Tag: Business Development

Get Rid of Lackluster Sales Results Once and For All!

Many business owners struggle with sales. Perhaps you’re one of them?

Let’s face it, not all entrepreneurs realized when they started their business venture that selling would be such a critical skill for them to grow their business, agency, or practice. If you’ve recently encountered a sales slowdown, what should you do?  Should you start posting or advertising on the en-vogue social media platform of the month?  It’s safe to say that’s probably not going to be your long-term solution.

That being said, what are your options?

While many will likely steer you down one path or another (usually the social media and/or expensive advertising route) without really attempting to diagnose and understand the root cause of your current sales decline, I’d like to provide you with a time-tested 28 question framework to identify your sales process bottlenecks and substantially enhance your sales close rates.

Many of my small business clients come to me frustrated or stressed out over their sporadic lead flow and unsteady and even declining sales results.  Sometimes these business challenges are connected.  Sometimes they are not.  For instance, some entrepreneurs are tremendous at finding leads, but they struggle to convert them into sales.  Others are relatively great closers, but they lag behind on getting qualified leads into their pipeline.

To assess and elevate your sales performance, walk through the questionnaire below.  I assure you this is not an exercise that will immediately conclude that your only option to succeed is to be an aggressive, in-your-face by the book sales closer.  As you’ll soon see, this is quite the contrary.  Moreover, this framework does not favor more new-school tech-savvy entrepreneurs that can easily create high-converting sales funnels.  Nor was it created for old-school business owners who can sell with the best of ‘em in person, but are very hesitant to jump into the Digital Age.   Rather, this approach is predicated on my internationally proven and proprietary Client Connect!™  formula, which is all about cultivating deeper relationships with your prospects, clients, and strategic partners and mastering and leveraging your financials so you can work less and make more!

Let’s dive in and commence the diagnostic to address your lackluster sales results based on your unique situation:

Lead generation

How many outbound dials/emails/messages/connections do you make every month? – Leads and customers are the lifeblood of your business.  The lack of leads is a huge demoralizer for any business owner, especially the ones that are in their infant stages.  After all, leads don’t just magically appear.  You have to relentlessly take action every day to increase your lead flow and get your top prospects closer to becoming a client. 

How many leads per month do you generate and what is the source? – Don’t merely count your lead flow.  Also, be sure to rate the quality of each lead and track how they were obtained (e.g. website, landing page, social media site, referral, networking, cold call, etc.).  Having these insights will allow you to maximize your time and effort on the outreach activities with the biggest ROI.

How many lead qualification and discovery calls per month do you book? Unqualified leads are just that, unqualified.  It’s important to know and understand your numbers on how long it typically takes to qualify a lead and convert it into a prospect.                                 

How many demos, presentations, or proposals per month do you provide? As your leads become interested prospects, how many of them received demos, presentations, and/or official bids, and how many went on to become paying clients? 

How many sales per month do you close on average? More importantly, based on the preceding questions, what lead generation activity is needed to win a client?  Until you are in tune with this data, you will not have a reliable blueprint to create and forecast predictable, steady cash flow.  Saying you want to make $10k, $20k, or $50k per month is not sufficient.  You need to be aware of how many calls it takes to find a lead, and from there, how many more meetings and steps you need to go through in your sales funnel to eventually close the sale.  Know your numbers!

Lead qualification and nurturing

Have you clearly defined your target market? – A rapid-fire, yet thought-provoking discovery process is a great way to effectively and efficiently qualify your leads.  Remember, many markets are overlooked and underserved.  The deeper and more narrow your niche the better.  As much as you might not want to, particularly right after launching your startup, you have to be so crystal clear on your ideal target client that you are willing to disqualify and even walk away from some deals.  Doing so will separate tire-kickers from serious prospects, reduce “no decisions”, and speed up your sales cycle.

Do you have distinct nurturing automated email drip campaigns in place? It’s necessary to have separate campaigns consistently dripping on your new prospects, longer-term prospects, and existing clients.

Sales conversions

Do you document and maintain an inventory of the most common sales objections that you receive? – This is one of the best exercises you can ever do as an entrepreneur, particularly when you are just starting out!  Practice really does make perfect in this case.  Put in the reps and simulate the objection handling conversation so you don’t sound robotic (and rehearsed).  If you view objections as buying signals rather than frustrating, insurmountable boulders, you’ll find that you’ll welcome them, and, in turn, have more informed, productive discussions that lead to more sales. After all, that’s what you want, right?

