Defining a sales process – and being disciplined about it – is a common challenge for both salespeople and entrepreneurs. I want to offer a solution so you can meet – or exceed – your sales goals for 2015. I’ve designed a new one-day workshop – Create Consistent Revenue – that I’m introducing in Halifax on January 21. It will be a day of crunching your numbers, defining your process, commiting to a discipline and walking out the door with a specific plan to get you to your revenue goal. Email marketing guru, Linda Daley of Daley Progress will be our guest in the afternoon when we focus on follow up and staying top of mind.
When I first moved to Nova Scotia from Ontario in 1997, I left behind a young girl named Angel, who had become my “little sister” through volunteer work I did in Toronto’s Regent Park. For several years she would visit me during March break and summer vacations. On one occassion, we were visiting my friend Joanne and her young boys in West LaHave on a hot summer’s day and all of us went for a hike in the wood lot behind their home. As we walked, Joanne pointed out the bright pink or orange tree markers along the way, but I didn’t pay much attention. I believed their house to be right behind us.
After about 30 minutes, Joanne decided she’d head back to get lunch ready. The boys went with her; Angel and I chose to keep hiking. This was not a good decision. When we finally turned around I realized I had no idea how to get back to Joanne’s house. There were numerous paths to choose from and I hadn’t paid attention to the markers. We were lost – two very fair-skinned people with no water, food or sun screen. Yikes!
I want you to compare this to a sudden realization that you haven’t done enough to create the revenue you need. You’ve been so focused on other things that you haven’t engaged enough prospective clients to meet your financial goals. Just as when I stood in that wood lot with Angel, there can be a sinking feeling in your stomach, a wave of discouragement and perhaps even a little panic.
Knowing and understanding your sales process, your key indicators that potential clients are moving towards working with you, is vital to achieving your revenue goals (just like those markers Joanne kept pointing out during our hike). Do you know your’s?
Like you, I do a lot of different things to raise my profile with my target market: network, write this blog, maintain a decent social media presence, prospect, etc. But for me, proposals are my marker, my key indicator that I am doing the right things to generate future revenue. If prospects aren’t asking me for proposals, I will become “lost” financially.
As part of creating this post I’ve gone back and looked at my proposal activity for this year. Not all my revenue requires proposals – work with existing clients and coaching clients, for example. But proposals mean I’m growing, reaching new markets, meeting this year’s financial goal. So far in 2014 I’ve created 38 proposals – 20 of those have been approved.
Roughly, I “close” one out of every 2 proposals I write. That’s good but maybe it can be tweaked. Maybe I can ask more questions, understand some prospects better and get that ratio to 1:1.5. Also, taking into account 14 vacation days, I’m producing a proposal every 9 days. Improving my revenue for 2015 could mean working to produce a proposal every 7 days. It’s a marker I can monitor and work with to keep me on track.
You may have a different marker. Maybe it’s doing an online demonstration for a potential customer. Or, like my colleague, voice over talent Natasha Marchewka, maybe it’s doing auditions, or submitting samples of your work. The point is not what your marker is but rather that you KNOW what it is and that you are doing what’s necessary to create those markers consistently.
What happened to Angel and I? Well, we walked and walked and walked. I soon realized I could hear traffic and I moved us in that direction. Hours later we made it to the highway, approximately five kilometres from where we started. I stopped at a garden centre to ask for information and when the owner realized what had happened, he was kind enough to drive us to Joanne’s. Quite an adventure, but not one I’d want to repeat. I should have paid attention to those markers!