Great Ideas Start with a Spark

Are you on the roller coaster?

You are very passionate about what you do and how you do it.

You do it better than your competitors and bring a lot of value to your customers.

Then why is it so hard to sell what you do?

In the course of any given week, we talk to literally dozens of CEOs, consultants, coaches, advisors, agents, and other individuals. When I’m personally on those intro calls, one of the first things that I try to gauge is their passion. If they are really passionate about what they do, it comes through right away and they can’t wait to tell you about it, which is great. It is one of the most rewarding things for me with what I do, getting the opportunity to learn about these businesses and individual operators, what they do and how they do it.

Passion is pretty unmistakable when you listen to a business owner or individual operator talk about the value that they provide to their customers. Some are more outspoken than others about their passion for the business but inevitably, it comes through in the conversation.

If someone is passionate about what they do individually or what their company does as a whole, it translates to being at least pretty darn good at it but usually means they are very good at it.

Another thing we hear a lot is how much better they are at doing what they do than their competitors. That also comes through, loud and clear on many calls. If you are passionate about what you are doing, you will put more effort in than the other individual that is not as passionate about it and in time, that will translate to better results than your competitors.

So this is a simple enough formula so far, right? Passion for what you do leads to doing it better than your competitors which leads to tons of sales right? But the fact is, that is often not the case.

I do believe that having the first two fundamentals, passion and doing it better than your competitors will set you up for the potential of a great amount of success but you need one more thing if you want to capitalize on your opportunity. You need a well-defined, effective and efficient Sales and Marketing Engine.

We boil this down to really 5 areas that make up the overall Sales and Marketing Engine:

  • Awareness – Essentially getting the right eyeballs looking at the right content. Things that are key are clear messaging, the right platform for the right audience and having a repeatable/consistent approach that drives interest and engagement.

  • Lead Generation – Turning traffic into interest and engagement. Some keys here are relevance for the intended audience and a clear path.

  • Converting Leads to Opps – This all comes down to the offer and the way it is presented. Again, a clear path is a big key and clear messaging is big here as well.

  • Converting Opps to Wins – This is your core sales process. What are you doing to move opportunities through to wins in the most efficient and effective way possible? It really comes down to win rate and continually working to improve on that key measure.

  • Customer Care – This is about nurturing your customers and ensuring they know they are valued while also finding new opportunities (going deeper and wider with other solutions or simply expanding on existing areas where you provide value for them today).

I can tell you for certain that this formula works: Passion + Doing what you do better than your competitors + a finely-tuned Sales Engine = Sales Success and Business Growth. But the biggest challenge comes down to one thing… FOCUS.

Doing what you do really well requires focus and a lot of it. Any entrepreneur, consultant or other individual operator will tell you, there aren’t a whole lot of 9-5 days when they are building or growing their business. It requires a whole lot of time, energy and focus.

Any time that you take away from your core offering or business can have a negative impact. This is why so many business owners and individual operators struggle with doing what they do really well and still continuing to build a pipeline of new opportunities that will drive consistent growth in their practice or business. It is essentially the roller coaster effect. You start out building a ton of momentum from focused prospecting, marketing, and sales efforts but then lose that momentum when you don’t have the time to continue making those pieces of the business a heavy focus. When that momentum slows, it is tough to bring in consistent growth and you see a lot of ups and downs in the monthly sales numbers.

This is especially true of consultants, trainers, coaches, and others where the primary product they are selling is their time. The busier they get with delivering projects, the less time they have for activities that lead to refilling the pipeline.

We see this down to the individual sales rep / individual contributor role as well. They put in a ton of effort to driving awareness, lead generation, and other prospecting functions and as a result, a solid pipeline builds. They focus more energy and attention on closing business and less on prospecting of course that will lead to a great month or two of sales production. Problem is, without a continual focus on prospecting, the pipeline dries up and they are back to square one, prospecting and rebuilding pipeline for future months.

So how do you solve the roller coaster problem?

The solution is to create a marketing, prospecting and lead generation plan that works, is repeatable and requires the minimum amount of manual intervention in order for it to continue operating and producing the results you need.

It should be noted, that there is a fine line between too much automation and a more personalized approach to prospecting, so you have to be careful to not go too far down the road of automation at the expense of quality. Like a lot of things, it is all about a good healthy balance in the approach.

There are almost limitless resources and content out there that could help you to create the engine you need.

The problem with that approach can be summed up in the immortal words of Kimberly Wilkins better known as “Sweet Brown” when she explained to a reporter when interviewed, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

If you haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to marketing, lead generation and other prospecting activities in the first place, you probably don’t have time to dig through countless articles and pieces of content looking for the best approach and even if you did, would it fit your business model and be stitched together in an effective and reliable way? Probably not.

Another approach to consider is engaging some outside expertise in this area. If you are more of the DIY type, there are many programs out there that really work and can be combined and integrated into your model to bring you the kind of results you are seeking. But just like any DIY project (ie. my recent attempt at putting in a flagstone patio), is it really worth the effort when there are people out there that do this stuff for a living full time and are really good at it? No surprise that after struggling with that project for a weekend or two, I called the professionals and after watching the work that they put it and skill it required, I have zero regrets.

Before you go out and sign up for multiple programs or start trying different solutions to see what works for you, think about soliciting the help of a guide/coach.

To meet that need, we have developed an offering specifically designed to help individual professionals with this very issue. It is basically a scaled-down version of what we do for larger businesses with full-time sales and marketing teams. We essentially operate as a guide and coach to help you to build that great sales engine that will be the key to consistently driving growth in your business.

If you would like to learn more about this offering or just talk through some of the challenges you are facing with building pipeline while delivering on your services, click here to schedule an intro call.

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