Discover Why You Lost That Sale – and what to do about it

Losing any sale is disappointing.

Losing lots of sales is even more disappointing and losing that one big sale, the game-changer; is soul destroying and makes you wonder why you’re in the business.

Small business owners quickly realise they have to learn to sell very in order to survive. The successful ones quickly learn how to network and negotiate and their businesses survive. Sadly close to 50% of small businesses worldwide fail in the first five years and the main reason is insufficient revenue to cover wages and expenses

Below are two free sales training videos that will help you get a better understanding of why you lost that sale.

This should really be only one video however we had a technical glitch so it ended up in two parts.

Here’s the first part, a conversation with Google Hangout Queen Carol Dodsley and myself.

And here’s part two:

Life and Business Lessons From My Parents

Everyone learns valuable lessons from their parents.

My late mother taught me about courtesy, punctuality and about respecting other people’s time. In the world of sales, this has turned out to be brilliant advise! You can make an appointment with me for 11am on May 5 next year and you won’t need to remind me; I’ll just be there.

My late father was a doctor. An old-fashioned one at that because he genuinely cared about his patients well-being.

While I didn’t recognise it at the time, his response to the question I asked as a teenager has guided me through the world of sales and marketing to an extent he would have never believed. It rings true to this day.

I asked him what made a good doctor.

Here’s what he said…

“Remembering that prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.”

He went on to explain that if he were to make assumptions about a patient’s medical problem he could easily diagnose the wrong complaint and prescribe the wrong treatment of medication. He added that one more question never hurt anyone but too few could.

How has this helped me in business?

I never suggest a solution without first doing the best I can to understand the problem.

Unfortunately on an almost daily basis I see people blindly pitching without considering the client’s situation. It happened to me this week when someone took almost 2 hours of my time to seemingly gain my trust then without asking, pitched something to me instead of first asking some qualifying questions. I was deeply annoyed and he lost many trust points in my eyes.

If you truly want to master the skill of selling, start by learning how to ask better questions and listening to the answers before you formulate and ask your next question. This simple practice has resulted in millions of dollars in sales for me and those clients who I have taught how to do it.

Once you can truly understand the client’s situation you can look to see if it is unique to him or symptomatic of that kind of business. If it’s symptomatic, test by asking others in the niche if they have the same problem. If so, you have a powerful marketing message at your fingertips…

Business priorities

Do you currently spend 80% of your time Marketing and Selling what you do?

Yes? Congratulations, you either already have a successful profitable business, you soon will have or what you are selling isn’t commercially viable.

How do we manage time? We all have the same amount of time, we can’t save it, or accumulate it, we only have now and what and how we choose to use each moment. Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

So why do some people seem to use their time more effectively? In my experience they prioritise and have systems and the good news is you can too! 

What value do you assign to all the different things you do? Value = Importance. If you are a parent, the value of seeing your child perform in the end-of-year school play might be higher than having dinner with a prospective client. (In my opinion a prospective client who doesn’t respect this is not worth having.)

One couple I know own a mega successful Civil Construction company. At 21, their only son is well on his way to become Australia’s’ top motor sport driver. They work their business commitments around his racing calendar. Recognising your top values and implementing a strategy (that means system) will help you achieve what’s important for you and for your business success.

A system creates boundaries to help you act in your best interests and according to your values. Sometimes people who don’t like our strategies will use guilt and obligation to get you to change your system to suit them. Recognise this and stick to your system. Focus on high value tasks that provide the outcomes you have decided to enjoy and benefit from for your life and your business!

Successful business owners spend up to 80% of their working time on Marketing and Selling first. They then allocate time and labour resources; their own or someone else’s, to order fulfilment.

Decide on your strategy, set some targets to test its viability, create a system to implement it and stick with it, until you have proved it’s not viable according to the parameters you initially set or it works. You can tweak, just don’t give up, get sidetracked or jump onto the next best way unless you have proven that your carefully considered strategy is not viable.

Seems simple, it is – unfortunately many of us get sidetracked looking for complex solutions, promoted by slick operators, promoting vast and rapid wealth, whose primary interest is to line their pockets with your hard earned cash.

I urge you, stick to logical and common sense strategies you understand. Avoid anyone who won’t or can’t explain their strategy in a way you understand and if they attempt to embarrass you into buying their solution – Run away from them very, very fast!

Find and engage professionals you can build trusted relationships with to help you, who speak in clear, easy to understand everyday English and whom you can speak to personally!

(c) Debra Yuille

Increased marketing spend, or sales training; which comes first?

In most businesses, when sales are too low, the first reaction is to spend more on marketing. Create better adverts, more adverts; direct sales letters is the cry. But is this always the right solution?

Let’s take a step back and examine the issue more closely.

The first thing is to examine the numbers to see what they reveal. The critical ratio we need to look at is the conversion rate from lead / enquiry to sale. This will show us immediately where our emphasis should be.

Let me explain:

The numbers tell us that you’re getting 100 enquiries per month and tracking shows 25 convert into customers. What we also see is that 75 don’t become customers. This is the group you need to focus on. Typically, some will never buy so we can eliminate another 25. That leaves 50 who are still in the market.

What happens to them? If they didn’t buy from you, where did they buy? No doubt a competitor. Depending on the market, it may be that your advert stimulated their interest, but because you didn’t connect with them and make the sale, they spent their money elsewhere.

