Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
The word “sales” is so confusing. This word has multiple meanings including:
• An actual transaction
• A selling behavior
• A marketing behavior
• A role
• A process
Again with the year coming to an end, this is probably the best time to reflect upon this word of “sales” and specifically in regards to your “sales process.”
Many large to small businesses have a sales process. Over the years, I have constructed a 3-phase sales process:
1. Marketing – Attracting attention
2. Selling – Earning the sales
3. Keeping – Maintaining customer loyalty and relationships
What I noticed for my own small business back in 2005 my problem was not phase 2 of selling because I had a high sales conversion rate and still do today. Keeping clients, phase 3, was not a problem as my solutions consistently delivered a positive return on investment. My problem was marketing. This was my Achilles’ heel and as I came to learn one shared by most of my small business clients and colleagues.
Even today with my very intentional focus on marketing, this first phase of the sales process still commands the majority of my time. If your marketing has not been successfully executed, then no one or very few people know you and have been attracted to you.
This is why I invest 30 minutes each day to review my marketing metrics including unique visitors to my website, my Twitter followers, sign ups to my various subscriber lists, free PR events and LinkedIn activity. Additionally I have united with several other communities to share blog broadcasts as this also brings in additional traffic.
The results continue to add up from being viewed as one of the top sales influencers of 2013 by Open View Labs to being asked to write for a Worldwide Coaching Magazine on iTunes to being found as a potential speaker for a national real estate conference and of course securing new executive coaching and corporate talent management clients.
Each week I reflect on what is driving people to my website and why do they reach out to talk to me. Without this reflection I might not have expanded into career transition executive coaching.
Also, I continue to read daily about what is happening within the small business marketplace especially from a human talent management perspective. Additionally, I am always looking to share articles with clients to reinforce customer loyalty as well as potential clients to demonstrate how valuable I am.
Yes the marketing phase of the sales process probably requires more reflection time than the other two phases. When this time is scheduled and after synthesis of the results from the marketing activities, then a forward thinking leader can work even smarter and harder to stay ahead of the small business flow.
P.S. Shout Out: Salvation Army of Lake and Porter counties.