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Which Is the Sales Process Leak That’s Most Kills Your Sales

Anybody in sales needs to make sales. It’s what we do by definition. You are on the lookout for people interested in what you do so you can tell them about what you sell. Then you get them to pull out their wallet and pay you.

It’s very simple.

This chase has been around since two farmers were out back and one guy tells the other, “You need a cow like that one?”

“I do need a cow. Hmmm. How much?”

“This much.”

“Deal”

They shake hands.

“You want some buckets for the milk, too?”

In the physical world, networking is the common way you look for that farmer needing a cow. You can do some other things too:

    • You can cold call.
    • You can ask your customers for referrals.
    • You can put your speaking talents to work and present to a crowd.
    • You can write a book so everyone sees you as an expert.

The point is you get the word out to as many people as possible in order to find someone who needs what you sell. Then you connect to tell them more and close the sale.

If you’re like you farmer there, you’re even ready with that bucket so the initial deal is a bigger one.

In the not so mysterious world of the Internet, you do much the same things. You:

      • write blog articles,
      • send email messages,
      • post on social media,
      • get traffic via paid and organic search, or
      • anyone of the other online ways there are to promote yourself.

What you are doing is working to get a buyer’s attention, tell them more about it and close them. If you’re really good, you’re even selling them buckets for the cow milk too.

Sales Basics

I’ve known a lot of good sales people in my years in business. I consider myself pretty good at sales. You get me in front of someone with an interest in what I sell and I can get them to appreciate what I have to offer. I’ll get them to buy the bucket, a second cow, a team of milk maids, and a lifetime supply of cow feed too.

But what I’m discussing here isn’t sales. It’s the marketing and the lead generation that precedes the sale. Let’s go over what happens in the typical customer lifecycle.

If I need to make 10 sales a month, I can spend - let’s say - $1,000 and 10 hours of my time attending networking events, posting on social media, sending out email messages to generate interest in what I sell. I need to find 100 interested prospects that I can I can turn into 10 paying customers.

Let’s say that I want to up my 10 sales a month to 20. There are a few ways I can do that. I can up my spend from $1,000 to $2,000 to generate more leads. I can spend 20 instead of 10 hours of time generating interest. I can focus on my sales process and my presentation in order to up my close rate so after meeting 100 interested prospects I get 15 or 20 sales instead 10.

If you are in sales and marketing, this is nothing new to you. Sales and marketing is about numbers and if you put more leads in the front end or figure out a way to convert more of your leads to sales, you sell more.

Leaks in Your Sales Process: Lost Traffic

The problem here is that there are a bunch of holes in this process. There are three ones in particular that I want to focus in on because it will help us identify the problem more clearly. Then I’ll go over ways to plug up those holes.

So let’s talk about all the people you meet in your networking. These are all the people you connect with through email and social media. If you really want to look at this problem, let’s look at all the people that visit your website on a given day and for that matter all the people you have ever known. I’m talking about all the people that if you ran into them on the street, they would say, “Hey, Jorge. How long has it been since we’ve seen each other? What’s going on? We should get together for coffee or a beer some time.”

Because you haven’t stayed in touch with many of these people, there are people in your circle of contacts that are what I like to call, “Lost traffic.” Either online on your website or in your interaction with them, they didn’t get enough information about you to seriously consider buying from you.

Let’s use another simple example. You run into this lady you haven’t seen for years and she’s does hair. She does hair really well and can do hair real well and she knows what to do with the hair that forget they’re supposed to be the color they were when you were 10.

You run into her at Dunkin Donuts and she never tells you she does hair. Little did she know that you just got fed up with your hair lady because she got rid of the grey hairs, but replaced them with a shade of black that makes you look like you landed a part in a 1950’s horror flick. You’ve just parted ways with her, but she never told you could help you with your hair.

So big hole number one we need to plug up is, “Lost traffic.” And please keep in mind. Once you lose this traffic, you can never go back and get it.

Leaks in Your Sales Process: Lost Leads

Let’s talk about something that happens when you are generating leads and this happens to all of us. We go into a networking event and we are meeting up with people. There are some people you like, some people you don’t like and those that show clear signs that they are interested in what you sell.

I ran into an obvious hot lead at a chamber luncheon recently. It was a guy that I had known from a while back and he asks me what I do. I told him what I did and you could see him light up. He not only saw how I could help him, he wanted to learn more. He gave me his card and asked me to follow up. I followed up, gave him a proposal and I closed the sales. From start to finish it two about three weeks.

That’s clearly what we would all call a “Hot lead.” What makes it hot is that you connected quickly, identified the interest right away and had a prospect that wanted to be guided down my sales pipeline quickly.

It was easy to tell the difference between that hot lead and the other people I met that day that weren’t clearly interested. It’s difficult to tell the difference between bad leads and what I like to call “not yet” leads. Many of us mistakenly identify those other ones as “Bad leads.” Since there was no interest shown, we assume the was no interest and we never pursue them.

So these are what call, “Lost leads.” They did learn about what we had to offer. There were a potential buyer for what we sell. They just didn’t show signs that they had an immediate interest.

Let’s go over the statistics. Do you know that statistically, it takes 7 contacts or touches with a company before a customer feels comfortable enough to do business with us. And what do we typically do? We stop at after 3 maybe 4 contacts. We meet someone. There’s #1. We send them a follow up email message. That’s #2. Maybe we write them a hand written note. There goes #3. Then we stop. We mark them a bad lead because they didn’t call us set up a time to talk.

So what we do is stop contacting them and declare them a bad lead.

Just think of the lady that got the 1950’s horror flick black hair color that can’t leave her hair stylist because of the relationship. She’s been going to the same hair lady for years. She’d go with someone else in a minute, but is waiting for her hair lady to retire, move, or something else so she can make the change. These are the “Not Yet Leads” that will consider you, but something else has to happen first.

Leaks in Your Sales Process: Lost Customers

The third leak in our sales process is “Lost Customers.” These are customers that have paid us good money for our products and services and for some reason no longer continue buying from us.

Did you know that statistically, 65% of customers leave to another vendor not because we messed up or because our product didn’t work for them. 65% of customers leave because of indifference. We spent all this time getting those customers to buy from us. We deliver the good and the customer is happy with them. Then forget about them, failed to give them the attention they deserve. Basically, we didn’t “Wow” them and they went elsewhere.

Now not only did we NOT continue selling them. We never worked on upselling them or cross selling them like our farmer that sold them the milk maids, buckets and year’s supply of cow feed.

It’s even worse though. We never got these customers, who at some point were excited enough to pay us money, to give us referrals. Have you considered the value of a referral from a satisfied customer for your business?

That absolute least expensive customer to sell to us an existing customer. We are short changing ourselves big time.

So the third lead in the sales cycle is “Lost Customers.”

Let us know which one of these is your biggest issue and share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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