

The Turnaround King Plan to Save Your BusinessAre your sales anemic? Overhead crushing your business? A new business-focused reality show recently debuted that's got a profit prescription for you, courtesy of sales pro Grant Cardone

National Geographic channel's The Turnaround King follows Cardone as he sizes up businesses on the brink and crafts a plan for jump-starting sales. In the two initial episodes, he took on a floundering Gold's Gym franchise where the owners mortgaged the family home to keep the business afloat, and a GM car dealership, Straub Motors, that was sinking fast.

As Cardone made teaching others to sell his business, it's no surprise his prescription for turnaround involves an overhaul of each company's sales process. At both businesses, sales were stagnant and training was scant for sales staff.

How does Cardone recommend ramping up sales? Here are a few of his key tips:

Identify the problems. Cardone starts each show by shopping the store incognito -- and armed with a hidden camera -- to find out where the sales process is going wrong. At the gym, membership prices had crashed because the owners didn't believe they could sell their higher-end facilities for a premium price against cheaper competition. At the dealership, staff couldn't stop talking about how their lot had nearly been shuttered by GM in 2009, and weren't focused on making the sale

Use and know the products and services you sell. At both businesses, top management weren't using their own product. The gym owners didn't use the personal trainers and had never taken a spinning or aerobics class. The GM salesmen drove other car makes to work, and many couldn't name the sticker prices of the cars they sold.

Create a system that's easy to understand. Each store got a simple, five-step system from Cardone, from greeting the customer through to making the close.

Engage customers with technology. Cardone trained staff at both companies to use smart phones to snap pictures of prospects working out or sitting in their dream car. Then they sent the photo to the prospect, capturing their email in the process for follow-up. At the dealership, new software allowed salesmen to whip through deals that used to drag along for hours.

Ask for the sale. It seems obvious, but time and again sales staffers let a deal slip away because they didn't come out and say: "I want to sell you this car today." Or, "If you sign up today, you'll be on your way to being in the best shape of your life." Cardone also taught the sales teams to create incentives to pay more -- a slight discount for paying a year's gym membership in advance, for example.

Of course, being on a reality-TV show does have its perks. At the Gold's Gym, Cardone called in a friend in direct-mail who sent out 10,000 postcards to local residents -- a marketing cost the cash-strapped gym could never have bankrolled on its own.

The question remains whether the businesses on Turnaround King will stay afloat after the cameras have gone. Will the show give the businesses involved a positive PR bounce and draw new customers, or will they stay away after hearing how mismanaged the businesses were before Cardone's visit? Stay tuned. The Jersey Gym Pump Up show will broadcast on National Geographic this Friday June 24, 10pm Eastern.

How are you driving sales at your business? Leave a comment and let us know. 

Carol Tice, a freelance writer, is chief executive of TiceWrites Inc. in Bainbridge Island, Wash. She blogs about freelance writing at Make a Living Writing. Email her at carol@caroltice.com.

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