Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

How to increase your conversion rate by 10% in the next 30 days…

No matter what business you’re in, if people have to buy something from you, there is a sales process. If that process involves them walking past your store or entering, that’s a step in the process. If it involves them browsing through stock or trying things on, those are steps. The following material was used as a bit of an educational marketing piece for a company I worked for but it applies to every business everywhere. 🙂

 

No matter what you’re selling there is a step-by-step process that takes place from initial contact to completed install. Each step in the process presents an area where you can be losing prospects who are ready and willing to pay you, but unfortunately you haven’t done the best job of helping them learn that!

 

Here’s the idea. There are 3 main areas to improve in your sales process:

  1. The script

  2. The person

  3. The system (i.e. are we following up? are our materials effective?)

 

And each of those areas can potentially be improved for each step in your sales process… So if you’re sales process has 6 steps, then there are possibly 18 different areas you can improve. If that doesn’t make sense, don’t stop reading yet!

 

Unfortunately,

the ONLY way to determine your weak areas AND make an educated decision on how to improve them is through detailed tracking for at least 2-4 weeks.

 

Ultimately you should be tracking every lead with this level of detail FOREVER to make sure no weak-links pop-up down the road.

 

So here’s my 8 step process for plugging those holes and increasing your closing ratios to the best they’ve ever been in the next 30 days.

  1. Write out the steps in your sales process. From the initial phone call, email, or trade show contact to the post-install request for referrals write down every single step. Your steps may look something like this:

    1. Initial Contact: Telemarketing, Call-in, incoming email, fair/trade show sign-up

    2. Call-back: Phone call to set appointment, Email response to inquiry

    3. Confirm: Call to confirm.

    4. Appointment: In-home presentation

    5. Follow-up:

    6. Schedule Install

    7. Install:

  2. Write down the possible results for each step. “Cancel” is NOT a specific enough result. It’s better than nothing, but the goal is to determine “Why did they Cancel?” and address that issue. For instance:

    1. Initial Contact: We’ll call you back, Too expensive, Just gathering information, Appointment Set

    2. Call-back: Call me back later, I’ll call you once I check with my spouse/mom/dog, Too expensive, Appointment Set

    3. Confirm: X was here yesterday and we’re going to go with them, Too expensive, An emergency came up, We’ll be home and waiting!

    4. Appointment: Too expensive, Have to ask my spouse/mom/dog, Think we’re just going to go with X instead, I don’t think we need that right now, Sounds great sign me up.

    5. Follow-up: Credit was turned down, Sign us up!, Check Bounced, Credit Card denied, We changed our mind.

    6. Schedule Install: If you are losing leads at this step, look at the time from the previous step to the install date. You may need to look at working non-standard hours to get installs taken care of right away.

    7. Install: Looks and works great!, Emergency came up and we can’t be home, We changed our mind

  3. Make a flowchart of the steps. The flowchart is very helpful for showing everyone each step and to help you to setup your software for tracking. Notice that all of the items above in italics are reasons a step becomes a dead lead. All of the other results from above are what leads to the next step. Reference the Sales Flowchart example below:

    1. They sign up and you have to get “Credit Approval”
    2. They sign up and pay with cash, a check, or credit card so you “Schedule the Install”

    3. You have to “Follow-up” with them

    4. They’re not interested and it becomes a “Dead Lead”

  4. Example Sales Flowchart

    Notice how it can get a bit tricky. If you look at the “Appointment” step you have 4 options:

  5. Make a list of all of your lead sources. If you’re going to put all this effort into tracking your leads you might as well track the lead source to answer 3 questions:

    1. Did that lead source pay for itself with after sale profits?

    2. What is the acquisition cost of that lead/customer? (maybe it paid for itself but other sources have a lower acquisition cost and therefore generate better profits)

    3. Are there any steps in our sales process where we’re losing a lot of people from this source?

  6. Track every lead. If you have to, funnel every lead through a specific “Sales Coordinator” in your office or be sure to train everyone. Just make sure your tracking everything – Including those referrals that are going directly to your sales representatives. At a minimum, you NEED to track the following information for each lead:

    1. Name

    2. Phone or email (you need to be able to contact them somehow)

    3. Person in your office who spoke with the prospect (this is the only way to determine if your weak link is a person)

    4. How they heard about you (i.e. lead source)

    5. If they’re no longer interested, WHY NOT? If you believe you have a great product that you KNOW will help them you should be shocked that they’re no longer interested and ask.

  7. Make sure EVERY lead gets input into a spreadsheet or database so you can get quick/accurate results on each lead. This is where simple to use database can make huge improvements in your business! Let’s face it, the first 4 steps are relatively easy. You’re a responsible and effective owner or sales manager and you can put the steps, results, and flow chart together. However the people in your office who are tracking lead information may not be quite as dedicated as you… Therefore the process MUST be simple to track and input. Moreover, since you’re already wearing 10 hats, its very important that managing this process is simple for you. 🙂

  8. Analyze the data. Determine the weak step (i.e. from step #1). You determine the weak step by looking at the step prior to it becoming a “Dead Lead.” For instance, if after the initial “Call-back” they say they’re not interested, your weak step was the “Initial Contact” and/or the “Call back”. Now to determine the weak link (script, person, system) you have to look at the REASON they became a dead lead. Not Interested will never tell you the weak link! Too expensive, husband says our water is fine, we already bought from X competitor, are reasons that allow you to start addressing the weak link. Obviously, you also need to record which person handled the “Initial Contact” and which person handled the “Call-back” to determine if it’s a people-problem.

  9. Plug the hole. Improve the weak link. How do you do that? Simple. You make a change, test it for the next few weeks and measure the results. Be careful to only make ONE CHANGE AT A TIME PER STEP or else you won’t know which change made the difference. Your change may be additional training for the person, improvements to the script, or a better method for tracking follow-up within your sales process.

  10.  

    Rinse and Repeat. Once you stop tracking each lead your closing ratio starts to go down immediately.

To your success, Bryan

About Bryan Trilli

Entrepreneurial Junky is probably the best way to describe me. I've bought, run and sold 3 businesses in 3 different states and started a 4th. The first 3 were brick-and-mortar service-based businesses and the 4th does internet marketing for service businesses. My team at Optimized Marketing guarantees to double your business' internet contacts in just 90 Days.

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