Tag: Entrepreneur Tips

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

Revealed! How and Why to Improve Employee Engagement in Your Workplace!

It’s been a full year for a lot of us working from home. In the beginning, it was all new and exciting and unusual, and we weren’t sure what to make of it. But a year later? Many of us are worn out by the dual-duty that we’ve been doing, especially if we have kids or other family members at home with us. And it can be hard to keep working without connecting in person with your co-workers. There were lunches and meetings and other times to look forward to.

Unfortunately, that’s led to a reduction in engagement, and employees who are not as engaged are not as productive or loyal. Even before the pandemic, only about one-third of employees described themselves as engaged. But companies with engaged employees have a better per-share price than their competitors. What can you do about it and why should you care? This graphic from Ten Spot explains it.

What Does Employee Engagement Look Like in the New Normal Workplace?

Stop letting disengaged employees and high turnover impede your company’s progress and performance!

CONTACT US to learn how the management consulting services of RevSherpas can transform your culture and increase employee engagement and staff productivity so you can better serve the demanding needs of your growing client base and execute change and your backlog of strategic initiatives at a much faster rate.

Is Your Target Customer Crystal Clear?

The purpose of today’s blog is to expound upon why it’s so important for your business to clearly identify your target customer, and how it will enable you to build the business you’ve always dreamed of having.

Image by QuinceCreative via Pixabay

Your target customer is the customer who shares your passion for your product or service. These are customers who want what you offer… instead of just need what you offer. They don’t just use your product or service, they love it. They don’t just purchase what you sell; they actually feel they couldn’t live without it.

Your target customer will result in fewer returns and complaints. They’re thrilled with you and your business. They buy from you today, and they’ll keep buying from you tomorrow. They’ll demand you create additional products and services for them to buy… since they trust you and know you have their best interests at heart. They’ll tell their friends and family all about you and encourage them to do business with you.

Perhaps best of all, they’ll spend more money with you over their lifetime than your average customer will. Your target customers will provide your business with tons of referrals… and they’ll offer you unsolicited testimonials. They’ll post their praise about you and your business on social networking sites… which garners you free publicity.

When you identify your target customer, you find yourself loving what you do. The end result is you begin to work less and start earning more—a lot more. This exponentially impacts your business long term. It positively impacts all future products or services you develop. It impacts the customer service that your clients receive. Plus, it impacts all of your marketing and sales efforts, especially when you begin to develop your marketing materials and sales scripts.

In closing, knowing and understanding exactly who your target market and target customer are plays a vital role in building a successful business.

For even more proven small business marketing and sale tips and insights, be sure to also connect and stay in touch with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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.

The Three Most Important Business Fundamentals to Thrive

“Forget about the crowds, the size of the school, their fancy uniforms, and remember what got you here. Focus on the fundamentals that we’ve gone over time and time again.”  – “Hoosiers” Coach Norman Dale played by Gene Hackman.

In the small business arena, there are three fundamentals every business MUST have in place to not only survive but also THRIVE.

First, your business must stand out from the crowd, and it must be “unique.” You MUST establish an all-important market-dominating position.

Second, your business must offer extraordinary and exceptional value. Your prospects, no matter who they are or what they’re buying, always want the best deal. However, that doesn’t mean the lowest price.  Again, that doesn’t mean the lowest price.  Rather, it means the most value for the price they pay. That is, they will gladly pay a higher price, as long as the perceived value is greater than the price. The keywords here, of course, are “perceived value.”

The third and final fundamental may be the most important of the three. You must have a compelling message that confidently communicates the first two fundamentals. You must be able to explain to someone quickly and succinctly what it is you do, and how your product or service will benefit them.

With these three fundamentals firmly in place, you instantly separate your business from your competition and immediately position yourself as the dominant player in your market. Your prospects will literally be thinking to themselves that they would be absolute fools if they bought your product or service from anyone else but you. These three fundamentals are absolutely crucial when you need to generate more leads, attract more clients, and make more money.

