conversion rate

Improve your conversion rate with these 5 simple tips!

Are you frustrated with how many of your leads never turn into customers? That is a quite common stress for small business owners. You’re doing all the marketing activities you planned, and are sticking to your target market, but why isn’t your customer base growing?! Unfortunately, the businesses who experience this challenge more than often ‘wing’ their sales process and hope for the best. I am here to tell you… that isn’t good enough! If you want to see a great conversion rate, you must build, follow and track a documented sales process.

“Conversion” is the percentage of leads which actually end up becoming clients. So I want you to think about this… of everyone who calls you, or walks into your shop, how many end up buying something? By tracking your conversion, you are already one step forward to increasing it! Once you understand your current conversion rate, it is time to start improving it.

There are around 80 different strategies that can be used to improve your conversion rate. Out of those, here are my favourites:

  1. Sales Process: When you get a lead, do you follow a clear, step-by-step process through which you lead your prospects? A sales process allows you to interact with your leads in a way that builds trust, that identifies their needs and that communicates the right messages at the right time. As well as this, by implementing a sales process you are able to track the stage that your leads are at, and measure the success of your process, allowing you to recognise the biggest areas of improvement. Many may think that constructing a sales process is a timely task, however it is not only among the cheapest ways to improve your conversion but you will also save time as through converting prospects in the most efficient way possible.
  2. Sales Scripts: A sales discussion consists of a number of important sections including the opening, the questioning, and the close. Many business owners believe that they are skilled enough not to follow a script. However, many of those business owners have not tested nor measured the response from script use. If a script is not used, how can you ensure that you employ rapport-building and persuasion techniques? Following a sales script not only allows you to feel in more control, but ensures that you are getting the most out of your sales discussion. Furthermore, this is the only way you will ever get multiple sales people all converting prospects at a rate that will truly grow your business. And once again, it requires little-no cost, saves time and increases your conversion success.
  3. USP: Your Unique Selling Proposition should be clear, tangible and differentiated. You want to give your prospects complete clarity about how their lives will improve as a result of working with you. If your USP does not communicate this, it is time to make some adjustments. After all, prospects become more emotionally interested when they are told about how it will help THEM.
  4. Guarantee: Now that you have a clear, tangible and differentiated USP, is it backed up by an effective guarantee? A common factor contributing to losing a potential customer is the prospects fear of making a wrong decision. How do you overcome this, you ask? Give them a guarantee that makes them feel safe and confident in buying from you! With an effective guarantee, they won’t have a reason to say no!
  5. Testimonials: As technology expands, prospects look for reasons to buy through researching the internet. So take advantage of it! Are your prospects receiving sufficient evidence of the quality of your products or services, of how many people are using them and just how much they have benefited from them? Make it a process and ask your current clients to make a testimonial following their purchase. You will be surprised as to how much it impacts a prospects buying decision.

Whilst these are my personal favourite conversion strategies, there are countless more that may fit into your business better.

Any lead who has failed to turn into a customer has used up some of your time, effort and money… so why not increase your conversion rate with simple, easy, and cost-effective strategies! Can you afford to have a low conversion rate?

Click here to register for a FREE 1 on 1 meeting with our very own coach, or call me today on 9146 4439 to discuss the best strategies for your business!

Here’s a thought to keep in mind…

“Every touch point in your sales process is an opportunity to delight…”

lead generation

Lead generation strategies are all around you!

When we meet with a new client, we get them to fill out a questionnaire which asks them what their major concerns are in their business. What is the most common answer, you ask? Not getting enough traffic ‘in the door’. Unfortunately, one of the common reasons that 8/10 small businesses fail is their lack of strong lead generation strategies. Almost every business owner we speak with is looking for more new leads. And there’s a good reason for this: the bigger your list of leads, the more opportunities there are to convert into sales for your business.

So how long does your search party for more leads need to go for? You will be pleased with what I tell you next… you can call it off! Our clients are always left gobsmacked once they realise the simplicity of increasing the number of leads in their business.

Now, there are roughly 84 different lead generation strategies, but if you start with these four you will most definitely be able to generate enough leads to keep your business growing.

