I get asked this question a lot. Business owners finally looking at their conversion ratio and realising it’s much worse than they estimated.
No business owner or sales person likes to accept that they’re not as good at selling as they should be, but the facts don’t lie.
Now, before we get into analysing how and why to improve conversion ratio, it’s important to remember that there are two sales strategies that should be adopted before you look to win new business.
- Look after and retain the clients you have (yes, shut the back door before you open the front)
- Up-sell and cross-sell to your clients so you are maximising their spend with you (this should including putting your prices up until they start sucking cold air through their teeth)
More detail about these in 60 Second Snippet #18 here.
Once you have these two nailed, look to increase new business.
Most that have a poor conversion ratio, can attribute it to two things:
- Not qualifying the lead correctly (i.e. wasting time on somebody who isn’t ready to buy)
- Not having good enough selling skills/ sales processes
It is impressive to have a healthy pipeline but in most cases, it can lull you into a false sense of security. It causes one to reduce time on sales and marketing strategies because the pipeline suggests you don’t need it.
However, quality rather than quantity should be the measure.
I was 1-2-1 mentoring a sales leader recently and they talked me through a £10k lead that had been moved forward every month in their pipeline. It was “nailed on” to land next month.
“When was the last time you spoke to the decision maker?” I asked. “Three months ago and they’ve stopped returning my calls!”
“When was the last time they emailed you regarding the project?” I then asked. “They haven’t replied to my last 3-4 emails!”
You can guess whether or not the order landed…
Once you have properly qualified your pipeline and have quality, you can look to improve conversion.
Rather than calling it sales, “I’m not good at selling!” I hear so often, how about calling it relationship development. Reframe it to change your mindset.
Try the following approaches (not conclusive at all):
- Sales process – adopt a better process to qualify prospects
- Ask clever questions – what does success look like and when? How do these issues manifest themselves? What is it worth (financially and emotionally) to resolve the problems?
- Listen carefully – for the golden nuggets and for buying signals
- Make sure you are adding value at every stage – introductions, referrals, free tools, content
- Get the client in buying mode – rather than you being in selling mode
- Ask them if they have any reservations and if not, if they’d like to proceed
- Follow up – have a robust onboarding process and ensure your retention strategy starts on day one
Selling is all about building quality relationships and trust, which starts with listening, adding value and having them wanting to buy.
If you adopt these approaches, so long as you are not trying to sell snow to Eskimos, you should see your conversion ratio rocket.
This will give you two main advantages:
- You’ll be able to get away with less marketing as your higher conversion means you can manage with fewer leads
- You’ll get more sales as a greater conversion of more leads means more clients
This is a top level view of the approach we go in to when developing kick-ass sales strategies with clients.
Best of luck with the implementation. Let me know where you are making changes and how you are getting on.
Loving the weekly 60 Second Snippets? Please forward this onto a business owner or two that you know would love them too, or send them the following link: www.tendo-uk.com/60ss