Tools to Increase Sales and Profits
Tools to Increase Sales and Profits
Suffering from a Lack of Sales?
Every company has to generate leads; every business must convert leads into sales.
Yet the painful truth is that many companies struggle to consistently generate the sales volume they need.
In a moment we’ll share 30 tips and four tools (2 free, 1 under $20, 1 a larger investment) to help you to consistently increase your sales and your profits, but first, you need to put your finger on the exact pain point that is causing you the most lead generation or lead conversion trouble.
Let’s start with your lead generation pain points.
Which of the following lead generation challenges currently harm your company?
- You don’t have enough leads to sell to. Or your lead generation is erratic and you don’t have a consistent lead stream you can count on.
- You don’t have a system to organize and manage your leads. As a result you don’t consistently follow up with leads in a timely way and many of your sales opportunities slip between the cracks.
- You don’t have a structured lead scoring system. You waste your productivity and sales efforts by squandering your best sales resources on variable leads rather than being able to quickly and easily sort your lead pool to separate out your highest-quality leads for follow-up first.
- You don’t systematically track your lead generation efforts. Without hard data or a management tool you have no way of determining which of your lead-generation tactics are producing and which aren’t. Raw intuition or anecdotal observations are not enough.
- You don’t have a system to generate leads. You or a key staff member have all the “know-how” of how to implement a marketing tactic in your heads versus a concrete business system. Your company is vulnerable should the key person or management not be available to do the marketing.
- Your current lead-generation processes aren’t scalable. Either the prospect pool you work with is too small or the system itself is limited, and as such you can’t scale the basic lead generation system(s) that you have.
- Your current cost per lead is too high. The leads you generate are just too expensive to make sense considering your current conversion rates and average unit of sale. You need less expensive ways to generate leads or better conversion systems to get more from each lead you do generate.
- Your lead quality is just too poor. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack of junk leads who either aren’t qualified or motivated to buy your product or service.
- You have a ton of lead generation ideas but you just don’t seem to be able to effectively implement them. You have half-done many different marketing ideas, but never seem to finish implementing the majority of them so that they actually produce leads for your business.
- Your marketing is too reliant on you, and as such you “start /stop” it as other demands in the business pull you away. This lack of business time management leads you to go through cycles of feast or famine where you alternate between focusing totally on producing your product or service offering with no time to market, and likely no real capacity to take on more work, followed by periods of panic where you see your funnel running low and you scramble to start up your marketing again to quickly bring in more business. Not only does this constant cycling back and forth between the two exhaust you, but you never seem to build enough momentum to break out of this trap.
If you noted that your company currently suffers from more than one (and in our experience coaching thousands of businesses we know that this is likely the case) which ONE lead generation challenge is currently costing your business the most?
In our experience working with small and midsized businesses, many mistakenly believe their lead-generation woes are one of volume: “If only we had more raw, fresh leads to work with . . .”
However, lack of leads is generally a result, not a cause. It’s almost always a byproduct of one of the other lead-generation pain points.
For example, maybe you don’t have an organized sales database so the leads you do generate get a poorly crafted sales effort and almost no organized sales follow-up.
Or perhaps because you don’t systematically track your marketing tactics, you can’t rationally compare lead generation tactics so that you end up wasting thousands and thousands of dollars on poorly performing tactics when those same dollars could be reinvested in your best lead-generation producers to scale those winning efforts.
Still others may find they regularly go through periods where they have to turn attention away from marketing to other areas of the business, and as a result never seem to build any marketing momentum.
To build a Level Three business, every business needs a lead generation system that you can count on to produce for you regardless of whether or not you personally were there to be the driving and directive force.
Time to turn to your lead conversion efforts.
Which of the following lead conversion challenges currently harm your company?
- You don’t have a focused understanding of your product or service that you can powerfully communicate to your prospective customers. Or if you do have a clear understanding, your prospects just don’t find the way you communicate it to them compelling or enticing.
- You don’t have a defined sales process to lead prospects through clear stages to close the sale. You’ve never strategically laid out all the steps in your sales process in a visual way so that you could formalize your sales process and work to optimize it.
- You, the owner, are the only salesperson for your business. All the essential sales know-how is locked in your head as the business owner (or in the head of a single key employee). If you (or your single key employee) aren’t there, no one else would be able to close business.
- You lack the sales capacity to actually process and sell to all the leads you already have. As a result, many leads spoil for lack of the important task of someone to follow up with them.
- You have no reliable control in place to accurately track, measure, and refine your sales system over time. You don’t know what your key conversion rates are at each critical step in your sales process, and as a result you’re flying blind, not really knowing if a change you make is working as intended or not.
- Your sales system simply isn’t scalable as it exists at present. It works at your current business volume but it won’t scale as you grow.
