Have you looked at your sales process

When it comes to increasing sales, lead generation is a very important strategy. Lead generation is the process of attracting people to your business who are highly motivated to buy your products and services, and who have the ability to pay.

In other words, lead generation is the process of targeting your most probable customers, identifying the best channels to reach them, attracting their attention and stimulating their interest with the right messages to the point where they respond. Your marketing efforts determine how people perceive your business, its products and services, and attract these same people to your door.

The examination process

So how good is your marketing? Are you good at objectively assessing your marketing? If not, have you thought about getting some expert analysis and advice? Some would be answering in the affirmative while others will have to concede that they have plodded on doing what they thought was a good idea to bring in the leads/customers.

What are you really selling?

Look at advertisements for cars and work out what it is they are selling. Is it freedom, safety, excitement, image or reliability? In this context, you should always be asking:

"What is my business offering its clients? Is it lifestyle? Or peace of mind, or reassurance, or lifestyle, or leisure time?"

Whatever it is, it will help you generate the leads better than simply or only pushing the products' specific qualities.

The core of selling

Michael Gerber, the author of E-Myth Revisited summed it up succinctly. "Nobody wants what you are trying to sell. They want to buy what it can do for them."

Before you set out to create a strategy to attract people to your door, you need to work out why they want your products or services and what they can do for them.

Here's a big wake up call for a lot of us

Stop thinking about “selling more” and focus on your client and their needs. The expert sellers such as US legend Zig Ziglar operate off the idea that selling isn't about selling, it's about understanding the needs of your customers and providing a solution.

Why choose you?

Marty Grunstein, has a great piece of advice. All of your advertising, from brochures, websites, business cards and ads, should prominently and quickly tell customers why they should buy from you.

He argues we often put our name and phone number in big print but if you win customers over with the "why they should buy" line, they will go looking for the name and especially the phone number.

Common Traps

Trap 1: Focusing on yourself, your need for more revenues, or to move products.

Solution: Instead, focus on the customer, create a relationship with them, and understand their needs so you can present them with a solution. Remember, a customer is someone who buys from you once, a client comes to you often because your company has shown it is dedicated to satisfying their purchasing needs.

Trap 2: Believing there is only one person who can bring in new business.

Solution: There will only be one until you analyse your sales process and develop a proven process for others to follow.

Trap 3: Not having a standardised process for your sales/lead conversion process or leaving it up to individuals to 'do it their own way'

Solution: Look at what works and what doesn't. Develop processes and scripts for the best way to convert a lead to a sale. Measure everything and refine again.

Trap 4: Not following up. Not responding immediately to enquiries, whether they be via a phone call, a request via your website for information, or face to face.

Solution: Develop follow-up policies and ensure that they are followed.

Trap 5: Over-promising and under-delivering. Promising anything/everything just to get the sale, and then forgetting your promises as soon as the sale is made.

Solution: As for the previous trap, develop policies.

Trap 6: Seeing the customers as opponents to be overcome rather than allies to be helped.

Solution: An ally is someone who co-operates with you to achieve a common purpose. Customers are allies who want to buy the products and services you want to sell. Don't 'overcome objections', understand their needs and help them to arrive at decisions that are in their best interests.

Where do you start?

You can't change anything until you can completely understand what is happening now. Get an accurate picture of the financial impact of your lead conversion practices. That means looking especially at the sales you are missing out on.

Work out why the successful sales are just that, and then really look at the unsuccessful engagements and work out why they didn't result in a sale. What did and didn't happen and why? Compare the two.

Once you do this, you can begin to map the right process and begin developing your winning sales process and scripts. For example, if you are the company's best sales person, you would have really good ways of answering frequently asked questions. Have you written those responses down and taught them to your other sales staff? Or do you just cross your fingers and hope that they will muddle through? Do you cringe when you overhear a potential customer ask one of these questions and then hear your salesperson stumble through his or her response?

You need a script.

My next tip is to measure everything. Some of the things you should be measuring in your sales process are:

  • total sales
  • number of sales
  • average sale amount
  • number of enquiries
  • enquiries that converted to sales
  • cost of a lead
  • cost of a converted lead
  • percentage change in sales

Track and review these indicators regularly. Doing so will give you a clear view of your lead conversion process and a good foundation for developing and refining it for better results. It will also give you a basis for comparing the performance with your systems, and give you a sound basis for decision making in this area.