We’re all masters at something. But never masters at everything.
Sales can be a nasty roadblock to an otherwise phenomenal business.
I’ve jotted down a few points below of how you can very simply streamline the sales in your business.
Sometimes procrastination to follow up leads can come from a lack of understanding the next steps of sales. There’s plenty of great information out there on sales in general, but nothing very practical of how that should appear within an organisation.
A few key components I’ve found to make an effective sales process:
Whether it’s an online form, an application or a phone call, this is a great way to work out whether or not the prospect is a good fit for you.
We all get that gut feel when someone doesn’t sound quite right for your business, so what a great way to move them on, with the smallest drain on your time.
Ask some good questions up front, and you’ll know whether to take them further in the process.
You as the principal are usually wearing many, many hats in the business. Why not create an effective way of learning about your clients, and them learning about you? It could knock off a good 30 – 45 minutes of time in the first coffee meeting of the usual ‘Getting to Know You’ time – and is a very effective way of directing a conversation.
Make sure you focus this meeting on the client’s needs and ask plenty of questions so you know exactly where you can help the client. Remember to keep digging through layers, as the first answer is not usually the problem, but a symptom.
Time to hit your proposal, but before you close the meeting…:
A self explanatory acronym: “Book A Meeting From A Meeting”. This is an awesome discipline drummed into me by a good friend MC of Practice Paradox (and plenty of help with the above too!).
BAMFAM’ing helps to keep the sales process moving, in a mutually agreed fashion. Extraordinarily effective, and always always always book in the next meeting / phone call / follow up.
If you’re a Creative Agency, surely you’re all over your own delicious marketing collateral. Don’t let the sales experience pull down the prospect’s expectations!
There’s some amazing, easy to set up and use, cloud based proposal tools available at ‘no-brainer’ prices. Some of them let you include video and images to support your proposals. Most have features such as options in your proposal, online acceptance and signing, custom domain & branding, and creating a proposal from a template or previous proposal.
Some great products are:
Prettier proposals should also lead to a higher conversion rate too. And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for each new client!
You know what a CRM is, you may even have one, but take advantage of it. Use it!
A CRM used effectively can keep all your prospects’ records, touch points, the stage of where they are in your sales process, and even keep track of your chance of conversion. Some CRMs will allow you to run a ‘weighted sales funnel’ report, which calculates the dollar figure based on historical conversion rates at certain stages in the sales funnel. There’s some serious forecasting!
Again, there’s plenty of options out there, depending on what suits your business. We use InfusionSoft, but there are many others such as:
Even if you use Excel or a whiteboard, make sure you’re keeping track of it all!
Coming back to your business having a Strength in Numbers, most of the tools above allow you to run reports on your key sales numbers. Simple numbers like your conversion rate or average days from initial contact to becoming a client will allow you to forecast many other numbers in your business.
Implementing the tools and processes mentioned above will guarantee a smoother ride in your sales journey!
A young and upcoming partner in a firm was appointed to Managing Partner. He knew there was some tension between team members and certain clients, and he decided to tackle the problem straight away.
He printed out the client list of the firm, handed it out to every team member, and asked them to highlight any client they didn’t enjoy working with. He then proceeded to fire every single client they’d highlighted.
The partners of the firm were horrified to watch $80,000 in recurring annual revenue disappear from their client base.
But three months later, they saw it replaced more than threefold as $300,000 in recurring revenue walked in the door.
The moral of the story? Bad clients drive out good ones.
No matter how many times you suggest how to improve whatever you’re advising them on, they’ve always got a reason why it won’t work, or how their current solution is great. Even if they do become clients, it will be like ‘rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic’ trying to implement change.
The telltale signs:
These ones love milking you for all the value you have, and will often expect a high service offering in your base package. In other words, they want a lot but are prepared to only pay a little. No comprende, amigo.
The telltale signs:
In William Swanson’s 33 Unwritten Rules of Management he includes The Waiter Rule: “If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, they are not a nice person.”
These tricksters might be engaging and polite to you, but rude to your team. So if you want good morale in your team, you don’t want this type of duplicitous client hanging around.
The telltale signs:
French for ‘the miserable ones’, and the name of a musical and subsequent film where Russell Crowe ends himself, this type of client or prospect has just survived some really tough times (e.g. the GFC). I’m not discrediting the trials they’ve faced, but rather how they then carry it as baggage into every aspect of their business and their opportunities. Not exactly a mindset you want infiltrating the ranks. If you can’t inspire change, then keep your distance.
Having spoken to others who’ve done the same, removing clients who are more trouble than they’re worth is a satisfying and somewhat freeing experience. Not only can it improve morale, it can also improve your bottom line.
But getting rid of a client is never easy, particularly one you’ve had for a while. So if you’d like to know how to go about it, or maybe just a bit more encouragement, get in touch with us.
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