The quest to survive and thrive puts more pressure on the need to find more and better clients. One key problem, poor sales performance, is simply more visible (especially in difficult trading conditions).
CASE STUDY (Real Life – Accounting Firm: Jan – June)
- Profits and sales were slipping.
- Using a number of fairly sophisticated marketing techniques, potential clients were invited to presentations, exhibitions, updates and seminars as opportunities for face-to-face contact.
- Yet sales conversion rates were disappointing.
- The practice was simply letting new business slide through its fingers.
- Poor sales performance despite having a decent product.
- Poorly trained staff and lousy systems.
- A few simple changes that will have a massive impact on your bottom line.
It was identified that staff had been expertly trained on the technical side of their job but were lacking the more subtle inter-personal skills that are so important. Accountants are great at doing accounts but not so great at talking to potential clients about why they should be appointed.
Director level support brought the issue out into the open.
Your sales performance will improve if you focus on the following ‘crunch questions’:
- Who is the ideal/target customer? What are their problems? Why do they buy your product?
- Do you really understand what it is that the customer is buying? Are you selling the benefits rather than the features?
- Why should people buy from you when they can buy from the competition
- What makes you different from the rest?
- How to start and finish a conversation?
- Do you deliver a credible and compelling Audio Logo/Elevator Pitch/One-Minute Intro
- Can/Do you ask for the business? Can you ask for referrals?
- Are you able to close the sale?
For any sales professional this is the stuff that Session One from Day One of a Sales Course should cover. (This is very similar to the programme we take business through on the Bright Marketing courses that I have run for Barclays and others and on my Bright Marketing Udemy Programme).
The reality was far from the truth.
Your sales people need to be taken through a process like the one outlined above. Add decent measurement systems to your soft skills (targets, some decent prospect data, metrics, and conversion ratios) and selling becomes a simple game: you know how many conversations create an appointment create a new client.
In the six months we worked with our client we saw their competitors going bust and the industry lose its confidence. However our client saw sales rocket. Compare the numbers
6m to 31 Dec
- Leads 300
- Conversations 140
- Proposals 50
- New Clients 20
6m to 30 June
- Leads 350
- Conversations 180
- Proposals 95
- New Clients 50
Leaving out any complicated/sophisticated explanations, the incredible thing was that new clients had increased by a remarkable 150%.
What does this say to you?
Well, small changes in how you go about the sales process have a massive impact. Many trainers use Mickey Mouse numbers to impress their audience but here is an example where the numbers speak for themselves.