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Developing Your Sales Process

Business Development 1 Comment »

Dun and Bradstreet report that over 80% of businesses fail due to lack of sales. Just as marketing is the backbone of selling; your sales process is the backbone of your marketing. Without a well planned sales process even the best marketing strategies will never reach their potential.

Structure Comes First

However, with an excellent sales process you’ll get significantly greater returns, even if your marketing is just average. Your sales process can leverage your marketing returns by multiples.

Your Marketing Plan outlines the marketing strategies you use, whilst your sales process is the overarching process that defines how you will take prospects through the process of buying from you over their lifetime as a client. Your marketing strategies take prospects and clients from one stage of your sales process to the next.

For Example:

‘Stage 1′ of your sales process may be to get qualified prospects into your online eZine list; or to attend a free Tele-Workshop.

The marketing strategy you use to achieve this may be an offer of a free Report “Learn how to quickly overcome the 3 most commonly made mistakes made by [profession] that on average cost $57,000.00 per year in net income.”

You can see from this simple example how your sales process defines the structure of how you sell. Very few business people give consideration to their sales process. And this is a very costly oversight.

In the absence of a well structured sales process, most coaches revert to simply placing ads in newspapers for their one-to-one coaching services and wait for the phone to ring. When/if it rings, they attempt to convince the prospect to attend a meeting or ‘free session.’

This is not an effective sales process. In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s practically a guarantee for failure.

Developing an Effective Sales Process

Before designing your sales process, it’s worthwhile reviewing your notes on your business Metrics (KPI’s). A successful sales process is structured in full awareness of your business metrics.

For instance:

  • How do you know how much you can invest to get a new client, if you don’t know how much that client will be worth to your business?
  • How can you plan how many clients you want/need if you don’t know if each client is making or costing you money?

The Sales Funnel

Many successful coaches use a sales funnel approach to their sales process.

The premise of the sales funnel is that you get as many qualified prospects into a low/no cost service at the top of the funnel, and over time move them through various stages, represented by progressively higher priced services, over their lifetime as a client.

Here’s an example of a sales funnel:

Sales Funnel
 
Note: Depending on your product mix, clients can be purchasing or experiencing your products and services at varying times throughout their Cycle of Life. The key is to maintain valuable communication and regularly ask them to purchase.

Consider the advantages of a well structured sales process:

Vastly improved conversion. At the top end of your funnel you’re inviting people to receive valuable information from you to assist them overcome their challenges for little to no financial investment. There is virtually zero barriers to this offer, and hence you should achieve an extremely high conversion into the top of your funnel. Once you have prospects in your funnel, you should be able to progressively nurture clients in higher priced items as they experience the benefits of dealing with you.

Build rapport. You need to establish rapport with prospects before they’re willing to invest with you. Traditional sales processes aren’t able to bridge this gap. A prospect needs somewhere between 4 to 7 contacts on average before they’ll invest with a business. The sales funnel approach allows you to build the required rapport with prospects such that they’ll readily invest with you.

Dramatically reduce barriers to sales. Rapport and trust are just one barrier. Your prospects also (subconsciously and consciously) evaluate each purchase in terms of “Is this promised benefit worth more to me than my hard-earned cash (and the loss of face if I make a bad decision)?” By demonstrating your unique knowledge, skills, products, and benefits to them, they are significantly more likely (and able) to sway this choice in your favour.

Apply an education-based sales paradigm. You position your business as an educator rather than being sales focussed. By giving your prospects valuable information to assist them, you are creating a relationship based on mutual obligation.

Re-Frame your marketing mindset. Your mindset is very important when you communicate with prospects and clients. A sales funnel invokes a Service Paradigm, rather than an Influencing Paradigm. You come from the paradigm of giving, adding-value, educating; rather than from a paradigm of selling and taking. Clients innately sense this, and will act accordingly.

Showcase your service and uniqueness. Your product or service should be one of your most powerful endorsements. Showcasing your skills at the top of the funnel should immediately create an intense desire amongst your prospects to invest in your other services.

