Business is Personal Newsletter
July 2004


Systems Make or Break Your Marketing and Sales Conversion

Whenever a new prospect, client or referral source encounters you, you have a tremendous opportunity to impress them and deliver value simply by the system you put in place.

How does this relate to "Business is Personal?"
If you are doing whatever you do, rather than creating systems for your marketing and conversion, then your personal "stuff" is probably getting in your way. By "going with the flow" and responding to potential clients based on your moods, the speed of the wind or when you get around to it, you are not running your business - it's running you. Your marketing is spotty at best. And your sales conversion rate is much lower than it can be.

A mentee coach recently emailed me because she was excited about a potential new client. She gave me some biographical information, including age, etc. and asked what she should do to prepare for her collaborative interview with him. Rather than follow a system, she "abdicated responsibility" to her coach to give her guidance. In reality, she wasn't running her business, she was letting her potential client and her coach do it for her - not a great practice! :)

My answer was simple: exactly the same thing you do to prepare for any potential client. Use the system we developed. If you're a coach, use this system developed by Dave Buck at CoachVille, which is the three primary questions you ask any potential client:

  1. What are you working on now?
  2. What will that bring you?
  3. And, if appropriate, would you like a partner to accomplish those things?
    (Note: there is an entire one-hour class on this system at the Schools of CoachVille that clearly explains each step and the objectives/outcomes to design/expect for each step)

Good Systems are Simple and Easily Implementable
The beauty of this system is in its simplicity. It works. Time and time again, it works. But be aware that it works because it delivers tremendous value to the client in an elegant way. If you are designing systems for your business, make sure you cover two critical components:

  1. Make the system about the client, not about you or your business
    In reality, your clients don't really care about your business. Remember the largest radio station in the world is WII FM - "What's In It For Me?"
  2. Ask for the business if the potential client is a good fit for you or your company
    One of the biggest mistakes independent business owners make is NOT asking for business. Many times, clients are simply waiting for you to "bust a move" and ask for their business.

Too often, our fears, distractions and own issues get in the way of going about our work in a systematic, calm manner. Systems remove the inefficiencies and allow you to demonstrate your value again and again, no matter what the client brings to the table.

How to Determine if You Need Marketing or Sales Conversion Systems
Answer the questions below very truthfully:

  1. Do you respond consistently to each prospect or potential client?
    Customizing proposals is NOT responding differently, however creating a new proposal or a new process for each client, or simply "winging it" is using resources inefficiently and will become a time suck for your marketing efforts with very low predictability of success.
  2. Do you convert a predictable number of prospect to clients?
    If you are not converting at least 25% of your prospect to clients, then you need a system that will do the work of conversion for you. Most successful business use systems to pre-screen clients and spend time with pre-qualified prospects to convert 50% or higher to clients!
  3. Do you need clients? Period.
    If you need clients, then you need a system to attract those clients. Otherwise, you will have no way of knowing which marketing actions you take are working and how to adapt those to create a predictable, steady stream of clients.
  4. Do you want to run your business responsibly?
    Let's face it, many entrepreneurs really don't want to run their businesses responsibly. They want to have more flexibility than business allows and they don't want to do the work necessary to generate the personal and financial rewards that businesses can generate. This may sound harsh and you may not agree, but I can determine with two very simple questions how serious business owners are about managing their businesses responsibly:
    • Have you created a business system that consistently delivers value to your clients? And are you explaining that in your marketing and sales efforts?
      Address each step of the value chain, identify what your customers really want and design a systematic way to deliver that value every single time.
    • Have you really done the work necessary to generate the business you want?
      If you are trying to cut corners, procrastinate or just avoid the real work required to build your business, then you are abdicating your responsibility. Period. End of discussion. My clients have done it a million times. I've done it myself. And it's not easy to admit, but it's reality. If you aren't doing the work, then there are conflicting intentions that need to be resolved before you can be successful.

How to Design a Marketing / Sales Conversion System

  1. Determine what you want your system to do
    Do you want to attract clients, build credibility, generate referrals, etc.? Get very clear and identify each objective you want your marketing/conversion system to handle. Mine is: Build credibility, pre-screen potential clients, eliminate clients who are not a good fit, attract ideal clients, generate referrals.
  2. Design a step-by-step method to deliver value and convert prospects to clients
    The best way for clients to buy your product or service is to experience it. Let them see or have the value before they have to pay for it. If you're a coach, that means collaborative interivews. If you're a hair stylist, that means pictures of your clients before and after (or glowing referrals from people who love your work with great looking hair - give them a script or an incentive to recommend you! Make it EASY for your clients to refer you.). If you're a training company, make one of your classes available on your website for free (including materials, etc.). You get the picture. Here's my step-by-step method:
    • Make all pertinent information available on website, including number of available client slots I have, pricing, policies and procedures, the process I use, my style, how I work, what clients can expect and, most importantly what's in it for the clients
    • Drive all potential clients to website before scheduling a collaborative interview (exception: if I meet someone at a networking event and they express an interest, I will schedule them on the spot, then follow up with an email template that includes pertinent information, a link to the website and pre-work for them to complete before we meet)
    • Have regularly scheduled times for collaborative interviews (I recommend a certain number of slots each week for my mentee coaches) and know which ones are available at all times. When someone requests a collaborative interview, schedule it and follow up with an email template confirming the appointment and providing pre-work questions to complete before the meeting.
    • Send a reminder for appointments the day before via email template (including additional information, such as policies, etc.)
    • Facilitate the coaching session using the information provided by the client. Prepare in advance and indicate any patterns or areas to address before the session starts.
    • Ask for value received - incorporate any feedback or suggestions into future coaching sessions.
    • If appropriate, ask the client if they would like a partner.
    • If yes, schedule the next appointment and send welcome packet.
    • Receive welcome packet, process payment and confirm schedule via emial template.
  3. Implement and refine the system as necessary
    Look for ways to improve the system. Ask your clients for input, feedback and suggestions. Make incremental changes to the pieces that aren't working perfectly or those that don't deliver the value you or your clients need. Spend time working ON the system, rather than IN the system.
  4. Leverage components of this system for other parts of your business.
    Use this system to design other systems or tie into other systems that streamline your business and guarantee value for your clients.

I guarantee if you take the time to create a system that focuses on delivering real value for potential clients, then you'll start attracting more of the clients you want to serve and your business will be more sustainable. Until next time, remember that business is personal. If you are personally abdicating the responsibility to install systems to market and convert potential clients, then you are getting in the way of having a successful business.

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