How Not To Grow Your Inbound SalesOn a daily basis I speak with both prospects and clients who say one or more of the following:
When I get to feeling better I'll create more content."
"Things just don't feel right. When they do I'll follow up with my prospects."
"I don't know why I keep feeling this way but I know sales will pick up soon."
"I'm just not getting as many inbound sales leads as I'd like, but thing will get better. I know they will...I wonder who's on Facebook now?"
As the father of seven who has been in sales since 1997 and owned my own business since 2006, I know when someone is full of crap.
Whew! Goodness gracious you need a new diaper!"
(As a father I would...sometimes...on occasion...rarely...act like I didn't smell that ripe diaper or notice how it was sagging down to my baby's knees...and continue watching golf as I encouraged my little one to wander over to my wife who was always sure to change her little stink-bombs as soon as she caught a whiff of that wonderful aroma.
But in business consulting I use my sniffer to call you out on your bullshit.)
Face Your Challenges Head On To Grow
As the father of seven kids from 22 down to 5, I have become an expert on both changing diapers and hiding from changing diapers and I can tell you, without exception, that despite the mess and the smell and the inconvenience of stopping whatever it is you were doing—or planned on doing—it is far better to bite the bullet, pinch the nose, put down the remote, hop out of the Lazy Boy, grab the wet wipes, and do what needs to be done.
Ignoring a full diaper on a crawling baby or wandering toddler never ends well.
This is true of your sales and marketing efforts, also.
The Dichotomies of Life
Sales, golf, and life are a lot alike: Full of apparent dichotomies.
In golf, if you are hitting your shots to the right a simple (potential) fix is to tee your ball on the right side of the tee box and aim left of center.
This changes the angle of your shot, which gives your ball flight more room to travel over the fairway from left to right and hopefully land in the short grass.
Related to this is the practice of stepping towards your problem with your front foot. If you're slicing to the right (for a right-handed golfer), shift your left foot to the right.
If you tend to hook the ball right to left and miss your targets to the left, slide your front foot to the left.
(Sounds like the best approach for changing diapers and solving your business challenges, doesn't it? Step towards your problems and face them head on.)
In business, if you want to close more sales, it helps to feel good about what you're selling.
To feel better about what you're selling, go out and sell it.
You read that right.
JUST SELL IT!
But to sell anything, you must make every sale.
What do I mean "make every sale," you ask?
Dating = Sales Pipeline
Let's look at the dating/sales pipeline.
Every interaction you have with your date and/or prospect is a sale. (I literally met my wife at a country bar in San Bernardino, CA in late 2004, and this is pretty much exactly how it went down.)
If you get any of the steps wrong, i.e. if you don't make any sale, you miss the ultimate, final sale.
In the dating example, if I didn't shower or wear clean clothes or smelled like smoke, cheap whiskey, and chewing tobacco, if I used foul or crude language, if I was creepy or pushy or rude, and/or if I didn't know how to dance I would've missed out on the eventual "sale" of marrying my wife.
Ditto in your sales career. If your...
- emails are poorly-written...
- voicemails sound like everyone else, i.e. they are crap!
- business cards are junk...
- demos are boring...
- marketing material is cluttered and "me-centered"...
- social media posts are crude...
- negotiation process is a wreck...
You are going to have a tough time in sales.
So where is your sales process breaking down?
Is it your marketing? Your sales? Your operations? Your fulfillment? Your support?
What part of your marketing? What part of your sales? What part of your operations? What part of your business are you ignoring? Where are the stinky diapers in your sales?
Whatever it is you are dreading is exactly what you need to address right now.
Sales + Life Wisdom
Like good ol' Zig says,
If you gotta eat a frog, there ain't no sense in looking at it. It ain't gonna get any prettier. And if ya gotta eat more than one...eat the biggest one first.
Like your mom always says,
You have to taste everything I made for dinner. If you don't like broccoli, eat it first and be done with it."
Like I say about inbound sales,
Listen to your prospects and customers. Notice the questions they ask, the pains they experience. Create solutions to the pains they already said they want to go away."
Your Customers Will Tell You What To Sell Them
Creating more inbound sales really is that simple.
Every day your prospects and customers are searching for help, asking for help, and bemoaning the fact they can't find reliable help.
You just have to listen and create the offering that scratches their itches...and market the heck out of it.
You don't have to be a mind reader.
You don't need focus groups.
You don't even need surveys. (People often say what they think you want to hear...then do something different with their money. Actions really do speak louder than words.)
Just listen and answer questions in whatever way you can, but do your best to answer them via the format your prospects are consuming.
Maybe that's video on YouTube or LinkedIn or Facebook.
Maybe that's pictures and short videos on Instagram.
Maybe it's blog posts or email newsletters.
Just go where your ideal prospects are already hanging out.
Don't wait for all the stars to align and your horoscope to be just right and your cholesterol to come down and your credit score to go up.
Just get going.
The sooner you change that diaper, the sooner you can get back to enjoying the game.
P.S. I didn't want to turn this post into a golf lesson, but another important lesson I learned about playing better golf is if you want to hit the ball farther, grip the club lighter, and swing easier or smoother.
Tensing up and squeezing hard usually creates a terrible shot, which is true in business and in swimming.
Starting back in 2015 I began training for the annual Tampa Bay Frogman Swim, a 5 KM (3.1 mile) swim across Tampa Bay in the 55 degree January water each year.
As I was preparing for the swim—and as I was entering the water—I was reminded by the many Navy SEALs participating in the swim that"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast."
If you have to force it, you're probably doing it wrong.