Extend the Net Margin Worth of Clients. Over time you should be able to nurture your clients through your entire sales funnel. Without a sales funnel your service may get poor conversion, and at most be a 3 to 6 month coaching contract. With a sales funnel, and the right systems, you could realistically increase the net marginal worth of your clients to be: 3-6 tele-clinics; 2-3 seminars/workshops; a cd/dvd product; group coaching; one-to-one coaching; a specialist course. This relationship could extend over several years and be worth thousands of dollars (10 times the value you would otherwise realise).

Invokes you to create new products. An important part a sales funnel plays in your coaching business, is that it motivates coaches to expand their thinking past one-to-one coaching services, and into the realm of (niche) product development.

Increase your Unit of Sale. With more products and services, you have greater opportunity to increase the value of each sale. For instance, you could package a 6-week specialist tele-clinic membership as an incentive to upsell a prospect from a 3-month contract to a 6-month contract. Your hard cost to deliver the tele-clinic is minimal (which you may bootstrap into an audio cd product as well!!), but the added net return of the 6-month contract may increase your profit by 500%.

Increase referral. By providing value to your prospects over extended periods, you vastly compound your opportunity for referrals. Remember, niches roam in packs. So the longer you nurture your relationships with prospects the higher the likelihood word of mouth will spread of your high value unique solutions.

This article is an abstract from the Ultimate Coaching Business Building Program (UCBBP); develop by the Life Coaching Institute and CoachIQ Coaching Club. The program is delivered to CoachIQ subscribers via weekly e-lessons, including extra resources such as Self-Assessment and Action Sheets, Links and Templates.

If you would like to build a flourishing coaching business, visit the Coaching Club website (www.coachingclub.com.au) and take advantage of the 60-day free access offer to new members.

When Potential Becomes Reality

The Contributor Forum Comments Off

Do you remember the last time you finally arrived at a decision to do or change something in your life, only to recognise a few months later that you have done nothing (or very little) towards turning that decision into reality? Yes, most of us know that feeling of frustration, helplessness and under-minded ego when yet again, we for some reason, let ourselves down.

At the same time, most of us know someone who just seems to achieve whatever they set their minds to in all areas of their life. We must wonder, “What is it they do, have or are that makes them different from me”? Although there is no universal answer to this question, as a Life Coach, I often find that the main differences between the two groups of people are not their personality traits, intelligence or their social status, but the way they approach the goal at hand.

The key to success for many people seems to be their motivation to achieve their goals, and, just as importantly, their commitment and persistence to reach the final destination. I can now hear you say, “Easy said, not as easily done”. That is true, but fortunately, just as with many other things in our lives, goal setting is a skill which can be learned, and with repeated practice and a supportive environment, we can all start reaching our goals rather then just talking about them.

Research suggests that one of the most common reasons we do not achieve what we strive for in our lives is because we fail to plan and consequently put strategies into place. We need to realise that it sometimes takes weeks, months or even years to arrive at the point of a decision to take action; yet, we often expect things to happen by themselves, without any obstacles with our 21st century “ASAP” timelines. It is often simply a lack of planning and our irrational expectations that can set us up for failure.

“So what can we do to start achieving our goals?” A great start would be to run a reality check on our current situation to find out whether we have the necessary resources to achieve our goal. For example, do we have enough information, finance and time available to successfully launch into action? Ask yourself: “How does my current life have to change in order to start moving towards the goal?” and/or, “Am I willing to make those changes in my life for this price?”

All those questions need to be considered carefully to gain greater awareness of the impact, both positive and negative, that our proposed plan will have on us. Furthermore, change in our lives will often affect the lives of others, and therefore, we need to consider the consequences of our actions on those around us; their support will be a crucial factor on our journey to success.

Once we have laid down the appropriate foundation, it is time to think about the ‘size’ of our goal, how we feel about it, and consider whether we need to break it down to a few smaller, more manageable sub-goals. Those smaller victories (when we achieve the sub-goals) should keep us motivated and focused on our journey towards the main goal. Moreover, having these sub-goals as check points on our road to success creates clarification: it helps us better understand who we are and how to get from one milestone to the next.

By creating strategies, we map out each step needed to get us closer to our goal, and establish the timeframe needed to reach each of these steps. For instance, it can be a phone call to the bank to open a new savings account for a long deserved holiday, then reducing three cups of coffees per day to one a day, making savings of $1,825 across 12 months as a result! It may happen that our original strategies do not produce the desired results, and that is OK. Instead of seeing our overall plan as a failure, we need to pinpoint the fault in our strategy and appropriately address it. Moreover, keeping an honest journal of our actions and their results helps us to keep track of our progress against our mapped out strategy.