Do you have a consistent sales conversion and follow-up playbook and do you quickly pivot to an efficient client onboarding process? – The best way to get off to a good start with your clientele is to immediately welcome them aboard and promptly explain and execute the next steps for them to receive and benefit from your product or be able to take advantage of your services and see the money they just invested begin paying off for them. Any delay in the onboarding process will result in the emergence of buyer’s remorse and lead to unnecessary client conflict and tension from the outset.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Once you win a deal, express your gratitude, over-communicate, and aggressively service their account so that they will not just be a customer but rather a client for life!

What do you do that very few or no one else is doing to make you stand out during the sales cycle? – For example, do you mail hand-written thank you notes or educational articles with personalized messages to your clients?  Or do you record and send quick Loom or Dubb video messages to help you bond and connect more deeply with your prospects?

Sales opportunity pipeline tracking and analytics

Do you diligently track and analyze your sales opportunity pipeline? – Leveraging a CRM can save you time, streamline and automate your sales processes, and deliver actionable insights on the health of your pipeline, your client/stakeholder relationships, and your business overall.

Do you forecast your sales opportunity revenue amounts and probability to close? – Even if you’re a solopreneur, do this activity at the same time every week and emulate being the Global Sales Director of a Fortune 500 company.  Contrary to what many entrepreneurs think, there are advantages to the corporate world, including many of their rigorous and recurring sales pipeline review meetings.  Stop playing small ball!  Put structure in your days, be on top of your numbers, commit to data analytics, and better position yourself for reliable, recurring revenue streams.

Do you track your month-to-date (MTD), quarter-to-date (QTD), and year-to-date (YTD) sales target to goal results? – Don’t stop there, though.  Go next level and also track month-over-month (MOM), quarter-over-quarter (QOQ), and year-over-year (YOY) trends as well.

What is the duration of your typical sales cycle? – Through your analysis, you may notice that there is a certain segment you serve that usually has a shorter sales cycle compared to others.  If so, and assuming you’re not sacrificing profits to achieve this result, go all-in on that segment!  What are you waiting for?  Do it now!

Who are your most profitable strategic partners? – It’s critical to spend as much time as you should with the referral sources that repeatedly send you leads exactly matching your ideal target customer and that convert into clients that pay, stay, and refer.

Do you know why you win deals? – Over time, as more sales come in, you will discover the one result or outcome that your customers are looking for when they purchase your products, enroll in your program, or invest in your services.  This key finding should be leveraged to drive and refine future marketing messaging and sales efforts to amplify your sales results even more.

Do you know why you lose deals? – Be sure to track which competitors you lose deals to and the reason(s) why so you can be more prepared to compete with them and prevent their erosion of your market share.

Have you ever thought about how your product/service/solution may actually complement your competitors’ offerings? Very few do this.  Keep in mind you probably are not the only one that lacks bandwidth or is overworked, struggling to come up for air, and operating at capacity.  As odd as it sounds, strategic alliances can be formed in which larger companies pass along deals to smaller competitors in the same space.  Plus, a prospect may express that what you offer is redundant or identical to what they are already using and paying.  In reality, if you probe and dig deeper, you’ll often find that is not the case.

How many of your sales come from online vs. offline? – Industry leaders have a blend of both and are not solely dependent on one over the other. Are you?

What is your top producing sales channel? –  It’s imperative to constantly monitor and analyze the percentage of overall sales that come from each channel or medium.  Again, a diversified revenue stream is the go-to model for best-in-class companies.

Sales renewals and repurchases

How long on average does your client stay with you? – Increasing your average client lifetime value (CLV) should be at the heart of all your customer-driven growth strategies.

How many products/services do your client family members typically own? – Note that the higher the number, the longer they stay with you!

Do you know what the next best product/service is for your client? – Everyone on your staff should know this, not just you as the business owner.

What percentage of your revenue comes from new clients vs. existing clients vs. former clients? – A great way to better serve your client base, deepen those relationships, and ultimately aggressively grow revenues is to implement a formalized cross-sell and upsell program.  Another highly effective, yet underutilized way to revitalize your sales and get some quick wins is via a “former customer reactivation program.”  Provided they left you previously on good terms, any stale or prior customer relationships can be reactivated and even expanded much more easily, quickly, and cost-effectively than trying to find a new client.

