My June column for the Kitsap Sun’s Business Journal…
Let’s be very clear about one thing…
The most important function you perform in your company is acquisition of business. Period.
That ends my prepared comments. Questions?
Okay, allow me to elaborate. Without sales to your company (or a company you’re employed with) there can be no employee benefits, no impact to clients and customers, or no charitable donations or good works in the community. Without constant and sustainable revenue growth, your family will suffer, your anxiety level climbs, no one feels satisfaction or reward, and ultimately everyone loses the chance to benefit from what you offer.
You can’t name a business that is successful, philanthropic, or significant that doesn’t count on revenue being generated. That includes every non-profit because without fundraising, they can’t provide much needed help to those who need it.
Are we in agreement? Good. That was the easy part. Let’s discuss how you assure that your business can exponentially grow its revenue with the minimal investment of 30 minutes a day, so that you can exceed your expectations and accomplish much more for your family, employees, and the world around you.
I’m going to provide you a 5-step blueprint to either execute yourself or train your sales team to. While it seems simple enough, I will help you to also overcome critical obstacles to its success.
Step 1: Make a list of every single client you have. Divide them into current and past. Find the name of the decision maker. It doesn’t matter if they are still with the company. Include their phone number and email, as best as possible.
Step 2: Call every one of them systematically. This will be a daily function, so you don’t have to “hurry.” Call the current ones first because they know you best. Your objective is to get a testimonial and ask for a referral. Plan on 10 minutes a call.
Step 3: Once you’ve reached them, ask two main questions. First, what are some of the favorite things of doing business with you? Second, how have they been most impacted by your work together? Ask clarifying questions in return. Quantify their answers. Take copious notes and ask them if you can use their words in your marketing and website. Once you’ve gained permission, take one more step…
Step 4: Ask for a referral. Simply ask whom they know that can also benefit from the same value and experience they did.
Step 5: Add testimonials to all your marketing. Call on every referral.
That’s it. Allocate 30 minutes a day to this function. If you have a sales force, each person should do this.
Sound too simple? While I’ve omitted a lot of key language and other methodology because this is a column and not a book, the process is that simple. The biggest problem is that actually implementing this and sticking to it. Let’s consider the three key obstacles:
- Fear. Fear of rejection, of not being liked, of the uncertainty of responses all lead to not picking up the phone and calling (note I said call, not email). Your fear has no basis because these people already like you and want to help you. Stop getting in your own way.
- Ignorance. Not knowing how to respond and being unprepared lead to many trying, failing, and then giving up. This is all in the language and influencing skill. While the process is simple, training on the “how” needs to be invested in for the sake of success.
- Lack of accountability. Often, everyone is excited at the outset, but “gravitational pull” can easily take hold if someone isn’t holding people (or themselves) accountable.
Let’s fix this. The 5-step process to exponentially growing your sales works if
- You seek out help. Find experts through a variety of channels to help you train your sales people (including you) in influential language. This will increase confidence and effectiveness. The better they get, the more fun they will have and the better results you will achieve.
- You set accountability. This isn’t a dictatorship with dire consequences for not meeting quotas. Rather, it’s a professional approach to empowering and teaching. It requires a high level of trust and collaboration with the right people at the leadership position.
- You make it a priority. That means committing to investing time, finances, and resources.
- You make it fun. Whether it’s you or your sales people, the acquisition of business should be fun. You’re providing a great value of service or product to help improve someone else. Which leads to the last one…
- You provide genuine value. Sales will never be sustainable if they are manipulative. You must believe that you are providing valuable products and services and helping others. You’re just receiving equitable compensation for the tremendous value you give.
Everyone in the organization must contribute to sales, not for greed or malice, but for the opportunity to benefit others and provide for every employee and their family. Without revenue growth, stagnation sets in and the slippery slope turns into a landslide and takes out everyone that’s counting on your business.
By making the commitment to invest 30 minutes a day to my 5-step plan, you’ll be serving clients, employees, families, and the community.
Now that’s what I call an exponential return on investment!
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