Especially in professional service firms, sales typically rely on you, the owner. All inquiries, good and distracting, get forwarded to your inbox. All contracts need your review and all price considerations require your analysis. The busier you are, the more these activities are likely to get delayed, or even lost.
And there is an even greater cost to being rushed and distracted, reactive versus proactive. Instead of driving the sales process toward your goals, you are at risk of losing the high value customers, and wasting time with tire kickers and freebie seekers.
So instead of being the entire process, take a step back and deliberately design the experience for your prospects:
- Map your sales process. From initial inquiry to final contract and new client onboarding, look at all activities, and flows. Do NOT put in employee names yet.
- List characteristics of those who are NOT real prospects. These may be those who are just tire kickers, too early in the buying process, looking for free advice or have no budget.
- Create screeners (to use early, rather than late in the process) where you can quickly sift out the bad fit clients, with professionalism and information, and send them on their way. (Those that are too early for now can be captured in your email database for ongoing nurturing.)
- Create templates. Think of all the communications you deliver, from quick response emails to lawyer-reviewed contracts. What is the desired outcome of each? Create templates that not only save time but clearly communicate your value and speak to your ideal customers.
- Assign roles for each step. Look at using administrative staff, customer service or even virtual assistants as often as possible. By assigning roles, rather than names, you assure backup and the ability to fit the task with the person.
- Restrict your role. You should only be involved in selling or closing pre-screened, good fit customers. You should also be involved in any extraordinary contract changes. This not only saves you time, but elevates your role.
- Review every six months. Look back and review all inquiries, wins and loses. What could be improved in communications and process?
How do you keep yourself from being the bottleneck in your sales process? Share below.