In part 3 of the "Sales is NOT Marketing" series, I am going to cover the deadly “flat side of the wheel” in the business cycle, and I am going to give you a ten-point work-flow that you can use to avoid it.
If you haven’t already read “ Think You Can Handle a Real Marketing Strategy ” or Part One and Part Two of this series, please do so now. As these concepts build on one another, you must watch and participate in order. I am going to be discussing the extremely powerful concept of “ selling while your busy ” so that you can avoid the “ flat side of the wheel ” in your business cycle, but it will only work if you have a good handle on the other marketing fundamentals that I discussed earlier.
When we begin to discuss sales and marketing as a part of the entire business cycle, we are going to quickly run into other business disciplines and potentially expose weaknesses in your management practices.
Rule Number One, Do Not Get Overwhelmed!
Rule Number Two: Don’t Procrastinate!
Think about just how much change happens to the human body during puberty. Why so much change? Because the body is growing at a rapid pace. Sure, puberty is uncomfortable, and so is growing your company. Your business requires change to grow.
Of course, the most significant difference is that we can’t stop or control puberty; we are forced to go through it. Oh man, how I wish I could force clients to make the necessary changes for their businesses to be successful. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, not creatures of change. Which means things usually need to get pretty uncomfortable before people are willing to change.
However, if you are one of the few who have some business savvy and real vision, you will embrace change as a necessary part of your business’s survival. Ultimately you will also realize that it is only by becoming a change-agent that your company can grow.
Additionally, I am giving you fair warning, please don’t take anything that I am saying personally. We are just talking business, and there is a standard that we must meet to be successful.
So, what is the “flat side of the wheel” in our business cycle?
Every business-cycle begins with some rudimentary marketing and sales process to get our first project. With few, if any, systems and controls in place, we work way beyond our scheduled hours figuring out workflow and all the peripheral business issues that we never dealt with as an employee. We go above and beyond to impress our first client, and after delivery of our final product, with check, in-hand, we collapse out of exhaustion.
Once we arouse ourselves from our after-project coma, the bills, wages, and taxes that have been nagging us for several weeks all get paid, but what is left over? Usually, not much.
So, what’s next? My favorite farming term, “what’s in the hopper?” Or in terms of a sales funnel, “who’s in the hopper?”. In most cases, the answer is a goose-egg, zero, zilch – nothing!
That’s right, your business cycle just had a flat, and if you have ever tried to push a car with a flat, you know how much extra energy it takes. In the case of your business, moving it off the flat side of a busted business cycle takes a lot of additional time and money. So, what can we do about it?
SELL WHEN YOUR BUSY!!
For some of you, I just caused a train-wreck in your head. For others, you will undoubtedly say that you tried it and it didn’t work. Then there is the third group who are staring at me like a mule looking at a new fence post. So, allow me to explain.
When you are busy with a project, how do you feel? Energized? Focused? Pumped? It should be a positive feeling. If it is not, then we are dealing with another issue, and you may want to take an honest look at why you are running a business that doesn’t energize you.
Ok, I am assuming that you are on a project, and you are in the zone. Don’t make the fatal mistake of taking off the Sales and Marketing hat and focusing entirely on your jobs. Why? Because psychologically, you are at the top when you are on a good project. When you meet customers in person, they can tell immediately when you are on-your-game. You have a different posture, a different swag in your step. At that moment, you are successful, and people are much more attracted to that then we realize.
I am not talking about arrogance; I am talking about confidence.
Let me give you an example. The customer asks, when can you get started? With no jobs in the hopper, you answer, “tomorrow works for me.” The customer thinks, “hmmm, how good is this guy if he is not that busy? Maybe I need to check him out some more before signing a contract.”
On-the-other-hand, if you are busy. Your answer could be much more postured, “Well, I am booked on a project for a couple more weeks, but I could get the materials list ready and go over some of the preliminaries with you next Thursday or Friday. We also need to get you set up in our project management system. That will ensure our schedule works good for you, too.”
If you are not busy and needing cash flow, it is way too easy to sound desperate. It takes a seasoned pro sell through the tough times. Even the best salespeople have little issues with their para-language (body language and tone of voice) that can ruin a great sales opportunity when they are under stress.
So how can we avoid this flat-side of the wheel in the business cycle? By creating a manageable workflow in our marketing and sales program that keeps the gears moving, which allows us to sell while we are busy.
As an example, double-dip on your efforts. Offer your customers video and-or photo updates throughout the project. You can quickly rise above your competition by offering this extra value. While you are taking these update shots, strategically shoot your next batch of marketing material. Now you have a happy client, who feels in the loop, and your next customer can see that you will do a great job on their project as well.
But here’s the catch, this does take some planning. You must create the complete workflow from start to finish and be disciplined to execute it.
. Sign the Contract and get it on the schedule
. Pre-plan Marketing Material Capture Opportunities
. Put the capture plan on the schedule
. Capture the Material
. Go to Post-production (keep it professional)
. Post Your Material (macro, but keep it locally focused – remember your location keywords are vital)
. Share Your Material directly with potential and new customers (micro-level-marketing)
. Follow-up by Engaging Online (you must convert, your marketing efforts into sales opportunities)
. Only bid on pre-approved projects (don’t waste time on price-tag flippers)
Window shoppers are the reason why you need to be busy while you are trying to sell because you honestly can’t waste your time if someone is not serious. If you are desperate, you will try to sell, instead of merely filling an order for a project that is going to happen with or without you. Reliable marketing gets you in the door, but your salesmanship will close the deal.
Always remember – it is better to have NO business than bad business.
Lastly, there are two sets of numbers that you need to be watching like a hawk, as they will give you enormous insight into your sales and marketing efforts.
We will cover these in more detail in other videos.
If your marketing is on par and your selling skills pass muster, then ultimately, as a business owner, your organizational skills and disciplined time management will keep you from hitting the flat-side of the wheel.
As business owners, it is our responsibility always to be thinking of the entire business cycle and looking for opportunities to multiply our efforts. Each task must be pre-planned and communicated, or else execution is entirely left up to chance. It may seem like a lot more work at first, but the stress-free results are worth it.
If you have any questions about the specifics for creating your sales marketing strategy, PLEASE comment below, connect with us on LinkedIn or message us directly on quality-trades.com. Be sure to subscribe below and click the bell to receive notifications, and we're looking forward to hearing about your success as we help you take full control of your business.