Do you segment your opportunities and clients and focus most of your time cultivating relationships and exceeding the expectations of your most profitable ‘tier 1’ accounts and deal pursuits? – Prioritize your to-do’s that bring in new clients or preserve existing clients, particularly the more profitable ones. Follow this guiding principle if you want to scale your business.

Do you proactively forecast and prepare for client renewals? – If you don’t, your competitors are ready to pounce and poach your beloved clients. Don’t let this happen to you!

Sales enablement and simplification

Do you invest in sales training? – It’s vital that your sales team adheres to the same sales methodology.  Your sales operating model and process needs to not only be standardized but also as simple as possible for all parties involved from sales support to inside sales to outside sales to sales management.  Compared to twenty years ago, it’s much easier to coach up and train your sales force.  Always encourage underperformers to read books or watch videos on how to improve their selling skills and sales delivery.

Have you ever had an independent business growth advisor assess your current state marketing, sales, and client service process? He or she can share leading practices for your industry to standardize and simplify your workflows and improve your business performance.

So how did you do?

Did you identify immediate areas of improvement? If so, which of these breakthroughs will you act on to boost your sales and ignite the launch and expansion of your business?

Contact RevSherpas to help turn around your sales, accelerate your revenue growth, and elevate your small business to the next level TODAY!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Key Missing Ingredient in Your Marketing Messaging

Every business needs what is known as a “USP.” That stands for Unique Selling Proposition and it represents the single biggest benefit your business offers that your competition doesn’t. If you don’t have a USP, or you don’t articulate the one you do have, then you’re lucky if you get any business at all.

In fact, most businesses don’t communicate ANY benefits that differentiate themselves from their competitors. This is a HUGE mistake when they attempt any sort of marketing! When they’re trying to attract new customers, by not stating their distinctive advantage, they’re indirectly saying, “Give me your business instead of to my competitors, even though I have nothing special to offer you.” Why would businesses do that? If you cannot give your prospects a better reason to buy from you, they’re likely not going to transfer their business over to you.

Once you create your USP, it becomes the centerpiece for all of your marketing initiatives. It helps you stay passionate and focused on the objectives of your business, and, in the process, separates you from all others in your industry. When you can identify your target customers, understand how they think before they think it, create a compelling message that resonates with them on an emotional level, and compels them to take a specific action, you will be able to instantly increase the number of leads you attract to your business. And not just any leads, but highly qualified leads ready to buy what you sell.

You will attract these targeted prospects in droves, and begin to make more money than ever before. And maybe best of all, you’ll work fewer hours in the process. This is how you work smarter, not harder!  Now, I bet the lightbulbs are really going off and I have your complete, undivided attention, right?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The great thing about creating compelling messages is they come with a host of benefits for your business. It communicates to your target customer exactly what you do, and how you do it, in a highly enticing and more relatable way. Your message now emphasizes the benefits of your product or service instead of its features. Plus, your message now resonates with your prospects on an emotional level. And you immediately begin to attract highly qualified leads that convert easily into new customers who remain loyal to you FOREVER.

So what are you and your business known for? What makes your business and your products/services unique? Please share in the comments.

Lastly, and as always, please CONTACT US if you would like to have an exploratory chat on how we can help you devise or refine your USP and transform and turnaround your underperforming and copy-cat marketing messaging.

Why RevSherpas?

Thank you for your continued support and interest in RevSherpas!  To aid your due diligence, we wanted to highlight who we are, what we do, and what makes us unique.

Who We Are:

Based in Houston, we are a boutique customer experience management strategy and revenue growth acceleration coaching agency serving small to mid-sized businesses in Texas, as well as the rest of the U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

What We Do:

Our Core Competencies are:

  1. Boosting employee efficiency and engagement.
  2. Optimizing the customer experience to deepen client loyalty.
  3. Maximizing lead generation and marketing campaign results quickly, inexpensively, and with less effort.
  4. Improving sales conversions to increase 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘵 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦.

