Because Small Business is Big Business

Sales Strategy – Don’t Count on Hope

A client cancelled this week, a day before our start date, so I have too much free time and an empty work funnel. I am frustrated, because I did not plan for this delay of work. I, like many other business owners, was not ready for the unexpected. I kept hoping a past client or referral would call with a small project to fill the void. However, we are behind on our sales calls. Hope is not a good sales strategy.

At Verde Martin, we need to call 100 businesses to connect with five qualified leads. Of the five qualified leads, usually one business owner will set an appointment. It normally takes three appointments for Verde Martin to close a sale. So, we need to call 300 people this week and set three appointments to make sure we have work next month. This equation seems easy, but it took hundreds of calls and a practiced script to establish these measurable performance goals.

I recommend to all my clients that they establish measurable performance goals for each step of the sale. For example, at a freight moving company, the conversion rate for leads to closes was less than one-thousandth of a percent.  After reviewing the list of companies who had purchased services, the lead criteria was adjusted. They started targeting only companies who spent over $1M in freight. We then added an extra qualifying question to each appointment and the closing ratio improved by 400 percent. Having a key performance index (percentage of leads needed to close) helped identify a problem area for the company. Because the company has more than 10 people setting appointments, the change saved the company thousands of dollars in less than a year.

Think about what measurable performance goals should be used at your business to help drive sales. Every business should have them, and we suggest they parallel the steps of the sale.

Looking for more ways to improve your sales, check out the book A Guide to Sales Strategy