Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Watching Sales Increase by 150%


As people feel the full bite of the recession, the quest to survive puts more pressure on the need to find more and better clients. One key problem, poor sales performance, is simply more visible in difficult trading conditions.

CASE STUDY (Real Life – Accounting Firm: Jan - June 20XX)

The Background:
Profits and sales were slipping.
Using a number of fairly sophisticated marketing techniques, potential clients were invited to presentations, exhibitions, updates and seminars as opportunities for face-to-face contact. Yet sales conversion rates were disappointing. The practice was simply letting new business slide through its fingers.


The Problem:
Poor sales performance despite having a decent product.


The Reason:
Poorly trained staff and lousy systems.


The Solution:
A few simple changes that will have a massive impact on your bottom line.


It was identified that staff had been expertly trained on the technical side of their job but were lacking the more subtle inter-personal skills that are so important. Accountants are great at doing accounts but not so great at talking to potential clients about why they should be appointed.


Director level support brought the issue out into the open.


Your sales performance will improve if you focus on the following 'crunch questions':
  • Who is the ideal/target customer? What are their problems? Why do they buy your product?
  • Do you really understand what it is that the customer is buying? Are you selling the benefits rather than the features?
  • Why should people buy from you when they can buy from the competition
  • What makes you different from the rest?
  • How to start and finish a conversation?
  • Do you deliver a credible and compelling Audio Logo/Elevator Pitch/One-Minute Intro
  • Can/Do you ask for the business? Can you ask for referrals?
  • Are you able to close the sale?


For any sales professional this is the stuff that Session One from Day One of a Sales Course should cover (Spookily this is very similar to the programme we take business through on the Bright Marketing courses that I run for Barclays).


The reality was far from the truth.


Your sales people need to be taken through a process like the one outlined above. Add decent measurement systems to your soft skills (targets, some decent prospect data, metrics, and conversion ratios) and selling becomes a simple game: you know how many conversations create an appointment create a new client.


Results:
In the six months we worked with our client we saw their competitors going bust and the industry lose its confidence. However our client saw client sales rocket. Compare the numbers (which lose their formatting on most machines - sorry!)


6m to 31 Dec 20XX
  • Leads 300
  • Conversations 140
  • Proposals 50
  • New Clients 20


6m to 30 June 20XX

  • Leads 350
  • Conversations 180
  • Proposals 95
  • New Clients 50


Leaving out any complicated/sophisticated explanations, the incredible thing was that new clients had increased by a remarkable 150%.


What does this say to you?
Well, small changes in how you go about the sales process have a massive impact. Many trainers use Micky Mouse numbers to impress their audience but here is an example where the numbers speak for themselves. 








RELEVANT LINKS

  • of course you can't write a blog entry like this without pointing out where people can find out how to get their own 150%...
  • The Directors' Centre - talk to The DC if you want these benefits
  • Read Grow Your Service Firm

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