My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
The other day, I was talking to a freelance writer friend of mine who had a problem that most of us business owners experience at some point: she needed a proven, reliable and hassle-free process for finding high-quality clients that would work for her, every time…even when she only had a few hours a week to invest.
“I’m supporting a full client list at the moment and am so crazy busy I haven’t had time to dedicate to prospecting. But I know that in a couple of months, I’ll be scrambling to book work again,” she explained. “What do I do?”
No matter what stage you’re at in your business, I bet you’ve run into this predicament; we all need to maintain a consistent number of clients. So, after offering these tips to my friend I thought I should share them here as well.
Let’s get to it!
Unfortunately, unless you outsource prospecting and sales, there’s no way to get around this one. In order to consistently onboard high-quality clients and keep revenue coming in, you need to dedicate time each day to selling. But the good news is that if you implement an efficient process and stick to it, it doesn’t have to be painful, time-consuming or nerve-wracking. In fact, you may even find you start to enjoy it!
The sooner you block the time off in your calendar, the sooner you’ll start to see results. As for how much time you should spend selling, it’s different for every entrepreneur and should be based on your current revenue and future sales goals.
Just because you need to set aside time to sell each day doesn’t mean you can (or should) use the same tactics every time to get yourself booked. Sometimes, people dread selling because they think that means they have to spend all day cold calling or sending emails. But in 2018, there are almost as many ways to sell as there are clients, and I find it interesting and fruitful to switch up my routine.
One day, I might send a few emails to prospects I’ve had conversations with (and who have indicated they’d like to hear from me). On another, I’ll attend a meetup, conference or networking event to meet potential new clients and get some face time with people I’d like to work with. The day after that, I’ll fire up my laptop and focus on building relationships online. You’ll start to see many of the same people in each of these spaces, and each new interaction is a chance to build trust and awareness.
I choose my sales activities based on the return on investment for my time, which networks my ideal clients participate in (both online and off), and what I feel most comfortable doing. In a future post, I’ll discuss some of the specific steps I take to find clients.
Selling is a time-intensive, people-oriented task, and it’s incumbent upon us to make your sales process as efficient as possible. Otherwise, your prospect could get lost in the shuffle and lose interest or be scooped by the competition. To keep that from happening, you’ll want to automate as many parts of your process as you can.
For example, I often send variations of the same emails to my prospects as I move them through my sales funnel. Creating templates of these emails has saved me more hours than I can count (and a lot of frustration). Doing this also lets you focus more on personalizing the email to your current prospect, and less on writing each one from scratch. Take inventory of where you’re spending your time and which parts of the process you can automate to achieve better sales numbers with less effort.
Sales is a numbers game and knowing how many prospects you have to approach and convert into customers will make the entire process less daunting. Take a look at your current situation to get your magic number; how many of your contacts currently lead to discovery calls? How many discovery calls lead to bookings?
Once you’ve calculated how many people you need to reach to each day and discovered your conversion rate, you’ll be well on your way to building the foundation of your sales process.
Selling takes time, dedication, patience and efficiency. The more time you spend perfecting your sales skills and interacting with prospects, the more you’ll convert into happy clients who will be delighted to send referral business to you. But it’s all about taking those first few steps: research and reach out to your contacts, find different ways to interact with high-value prospects, and ruthlessly search for ways to save time by automating your sales process.
Your turn. What are your client finding dos and don'ts? Leave a comment below.
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