Why Clients Choose Us:

Specialized Expertise and Proven Track Record

We have 10+ years of experience leading global customer relationship management (CRM) and digital customer experience strategic transformations.  As an industry thought leader for over a decade, we know what to coach you to do and what not to do. Unlike many other consultants, we are specialists and not generalists. Our specialization and sole focus is IMPROVING AND INNOVATING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.  To do so, we enhance your CRM strategies, processes, and emerging technologies to drive operational efficiencies, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately ACCELERATE REVENUE GROWTH.

Proactive Attention and 1-on-1 Senior Leadership Support

Our Founder, Managing Director, and multi-published author, Kevin Wessels, is your dedicated business growth advisor, sales and marketing strategist, and daily point of contact.  We do not staff your project with non-business-savvy junior or offshore resources.  Nor do we use it for on the job training.  Plus, you won’t get bounced around between departments for any customer support inquiries.  Overall, we provide a more timely, PERSONALIZED LEVEL OF SERVICE, just like we advise our clients to do.

Fresh Perspectives and Fast Track Results

To kickstart your firm’s revitalization, we deliver high-impact results in days and weeks rather than months and years with sales and marketing “quick wins”. Ongoing, we provide innovative, yet achievable business growth strategies that consistently deliver a SUPERIOR, DIFFERENTIATED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and also establish and solidify your MARKET DOMINATING POSITION.

Ignite your startup, turnaround, or expansion TODAY!

Contact us or call (800)569-1374 to request your free initial business development strategy session.

 

Stop Wasting Your Marketing Budget!

Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:

  • What do people really want to buy from me?
  • What related products are they already buying?

Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores.

The basic concept is this:

You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to.

Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses.

As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base.

So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.

LV = (P x F) x N – MC

Here’s what it all means:

  • LV is the lifetime value of a customer
  • P is the average profit margin from each sale
  • F is the number of times a customer buys each year
  • N is the number of years customers stay with you
  • MC is the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)

Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.

So, here’s your step-by-step process:

  1. Find companies who already have the customer base you are looking for.
  2. Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
  3. Focus your marketing resources to this group of predisposed customers.

If you need help working through this process, check out our FREE test drive for the most comprehensive system of small business marketing tools and resources.

Focus First On Your Current Customers

Though many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. After all, these are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and junk out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, our FREE test drive can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay off many-fold.

Franchise Prototype 101

In our  last post we talked about the first three of the seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. As a refresher, here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These seven pillars form the foundation for the growth and ongoing success of your business. Now, we are going to cover the last four.

Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. Yet, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of these strategies will extend out as the branches of your now strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers.

Management Strategy
The way you structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, but the happiness of your employees and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people, but the actual system that’s in place.

A management strategy is, in short, a set of standards that includes goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete guiding principles that tell your employees how to act, your management how to grow your business, and your customers/clients what to expect. These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals.

People Strategy
You need to put together a people or “employee appreciation” strategy that shows your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job which, in turn, leads to better production and a happier workplace.  There are a number of strategies you can use to keep work interesting and to heighten and maintain employee engagement:

  • Short-term Performance Reward Contests
  • Long-term Performance Incentive Programs
  • Employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded.  Think about it for a while and put the best idea into play. Keep it fresh and change up the reward and recognition program you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.  You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the more loyalty they’ll have.

Marketing Strategy
Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major components of a successful marketing strategy:  1) the demographic profiles and 2) psychographic profiles of your customers.  The psychographic tells you what your customers are most likely to buy and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items. Without this information, it simply doesn’t matter how good your business prototype is.

Systems Strategy
There are three types of systems in every business:

  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems

Hard systems refer to inanimate system or systems that have no “life”, such as computers, in-house servers, storage devices, or other capital equipment.  Soft systems are those that could be living. Information systems which are, of course, everything else, including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it includes the sales and training systems your business uses. In your sales system the two keys to success are: structure and substance. Structure being what you sell and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to the success of your business.  While they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

On that note, I want to take a moment to recap the main themes we’ve covered in the recent business development lessons from our blog.

First, we explored the entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • A projected targeted profit

Next, we covered the essential three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

Then, we highlighted the four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

Also, we illuminated the three core concepts of the franchise model, if you are considering that path to expand your business:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

Additionally, we addressed the three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

Lastly, we specified the seven areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

We can help you define, design, develop, and deploy the appropriate business model and business development strategy and processes to turbocharge your business and leapfrog your competition. Please contact us to learn more about how our innovative, proven e-Marketing platform and business elevation coaching services can take your business to the next level.