Are you tracking your numbers to help you sell?

If you’re left wondering month after month why you haven’t got enough prospects converting to customers, or why your customer numbers are rising but your profits aren’t, you’re probably not tracking your numbers effectively.

It’s not uncommon, and is often because business owners simply don’t know where to start to get the information they need. Following a step-by-step sales process and keeping a track of your pipeline can make a huge difference, however, and help you to plan for a profitable future.

It might not be sexy, but gathering stats will help you sell!

So, here’s my simple, step-by-step guide to tracking your sales numbers:

1.     Understand your sales process

Every business might have a slightly different sales process, but it’s important to have one – and to understand what yours is!  A simple example would be:

  • Initial contact with prospect
  • Follow up call to book appointment
  • Send relevant information before meeting
  • Meeting to discuss requirements
  • Send proposal/quote
  • Follow up
  • Close

2.     Set up a sales board

It may take some time initially, but setting up and maintaining a sales board will pay dividends in terms of streamlining and tracking your sales. It allows you to see in an instant where each of your prospects are in the sales pipeline and ensures you keep on top of follow ups. Check out this earlier blog about the sales board to find out more.

3.     Track your numbers!

Once all this is in place, tracking your numbers becomes very easy. The information you want to record might include:

  • Number of prospects
  • Number of proposals sent
  • Number of closes
  • Value per close
  • Length of time taken from initial contact to close

Only when you have all of this information in front of you can you work out where improvements are needed for you to grow your business.

You can work out how many closes you are getting in relation to prospects, how much your average close is worth and how long your sales process is taking.

For example:

  • You have 15 prospects
  • You close 5 deals
  • Average of £10,000 per close
  • Sales process takes one month

If this is a regular pattern, you can deduce that you are closing one in three deals and for every 15 prospects you bring in, you are closing deals  worth £50,000 of business.

From here you can now start to plan. If this is the average activity in one month, you can project your annual figures.

If you want to see that sales figure grow, you have to do one of three things – bring in more prospects, get better at closing or work on getting higher value clients.

So, if your sales figures are running away with you, implement these simple steps to get back on track!

Doug D’Aubrey has helped hundreds of companies grow and become more profitable with his practical, straight-forward advice. To find out if his growth or mentoring programmes could help you, request a free business review here.

Are you selling on price, or value?

As a business coach, I talk a lot about the sales process. It’s vital in a business to know how to find and follow-up on leads, how to approach and negotiate with customers and how to close a deal.

One of the issues that crops up time and again when talking sales with clients, however, is helping them appreciate the difference between the price of their product or service and its value to the customer.

A common mistake salespeople make is to negotiate on price, without considering the true value of their proposition to the customer.

So, what do I mean by value?

Think about why the customer is talking to you about your product or service. There must be a need there, usually a problem that they need solving. You simply need to identify what the problem is and what value they place on solving that problem.

Assessing the needs of a potential client should be the first conversation you have in any sales process. Listening is so much more important than talking in the early stages of communication with prospects – learning about their business and how you can help them.  Only then can you fully understand the value of what you’re offering.

For example…

The easiest way to illustrate the difference between price and value, is by citing some examples I’ve come across.

Example 1

A roofer receives a call from a factory owner.  The factory roof is leaking – so requires a quick fix.

The problem the roofer can solve here isn’t just the leaky roof. Consider the other problems that may occur.

The leak will probably be causing water damage inside the building – and possibly to stock, equipment or other contents. It could be causing operational disruption, requiring them to move operations to a different area, reducing workspace or making it difficult to maintain productivity levels. Depending on the severity of the problem, they might not be able to operate at all, and could be losing £1,000s in business. Left unchecked for any length of time, the cost incurred could inflate to a full replacement roof.

The value to the customer of fixing the roof, and doing so speedily, therefore, is being able to continue their daily operations unhindered, preventing the loss or damage of factory contents and preventing further expense if the problem gets worse. What is this worth to them?

Example 2

A payroll specialist is contacted by a care home. They are about to be inspected by HMRC and are concerned their payroll is not being done correctly. To the specialist, this is a simple job that won’t take a great deal of time so their initial thought is to charge a reasonable hourly rate for the time it takes to fix. But, consider the value of this job to the care home.

The specialist is not only being asked to ensure legal compliance for the future, offering peace of mind, they are preventing the client being fined £15,000 for non-compliance. This is a huge saving in financial terms, but will also save them the stress and inconvenience of legal proceedings, and help uphold their professional reputation. What value would they place on all of that?

Communicate all of that to the customer and they may well agree a much higher hourly rate!

And it’s not just the service we offer that we often undervalue – we undervalue ourselves and the skills and experience we bring.

Example 3

A counsellor was revising her fees and wasn’t sure what she should charge for her services.  She had always tried to remain in-line with the government’s fees for offering mental health support to children and families, which was around £20 per hour, thinking that people wouldn’t pay more. But her qualifications and experience far out-weighed those of the counsellors offered under the state mental health provision.

The years of specialist training undertaken in the area of child and family counselling has a value! To a family experiencing difficulties, the knowledge that they are going to get the right advice from someone who is fully versed in their problems, that will bring real results, is worth paying extra for.

Ironically, when this particular counsellor amended her prices to reflect her experience, and started charging £75 per hour, rather than struggling to fill spaces – she found herself with a waiting list.

It just goes to show, if you value yourself and your services highly, others tend to too.

Hopefully, you can now see why knowing and understanding the value of your service is so important before you try and agree on a price. Solving the customer’s problems is your selling point, and you should lead any discussions about price based on value.

During Doug D’Aubrey’s time working in business development for global corporations, he helped turn failing and unprofitable enterprises into multi-million pound businesses. He now shares his wealth of experience in business operations with others, helping them develop and grow in line with their business goals. His expertise spans all the core issues faced by corporate bodies, large or small, such as employee training, team management, HR, logistics, sales development, sales management and customer service.

To discover how Doug’s help could improve your business, request a free business review here.