Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)
Communication Training For Trainers
About Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine
Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.
Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?
I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session. This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers. I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.
During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.
I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele. I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.
This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!
Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.
What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?
- I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
- I have more fun as I am not so stressed
- I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
- I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
- I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
- Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
- My client base has considerably increased
- I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
- As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!
As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales. I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.
You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.
Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.
Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?
Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”
I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.
Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?
Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”
“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”