Motivation, commitment and persistence all have a common underlying attribute – they can be achieved only by our positive outlook on our adventure and the ups and downs of it. Even though things may not always go according to plan, every one of us has a choice to perceive the situation as a lesson and adjust our plan of action accordingly. This is when the support of our family and friends is particularly important; they can help us to realise our strengths and past achievements when our current frame of mind may not let us remember ourselves.

The most rewarding part of this whole helping process is that as our skills, abilities and achievements grow they will have a positive impact on the lives of our family, friends and people in our greater environment. For those who may feel that they currently do not have that supportive environment around them, think again. Could finding that supportive environment be your first goal to be accomplished?

That is exactly what I did, because assisting my clients to become more focused, empowered and aligned with their purpose makes me also part of that positive and inspiring environment where a person’s potential can become their reality. You also have a choice – a choice to live a comfortable life of unrealised potential or a choice to become a person who dares to challenge the fear of the unknown and live a life where ‘if only’ is obsolete. What will it be? As the saying goes:” A life lived in fear is a life half lived”.

Author: Igor Bilek

11 Strategies to Start Building Your Business

Business Development Comments Off

When you just start coaching, it’s very important that firstly you gain confidence – confidence in your abilities, confidence in your offer to clients, and confidence in the coaching process. This confidence is only going to be attained by actually coaching! We therefore advocate that in the initial stages of your business you coach as much as possible – this may be obvious to you.

Your confidence will act as a powerful catalyst to generating business. Depending on your business budget, it may also be important to you that your business is self sustaining in the early stages. This means that you will have to attract new clients with as little financial outlay as possible. There are several marketing strategies that you can implement to achieve this.

1. Develop and maintain a client database

As soon as you start your coaching business you should record all prospective and existing clients in a database. This database will become one of your most valuable business resources. It will allow you to simply and easily communicate with groups, follow up unconverted prospects, market added-value services, re-sell services, profile clients and much, much more.

2. Value-add to an existing service or product

What business are you currently in? Many new coaches work in a related field. You may work in an area where you already deliver a service to a group of people that may be ideal for you to offer your coaching services to. If you do, you may package coaching together with the other service as an adjunct – sort of like the McDonalds Meal Deal (‘would you like coaching with that?’). Or you may offer your coaching service as a separate offer.

Either way, if you are already dealing with people on a professional or personal level that you can offer your coaching service to – it is an ideal way to get started quickly and economically.

3. Host/Beneficiary marketing

Defined simply ‘host/beneficiary marketing’ is where you communicate with a non-competing business that has clients on their database that may be predisposed to use your service.

An example of this is if someone owns a four-wheel drive that needs suspension work; chances are they might also need a new set of tyres. Imagine that you own a tyre shop. The suspension shop owner’s clients are well profiled as potential customers for you.

As a tyre retailer, there’s a number of ways that you can talk to the suspension shop’s clients: They can give you a list of clients so you can write to them and invite them for a free tyre check or, what’s even more powerful, they can write to their clients and endorse you as a quality tyre retailer. Informing them that they trust and value you as a business associate, and that they have managed to obtain a special offer of a free tyre check by the end of the month.

So, without doing any advertising to the cold market, you’ve tapped into the resources of the suspension shop’s business. You gain clients through referral and endorsement, and the suspension shop gains the trust and loyalty of their clients as they have performed a good deed for them. A ‘win win’ situation for both businesses.

The host/beneficiary marketing process is one of the most powerful concepts available to you. Many coaches use this principle effectively with host businesses such as accountants, gyms, therapists, weight loss centres etc.

A good way to ascertain what businesses may be appropriate to contact regarding a host/beneficiary relationship is to ask these three simple questions:

  • Who has your clients before you?
  • Who has your clients after you?
  • What other products and services do the majority of your clients use?

Once you answer these questions you’ll have a good basis for which businesses you can contact.

4. Family, friends, colleagues and associates

Do you have any family, friends or associates that would be interested in undertaking your coaching service? We find that many new coaches start coaching to these groups. And once you’ve validated the process with them, you can offer their friends and family coaching through referral or through group coaching sessions.

