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Join us weekly as two of our Brian Tracy Trained FocalPoint Business Coaches take on a new coaching challenge. Add your comments to the discussion.
Welcome to the first FocalPoint Weekly Business Coaching Challenge! This week’s challenge is:
How can I increase sales for a company?
Hugh is ideally suited to work with business owners and executives. He started his career in the accounting and financial professions, before becoming involved in the tourism industry. Over the course of his 27+ year career, he has owned and managed businesses ranging from travel to reforestation. The companies he has overseen have had upwards of 100 employees and revenues of over $15 million.
Here’s Hugh’s take on “How can I increase sales for a company?”
“Well, one of the easiest and yet most ignored ways any business can increase its sales is to communicate with customers and prospects more often. And the cheapest way to do that is through email to a list.
“I estimate, from the hundreds of business owners I’ve talked to in the past 18 months, less than 90% of business owners do this; or worse – they have no list of customers or prospects they can even use.
“I’ll give you an example of how easy it can be.
“Let’s take a simple Take-Out Pizza place. They have no list at all and survive by word-of-mouth, yellow pages and newspaper ads. The latter two are expensive and with all three – no control over how busy they will be on any given night, except by past experience and hope.
“How can they build a list?
“What about offering to each and every customer who comes in, a free extra topping, in exchange for their email address? Over a two week period, a typical establishment like this could have 2-300 new email addresses.
“Now the fun begins.
“Imagine that this Pizza Guy, emails out a simple broadcast message, every day at 4:00 pm. In the email is a special offer, for something on his menu, available that night only. And, if they called right now, he could prepare their order to be ready for pick-up on their way home.
'What do you think will happen?
"Well, this very example was told to me by an Internet Marketing Mentor of mine and here were the results:
"Over a two week period, the Pizza Guy’s business was up something like 40% from what he had been doing before! The customers on his list would get his special offer just before they were preparing to leave work for home. Many of them thought, hmmm…pizza? Good idea, why not have pizza tonight!
"To make certain that the increase was due to the email campaign, the marketer had the Pizza Guy install a different phone number for the email list. Again, after a two week test, this client learned that over 80% of his calls were now coming from the email campaign and less than 20% from all his other marketing combined!
"Here’s three key points:
"Making more sales can be as easy as this. It is a wonder more business owners don’t try it."
Next up is Mike Alpert, our FocalPoint Certified Business Coaching Professional in Rancho Santa Margarita, California:
The heart of Mike’s experience has always been in technology, more specifically software. He began his career in technology and process consulting, building systems for large corporations like Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BAX Global, and Unocal. He was on the leading edge of building business solutions on the Internet. This experience has continued as he has lead teams engaged in all disciplines of conducting business on the Internet.
Here’s Mike’s response to this week’s coaching challenge:
"To increase sales of most any business, it really comes down to two things:
1) Increasing the quantity and quality of leads
2) Converting those leads into paying customers
"Increasing leads is the fundamental goal of marketing - bringing potential buyers into your universe so that you can engage in your sales process.
"Increasing the number of leads into a business is the result of multiple marketing strategies, so you can help your client develop systems to measure each individual strategy. Then they can aggregate the information so that they can track acquisition cost per lead and per customer. They need to get their marketing strategies attracting prospects and clients in a cost effective manner, and in that way preserve some gross margin on each sale.
"A classic example of a business limiting their opportunities for new leads is when they focus solely on referrals. One of my clients is a general contractor and when the economy in Southern California was booming he had a steady stream of work from referrals. However, when the economy turned he had no prospects left. We worked together on some marketing strategies to expose his business to a larger number of people; to find some new prospects looking to do improvements to their homes. A business that can withstand economic swings is one that has multiple marketing strategies to bring qualified prospects into the sales process.
"Once there are multiple sources for new leads, the client needs to define the stages of their sales process. Depending on the nature of their product or service this could be a very fast processes or take a very long time with many interactions with the prospect. There’s a variety of ways to change a sales process but at the end of the day what matters most is the rate at which leads are converted into paying customers. It is critically important to identify the key elements of a particular sales process: what types of information is made available to the prospect and when.
"To help them target the most likely purchasers, your client might need help setting criteria that will qualify their prospects. Even when a product or service is used by general consumers, it helps to identify who the best targets are for the business, who will deliver a long a profitable lifetime value.
"One of my customers did not know what their conversion rate was. By putting in place some specific ways to measure it, they realized that they weren’t spending enough time connecting with their top 200 prospects: where they needed to build relationships and have the members of the company come and test out their service. They knew that once people came to test out their service, the ability to convert them into paid clients was significantly greater. They just weren’t focusing enough effort to get those top prospects to come in and try it.
"To increase sales a client needs to introduce a way to measure their conversion rate from leads to customers. By analysing the sales process you can help your client decide where the best points towards improved conversion may occur. For instance, if an issue is found in how common objections are handled, they could generate a new piece of sales collateral that directly addresses some of those common objections, then simply send it out to a prospect before they even meet with them.
"In all cases, helping a client improve their sales results comes down helping them find ways to measure and improve how they generate leads, and the rate that they are converted."
Now... what's your suggestions on this week's coaching challenge? Leave your two-bits in the comment box below. Thanks for joining us!