- You don’t have effective standardized sales tools (e.g., testimonials, sales collateral, scripting, sales contracts, etc.). As a result, you waste valuable time creating improvised sales tools as you go that never seem to turn into the refined sales tools you know you eventually need.
- You lack an organized follow-up system to coherently nurture leads that need more time to close. You attempt to sell once and if they don’t buy, you move on to your next prospect.
- You don’t have a back-end offering to up-sell/cross-sell your customers on. Once your customers buy from you, you have no real next-step offering for them to keep buying.
- Your sales scripting is weak and/or your sales team is poorly trained. You sell based on price with no real scripted process to develop your prospect’s need, pain, and aspirations. You don’t systematically help your prospect quantify the cost (emotional and financial) of their status quo, and the real value of a solution.
If you noted that your company currently suffers from more than one (and in our experience coaching thousands of businesses we know that this is likely the case) which ONE lead conversion challenge is currently costing your business the most?
At this point you’ve pinpointed the lead generation and the lead conversion pain points that currently hurt your business the most.
So what do you do about it?
Here are some tips to increase sales through channels like email marketing and referral programs.
Email Marketing Tips to Increase Sales:
- Value your list. Protect it; connect with it; add value to it; grow it. I’ve seen so many businesses that simple don’t collect names and emails effectively, or they debase their email marketing list simply by not emailing out to it frequently enough (see Tip 12 below.)
- Start capturing/gathering your list today. Centralize your list to one place. This means you need the right platform, which brings me to tip 3.
- Pick the right email platform for your company. Balance complexity with power. There is a cost to switching platforms that is many times the cost of the service. Choose wisely. We and our business coaching clients use everything from the inexpensive and simple to use Mail Chimp and Constant Contact to the serious and robust Infusionsoft or Hubspot.
- Test and find your most effective email format(s). (E.g. Text vs html. Short vs long form. Etc.)
- Make your email mobile/small screen friendly. This means you have to review your emails on a small screen before you send them out.
- Test your messages before you send them on multiple browsers and readers. Have a trusted checklist to review things like: do all links work? Are the landing pages set up and tested? Spelling and grammar? Did the fulfillment part of your funnel work to get the person the right things if she responded? Etc.
- Have a second set of eyes review your email. If this isn’t possible, step away from your email for an hour and then revisit it fresh.
- If you’re working with a new list or with a new format or email element, start with a subset of your list first (e.g. your gmail or yahoo emails) to make sure there aren’t any issues with deliverability or formatting. This one tip will save you so much heart ache; I’ve had emails going out to 100,000 people get stopped cold because of something we could have fixed if we had only eaten our own cooking on this tip.
- Invest in your subject line. This is the headline for your email. Avoid gimmicks and tricks. They may work once, but they erode trust and debase most brands. In fact, A/B testing your subject line is easy (just divide your list in two and track open rate, click through rate, and purchase/conversion rate on landing page by subject line A vs B. All other parts of the emails are the same, just a different subject line.) This lets you use email to build your best version of sales scripting to use on your website, offline marketing collateral, and even in your live sales person scripting.
- Have your email come from one specific person, and go to one specific recipient. Don’t write to crowds, and don’t write from committees or departments or companies. Give us a face; and look your reader in the eyes and connect. Write to one person.
- Send your first email now! The single biggest email marketing mistake we observe clients make is waiting to send any email until they have it “perfect”. Don’t wait until you have “enough” emails on your list.
- The clock is ticking. Your email opt-ins degrade, like an unstable ticking bomb. Make sure you email them as soon as possible to reset the clock. You need them to remember who you are and why they want to read your message.
- Make your emails valuable. This can be a key insight, a touching story, a special offer, or anything else that is relevant to your business and your audience. What do you talk with your prospects and customers about when you’re with them in person? What do they care about? How do you touch their lives? This is the core of your email messaging.
- Make sure all key images are “clickable” and all videos have a “play” button.
- If an email (or email campaign) was successful, re-use it. At the very least send it to all those people who didn’t open it the first time. And recycle it back to your non-buying prospects a second and third time down the road after an appropriate interval.
- Email often. Too many people are frightened of bothering their audience or getting labelled a “spammer”. First, spam is when you send an email to someone you have no pre-existing relationship with who did not ever ask to get email from you in the first place. You are not a spammer. Rather than email 1x/quarter or 1x/month, email once a week or more often. Yes watch your open rate, unsub rate, and spam report rate, but error on the side of more in most cases. This is one of the easiest ways to increase your email results–increasing your frequency of mailing.
- Create your “Prospect Education Funnel” (PEF). Your PEF is the scripted best sequence of email messages you want to send to any new contact onto your elist. Version 1.0 may only be 6 emails long. Refine it as you go. What process do you need to walk a new prospect through so that they are ready to hire your product or service?