Is your business fundamentally sound and predicated upon these core business-building principles?

If not, and you’re serious about recovering, regrowing, and revitalizing your small business, please CONTACT US to schedule an initial strategy consultation.

It’s your time!  Focus on the fundamentals and reach new heights TODAY!

 

What Every Entrepreneur Ought to Know About Mindset Mastery

As a kid growing up in Atlanta, I was a huge fan of the baseball team, the Atlanta Braves.  One of my childhood heroes was former Hall of Fame pitcher and current FOX and MLB Network announcer, John Smoltz.  Even though Smoltz was one of the best post-season pitchers of all-time and one of the few to dominate as both a starting pitcher and closer, he did experience some ups and downs early on in his career.

It turns out a pivotal moment in his turnaround was to partner with a sports psychologist to make some mental adjustments to boost his confidence and improve his consistency, mental toughness, and, ultimately, his overall performance.

 

“When you start having doubt, you start creating an atmosphere of ‘things are going to go wrong,’ and they will… If you say ‘don’t hang a slider’ or ‘don’t leave this pitch (up),’ … you start having negative thoughts, and those negative thoughts become positive reinforcement for what you don’t want to do.”

John Smoltz

 

 

Sticking with the theme of mindset mastery, I recently read an excellent leadership development article from Michael Hyatt entitled “Want an Abundant Life? Change Your Thinking.”  In the piece, Hyatt illuminates the difference between “abundance thinkers” and “scarcity thinkers.”

Generally speaking, those constantly driven by fear of failure, doubt, or discord fall into the scarcity category.  On the other hand, abundance thinkers prioritize, attract, and attain success, happiness, and fulfillment. As you might imagine, they really are polar opposites.

Which of these philosophies describe you and how you run your business operations?

To further distinguish between the two lines of thinking, Hyatt shares some more examples, which I have categorized and summarized for you below.  Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, early-stage entrepreneur, struggling solopreneur, veteran business owner, or first-time executive, I’d encourage you to review this breakdown to see how you stack up.

  • GROWTH MINDSET 
    • Abundance thinkers:  Think and go big, embrace risk, and believe there’s always more
    • Scarcity thinkers:  Think small, lack vision, typically play it safe, and feel there will never be enough.
  • COLLABORATION and GENEROSITY
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Openly and proactively share their knowledge, contacts, and compassion with others.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Guarded and very stingy with providing knowledge transfer, introductions, and support.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Highly trusting and easily cultivate rapport.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Highly suspicious and inept at rapport building.
  • COMPETITIVE SPIRIT
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Embrace competition and feel they get better and benefit from a bigger pie.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Fear competition and think they will suffer from a smaller pie.
  • DRIVE AND COMMITMENT
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Go above and beyond and always overdeliver.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Tend to take shortcuts, don’t work hard, and do just enough to get by.
  • ATTITUDE
    • Abundance Thinkers:  Confident, but grounded and thankful…upbeat and optimistic about the future.
    • Scarcity Thinkers:  Fearful, entitled, and pessimistic about what lies ahead.

How’d you make out?  Are your core belief systems and values limiting you and your business?

Everyone always claims they are striving for growth in their business and personal lives, but are they really?  Are you?  If not, what are you going to do about it and make it happen?

I hope you can relate to more or all of the attributes of the abundance thinkers.  If that is not the case, you at least now have a starting point on where you are and what mindset adjustments you need to make to get where you want to go.

If you found this blog helpful or you have other suggested topics for us to cover, please let us know in the comments below.

Lastly, if you’d like to receive more tips and tricks on how to master your mindset, be more productive, and enhance your leadership skills, be sure to check out our RevSherpas Facebook company page.  There, in a less stuffy kind of way, you’ll get to learn from the best of the best, not just in the world of business, but also in sports, entertainment, and the motivational personal development space.