When you are in a service-based business, getting new clients is your bread and butter. No new clients means no new cash. And, that is bad for business.
But, you’ve built an awesome business and you are awesome at what you do. So, where are the new clients?
Let’s face it, the Field of Dreams mentality doesn’t work in business. Just building it doesn’t mean new clients are going to be knocking down your door.
So, what are you doing wrong?
1. You don’t have an effective inbound sales pipeline
What is a sales pipeline? These are the stages your potential clients (leads) go through from initial interest to final offer of product, whether you make money off of them or not. Typical stages includes lead generation, initial contact,
qualification, proposal and close (won or lost)
Having a stable pipeline gives you a bird’s eye view of the strengths and weaknesses of your business pitch. At a glance you can easily identify:
- Where are my best leads coming from?
- Where am I losing potential customers?
- How long does it take to close a sale?
Starting one is easy, there are several turn key systems on the market. Our favorite tool is 17 Hats because it not only offers sales pipeline management, it is a fully-integrated client and project management tool.
2. You are not prospecting
How do potential clients know you have a service to offer them? In order to bring in business you have have to sell your business!
The most popular way of doing this is list building. Marketing your business, sparking interest and connecting with your ideal customer base. Once you have made connections (built a list) you can begin to market to your audience and spend your time pitching to qualified prospects (people that have already shown interest in your product).
3. You are not nurturing your leads
In your sales pipeline you will undoubtedly have leads that are interested in what you offer but not particularly ready to buy. These leads will need a little TLC or nurturing.
Nurturing leads is the process of creating an automated workflow to provide educational and engaging content to potential clients. You want to keep your audience engaged and interested in your brand even if they are not ready to buy.
Delivering valuable content that reminds them of why they need what you have to offer. This is usually done by email marketing, but careful not SPAM your leads – quality over quantity is key. Tracking the response activity is also important- Are emails being opened? Are they clicking your links? Use this information to help you keep in touch with your most active leads, and determine those that may no longer qualify.
4. You are not qualifying your leads
Let’s face it, your product may not be right for everyone. You want to spend your time marketing to leads that are
- Your target audience
- Can afford you
- Ready to buy
There may be people outside of your target audience that can benefit from your service, but you want to be sure you are spending your valuable marketing time and money on the leads that have the highest potential to buy. Avoiding bad business (or clients that aren’t the right fit) can save you time and energy. It is ok to turn away business and sometimes you may have to.
- Unable to deliver to expectations – Over extending yourself or being overly ambitious about what you can offer – Honesty goes a long way, be upfront about what you can offer. Customers will respect you for it and a lost sale is better than a bad review.
- Difficult Customer – Problematic clients drain your time. Some clients just won’t be the right fit for your business and you want to spend your time nurturing clients that you can satisfy.
5. You are not asking for the sale
The answer is always “No” until you ask for the sale. No one likes to be rejected when pitching their business, having a clear and concise call to action will drives sales.
The call to action should be:
- Timed correctly – Know when to ask, a premature pitch can affect trust
- Direct – Don’t mislead with vague information, potential customers should know exactly what they are getting from you
- Delivered – Follow through with the offer right away. Immediate gratification is a great way to earn rapport with customers
Having a great service isn’t enough to have a successful and growing business. With effective sales systems in place, you’ll soon be turning your audience into satisfied clients.