Becoming a Sales Machine

sales flexibility

Taking sales seriously will change your life.

Are you spending lots of time doing estimates, quoting jobs, writing proposals,  and not winning the work?

Stress It is just so frustrating isn’t it? It gets you down sometimes… What is your strike rate? 20%? 30%? 50%?

How would you like to win twice as many proposals than you currently are without doing more quotes?

Easy… you say… just drop all my prices by 15% and I’ll win everything, but I’ll be losing money hand over fist…

WRONG

Price comes last

Here are the top 9 success factors for winning quotes and proposals:

  1. The client likes you.
  2. The client trusts you.
  3. The client ‘gets’ what you are passionate about and how that relates to them.
  4. The client has experienced your professionalism.
  5. The client understands what your offer is.
  6. The client knows that other people like you (if others like you, you must be good).
  7. The client understands the benefit they are personally going to get from using you.
  8. The client can picture how good they are going to feel when you’ve completed the work.
  9. Your price is right given all of the previous factors.

Have another look at that list and notice that price is at the bottom. Don’t allow yourself to fall in the trap of thinking that you lose sales because of price… If you lose a sale because of price, you simply haven’t done a good enough job of addressing the other factors. Trust me!

The 3 success factors of Sales…

That leads us to the three basic principles of sales that you must get your head around to become more effective at it:

Firstly, in order to sell your service, you have to, sell yourself before you sell your ‘stuff’.

Secondly, selling is a skill, you can learn about it, you can train in it and you can get better at it.

Finally, sales is a function of business just like operations, marketing and distribution. It requires resources and systemisation to work well.

Point number 1 doesn’t need much explanation; clients must buy into you before they buy into your product. If people don’t like you and don’t trust you they will not buy from you. Enough said I think.

So, let me share a little case history with you about a client of mine called George that illustrates points 2 and 3

George learns about sales as a system

carpenter-builderA few years ago I met George, who is a builder in Sydney with a small team of carpenters and labourers on the payroll. George’s wife Lisa runs the office.

George mainly builds in the $500K to $2Mil range, large renovations and some upmarket new homes.

When I met him, one of the biggest issues George faced is how much time is wasted on preparing tenders for architects. His strike rate was about 20% and each tender was taking him around given 20 and 40 hours of his time, Therefore, George spent some 20 – 30 hours every week of the year to win about 6 to 8 projects.

George felt he was stuck and he was frustrated, because he felt he was missing out on the best years of his young kids’ life.

Coming from my own experience as a builder, I explained to him that the most effective way to get un-stuck was to improve his strike rate. If we could improve his strike rate from 20% to around 1 in 3, the impact on his business and his life would be enormous.

A target is set

So George set himself a two-year target to get his conversion rate to 35%. The first commitment he made was to become just as professional about Sales as he was about every other facet of his business.

We started by carefully designing and implementing a sales system that would run like a machine to manage inquiries, leads prospects and quotes.

George and Lisa invested in a high quality CRM system. Soon they were keeping track of prospects and leads at different stages in their sales cycle. Inquiries through email, phone, website, word of mouth and referrals were all entered, tagged, categorized and appropriately followed up in the system by Lisa.

George also wrote a series of scripts for answering telephone inquiries and follow up calls. And finally George enrolled himself in a 6 month sales training program.

A year later George’s strike rate reached 28%. Then he got the rate down to 36% the year after.  Just as importantly though, now that George is so much more professional in his sales approach, he doesn’t feel the need to negotiate on his prices anymore and his margins have gone up significantly.

George and Lisa are a lot happier these days and so are their kids.

The lessons

The three lessons from George and Lisa are:

Firstly: The only way to do sales well is to take it just as seriously as all the other aspects of your business

Secondly: One of the most effective approaches to making more money, finding more time and having more fun in your business is to improve your sales conversion rate.

Thirdly: To do sales well, think systems and think training.

What do you think? Is it time for you to make a commitment to become professional at sales?

My One-Month Transform Your Sales Program is a short, sharp, fun and intensive 4 week program designed to tackle your sales, in one month, and implement a series of effective and simple strategies that will start to transform your business. It starts with an obligation-free half hour Discovery Session via Skype!

Transform your sales in one month! Book in a FREE Discovery Session with me via Skype.

goal setting and planning

The Seduction of the Hammer

1001 Business Bedtime stories… The seduction of the Hammer… Truth 1

Truth 10 about the Business owner
Your time and your braincells are the most valuable assets of your business

Here follows another one of the “1001 Business Bedtime Stories” … Every story comes straight from the New Perspectives Small Business Bootcamp, stories of business and courage and they illustrate an aspect of one of Ten Truths… You might recognise some of them from your own experience.

Once upon a time… a long long time ago in a country not unlike Australia… Andrew was a builder…

Andrew had started his career in the building industry the same way many builders get their start, by doing a carpentry apprentice ship, becoming a full carpenter and at some point going out on his own, first as a carpentry contractor working for other builders and then slowly but surely taking on more and larger building jobs that incorporate other trades that are subcontracted to electricians, bricklayers, painters and the like.

Some years after having started out on his own, Andrew was working like a slave to his business. Because Andrew with his offsider carried out all of the carpentry and general building work on each of his jobs, Andrew had to be on site all day every day. Hence his day would start at 5am in the office, then on site from 7.00 am until 4 pm and then seeing clients and finally back in the office until 10 in the evening. Saturday was a workday as well and even Sundays were not normally work free.

Andrew wanted to Raise a Healthy Bouncy Business, with Raving Fan Customers, and a place where people enjoyed coming to work and be involved in something more than just making money and the opportunity to create a valuable asset for himself and his family.

But Andrew felt trapped by his business

“If I don’t spend most of the workday on site, I can’t ensure that things get done the way I want them to get done” was Andrew’s dilemma.

Andrew was tired.

The Bootcamp

Working in The Bootcamp with me, Andrew came to realise that continuing to be “the best man with a hammer this side of the Blue mountains”, might have been a good reason to get into business 5 years ago, but now he had to learn to resist “the seduction of the hammer”. Holding a hammer in his hands was not the best use of his time, his health or his braincells. it was time to let others take that hammer from him.

So he did… it took a lot of courage… but Andrew started by blocking 2 hrs every Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 am to 9.00 am in his diary as “Business development time” At this time he would not come to site and would not answer his phone at all.

At first Andrew felt guilty and anxious and as soon as 9 O’clock came he would race to site and try to make up for lost time but soon he started to notice that things went fine without him. He employed another carpenter to work with him and all his subbies and employees, and clients soon learnt that Andrew was not available at those times and managed fine.

This small change, consistently applied, was the key that got Andrew’s business unstuck and got Andrew on the way to creating something really special.

Now, 2 Years later, Andrew’s business is unrecognisable. Andrew rarely wears his toolbelt at all anymore these days. He likes to keep his hand in from time to time so he might do a set out for a staircase or hang a nice door every now and then but the rest of the time Andrew is building his business rather than building homes.

And what is more, the business has grown 30% and Andrew takes his son to soccer training on Tuesday nights.

And Andrew and his Business lived happily ever after… The End

Ask yourself… Where will you find the courage to make Profound things happen in your Business?

Find out more about the Small Business Bootcamp here

Or follow this link to New Perspectives Business Coaching