What is the life cycle of a sale? Do you imagine that every time you meet a new potential client that you will close the deal? How long does it take to make a sale? If you don’t have a realistic expectation you may feel as though you’re spinning your wheels. You may also feel as though your efforts are for naught.
How Long Does It Take To Make A Sale?
We know it’s not always easy to think about talking with someone and walking away without a signed contract or without a check in your hand, right? You need to make sales and make money in order to remain viable? Take a deep breath and think back to the last time you met with someone and make a decision right then and there? When was it? Probably at the grocery store, but probably not when you’re just starting out a process of buying goods or services, right?
Here are the steps I have found to be part of the sale life cycle:
- Prospecting. You need to meet people to get them into yoru pipeline. Without connections and prospects, how will you grow?
- Get out of the office. It is so easy to stay in the office and fire off emails to potential clients. I urge you to get out of the office and shake hands and make real face to face connections.
- Pain points. Identify those in a potential client and speak to those. Don’t make your approach a one sizes fits all. Tailor the conversation to the individual.
- Listen. In order to address your potential client’s pain points you need to listen. I always urge people to resist the urge to fill in silences in the conversation. Let your client mull over the situation and ask you questions. Delve deep and understand how your mousetrap will help them and how it’s better than the mousetrap they’re using today.
- Commit. Once your prospect is ready to take the next step with you, you want to clearly spell out what you will provide him, what he needs to get you and what the cost of that exchange will be. Be transparent and clear up any potential gray areas.
Sales is not a one and done nor should you ever forget that everytime you meet someone, he or she could be a potential client and you need to always put your best foot forward.
Entrepreneurs need to make good impressions — whether online, in person or on the phone. Make a great first impression so when you wrap up a conversation the person with whom you were interacting feels good about him- or herself and feels as though you truly listened to what they had to say.
Conversational skills are crucial to growing a network and a business. It could make the difference between closing a deal or having that person walk away with a bad taste in his or her mouth and deciding not to work with you.
Make A Great First Impression
Physical impression. Know how they say you only get one time to make a first impression? It’s true. Even if you’re a solopreneur who works at home in pajamas most of the time, if you’re going to a networking meeting or hosting a video chat or even getting on a phone call — get dressed. You don’t have to don a suit and tie, but you should project a professional appearance. It’s been shown that even if you dress up for a phone call you will project yourself in a more professional manner. If you’re at a networking event or a conference, don a conversation starter piece — for a woman that could be a scarf or pin or even the purse she’s carrying. For a man it could be a unique tie or briefcase. This is a great way to connect and when you follow up after the meeting you can say, “I was the man/woman wearing the XYZ” it will help raise recognition.
Get others to talk about you. If you want to really make an impression, get others to talk about you. They can introduce you and say, “Wow, did you know that Joe is an expert at…” It’s much better to hear from someone else that you have a talent than it is for you to toot your own horn.
Start a conversation about the other person! Ask, “What are you doing?” “Do you have any exciting projects in the works?” When you show an interest in them, you are opening the door for that person to take an interest in you. Avoid politics or religion unless you know the crowd with whom you’re interacting.
Tell a story. This doesn’t mean you have to give a recitation of your accomplishments, it truly means “tell a story.” Practice your elevator speech in a way that is more of a storytelling conversation than your reading your CV. If someone asks, “Oh, how did you get into that line of work?” Have your story ready. Highlight your qualities through the insights you share and the stories you tell.
Remember, not every conversation has to be a sales call. Be natural. Let the conversation flow. If you’re asked, “So, what do you do?” Share!
What are your best “first impression” tips?
As a business coach it’s my job to look at your entire business when we are talking. One thing I look at is your business bio and I ask, “is your business bio doing its job?” You may not know if it is — or if it isn’t. Your business bio is your online, 24/7 calling card to the universe.
Your business bio needs to be robust, tell people what you do and how they can work with you. The messaging on your business bio needs to be consistent and consistently branded no matter where you’re sharing it. Keywords are also part of the bio as that is how people will search you out.
To grow your business, garner speaking engagements and drive people to your website a business bio can be your best friend — or your worst enemy. Take time to craft a robust bio (one that is searchable for your niche).
Is Your Business Bio Doing Its Job?
Go to all of your social media platforms, your website, your blog and look at your business card and determine whether your bio needs to be updated and/or adjusted.
- It’s not one-size-fits-all. Your bio or your profile needs to be adapted and adjusted to the audience with which you’re interacting.
- Qualifications. If you’re twenty years out of high school or college, do you need to highlight your college or high school achievements? Haven’t you done anything since then that’s notable? For what do you want to be known? What have you done to highlight that unique skillset? Highlight that in your qualifications and remove, “captain of the wrestling team” from your qualifications and bio — unless it remains somehow relevant.
- Specialized training. If you’re a lifelong learner — and most successful entrepreneurs are — make note of that. What do you do that makes you stand out from the competition? Add it into your bio.
- Contact info. Crafting a great bio is the first step. Once people have found you, have you given them a way to get in touch with you? I have seen numerous websites where there is no contact email or phone number. Make sure you have an easy way for a prospect to reach you.
- Professional photo. A photo is a must. I will not accept a connection request on LinkedIn if someone doesn’t have a photo. Why would I? For that matter, why wouldn’t you have a professional photo? Hire a photographer and get photos taken. Unless you are in the pet industry, don’t have your dog or cat in the photo with you.
Is your business bio complete? Is it robust? Are you using keywords? If you have questions or doubts about your bio, reach out, I can help.