Referrals 

Being absolutely free of charge whilst providing amazing results, referrals from existing customers is a strategy not to miss. Every existing customer is a walking, talking testimonial! And considering that in today’s world, one of the major factors that deter or encourage someone to buy from you are the reviews that are shared face to face or written online, having your customers share a positive review of your business is imperative to generate more leads. An easy way to do this is by making a habit of collecting testimonials and reviews and using them on your website and other marketing materials. This is a great investment in the future of your business, because repeat customers mean repeat business – so this lead generation strategy has an exponential effect. 

Strong Online Presence

Over the past decade, there has been a noticeable shift in buyer behaviour with our access to the internet becoming much more efficient and reliable. These days, 60% of the buying decision is made before someone will pick up the phone and speak with a sales person. If you have a strong online presence, you will consistently find new customers at a higher rate than your competitors who don’t.

Understand Target Marketing & Customer Acquisition Costs 

Do you look at your marketing as an expense or an investment? Good marketing which gains new customers is most definitely an investment. With that mindset, you will be able to develop a more targeted marketing plan, allowing you to market specifically to your niche. This brings good customers to any business far more effectively than broad-based marketing. Test and measure different strategies then invest the money to “buy” more customers at an acceptable acquisition cost.

Using Strategic Alliances

Need a new database of your target market? Why not exchange yours with another business?! One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. A strategic alliance allows you to sell your product/service to your target market, by using a database from another business that sells a different product/service. Make connections, and find new customers!

Start by making small improvements in the 4 lead generating strategies above and you will notice a dramatic difference in your sales funnel.  Keep developing these tools and you are sure to generate enough leads to get your business soaring!

If you want to generate more leads in your business, let us teach you more strategies that are just right for your business. Click here or call us on 9146 4439 to organise a coffee with one of our coaches!

Now that you have a clear idea of where to start with your lead generation, I want to share with you a few helpful strategies on how to convert these leads into clients. But I will leave that for my next blog. For now…

“…You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what it is”

marketing plan

Get your marketing plan into shape with these 5 easy strategies!

Have you ever felt like your marketing activities just aren’t generating enough profits for your business, so you just give up on them? Or do you pause your marketing plan in order to save more money? Well consider this…

…If you put an end to your marketing plan, will you really save money? Yes, you will… in the way that stopping your wristwatch saves time. In other words, don’t kid yourself.

A marketing plan needs to be clear, simple, and most of all, consistent. Then you have to actually stick to it and, rather than halting its use, update it and make it better. If you let it go after 3 months of not seeing any results, you are guaranteeing that you’ll never see results.

Most business owners think that you must be a marketing guru to generate and implement a strong and profitable marketing plan. Well this should be music to your ears… there are only 5 key areas of marketing and sales that you need to focus on to build your business!

Over the next few months, I will cover each key area in detail. Here is a summary to start your journey to becoming your own marketing guru:

Number of leads – This area is all about how many potential clients you attract. Unfortunately, being unable to generate leads is one of the main reasons that so many small businesses fail in the first few years. The lead generating strategies we will teach you are both simple and mind-blowingly effective.

Conversion rate – Now that you are generating enough leads, how many of them do you convert into clients? Many business owners ‘wing’ the sales process and hope for the best. If that’s you, how is that going for your business? Having a detailed sales strategy will not only improve your conversion rate, but make it much more reliable.

Number of transactions – How many times a year do your clients buy from you? Increase this frequency by devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Think about this… your existing customers already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier and cheaper to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one! Get brainstorming!

Average dollar sale – How much do clients spend with you each time they buy? Imagine what would happen if you increased the value of each sale by 10%. That’s not a big jump, but it makes a big difference. By executing only one well-implemented price increase strategy, you could make a big difference to the bottom line.

Margins – What is the gross or net margin your business achieves? Improving your margin is one of the quickest way to improve your cash flow. Our clients are often left shocked when they learn that this, the easiest part of a marketing and sales plan, is the fastest and least costly to implement and will have the most immediate impact.

