Are you bootstrapping your business?
An enormous 72 per cent of customers who walk through your doors will either be won or lost based on your salespeople’s skills – or lack thereof. So, what’s your strategy for improving these vital skills? asks Annette Lackovic.
It has been reported that 96.7% of Australian business’s die within 48 months because of financial strife1. Coming from a startup company myself, I understand the financial challenges that we all face in business, trying to stretch our dollar further to get the biggest bang for our buck. Yet the biggest mistake I witness is owners prioritising the wrong areas for investment – and bootstrapping, or tightening their belts, in more important areas. Such decisions can pave the way to ruin.
You can bootstrap your lead generation with low-to-no-cost marketing, your cleaning by getting the whole team involved, or your personal spending by making your own lunch, but when it comes to the life or death of your business – income – the last thing you should bootstrap on is giving your team the right sales skills to achieve targets.
Did you know that 20 per cent of the customers who walk through your door have already decided they will buy? Approximately eight per cent will never buy on the day, leaving a whopping 72 per cent of customers to be either won or lost based on your salespeople’s skills – or lack thereof.
Sometimes we just don’t know what we don’t know: so here are a few questions to help you understand the leverage that some of the most successful fitness businesses achieve.
- Do you have an invisible money-making meet and great protocol for your potential customers and existing members when they walk through the door?
- Do you have a stand out point of difference that they notice within the first two minutes of talking to you or your salesperson?
- Do you have a transformational conversation that takes your potential clients on a journey through a multitude of decision-making emotions that motivates them to buy immediately?
- Do you have half a dozen different sales strategies to reactivate your graveyard database?
- Do you have a 4-way program in place that allows you to seamlessly up-sell, cross-sell and down-sell your current clients?
- Do you have several lead generation strategies that are no cost to the business and generate a stack of qualified leads?
- Do you have a system that acts like a detective to help you track and change behaviour based on external influence or your team’s performance?
By investing in proper sales training for your team, you will be able to answer in the affirmative to these questions – and to engineer a culture of sales success. Just as a personal trainer accelerates their clients’ achievements, when you invest in a coach you pay for speed of results. When you try to do it yourself, you pay with stress and paralysing mistakes.
Every business owner knows a business cannot survive without sales, yet many make the mistake of not investing in sales training or a sales coach. Simply hiring a happy individual or someone with retail sales experience is not sufficient to ensure the sale of millions of dollars worth of memberships.
To appreciate the need for training, you need to understand the evolution of insecurities in a salesperson: the fear of follow-up calls, fear of breaking rapport when asking for referrals, fear of doing outreach, fear of overcoming an objection, and not knowing what to say when a prospect with obvious weight issues thanks them at the end of a club tour and says ‘I’m going to go and have a think about it’. Before you know it, the untrained salesperson who doesn’t have the right tools to understand the prospect’s internal ‘stuff’ – and who thinks their manager won’t understand their concerns – decides that sales isn’t for them and resigns. This lack of proper training is a huge reason for the high turnover of salespeople in the fitness industry. In turn, more stress is placed on the business owner, more time is wasted searching for the next salesperson, and round and round we go on the recruitment merry-go-round.
Five-star customer service and transformational selling is an art and a skill that needs grooming. You can’t expect to be the Karate Kid without the guidance of a Mr Miyagi: you can't expect your business to be the best in your area without the right support, guidance or mentors.
Your team’s personal development plan is just as crucial as your business plan. Do you invest in your team's ongoing development? Are your salespeople role-playing daily and regularly receiving training? Do you have a library of resources to help them constantly improve their skills? Are you and your team registered for FILEX 2013, where you can be inspired by business and sales training?
Imagine the positive effect it would have on your business if you were to invest in up-skilling your team so they could sell seamlessly. Join the ranks of businesses that make it – and help increase Australia’s rate of business success.
Annette has over 15 years experience in delivering advanced communication skills to enhance personal performance, management and customer service and to maximise business’ income. Her passion, skill, dedication and dynamic presentation style have made Annette one of Australasia’s most sought-after speakers. For more information on Annette’s free 2-day events in 2013, 'Selling Without Fear', visit www.annettelackovic.com