In other words, your advertising generated sales for your competitor. So when he sees your next advert, he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Why should he advertise when you do it for him?

Suppose you decide to either improve your adverts; better headlines, copy, offers etc, or simply double your advertising expenditure. Now instead of 100 leads, you get 200. Only you still convert 25%. Yes, you make 50 sales BUT you’re now leaving 150 unsatisfied customers to spend elsewhere. If 50 never buy, there are now 100 buyers still out there.

Your competitor thinks this is hilarious. Guys, we’re going to do well this month, he tells his staff. Fred is running more ads!

Let’s take a better view of the situation.

Instead of looking to the lead generation process, you teach your staff how to increase their conversion rate. You still get 100 leads but now you convert 45%. You’re making 45 sales instead of 25; 25 still don’t buy and instead of leaving 50 unsatisfied buyers for your competitors, you’re now only leaving 30.

Increase conversion to 50% or better and starve your competitor by reducing the number of unsatisfied buyers left in the marketplace.

Now look to your lead generation process. Stimulate more buyers and capture the lion’s share by converting more of your own leads into customers.

Is this hype or reality?

Let me give you simple a few simple case studies so you can decide for yourself.

Docwise Information. A software company providing records management solutions. Needed to make more sales but in fact, couldn’t convert the leads they had. Went looking to create more effective advertising but the diagnosis was that the conversion rate was too low. Within six weeks of starting a training program, their sales had increased by $32,000 without a dollar spent on marketing.

Acorn Software (simPRO). One day of training took a 10% conversion rate to 50%. Over a four-month period, sales increased by $100,000. Within two years the conversion rate was around 50% resulting in regular $50,000 months. In 12 years their annual sales are in the multi-millions.

AAA Action Hot Water. Distributors of Solar Hot Water systems. A simple review of their sales processes resulted in a staggering 100% increase in sales in 1 month. At the same time, advertising expenditure was reduced!

Phantom Screens. Simple changes to their phone answering and sales processes and with no change in advertising content or expenditure, conversion rates increased by a staggering 250%.

Hype or reality? You be the judge. Albert Schweitzer once said, Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.

Does sales training come before marketing expenditure? Categorically yes. There is absolutely no point in increasing the number of leads you generate if you can’t increase the conversion ratio. Learn how to do that first otherwise the sales explosion you create will be for your competitor.

(c) James Yuille

Making more sales – the # 1 key to business success

As a business owner or sales manager, your aim is to generate profit for your business, and preferably lots of it. Before that can happen though, the business has to have revenue.

  • Revenue comes from making sales.
  • Sales come from customers.
  • Repeat sales are made to satisfied customers.
  • Profits result when overheads and costs are less than sales revenue.

In order to continue to make profits, and for them to increase, you can either reduce overheads or make more sales.

Overheads can only be reduced so far. You can try to cut the phone and power bills, reduce other expenses but that may reduce costs by 5%. That really doesn’t make much difference to the profit line – so all you can do is sell more or buy better.

In this article, I want to focus on selling more. It stands to reason that without sales, we’d have no revenue and therefore no business.

Some business planning purists would say that the starting point of the enterprise is a vision; a goal of where we want to be in two, five, ten years. That’s fine but in the everyday battle of making money, those admirable aspirations are forgotten; especially by the staff whose main motivation is the next pay check. Most staff don’t share your vision or aspirations.

Improved sales and customer service are the result of improved interaction between your staff and your revenue source – the public.

Yet typically we don’t take any time to train our support teams in customer communication skills or in how to really sell our products or services.

By really sell, I mean understand exactly the benefits our service provides and how to identify the buyer’s motivation.

Generating new clients comes down to identifying what you have to offer them and then packaging your advertising, marketing and presentations to meet that need.Â

By asking astute questions and listening attentively to their answers, you can find out what issues they are concerned about. What are astute questions?

These are questions that help you identify what’s going on in their business or in their lives. You’re looking to uncover how you can give them pleasure or help them avoid pain.

These are the simple motivators for all decisions:

The gaining of pleasure or avoidance of pain. Sometimes in business, we’ll hear this expressed as making or saving money. When you think about it, both expressions mean the same thing so take your pick!

OK, so there will be more complex theories expressed about buying motivation. Fear, hope, reward, saving face and more but when you boil them all down, they’re all the same.

Ask yourself this question right now:

“How does what I sell help generate pleasure or help avoid pain?”

Answer this one simple question and you’re on the way to gaining loads of new customers. Make sure that you and your team fully understand this simple motivator, and you’re well on the way.

You have to understand the benefit of whatever you sell. Your entire reason for existence is the value you can bring to your customer. You’ve heard this before: “What’s In It For Me?

Remember that all along, your customer is saying to themselves “What’s in this for me?”

This might be a knockout punch to you but let me tell you this straight – if what you do doesn’t add value, people won’t come to you.

Here’s a simple check to tell you whether what you sell is a benefit:

When you explain what you do in such a way that your buyer can answer “So what?” you have not provided a benefit.

By comparison, if they reply “That’s interesting” or “Yes, I see” the chances are you’ve provided a benefit.

Whatever you do, don’t get wrapped up in your product. Your focus is to sell what people want to buy. This means you have to package and present what you sell in such a way that they find it irresistible. (For instance, you don’t want to buy sales training. What you want is to learn a proven process that will make you more sales.)

It stands to reason therefore that in order to make more profits, your business needs to gain and retain more customers.

(c) James Yuille