If you are thinking ‘this is too much to work on right now’, remember that all you need is a slight 15% improvement in each area, and that will be sufficient to double your profit! These 5 areas provide you with more than 350 different strategies to explore. All that’s left for you to do is to select the ones that are right for you, implement them effectively, and watch your business soar.

If you feel like you are investing in expensive marketing; that being, marketing which you do not receive a profit from, and just aren’t seeing the return, join one of our coaches for a coffee to discuss the ways in which we can help you.

Can you afford any more expensive marketing? Register here or call us today on (02) 9146 4439.

In my next blog, I will dive deeper into Lead generation and share with you my favourite strategies which will help you increase the number of quality leads attracted by your business. Till then, here’s a thought to take with you…

“…Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans”

Unique-Selling-Point

USP – not just another acronym – how to make your business stand up and be noticed

As you start the New Year have you thought about what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is? Remember USP isn’t just another acronym, it’s how to make your business stand up and be noticed.

You need to find a way to be unique and for others, particularly customers, to recognise that at once. Your product or service won’t be truly unique but your customer offering must have a unique approach that instantly makes your business stand up and be noticed. This will give you an edge over your competition.

Take for example a pizza company. Many years ago in the US, a family-run pizza joint in Michigan was looking to find a way to make it stand out from the crowd in the 1960s as one of the family members took over the business. This new owner, Tom Monaghan, was living rough in the store. So he desperately wanted to boost revenue and if things went well, create a franchise. So he came up with a USP – pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. Bingo! He had found a unique way to make the business – which most of us would now recognise as Domino’s Pizza – stand up and be noticed.

Other companies who have done similar USPs include FedEx (“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”) or Woolworths (“The Fresh Food People”). The message from each is that if you really want your business to be successful, you have to have a clear USP.  The alternative is to compete primarily on price and that really only leads to one outcome…..and it’s not a pretty one!

Here are a number of questions you might consider to develop a strong USP. They are:

  • What are the most important customer problems, challenges and needs that you solve?
  • What would you say are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is the reason repeat clients and customers like your business?
  • Name the distinguishing feature that puts you ahead of your competition?

If you can answers these with clarity, you are on your way to developing your own USP.

A USP can be a few words or it can be whole paragraph.Defining then encapsulating what makes you different, unique, and desirable is more important than the word count.

Remember, a successful USP answers this question: why should a potential client or customer buy from you? When answering this question, promise something special your competitors cannot deliver. You will need to crystallise and communicate your Unique Selling Proposition and it might be grouped under: price, service, speed, selection, quality or guarantee to name a few.

If you examine all these points, you will be well on your way to understanding that a USP isn’t just an acronym – it’sthe way to make your business stand up and be noticed.  If yours is clear, compelling, specific and speaks to how it makes your customers lives or business better, you’ll also be well on your way to winning!

Including all of the right elements into your business plan this year, can make this your best year yet. Check out these free business planning resources for more help.

4 Steps to generate sales leads that will multiply your business

Even if your business has an outstanding service or in-demand product; without new sales leads, there is a good chance that your business success will be short term. So how do you future-proof your business? The answer lies in the ability to consistently find, develop and cultivate new sales leads, so they actualise into sales for your business.

There are many time-consuming and costly ways to generate new sales leads. We’ve seen all the mistakes that businesses make time and time again which stop them from thriving. Let’s take a look at how businesses are doing it well, so we can help your business gain quality sales leads.

Step 1 –Ensure that your Customer service delivers “WOW!”

Too many businesses forget about customer service, instead focusing on discounts and incentives to generate sales leads that end up costing them in the long run. If you concentrate on the way each customer feels after they’ve done business with you and that’s its now just positive for them but makes them think “wow!”, you will see more repeat business and they’ll start talking about you with others. Sound simple? It’s a simple concept, but you need to take a good hard look at internal processes to improve customer service. For example, look at the telephone and email scripts that your sales staff use, and see where the customer experience could be enhanced. Re-write the scripts or rules if needed… it could be the most valuable hour you’ll ever spend on your business!

