Paul Sheals Rocketfish - Just Sell More!
Date: Dec 17th, 2011 7:10:20 pm - Subscribe
Paul Sheals: Paul Sheals Rocketfish
I am passionate about Marketing and the creative process involved in helping clients attract more leads and sales and often for less money than they are currently spending. I am even more passionate about Online Marketing and the opportunities it affords small business owners and creative sorts like myself. One major issue for all small business owners is the pace at which the Online Marketing arena changes and the constant barrage of new platforms, opportunities, applications, software, companies and services all suggesting they have the next “new thing” that will change the face of lead generation forever. Being the owner of a successful Online Marketing Company I feel it is my duty to try and stay on top of all the new opportunities that emerge every week and to this end I constantly read books, forums, blogs and any other material that might offer our clients a competitive edge.
Whilst on a rather long and arduous run this evening I was listening to particular good book “Six Pixels of Separation” by Mitch Joel which for the first five or six pages talks about the ever changing landscape, the rules of marketing having changed forever, the need for businesses to change their culture and engage with their customers online, the fact that content is king, online trust and reputation is everything blah blah blah blah blah
Whilst I agreed with everything the author was saying I couldn’t help thinking that in this current economy small business owners don’t want to here about culture change and engaging with potential customers online. Running a business today is tough, the economy is tough and growth is tough and so as a starting point I couldn’t help feeling Small Business Owners should simply Sell More.
Just Sell More
So exactly what do I mean “Just Sell More” surely this is a little bit like dieting - easy to say but hard to do? The starting point is your existing sales funnel and conversion rates. All to often I come across small businesses who leave leads and sales in their pipeline simply because they haven’t got a true end to end solution. If we first consider a typical sales funnel for a small business with field sales people.
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As you can see from the flow chart the ratio between Leads Generated and Appointments made is 1:2 which means that if left alone every 200 leads generated means 100 get wasted? Also 15% of appointments made cancel and so again if left alone for the 100 appointments made 15 will be wasted. You then see a closing ratio of 1:4 (pretty standard for field sales teams) which means for the 85 appointments seen 21 sales will be achieved but again if left alone 64 will be wasted. And finally there is a cancelation rate on sales of 15% which means from the 21 Gross Sales achieved the final completed sales will be 18 and so again if left alone 3 deals will be wasted.
On this funnel (which would be perfectly acceptable for most small business owners) for every 200 leads generated 18 sales will complete but 182 opportunities will be wasted? If however you maximise every opportunity and have products, offers and processes already in place for each outcome throughout the sales funnel you can dramatically increase sales even with the same amount leads coming in.
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In the improved sales funnel example we first have a process in place for the 50% of leads who don’t make an appointment. Usually if a lead will not make an appointment it is because the price for your product is more than they expected to pay or more than the budget they have and or they didn’t see the need for your product or service once they found out more information. Given this scenario you should have a cheaper version of your main offering or a different product offer (even a scaled down example of your current product). This cheaper version might come with the caveat that the customer has to provide you with at least three referrals if they are to qualify for the cheaper offering. You also need to have a mechanism to deliver this new message - so if your traditional process is designed to deal with all leads via a phone call and those that appointment move on in the process and those that don’t get thrown back into your existing marketing campaign then you are missing a trick. You have tried to sell these people your existing offer and it hasn’t worked! Why try and sell them the same thing again? I accept that time is a factor in that they might not be able to afford your stuff today but could some time in the future. But these people have responded they are “live & engaged” they are “hot to trot” for something now so why not give it to them? I feel you have a better chance of selling a scaled down or cheaper version of your existing product or service (or even a more cost effective way of paying for it? spread payments etc.) than letting them off the hook and hope that they find you some time in the future. Your competitors might not be so laid back and take them out of the market today! Remember you have already incurred the expense of finding these people so take a smaller amount off them today (cover your costs) take them out of the market place from your competitors and up sell once they have seen some success with your products and services.
If you then look at people who have had an appointment but didn’t buy and apply the same principles, rather than throw them back into your marketing mix and try and sell them something again that they didn’t buy first time around treat them differently! I often find that small business owners treat new leads like gold dust but treat failed sales appointments like a waste of time and money? These are the hottest prospects within your business! They were keen enough to respond to your marketing material, they were keen enough to let your sales people spend a good length of time with them so they are ready to buy something you just haven’t found the right thing, right offer or right payment structure. The key here is to have a process if your sales person try’s to sell the customer something at £6000 don’t then let the same sales person try and sell the customer something at £4000 just because the client couldn’t afford your original offer - if you do this you will lose credibility why didn’t the sales person tell the client about this cheaper product straight away? So have a different mechanism to introduce this, it could be a different person in the company, it could be via email, it could be video or even a power point or keynote presentation.
Set trigger points so if your sales team hasn’t closed the deal within four weeks lets say they then get the reduced product offer. This gets your sales team focused on closing quicker, its easier to forecast and easier to manage as an extended sales process.
Continue to refine your message - customers that don’t respond to your email or don’t respond to your offer of an appointment or decide not to buy offer you extremely valuable feedback. Don’t give up on these “adapt and overcome” tweak your message or offer possibly most important of all continue to educate the prospect as to why they should have your products or services. Do not always feel you have to sell the features and benefits why not educate the prospect as to the potential outcomes of using your products and services - business owners are smart they will figure out how they can integrate this into their company.
Finally maximise every single opportunity, ask for referrals even if a prospect doesn’t buy - you have spent money educating them and time demonstrating your products and services with professional individuals so you have earned the right to ask for a referral if they don’t part with money. Ask them to like you on Facebook - the average Facebook user has 130 friends and so you have now put your business in front of 130 people who are similar to them. Ask for feedback - why didn’t they buy? this might just open up a closing opportunity with this client but will certainly help you close more deals going forward.
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