Updated: Jun 1, 2020
In my experience, both struggle and success in sales comes down to three things:
Business builders often initially come to me for help with their message because they know I am obsessed with sales emails and other content strategy. Inevitably, we spend a fair bit of time on mindset as well. Once we clear the head trash, it's pretty remarkable to see how much easier it is to communicate with prospects and clients. The message works better and feels better for everyone involved.
When I talk about the third thing, our work revolves around the conduits and methods of communication. This includes the sales process from creating interest to closing a deal. People want to know exactly when they should be emailing, calling, and sending postcards or event invitations. How often should they reach out? How much time between each thing? How does the sales effort and the investment in marketing fit together?
All of those questions make me sing. (Sometimes literally, if you've seen some of my recent talks.) I especially love seeing the light dawn as a client figures out how much easier it is to do things in a more systematic, proven, and trackable way. It creates a level of clarity and ease that allows them to actually enjoy the process and love their business again.
You know you don't have the method step figured out if you feel overwhelmed and/or a little like you are just doing a bunch of stuff to see what sticks. You may be unsure about exactly how, where, and when the next sale is coming in. Furthermore, you're not 100% certain what you can do to impact sales results with any certainty.
So, you send a bunch of emails, cross your fingers, and hope you'll get a fantastic response. However, the replies are few, and you're not sure why. Even people who seem interested at first have a way of disappearing into a black hole. Just the thought of making cold calls is nausea-inducing. Maybe even downright terrifying.
Listening to business builders describe all of these things reminds me of going downhill skiing when I was a kid. I live in New Hampshire where there are lots of great ski mountains. If you're reading this from someplace like Colorado or Utah, picture your mountains. Then, make them shorter, steeper, and covered in a sheet of ice. That's skiing in a state where the official motto is "Live Free or Die." For reals.
The first few times my parents took me to the slopes, I pretty much just barreled down the mountain. I gritted my teeth and held my breath, hoping not to crash into anything or anyone. The whole way down, I repeated a useful mantra such as, "Oh crap. Oh crap. I'm gonna die. Oh crap."
If I got to the bottom of the mountain without hurting myself, I celebrated. But not for long... because then it was time to freeze my arse off on the chairlift so I could go back up and do it again. Each time, I secretly worried that I might repeat the famous "agony of defeat" scene, and perhaps take someone else out with me. Since lift tickets and ski equipment are expensive, there was no quitting allowed. Beyond parental wrath, the only thing that kept me from taking off my Rossignols mid-run and staging a mountainside coup d'état, was the promise of eventual hot chocolate and chili in a bread bowl.
Then, I started taking lessons. My first ski instructor was named Kim. She wore the ski resort's signature red ski suit with reflective racing stripes up the sides. Spilling from under her ski mask, she had about a kajillion adorable freckles. Kim was cool. Without treating me like I was an idiot or a five-year-old ('cuz I was nine.... and a half ), she taught me how to use my skis and poles. I learned to make my legs go into "pizza" to slow down and "french fries" to speed up.
In later lessons, I learned more about when and how to shift my weight, how to read the conditions and adjust accordingly. Eventually, I figured out that skiing is supposed to be fun. It's not supposed to be terrifying. Who knew? I learned to take a break, look around, enjoy the scenery, and maybe even talk to the other people on the slope.
Method gives you a solid sales process that puts you in control. It allows you to use the tools you've invested in more effectively. It's about getting to your goal and knowing exactly how got there. It's the key to getting the same positive result in a repeatable, scalable, and sustainable way.
Here's one example of a process I created which outlines various methods on a timeline:
More than anything else, I want you to know that building your business should never give you a stomach ache. Fixing your mindset, message, and method ensures that not only do you grow revenue, but that you enjoy doing it. Look forward to every run, maximize your investment, take in the scenery, and more fully engage with everyone you meet along the way.
Think you might need help with your sales process? Let's chat! I always offer a free, helpful consultation.