When you get caught up in the passion and focus of growing and making an even greater success of your business, you can easily run out of mental, emotional and physical capacity and bandwidth. Everything just seems to become so much harder to get done and your focus tends to turn inward towards the operational and financial aspects of your business. The result is a loss of perspective and creativity, rather than the channelling of your valuable energy outwards towards adapting to the market and consumer trends, identifying new sales opportunities and protecting your existing client base.
A recent post on LinkedIn captured the challenge for small business owners very well. It is like being in an amusement park where you have two choices when having to queue for a ride. You could either wait in the queue for hours and sacrifice a few rides before you go home or you could pay a bit more to skip the queue and enjoy more rides without having to wait. Most start-up entrepreneurs cash poor and time rich. This causes you to have to wait in the queue. You need to do everything yourself, which takes time and patience as you fine tune and create your proposition in the market and develop your entrepreneurial skills. But as your business grows, you need to make a transition at some point. You will have to commit to spend some money and buy the express ticket by getting more talent on board, investing in technology, digital marketing and developing your crew through formal programs or mentorship. The sooner you get your express ticket, the sooner you will be able to become re-energised and enjoy everything that being an entrepreneur has to offer.
There are many things to consider in developing your business and growing your footprint and revenue but, it might just be worth it to focus on one or two aspects when it comes to attracting new business and holding onto the clients that got you to where you are. At a recent Sales Enablement Conference in Amsterdam, a key message that resonated with the audience was that your sales approach needs to evolve at the same pace and in the same direction as the evolution of the buying behaviour of your client. The buying journey of clients are not linear anymore and move like the tides of the ocean, which requires a multi-faceted approach to continue reaching your target market going forward. This is especially true when it comes to the more tech savvy millennial generation who place less value on personal interaction when considering their buying options. You need to think across LSM levels and the generational shifts that are taking place.
What it also comes down to is your ability to articulate the uniqueness, value and differentiation of what you offer well, both in terms of the language and channel of communication you use to broadcast your message. In a world littered with options and sales noise, a one dimensional approach will not get you far and a multi directional approach is required to get your message through to your target market. The Covid pandemic brought with it many challenges but it has also created many opportunities for smaller more entrepreneurially minded businesses when it comes to reaching a broader target market. It has also shifted the potential online client base further up the generational ladder, as it forced older generations to adopt online interaction and social media as essential channels of communication. But with the change in communication preferences has come the challenge of information overload and, e-fatigue as the number of sales related messages that consumers receive has doubled since the start of 2020. As a result of these trends the average response rates of consumers to electronic sales messages has dropped by more than a third.
The budget constraints faced by smaller businesses has created the opportunity for them to get their message across to consumers by means of a video selling strategy. Smaller business can force their way through the clutter by using a video e-mail to attract the attention of potential customers. Not only will a video based sales strategy appeal more to a younger generation, but it also shortens the sales process. Using a short video message of less than 60 seconds can create immediate rapport with the recipient and gets the key message and value proposition across in a succinct and more personalised manner if well thought through. The video sales strategy is also not limited to the exploration phase but can be used effectively to create ongoing top of mind awareness while a deal develops and during the closing out and ongoing relationship journey with the client. A few key elements are required for a successful video based sales strategy as one dimension of your overall sales strategy. First of all it has to be all about the client and the need they require to be met. It has to be personal and allow for some vulnerability as it does not have to be perfect which will make it more authentic and real. The video needs to be visual in nature with short stories or anecdotes added for additional pull and finish off with a clear call to action. The length of the video can increase over time as the client relationship grows but it is important to measure and analyse the response and effectiveness of the strategy over time in order to keep it relevant as the consumer behaviour trends change.
When it comes to the effectively of converting sales efforts into business in a digital world, the human element remains key when touching clients or potential clients. An analysis of more than 100 million sales conversations provides some clear guidelines around how to limit lost sales and increase the sales conversion success rate. Packaged sales messages should allow sales staff to spend less time looking for content and to spend more time on delivering the sales message. Sufficient discomfort and incentives are required to change the behaviour and dated sales behaviour of client facing staff by means of publicly displaying and recognising sales successes. Timing is everything and the sales pitch should only come after the potential client feels a real sense of interest in the need that has to be met. Communication skills are underrated and developing active listening skills can assist sales staff to pick up on the emotional nuggets that the potential client drops during the discussion. It is human to only hear what one likes to hear and most sales staff look to avoid confrontation rather than challenge a client’s assumptions based on facts. By empowering your sales staff through content, information, interpersonal skills development, technology and reward, many of these challenges can be overcome. The result of buying your queue ticket will be less missed sales opportunities and staff that engage with your clients as humans rather than prospects and targets.