Step 2 –Create referrals and make the most of your customers

Your Number 1 source of new leads is right under your nose… it’s your existing customers! No doubt if you have managed to get repeat business from one or more customers, they will have something great to say about your business.  Ask them who else they know that is in a similar position or has similar needs to them?  Would they be willing to introduce you?  Be proactive about asking for referrals!

Also be diligent to collect positive experiences from these customers as you go. When you’re ready, you can use these words or stories as content to help generate sales leads.Did you know that people trust their peers more than they trust brand advertising? Research shows that more than 8-in-10 global respondents (83%) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle. In fact, two-thirds (66%) say they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format. (Nielsen Poll 2015).

Your referral resources don’t have to be strictly word of mouth. Consumer reviews, testimonials, online ratings and social media following will all help boost the chances of a cold sales lead developing trust in your business without even seeing any paid advertising.

If you can turn your top customers into raving fans of your business you have gone a long way to ensure the long term viability of your business. For more great tips on impactful sales and marketing techniques, download our eBook.

Step 3 – Understand your customer acquisition costs

Do you look at your marketing as an expense or an investment? It is vital for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mind-set, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing to generate new leads.

One of the cheapest ways to buy customers is through social media, and probably the most expensive is traditional major media advertising like television or radio. But you don’t necessarily just go with the cheaper option. First, find out what will work to attract your ideal customer. If television advertising costs $5,000 for 30 seconds, but it brings you 500 customers who spend an average of $100 each, that media could be a great investment for your business. Ask the person responsible for selling you the media spot (online, event, TV, radio etc.) to help you to determine what sales lead outcomes you are likely to generate. Of course you know your business best, so trust your judgement as well as their advice.  Then be sure to track the results of all marketing activities so that you understand how well and how cost-effectively each one brings you leads.

Step 4 – Use strategic alliances

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. Working in strategic alliances with other businesses that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer. Consider how much easier would it be to get customers if you were using the database of a company that your potential customers had already done business with?

When McDonald’s has a new toy in its Happy Meal that relates to the latest summer movie, it’s a strategic alliance. The world’s biggest companies do it and their new sales grow because of it.

Strategic alliances also give you a sense of working in a team, rather that alone. You have another business owner, who is dealing with the same group of customers you are. You can discuss sale strategies, work on them together and profit together. If you need some help choosing a strategic alliance for your business, contact ActionCOACH for advice.

Using our proven 4 strategies for generating sales leads will ensure your business can generate enough new leads to keep your business moving forward. For advice unique to your business circumstances, book in a free first consultation with ActionCOACH, or call us on 02 9146 4439.

For more tips on sales and marketing download a copy of “Working with your niche so you don’t have to compete on price.”

define-marketing-metrics

How to Test & Measure your Sales & Marketing Plan using Marketing Metrics

So you’ve developed your sales and marketing plan, you’ve started implementing it, and 2016 is racing ahead. But how do you really know whether your plan is working or if you should revise or change it before time gets away? The only way to know is to actually test and measure your sales and marketing plan.

Believe it or not, testing and measuring is NOT new to you – you’ve probably been doing it your whole business life. At its most basic, the ‘trial and error’ method will have given you a catalogue of useful learnings over the months or years. The next step is to make decisions based on that information and adapt your sales and marketing plan for a successful business moving forward.

So, what marketing metrics should you use?

As well as objectives, budget, competitor market overview and SWOT, your sales and marketing plan should include the following FIVE marketing metrics, to make testing and measuring easier:

Metric 1: Direct feedback

You must start asking people where or how they found you. It’s difficult to judge how a particular advertisement is going based on sales alone. From working with thousands of business owners we can tell you that almost everyone will be happy to give you this info. Record this data, it could be a great indicator of what’s working or what in your sales and marketing plan you need to change.

Metric 2: Acquisition Costs

We discussed in a recent ActionCOACH blog the cost of acquiring new customers. The acquisition cost must, at minimum, be less than the lifetime value of the client – that way you know you will make a profit from them and that your marketing budget is sustainable. If it’s not, you will need to revise how you acquire new business in your sales and marketing plan.  Better still, if your Acquisition Cost is less than what you make out of a customer in the first transaction, then you have yourself an unlimited marketing budget!

