by Ryan Parks
Most small business owners wear many hats, which at times, can make them feel as if they are Bartholomew Cubbins. One common hat is that of the despised sales rep. Almost all small business owners have to sell their product or service on their own at one point or another. Positioning and marketing your product or service is hard enough—but to then have to stop everything you’re doing to make phone calls, send emails, AND hunt for new leads? Where does someone find the time? The most common answer is: they don’t. When speaking to a business owner or anyone in sales you will typically hear they need more leads. I’m not hitting quota because I need more leads. We missed our revenue because we didn’t have enough leads. I’m still single because I don’t have enough leads.
My first question is always: What do you currently do with the leads you get? Are you nurturing/dating them? If so, how? Are you expecting to have one date then get married? Sometimes, leads can work that way. However, buyers buy when they are ready and most of the time it is not when the seller is ready to sell (which is always). Rather than winging it, or following up when you don’t have a million other things going on, it helps to have a process that will actually help convert sales.
Here are some questions to consider when defining your sales process (ultimately which will help you get more sales without expending more resources). Why are you different from your competition? Do your potential customers know that? If so, then both you and your prospects should know why they would buy from you.
When it comes to sales process, do you have one? Is there a follow-up process, use of stages, nurturing, and post-sale follow up? This is where it is useful to map out your customer journey. First, let’s determine how you get leads—word-of-mouth, ad words, social media advertising, direct mailers, etc. What do you do once you receive a lead? How many times do you follow up, how often do you follow up, when does the follow up end? You also need to establish relevant follow up based on where the prospect is at in the buyer’s journey. If they don’t know much about you or what you offer, they need some more education and it is your responsibility to provide that. Once they are educated, the next step is to validate their need in order to help them move forward with a purchase.
This sounds like a lot of work, right? It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s no coincidence the most successful sales people have a process for working through leads. You don’t always need more leads, even though it would be a nice luxury to have. What you need is a process. Take a few minutes to work through these questions, define a process, follow it consistently, and watch all of the money enter your bank account. This will help ensure none of the leads you have already spent money on slip through the cracks and you take advantage of your current resources.
Ryan Parks is the regional sales manager at Infusionsoft and has been in sales for 14 years, spending seven of those in sales management and training. He is passionate about helping people through coaching, time efficiency, daily organization and management, and skill improvement.