This post is part of the 12 Days of Systems Challenge brought to you by Val Geisler of aspire&grow. If you want to get a handle on your systems and processes in 2015, get signed up for Systems Finishing School today. If you’re just getting started, be sure to check out Megan’s post yesterday and Kate’s post tomorrow.
When Val invited me to be a part of the 12 Days of Systems challenge I immediately said yes, as systems are a core part of my success. 2014 has been a year of growth and change, and probably the biggest contributor to that has been what I call “selling” systems.
We all spend a lot of time on our marketing and promotion hoping to close the sale. But it’s way too easy to get caught up in blogging, posting and tweeting and skip over the core systems that take people out of your community and turn them into paying clients.
Let’s face it. Selling can be scary. We’ve all got hangups and stories when it comes to selling from being pushy to just not being “good” at it. When you take the time to map out solid systems for selling your products or services, you can strip away all the negative self-talk and just focus on getting it done.
Here’s three “selling” systems that if you can master them, you will close more sales in the coming year.
#1. Free Consult
We all talk about boundaries, but too many boundaries and suddenly you’re MIA from your business. It’s not unreasonable at all for people to want to have a quick chat with you before they hand over their hard earned dollar, especially if you’re providing a service.
On the flip side you may spend a lot of free time on consults that go nowhere and you feel like you’re wasting your time.
So, how do you make the most of a free consult?
Above all else, you need to make sure that you’ve got a clear goal in mind for your free consults. Before you hop on Skype, you want to have a plan in mind for how they go from the free consult into working with you.
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is just getting on the phone with anyone and everyone. (Yay! Someone is interested! Maybe they will buy something!) It’s lovely for people to get to know you, but you can’t be surprised that people aren’t turning into paid clients from consults if you have a standing offer to let them pick your brain.
A free consult should not be about maybes. If you’re investing time, you want to make sure that there’s a reasonable chance of them actually working with you. If you’re going to offer “pick my brain” type sessions do them at specific times of month or during the year so it’s clear that they can’t expect to get on the phone with you any old time to solicit ideas or feedback.
- Communicate clearly what the purpose of free consults are. Are they to find out more about working with you? To ask a question?
- Create specific blocks of time on your calendar for free consults. Use a tool like ScheduleOnce to automate the process.
- Be specific before the call on what they can expect. Setting expectations about what you’ll talk about and for how long can help you make the most of your time.
#2. Clear Path to Purchase on Your Website
You can promote, promote and promote some more, but if people can’t easily buy from you, promotion is pointless. Harsh. But true.
There’s many points of failure in the sales process on a website which we tend to overlook as we’re too close to our own stuff. Which is where systems come in. While I could write an entire 52-week blog series on this topic, let’s hit a few of the highlights.
Make buying from you easy. And by easy I mean dead simple. A few common barriers that come up are:
- Too many clicks to find the information.
- Confusing or unclear pricing.
- No way to easily purchase. If you’re doing business online, you better offer PayPal as an option.
If people are considering purchasing from you, you want to map out exactly what they can expect from you once they hit buy. If they’re booking a coaching package – answer the question “what happens next?” before they start to wonder. Your client intake system is key as it’s a big part of the customer experience, so if people know what happens, the timeline and more, they will feel more confident doing business with you.
- What system do you use for payment/checkout? Do you offer PayPal and an easy way to pay immediately?
- Do you have easy to find and understand sales pages? (Yes, sales pages are a system – they funnel people into your offering.)
- What system do you have in place after they hit buy? What happens next? Do they book a session? Get intake paperwork? If you can automate this, all the better.
#3. Perfect Pricing & Proposals
Depending on your type of business, you may be in a situation where you need to develop pricing and proposals for projects or ongoing work. At the point you have someone interested enough that you’ve had a consult and you’re preparing a proposal, you want to nail this. You’re 80% of the way there, so it’s up to you to close the deal.
While your pricing and proposals should be customized to the specific client and their needs, there’s a number of ways to systematize your process so you aren’t reinventing the wheel each time.
Every proposal I create has common elements such as “what to expect” and “budgets” sections, so I have those templated. If you want to streamline that process even further, consider using a tool like BidSketch or QuoteRoller.
Work with your designer (or design your own) so you have a standard, professional template for your proposals. How you present this information is important and you need it to be a little more than an unformatted Google Doc.
And finally, give some thought to your system around delivering proposals. Creating a workflow that goes from the consult to signing on the dotted line will help you nail it every single time. A few items to cover off:
- How fast will you deliver a proposal following a call? You should deliver quickly and communicate that timeframe to your prospect.
- What happens after the proposal is sent? If they accept, what happens next? In my case, they get a contract and an invoice for a deposit.
- How do you onboard them? Do they schedule their first call? Get an intake form?
- Create a system around your proposal process. Map out all the steps from consult to successfully onboarding a new client.
- What common elements can you standardize for proposals?
- What’s your timeline for delivery, acceptance and more of proposals?
What sales systems do you need to master for 2015? Taking a bit of time away from your marketing to focus on having the systems to back up it, will be time well spent.