Metric 3: The 5 Ways

To maximise your chance of increasing each of them, you must track each of the 5 ways: How many new leads did you generate last week/month/quarter?  What percentage of them did you convert to a customer?  On average, how many times did each of your customers buy from you and what did they spend each time?  And what was your net profit margin?  Just starting to measure each of these will often get them moving in the right direction!

Metric 4: Lifetime Value

Closely related to Leads, the lifetime value of a client can be measured against the cost of generating the lead for this client, to work out whether this particular client is sustainable and also whether the methods used to generate them are worth keeping in your sales and marketing plan.

Metric 5: In & outbound marketing methods

Whether you are pushing your message outbound to a wide audience, or making yourself more visible online to attract inbound customers to your business, you can test and measure both to determine how to change them in your plan. Inbound marketing is proving to be a more and more successful form of marketing as the population gets inundated with more marketing messages each day, so look at the cost of these activities closely.

There are many CRMs, databases  and other tracking tools out there that will help you to keep track of these metrics.  One way or the other, every time a prospect or customer interacts with your business, whether a sale is made or not, this must be recorded. If there is a large slice of the budget going to an activity which your CRM tells you has made no sales, it’s time to address and revise!

If you would like to design a sales and marketing plan that you can test and measure to make this your most successful year yet, book in for a FREE 90min coaching session and you will walk away with ideas and tools to put these into place. BOOK HERE or Register for the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar here.

Selling from Stage

Selling from Stage is one of, if not the, most effective way for Professional Services businesses in particular to promote themselves.

Whilst it may not lend itself to mass marketing, it is typically a very high conversion marketing activity.  This is largely because, speaking to a group of people, it is possible to do two things that cannot be done by mail, by phone, or in an initial 1:1 introduction:

  •  Emphasise the pain felt by your targets.

There are questions you can ask and comments you can make about the specific challenges experienced by your prospects/clients that, in a 1:1 situation would be inappropriate and, by phone or mail, would be ineffective.

  • Demonstrate your capabilities. 

Sampling is a strong influencer in the psychology of decision making.  In a presentation situation, you can allow the audience to genuinely feel and experience what you do, how you do it and the results you could achieve for them.

 

The techniques below specifically to selling from stage. They do not constitute a complete set of tips and techniques for public speaking in general. To be able to sell effectively from stage, it is necessary first to master the generic skills of public speaking.  Those skills are not discussed here, although there are three in particular that are critical to underpin effective selling from stage and so those are worth highlighting:

 

3 generic skills of public speaking that you need to master to be able to sell successfully from stage:

 

1. Words tell, stories sell. 

Real life examples, case studies, testimonials and stories will be far more effective in engaging the audience. They will more easily relate to your material and, as a result, will be more likely to buy!

 

2. Tell ‘em…tell ‘em…tell ‘em. 

The overall structure of any presentation is just as relevant here as in any other situation: Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em….then tell ‘em….then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.  That is to say, begin by outlining what you’ll all be going through, then go through it and then summarize at the end.  In the initial outline and in the end summation, emphasise not so much what you, as the speaker, will do, but emphasise that they, as the audience will get out of it.  Use clear, directive language; for example, “what I would expect you to take away from today’s presentation is……….”

 

3. Any supporting aids are only ever that…..support.

There are certainly times when powerpoint, flipcharts and other presentation aids are valuable….just be sure to use them only as a minimalist support.  They should contain VERY little of your content and should just be used to demonstrate or clarify a point you’re already making.

 

Now to the specific skills of Selling from Stage…

 

1.       Before anything else, engage the audience! 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Literally the first thing you say can (should?) be 3 or 4 short closed questions that ensure every member of the audience raises their hand to at least one of them and produces at least some form of engagement; usually a laugh!  This will wake them up, get the blood flowing, engage both sides of their brain and will also program them to participate.

 

These questions must be closed questions and must require every single member of the audience to participate.  For example, Brad Sugars usually begins with the same three questions: “Who in the audience owns a business?  Who in the audience is an employee?  Who in the audience owns a business but wishes they were an employee?!”

