Why it's worth getting your pickaxe out to unearth the hidden value in your unconverted sales
There are some days when you wake up and, whilst you have a very clear goal for your business, your head is a little hazy and clouded with ideas on how to achieve it. A very prolific franchisor once shared these words of wisdom with me: ‘be plan focused not opportunity lead’. This is something that I remind myself of every day.
With this in mind and being very plan focused, last month I set out trying to find the gold in my business. What do I mean by that? Well the business will have been in operation for ten years in September and over that period of time we have built relationships with lots of people. Lots of people know about Little Voices from various viewpoints, whether they are suppliers, customers or employees. Yet there are hundreds if not thousands of enquiries sat in our business that have not converted into a sale. This is the gold that’s lying in your business waiting for you to mine it.
As business owners, we might have great ideas but the goals we set ourselves and our businesses will only be realised if we increase sales. So you need to become good at selling and that means getting good at finding the objections and problems people are having and answering them. Generally speaking, there are only two reasons why someone will not buy off you. Firstly, they physically cannot afford what you are offering. Secondly, you have not built a strong enough relationship with them. Sales are easier if they are made to loyal fans not just customers so finding the gold in your business must involve finding and creating loyal fans.
So I went back to the drawing board. My task was to find all of the unconverted leads in our business and write a campaign to build trust and reignite their interest in us. The process is then about building relationships and finding solutions to their problems. We are all different and all have our distinct processes: some of us buy on impulse, while others need to take their time before they make a purchase. But what is definite is that when the time is right and enough trust has been built, the customers will buy from you. That’s why if you don’t keep in touch with them and let them go dead in your funnel you are missing out on gold.
Most people in business are great at the first point of contact in the relationship – which is the point of enquiry – but forget or disregard the consistent and persistent follow up. Research shows that it takes seven points of contact to convert a lead into a paying customer: that is a lot of visits, phone calls, emails and letters. The multiple follow up is imperative. It is not about being pushy or going on the hard sell: it is genuine and is about nurturing a relationship.
The only way to achieve a good balance, build a solid relationship and move them through your funnel is to communicate with them regularly and in various ways. Multiple follow ups and a multimedia approach is the only way that this will happen. One phone call, one email or one gift in the post is not enough. Every enquiry that is created in your business needs to pass through a systematic multimedia, multi-step campaign that is genuinely trying to nurture and deepen a customer’s connection with you.
You only need to think of this like dating. I have historically dated in my personal life and believe me one fabulous date, one superb text or one phone call would not be enough to attract me to a beau. It’s about consistency, care and a period of time and events that help a relationship to blossom. And it is no different in business.
Moreover, you shouldn’t just assume that once you’ve eked out a sale that vein is entirely spent. There is further gold to be found in every existing customer that you have. They will know other people that would make the perfect customer so through the coming months our campaign involves getting referrals and the all-important reviews from current customers. People like to help other people: you only have to ask them. So getting proactive this month and creating a referral and review culture is going to be key to unlocking more gold. There will be a tipping point and all of the hard work in this area will ensure that the culture in your business is to refer and review. This will naturally start to give you new sales and more rewards.
So having been on the road since Christmas visiting lots of our customers and suppliers, as my previous pieces have highlighted, the summer months are now focused on continuing to build on our relationships. This is the gold in our business and I urge you to get mining and unearth hidden treasures of your own.