Are you happy with your business’ sales performance? If you are , congratulations But if you are like for most of us professional service providers struggling to get enough clients and revenue to meet our growth targets, I wish to share with you some advice I discovered recently at a marketing seminar.
Marketing is a system which, if all processes are working properly, should result in more clients and more revenue.
If you are not meeting your desired targets, there are probably one or two missing ingredients which should make the difference. Imagine baking scones and with all the necessary ingredients but lacking baking powder. I did it once and the results were some crude shaped, hard objects with very little resemblance to scones.
Now if you look at the marketing system for a professional service provider like me, there are a number of steps you need to follow to get more clients.
The universal marketing cycle
Marketing, like any other business process, follows a system or a cycle. Here is the universal marketing cycle:
If the above processes are all working properly and effectively, you will have a constant inflow of business and revenue.
However, if that is not happening, here are some possible missing ingredients:
a) Not enough new prospects: in professional services businesses you likely need more new clients all the time, to replace those whose work you’d have completed and are not coming back. I know that in my line of business, for every to get one customer, there would have been a 20 enquiries. So I have to keep on prospecting to maintain that number. I prospect through various methods: my weekly newsletter, blogging, newspaper articles, media interviews, speaking at seminars, attending relevant networking events and through asking for referrals. Some methods work better than others, but I have to keep performing these tasks constantly in order to keep the pipeline full. If you are not getting enough new prospects, then you need to boot up your prospecting methods. Try new methods. Don’t just try a new method once, but do it constantly for a couple of months; if it works keep onto it and continuously improve it, if it doesn’t work, tweak it by doing it differently. If it fails to work completely, then dump it and go to another.
b) Poor follow ups: sometimes we lose business by not following up adequately. I use feel as if I am bugging customers when I follow up. Then this statement I read at the More Clients blog (www.actionplan.com) helped me to see things in perspective: “No customer is going to hire a hitman to take you out because you called to make a follow up.” Most customers need several follows up to make up their mind. Some need further persuasion and value appraisal in order to hire your services. If a customer seems hesitant, find out why. Is he too busy? Is it about the price? Is your service not in his budget? Get the real reason and see if you can work-out a compromise solution.
c) Unconvincing presentations: sometimes your presentation is just not convincing enough to get a potential customer to sign. This could be the case if you find that you are doing the above two constantly and effective, but not get a yes at the presentation stage. If this is so, work on your presentations. Show the value and benefits to the client of taking up your services. Sometimes I have had to show clients the mathematics of the bottom line: how much money he will save or make from taking up my service compared to the cost.
d) Poor closing: some sales are lost by poor closing. You have done a brilliant presentation and then you ask the client if he is taking up your offer; and he says he will have to call you. If this happens too often, learn how to perfect your closing. A good tool I found to be useful is The Psychology of Selling, which you can download on the Free Downloads section at our website http://smebusinesslink.com.
Once you start analysing these four processes and a your missing ingredient every time your performance is below target, you will be able to take corrective measures, improve your selling and grow your revenues to the level that you want.
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