You know when you’re going through a quiet time in your business: waiting for people to get back to you, wishing you had more leads. Everything seems to be on hold.
No, this isn’t advice on how to get more leads quickly through hustle. And it’s not advice on how to tidy up, or enjoy the downtime with family or friends. All of that can be valuable, but this email is taking a slightly different approach.
Slow periods: how could they possibly boost your sales?
In my email course on how to Win More Business, I invite readers to
consider which problem they might be facing with not enough sales:
- you’re not talking to any prospects at all; or
- you’re talking to people, but they’re not the right people; or
- you’re talking to the right people, but not converting them
Now, let’s focus on that last problem: not closing the sale. At one stage in my business—not too long ago—I was having long free strategy calls, and both me and my prospective client ended the call wondering what was the next step.
That was entirely my failure to lead the conversation, and to take charge of the client relationship.
Build a process … any process!
In fact, it was a lack of a sales process which made me give away so much of my time and free advice, and never make sales from it. #Ouch (In fact, #ExpensiveOuch )
If I only had the key elements of a sales process (we’re talking very high level here), I wouldn’t have stumbled so much when the prospect and I were wondering what was next.
In fact, there are many other parts of my business that could be tuned a little during downtime, so that when that marketing kicks in and sales conversations start happening, we’d all know where the train was headed. It was a lack of organisation and planning on my part that caused me to leave prospects bewildered and at least in part sabotaged the sale.
And so a good friend who is a productivity ninja (unlike me), got me to get myself organised, even just a little. Very little, by using one tiny step.
I’m going to show you one tiny step you can take during your slow period to help avoid that lack of process that may be leaving both you and your client confused about where to go next.
1. Pick one specific tiny step that is a problem
Or one part of the sales process that you’re finding awkward or feeling out of your depth. It may be nothing to do with the actual sales conversation or how you close your deals. It could be something like how you book appointments, or a list of handy tips and advice you use when speaking about pricing. Find one topic you “always” get asked about and that you wish you had time to research and have a ready answer for.
Got your tiny problem? Make it smaller! Cut it back! Find something that would save you 20 minutes if you only had it in place.
2. Tie it in to a specific success metric
What do I mean by “success metric”? I mean something that is a necessary part of the success of your own business; something you can measure. Or (better still), connect this skill or tiny problem that you can solve with your client’s success.
3. Create a resource list
This is not as daunting as it seems. It’s just a list of blog posts, quotes, snippets from webinars or podcasts, something that you can have at your fingertips.
4. Create a checklist
Yeah, I told you this article wasn’t going to be about how to tidy up or build an all-you-can-eat productivity system for your entire business. A checklist isn’t that. It’s simply a list of five to nine items that you can have at your fingertips whenever this process (like making an appointment), or this question (“how much should I charge?”) comes up.
Working example #1: SaaS Pricing
One question consultants often ask is how much they should charge. Of course you could come up with a big “it depends”, but it’s handy to have some guidelines; some resources that you can quickly go to.
Let’s say I’m coaching somebody who is launching a SaaS (that’s Software as a Service). Now, I know that SaaS pricing is usually the biggest mistake people make when they build their SaaS, but I also know that I could go to people who have worked extensively on SaaS pricing.
So, what resources would I turn to?
- a talk by Patrick McKenzie on how to engineer marketing
success. SaaS pricing is covered in a couple of minutes starting
at 17:45 into this video.
- another talk (also by Pat McKenzie) where he speaks about how
he would do SaaS pricing (allowing for an enterprise version with
enterprise pricing); starting at 15:22 in this video .
- other talks, articles, extracts from books etc.
Working example #2: Measuring how your business is tracking
This may seem a little remote from the sales conversation, but if you’re very clear about what’s important and what’s not, you can quickly assess whether you should be spending time on this activity or not. In other words, ask how it will influence your sales.
Three books I would turn to are:
- How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard (and various co-authors)
Measure What Matters by John Doerr; and
The Business of Expertise by David C. Baker
I know what you’re thinking
You’re probably wondering when you’d get the time to read these books. And that’s exactly my point: if you had read them and had some simple extracts that you could refer to when you were in a sales conversation, you’d be glad to have done that.
Putting this all together
The aim of this email isn’t to make you add more books to the pile, or even to give you a lot more work to do. My aim is to get you thinking about those tiny processes you can build now, so that your sales appointments and conversations can work more smoothly.
Building systems and checklists or resources to have at your fingertips, so that when you do actually get into sales conversations, your sales process will be more streamlined.
Would you like to get my free email course on how to Win More Business? Pop your email address here and you’ll get the first lesson in your inbox in a few minutes.