by Theresa B. – Get free updates of new post here.
Every day, we work and operate in an environment of systems. We are surrounded by intertwined systems that benefit our lives. You may recognize some as an Ecosystem, finance system, education system, or business systems. Systems aren’t segregated and are dependent on one another. There are practical systems that benefit your business in countless ways.
I love systems. I have fun finding or creating systems where there are none. Yet I don’t create systems without purpose or intention. But above all, I don’t like or enjoy redundant systems. It is easy to put in place many systems because they look fancy but miss the purpose completely.
A common challenge small business owners face is the ability to keep track of time and activities. We are responsible for many aspects of the business. We wear many hats for sustaining the business. One of the areas where we fall down often is with our sales process. Having a right system in place keeps us on track and focused.
With a strong system, the sales process can run your sales process smoothly. There are 3 areas of focus:
The Prospecting System
Leads, opportunities, and monitoring
To be able to sell products or services, you need to know who your target market is. What are they looking for? How can you help them solve it? Do you have a solution for your products or services that will fit them well? Are there any other ways you can serve them?
A strong system is needed to capture this information and is easily available at your fingertips.
You can also have more than one target market. Each target market may need a different approach. How are you going to connect with these people? It will help schedule the steps to connect with your prospects and implement them in a routine. Nothing speaks more confidence than when both you and your prospect know what to expect.
When I ask business owners what they use to keep track of their prospects, the common answer I get is Microsoft Excel as their tool. This is too manual of a method that takes time and focuses away from the true interaction with your prospect. Microsoft Excel will not sort, compile or arrange your data automatically.
The one solution is logical and fulfills this need is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. These platforms are powerful and can capture, organize and systematize the information for you. Many of these platforms also integrate with your calendar, email, and even accounting software. If you find the right one, it will complement the rest of the existing systems that you already have in place.
I have spent a lot of time in the last few months researching and educating myself on various platforms. There are a few that made it on my list for their simplicity, functionality, and satisfaction in a service-based industry. The platforms have changed over the years from Software on operating systems to a web-based application. Some CRM platforms to consider are vTiger CRM, Insightly, and Salesforce. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that will dive into my findings and use of these systems.
The Selling System
Selling is an art. It’s what you do when you are in front of a prospect. The key to a successful sale appointment is in understanding your prospect, learning about them and gaining information. What is their issue, what is their urgency, where does their budget fall, what’s involved in their decision-making process, etc.? It is not in giving information overload of what you offer.
Come prepared with a series of questions, or a checklist that you can ask the prospect. Take your prospect through the series and as you listen to their answers and stories, make notes and pay attention to how they are sharing their journey. During this appointment, you are exploring the compatibility of both you and the prospect. You want to work with clients who value you, there is a mutual trust and can have an open conversation about their situation.
The checklist and series of questions will help you quote properly quote with success. It will speak directly to your prospects and provide confirmation that you’re responding to their needs.
The Follow-Up System
The money is in the follow-up.
This area is one that many business owners struggle and miss as one of the most critical parts of successful sales. We get busy or get lost in the focus of the next prospect or sale. The average amount of time that you need to follow up or stay in front of your prospect before they commit to buying is about 7 times. Utilizing your suitable CRM program will reveal when and how to contact your prospects and clients. The most value you will gain is in nurturing these connections.
Set up your follow-up system by determining what information you’ll need to keep track of. Set reminders and alarms when to call, send a letter or arrange the next meetup through the tools you’re familiar with in your business, such as Google Calendar or Outlook. Utilize emails as the means to confirm appointments with your prospects and clients.
As you set up these activities on your calendar, treat them as appointments and a great system to put in place is a standing appointment. They will be more likely to happen and maintain consistency and progress. Some CRM programs integrate your email and outlook. These are some of the features that I always look for in a program so I can consolidate as many tools and systems as possible.
Having practical systems that benefit your business can help you progress forward. Take some time to create your systems and implement them. Make it more powerful when you can integrate it with a CRM program. You can then focus on your business growth and increasing your client intake.
Do you currently use a CRM program? If not, I encourage you to look into this sooner than later.
Let me know below if you have questions about specific platforms or features.
P.S. Overwhelmed and overloaded? I can help. I’ll sort through all the latest operations and systems info, find the best resources, and put it in short daily emails that keep you in the loop, so you can easily make informed assessments without spending more time researching it.
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