As a new business owner, whether you are selling products or services, the key is to craft a sales strategy that will generate as many leads as possible.
While the specifics of choosing a sales strategy can vary widely by industry, developing a lead-generating sales funnel tends to boil down to four key steps.
1. Decide how you want to funnel leads in your business to create your sales strategy.
There are so many sales models out there that even beginning to research and look for a model that works for your particular business can seem daunting. That can be a fear point for many new business owners — you may be afraid to dive into that research to figure out which sales funnel is right for you, so you just skip that step, opting not to choose a sales model at all.
If that sounds familiar to you, here’s the important thing to remember: there will likely be some trial and error involved as you figure out what sales strategy works in your market. To start, take your best educated guess at which funnel will work best for your business, but know that you can expand your funnel or rework your offerings as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
For the purpose of this blog, though, we’ll talk about a basic sales model in which the top of your sales funnel is a free offer for potential customers. Once they take you up on the free offer, you can ease customers into one of your lowest price offerings, where they feel comfortable. As you earn their trust as a business, you can continue to work them into the next highest offering, which is a little more expensive — and then finally, you can work them toward the highest price point you offer.
A practical example of this can be found at Baskin Robbins. This popular ice cream chain kicks off their customer relationship with a pink spoon: a free sample of ice cream for interested customers. Once the customer tastes the free sample, they’re more likely to commit to something at the lowest price point: a scoop of ice cream. The next time they visit, since they enjoyed their scoop of ice cream, it’s easier to encourage them to get two scoops this time. The following visit, they’re more likely to be persuaded to order a sundae.
And finally, once they’ve had all of these positive brand experiences at the lower price points, Baskin Robbins is likely to be the first name that pops into their mind the next time they need an ice cream cake — the shop’s highest priced offering.
So, I want you to ask yourself – what can you offer interested customers for free that will make them excited to come back for more?
Then, take our free quiz to determine the best business model for your service based business!
Your business is craving a clear sales strategy to serve as the foundation and navigational guide for your marketing.
2. Organize your leads to track prospects and plan for growth.
Sometimes you’re planting seeds, and sometimes you’re making sales.
When you’re planting seeds, they need to be nurtured. In those moments when you’re talking with someone who is interested in what your business has to offer, but they can’t afford it right now or aren’t quite ready to commit yet, you’ve planted a seed. Now, you need to set up a system to track how often to check in with them and follow up. Rest assured, multiple follow ups aren’t nagging to potential clients! We all get busy and we all need multiple points of contact to have a clear head to make a decision.
When you follow up with them, sometimes they will be interested and sometimes they won’t be. But either way, it is your job to keep those leads warm and nurtured until they turn into a sale. You can do that by tracking them using a CRM (SalesForce, ZenDesk, HubSpot, etc.) which will do most of the work for you, but cost money. But if you’re starting out and don’t have the budget to invest in a CRM, you can simply use a DIY spreadsheet or progress boards in a program like Asana to track the leads you need to nurture, noting the last time you reached out to them and when you need to do so next.
Whatever method you decide to utilize, the goal is to create follow-through by nurturing the leads and creating a trust factor.
3. Create a great customer service model.
One of the biggest selling points in my business, especially in a tech space, is the fact that I am responsive to my clients. Way too many graphic and web companies completely fail at strong communication. It’s a place I identified early on where I could set myself apart.
If you’re not working with your clients and supporting them in the ways they need most, they will find somebody else who does it better. Having a good customer service model is key.
One crucial thing to consider is setting strong boundaries and creating formal agreements with your clients. Be clear about how long it will take you to respond to emails and communication, how long it will take you to make edits or set up a new appointment, how much time you need between appointments, etc. Set clear and consistent expectations about how this process works and the agreements that accompany that process.
Another important thing to do as you build your customer service model is to create what I call touchpoints. During your time working with a client, where do they need a little extra support? I recommend setting up multiple touchpoints and mapping out when a client will need to hear from you most during the lifespan of their time with you. This adds a special feel to your work together where your clients know they are valued, supported and it keeps them motivated.
4. Track sales and analytics.
I’ll be honest: this is the one thing that made me want to hide under the covers as a new business owner.
It was so scary to me to look at how well or poorly I was doing. But in all honesty, it is one of the absolute most important things that we can do for ourselves as business owners: get nice and cozy with our financials and tracking. Data doesn’t lie. You might think you’re doing an amazing job, but the numbers may tell a different story.
Follow through on your analytics, keep up with your financials each month, and regularly look at your website and social metrics. Those hard facts give you something to act on.
Now, it’s your turn. What is your sales strategy? How will you adjust that strategy to get more leads?
Want more details about how to create clear offerings (and hear how I struggled when I started my business)? Click here to listen to my recent appearance on the “Steady She Grows” podcast with Boss Lady Central to learn more!