Taking sales seriously will change your life.
Are you spending lots of time doing estimates, quoting jobs, writing proposals, and not winning the work?
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…
Price comes last
Here are the top 9 success factors for winning quotes and proposals:
- The client likes you.
- The client trusts you.
- The client ‘gets’ what you are passionate about and how that relates to them.
- The client has experienced your professionalism.
- The client understands what your offer is.
- The client knows that other people like you (if others like you, you must be good).
- The client understands the benefit they are personally going to get from using you.
- The client can picture how good they are going to feel when you’ve completed the work.
- 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
A 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 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!