5. Publications

As a new coach, one of the most powerful means to build your business is through publication. Many new coaches, particularly coaches with a specific niche specialty, regularly write and publish articles. A good goal for a coach starting out is to write two articles per month for their first year of coaching.

These articles can be disseminated through specialist submission services, such as

http://www.submityourarticle.com/ and http://ezinearticles.com/, to hundreds of online and offline publishers. In fact, many offline publishers now conduct the majority of their research online. So if you can get your articles published online (and if they’re of value – well constructed, researched, validated and original), you have an excellent chance of getting published in offline publications as well.

Publishing articles assists you build your business in a leveraged manner because:

  • It establishes you as a leading authority on the topic (your niche);
  • It builds your name and brand through recognition;
  • It dramatically influences your search ranking on search engines (ie. Google, ninemsn, yahoo, etc);
  • It positions you as a point of reference and contact regarding the topic you write about and it won’t be long before you’ll start getting contacted directly to write articles or express your opinion on a topic specific to your area;
  • You can use the publications as a tool for self-endorsement. Imagine the authority you could develop if you were able to reference several dozen of your publications in leading journals, newspapers, magazines and websites. It automatically develops trust with prospects.

6. Networking

Pounding the pavement is still one of the best ways to get known. It allows people to put a face to your name (and business brand) and experience your enthusiasm. It’s also one of the best means for you to explain and sell your service.

Of course there are right and wrong ways to network. Here are a few networking tips:

  • Network in your online and offline communities;
  • Prioritise networking within your niche market to your target demographic;
  • Set yourself networking goals. Many new coaches set themselves the ‘Networking Goal of 100.’ This essentially is just a target of visiting 100 leaders in your niche market within the first year of operation. They could be community leaders, business owners or online leaders. Exactly who you network with will depend on your target niche;
  • When you network, have an established proposition. Networking simply will not work if you just meet and greet. You need to have a compelling and valuable proposition for the people you meet. Your proposition may be to offer them a coaching seminar or workshop to their top clients or staff; to link them into a group coaching session; to involve them in a tele-class (to present on their specialty or to be the recipient of value); to invite them to a lunch/din! ner/meeting. Whatever your proposition, make sure it is of value to them and that they receive a benefit;
  • Follow-up. Get their contact details and within 48-hours send them an email, note or Thank You card in appreciation of their time. At this contact remind them of your proposition and have another call to action. It’s often worthwhile including some sort of gift to create reciprocal obligation ie. a voucher for an upcoming workshop; a link to your online forum or free online educational tool; a movie ticket etc;
  • Link them into an ongoing communication system. It’s a waste of your time (and likely theirs) if you do not maintain contact. If you are able to link them into some sort of ongoing communication system, you will be able to stay in regular contact with them through their Cycle of Life and when they’re ready to experience coaching services, you will be the coach they first approach (or they refer to a friend);
  • Join Groups! Whatever your niche market is, there will almost certainly be established groups and communities already established to service that market. If it’s as broad as Business Coaching, join your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Networks Group, and Local Government communities. Simply GO WHERE THE ACTION IS! There is always action happening. You just have to find it and immerse yourself in it.

7. Tele-Classes

Tele-Classes are an excellent way for you to start building your business. They’re a good value proposition to link with your networking efforts as they’re very low cost and they allow you to leverage your time extremely well. Some tele-class tips are:

  • Offer a tele-class series in your niche. This may go for four weeks or 52-weeks;
  • Use the tele-classes to establish yourself as an expert in your niche;
  • Use your tele-class sessions or series as a means to build your database of prospects and clients;
  • Market your tele-classes through all mediums – networking, online, in articles, in your digital signature, on your flyers and business cards;
  • Interview leading community experts. This can be done either live during your teleclass or pre-recorded. Having a recognised community leader (or several) involved builds your image;
  • Audio tape your tele-classes. Then you can package them, sell them, gift them.

