If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you love what you do, or you wouldn’t have started the company in the first place. But when you get right down to it, ultimately it’s all about the numbers, isn’t it? So if you’re seeing poor sales results, it’s time to do some soul searching as to what the cause may be, and get to work at fixing it. And the two most likely causes you’re probably going to have to consider are the cost of services and your sales reps.
Well, folks, I’ve spent a fair amount of time working in sales, and when the numbers have been down, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard salespeople blame it on the cost of services. Frankly, it’s a cop-out. As I was told back as a rookie salesman whenever the question of pricing came up, “If we were the cheapest, we wouldn’t need you guys out on the street selling.” A good sales rep should know how to effectively overcome objections about price, especially in a service industry, where the customer is buying your personal service, not just a product that they might be able to get somewhere else. And I trust you’ve done sufficient market research to be sure you’re pricing your services competitively.
So, then we need to consider the sales reps themselves. It’s a real possibility. Talking to strangers all day long, trying to push them to buy something they may or may not want, is not something everyone can do. And, with an average lead conversion rate somewhere around 5%, there’s about a 95% failure rate, and not everyone is cut out for dealing well with that. Some people just aren’t right for the job, and you’ll need to determine whether that’s the case.
You’ll probably do well here to listen in on your reps when they’re on sales calls, and shadow them in their activities for a day or two. It wouldn’t hurt to go out in the field with them on a couple of sales visits and see for yourself how they’re doing. They may not appreciate you looking over their shoulders, but you do have a business to run, and poor sales results are not an acceptable option. And you may find that some of members of your sales team are just not the right people for the job. And then you’ll have some adjustments to make.
But what if you can’t really find fault with the job your sales reps are doing, and you’ve done your analysis and determined that your cost of services is appropriate and competitive. Is it possible that there’s a third cause to blame?
Perhaps it’s the sales process itself which is flawed. I’m not saying that you don’t know how to sell your services. I’m sure that’s something you figured out how to do early in the process. But times have changed, and you’re trying to do a higher volume of business now. So you’ll need to make sure that you have a process that enables your sales reps to succeed. A system for managing leads, and proper follow up is key here. One way to accomplish that is with a CRM (Customer Relationship Management). As always, here at Rhino, we recommend the Hubspot CRM, which works well, especially as a part of a content marketing plan, and is also available for free!