 

When asking the questions, raise your own arms – left arm first, then right, then left.  People tend to mirror and the majority are right-handed.

 

2.       Ask questions…..a lot!

 

If asking questions is the most important skill in selling, then it applies equally to selling from stage.  This is an effective technique for engaging the audience in general and also a very effective technique for emphasising their pain and challenges.

Often, these can be rhetorical questions but should still be accompanied by hand-raising.  Open questions can also be used, albeit sparingly and typically more with smaller audiences.  It is hard to get long and varied answers from 1,000 people!

 

3.       Position the audience to take action at the end.

 

From the very beginning of the presentation and then again during the presentation, prepare the audience for the fact that they will have an opportunity to buy/take action at the end.  Whether you have a particular special offer for them, whether you have a particular package you’re selling at the end, or whether you’re simply looking to arrange meetings with attendees, allude to this opportunity early in the presentation and then again during the presentation.  That way, their sub-conscious mind will be preparing to take up the opportunity and won’t be taken by surprise when it arrives.

 

4.       Any sized audience is made up of individuals. 

 

The most effective way to engage with anyone is 1-on-1.  In the course of your presentation, engage 1:1 with as many members of the audience as you can.  It may be by picking up on their answers to your questions or may be by responding to their questions.  Ideally, it is in a way that adds value to them.  Their direct connection with you and the law of reciprocity will then increase the chance of them buying from you or taking action at the end.

 

5.       It’s only relevant if they have a challenge or a situation.

 

In all likelihood, the only reason they’re in the audience in the first place is because they have a challenge that relates to what you’re talking about, or they want something you’re talking about.  Furthermore, if there is to be any chance of the taking action or buying from you at the end, they must have a challenge relating to what you’re talking about or they must want something you’re talking about.  So make sure that your questions, your stories and your content emphasises the challenges and/or opportunities that are relevant to your subject matter.

 

The biggest hurdle to clear with an audience before they will take action or buy from you is simply getting them motivated to do so.  The only two things that motivate people are pain-avoidance and goal-achievement so be sure to bring real emphasis to the pains and the opportunities they may be feeling!  In reality, pain-avoidance is typically the stronger motivator so usually it is most effective to bring more emphasis to bear on pains than on opportunities.

 

6.       If you don’t brag about yourself, who will?

 

This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate just how good you are.  Not only can you emphasise pains and opportunities that your audience are likely to be feeling, but you can also let them experience and feel just how great you can make things.

 

In the course of your presentation, case studies, stories about the results you achieve and how you achieve them, statistics about the results you deliver and testimonials from clients, can all be effective in emphasising this point.

5 Fast Ways to Convert more Prospects to Customers

Conversion…among the quickest, easiest and most controllable ways to grow your business!

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Conversion” is the percentage of people who know about you and consider buying from you who actually do buy from you. Of everyone who calls you or walks into your shop, how many buy something? Just tracking the answer to that question will get you on your way to increasing it!

 

Once you know your starting point, then you can start improving it. Here are my favorites of the 80 different conversion strategies:

 

 

1. Sales scripts. Have you scripted the most important parts of your sales discussions? The opening? The questioning? The close? Do those scripts employ effective rapport-building and persuasion techniques? Have you tested different scripts to choose the most effective?

 

2. Sales Process. What is the process through which you lead your prospects? Are there sufficient interactions to build trust? Does your collateral communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time? Are you employing the most effective methodology for delivering proposals?

 

3. USP. How clear, tangible and differentiated is your proposition? Do your prospects have absolute clarity about how their lives will improve as a result of working with you?

 

4. Guarantee. Is your USP backed up by an effective guarantee? Risk and the fear of making a mistake are among the most common reasons people don’t buy….how do you overcome this?

 

5. Testimonials. Are your prospects receiving sufficient evidence of the quality of your products or services, of how many people are using them and just how much they have benefited from them?

 

Any prospect who fails to buy from you has used up some of your time, effort and money…..the great news is that the frequency of this can usually be reduced quickly, easily and cost-effectively!