8. Public Presentations

Paid and unpaid public presentations add significant value to your image and brand. As a new coach you should set yourself the objective of doing at least two presentations per month for a twelve month period. Some presentation tips are:

  • A presentation only needs to go for about 20-minutes;
  • A presentation is an excellent proposition to link to your networking;
  • Your presentations should be tailored for the forum, but as a general rule of thumb should value-add to your audience, and not be just a self sales speech! You can sell your services in the last two minutes, or at the beginning as an endorsement of the content you’ll deliver;
  • Presentations can be targeted through community organisations, local businesses, schools, gyms, business groups, communities. your imagination is the only limit on these possibilities;
  • Make your marketing material available – your brochures, business cards, flyers, invitations;
  • Make yourself available after the presentation. Don’t rush off for another appointment;
  • Audio tape and/or video tape your presentations and use them as a marketing tool, offer or value-add product.

9. Website

We can’t emphasise this enough… your website can be your most powerful marketing and branding tool. Why? Because once established it’s your cheapest means of marketing and communication with the broadest and most refined reach.

Every coach NEEDS a functional website. Of course there are good and bad websites. A bad website will lie dormant while a good website can facilitate enormous practice growth. Many coaches swear by their sites and nominate their sites as their most valuable business marketing tool.

Developing a functional website should be one of the highest priorities of every new coach. If you are already coaching and do not have a functional site, you should get one – immediately! For the purposes of defining what we mean by a functional site, here are some attributes your site should have:

  • It needs to be found! It should therefore be properly programmed with the correct metatag terms, content, scripting, links, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC marketing etc;
  • It should have effective sales copy. It should not be a shrine to yourself, but a marketing tool;
  • It should be ‘sticky.’ It should provide reasons (and mechanisms) for people to return – as regularly as possible;
  • Your site should have a compelling sales process for your core products. As a marketing tool, it should be appropriately designed to funnel visitors through a carefully planned sales process with a specific call to action;
  • It should have a system to capture visitor details. Every visitor is a qualified prospect. Therefore, it’s critical that you capture their details. Your site should have a powerful means to achieve this, in an automated manner;
  • Your site needs a constant means of communicating with prospects/clients. Once you have prospects details, you need to use them effectively. Your site is the perfect mechanism – if designed correctly;
  • It should be automated. You want to create growth… not create more work!
  • It should reduce work that you would otherwise need to do manually;
  • It should link with other sites – as many allied sites as possible – and as many leading sites in allied areas as possible. This will dramatically increase your chances of being found on the web;
  • It should generate passive income. Your site should generate an income for you.

10. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are an excellent leveraged means for coaches to build a significant passive income. Essentially an Affiliate Program is any program whereby the coach gets paid a commission for the referral of a service. As coaching clients often require a diverse range of products and services to assist them attain their goals, a coach is in a unique position to establish such arrangements.

Affiliate Programs should always be established with the intent of assisting the client. As a coach, you are a trusted adviser and your actions should reflect this. If however, you are often referring clients to service providers, and those providers are benefiting financially from your referrals with no client acquisition cost, it stands to reason that you should get paid a commission.

As an example, the world’s biggest online bookstore, amazon.com, has an Affiliate Program whereby they pay commissions on book sales (and other items).

11. Blogging

A Blog is a Web Log or a Web Journal. It’s basically an automated website (there are hundreds of free tools and templates available on the web) that’s used as a journal to put your ideas, thoughts and beliefs. It’s a forum where individuals can meet and express their ideas and opinions.

So, how can a coach use a blog to assist build their business?

  • People with common beliefs and/or interests congregate in blogs. You can therefore use blogs to establish online communities and target your niche markets;
  • Blogs allow you to freely express your beliefs and create a signature presence on the web;
  • A blog is a good forum to conduct subtle research on your market;
  • Having reciprocal links with your website and blog assists build your profile, generate additional traffic and improve the likelihood of being found.

Some blogging tips:

  • Ask your teenagers!
  • Establish credibility;
  • Practice patience;
  • Don’t burn yourself out;
  • Manage your time;
  • Launch effectively;
  • Write about your beliefs, interests and passions;
  • Register the right domain;
  • Find your writing style;
  • Define your blog.

Note: This article is an abstract from the Ultimate Coaching Business Building Program (UCBBP); developed by the Life Coaching Institute and CoachIQ Coaching Club. The program is delivered to CoachIQ subscribers via weekly e-lessons, including extra resources such as Self-Assessment and Action Sheets, Links and Templates.

If you would like to build a flourishing coaching business, visit the Coaching Club website (www.coachingclub.com.au) and take advantage of the 60-day free access offer to new members.