- Once they graduate from your “PEF” move all appropriate contacts into your “eletter” group. Make sure you don’t just stop emailing them, but rather, once your PEF has run its course with a new prospect, get them into a patterned, ongoing campaign to hear your messaging. Mail them according to your promotional and content calendar. Take your best emails and re-use them (e.g. in your PEF, in your eletter 6-12-18 months from now, etc.)
- If you can just get to 25-50 emails you’ll have enough of an eletter base for the next 2-3 years. You can repurpose them again and again, with a sprinkling of new offers and edits. Then at some point in the future you’ll review this base, keep your best emails, add in new ones you’ve tested to be strong, and repeat the process. The moral to this story is that it’s hardest to start, but once you hit critical mass (enough emails so your audience forgets them before the time you next repeat the messaging) it becomes much less stressful.
- Email marketing is a great place to do A/B testing. Test your subject lines; offers; calls to action; email format; etc.
- Use your subject line tests to find your irritable and utterly compelling sales scripting. Little by little you’ll build up a body of what subject lines (think headline or sales bullet) resonates with your audience. Then you build this insight into your website copy, marketing collateral, future emails, and live sales scripting.
- Find your template(s) / pattern / rhythms. For example, we email 3:1 – three content messages for every direct sales email. We also mail twice a week. Etc.
- Find your voice. Your emails are your way to connect one-to-one with your audience. Yes, one-to-one. What is your brand voice? For my company Maui Mastermind our voice is casually professional, down-to-earth, “I’m your peer” and a real person, and content rich.
- Be interesting, valuable, relevant, and real. This is what your subscribers want. Tall order? Remember, you can recycle email messages again after a few months spacing so it’s worth the effort to get your messaging sharp.
In addition to email marketing, a referral program can go a long way in boost your sales and profits.
Referral Partner Program Tips to Increase Sales
These ideas are for any business with an existing customer base who feel strong and positive about the value they got from your company.
The key with any of these referral systems is that these are systematic, automatic, reliably run processes that you use to generate referral business versus “one off” individual efforts.
You don’t need to use them all. Instead, choose one or two to implement in your business right away. They are low cost or free, and will dramatically enhance your sales and your client base.
Remember, the typical referral client buys more, refers more, and stays with you longer. Plus they are higher net customers since your cost to acquire a referral customer is relatively so much lower.
- Point of Purchase Straight Referral Request:
The best time to ask for a referral is often right at the time your customer buys. Have a scripted out referral question that you AUTOMATICALLY ask every customer who buys.
“Thanks Sam for choosing us to redo your landscaping, we take it as a real compliment that you chose us to work with. May I ask you a question, who are two other people you know who are looking to remake their yard and create a stunning landscaping like you?”
- Point of Purchase “Gift for Your Friend” Campaign:
“Thanks Susan for shopping with us today. I know you’ll love our “Spoil Yourself Bath Kit”. Who are two of your friends that you’d like to give a complimentary “Bath Spa Sampler Kit” to? Normally it’s $19.95 for the kit, but for a limited time we have two complimentary gift certificates that you can give out to your friends.”
- The “Compliment” Campaign:
Every time one of your clients says a nice thing about your business, ask your power referral question. This question should be scripted out and memorized by all your team members. Quiz them on it and if they get it right, give them $10 bucks on the spot.
“Erin, I really appreciate what you just said. It means a lot to us that you get great value from our consulting program. May I ask you, who are two business owners you know who like you are serious about growing their business, and building a business they could one day sell, scale, or even own passively?”
- Forward to a Friend Campaign:
If you do an eletter, ask your clients to forward your eletter to those friends or colleagues they have who they think will benefit from your eletter.
“P.S. Please feel free to forward this eletter to your friends who are interested in buying designer jewelry at wholesale prices.”
- Referral “Tools” Campaign:
If you already send physical stuff to your customers, send them a few extra to give out to friends in an attractive “mini kit” or packaging that encourages the friend with some incentive to try your product or service.
E.g. At our live events, we give attendees 3 copies of our latest bestselling book for them to give out to other business owners they know who are seriously interested in growing their businesses the next level.
- Create Your “Insider’s” or “Golden Circle” Club:
Stop and ask yourself how it could be in your customers best interest to refer new business to you. Then build a formal system by which you effectively educate and ask your customers to do just that.
We also want to offer you several tools for you to leverage to help you grow your business by not only generating more leads and improving your conversion to sales, but to do it in a systematic and sustainable way.
Here are those tools:
- Chapter 7 of “Scale: 7 Proven Principles to Grow Your Business and Get Your Life Back” (Penguin Random House)
- Video 4 of the Free 5-Part Video Training Course titled, “The Top 10 Marketing Tactics to Radically Increase Sales in 90 Days or Less”. (43 minutes)
- Grow Your Sales Workshop: Lead Generation and Conversion Systems to Grow Your Bottom Line, September 26-27th, 2015 in Irvine, CA
- Free business coaching session to try out the Business Coaching Program (60-90 minute session if your business qualifies).