The Biggest Obstacle To Sales Is…

by Charlie Cook

“How can we get more people to call us back so we can get more clients? Last year our real estate business netted over a million and half dollars. This year we’d like to grow it to over two and a half million but we’re having trouble generating enough leads.

I know that we’ve just begun to tap the market in our area but we still aren’t attracting enough new clients. Each week my staff identifies over two hundred qualified prospects from people who are advertising their homes for sale,  then we spend hours calling them.

When we actually get a person on the phone, Over 30% of the people we talk to sign up for our free workshop, and we have a great conversion rate from our workshops.

The problem is that when a prospect doesn’t answer the phone and we leave a message, only one or two return our calls. And we leave lots of messages.” – Sue in CA

What’s the biggest obstacle to Sue’s sales? It’s not what you think.

If you guessed either the lack of response to marketing or the absence of new leads, you’re right in that they present major obstacles to sales, but they’re not her biggest obstacle. The biggest obstacle to sales is that she is stuck in a rut using the same unproductive strategy over and over.

I asked Sue to tell me more about her phone campaign. She explained that each week her three staff members made the calls and each week almost no one returned their calls. They know they are working form a list of well qualified prospects, so they keep trying in spite of the poor response.

Doing the same thing over and over without getting results is the biggest obstacle to growing your business. It’s frustrating, demoralizing, a big waste of time and money and doesn’t get you where you want to go.

Want to eliminate the biggest obstacle to growing your business?

You need to generate leads, build relationships with prospects, convert them to clients and then into repeat clients. You can do this in a few easy steps.

First, like Sue, identify the obstacles that are preventing you from generating leads. Without a steady source of leads you’ll never have more clients and more sales.

Next, take a look at what you are doing with those leads and gauge how well it’s working. I told Sue to have her staff write down exactly what they were saying on the phone and track their results in order to establish a baseline.

Then I gave Sue and her staff several alternate phone scripts to try, and told them to come up with some additional ones of their own. Each week I checked in with them and encouraged them to drop the messages that weren’t working and try some of the alternatives.

The biggest challenge in helping Sue’s staff get a better response wasn’t getting them to put in more effort. Each of them was hardworking and dedicated. Nor was the problem in composing a better phone message.

The biggest challenge was getting them to give up the old habits that were killing lead generation and to try something new.

Do you have marketing habits that are undermining your efforts to get more clients?

If five times as many prospects contacted you and if you converted twice as many of these prospects into clients, you’d have ten times as much business. 

Over the next few weeks, some of the new phone messages bombed and others started to show results. Within just one month, one staff member had increased the response to her phone messages from zero to 20 percent.

Before you finish this article, I’d like to let you in on a couple of simple but powerful marketing secrets. First, most of your prospects want to buy your products and services. If they don’t respond, it’s not because they’re not interested in your services; it’s because your marketing didn’t interest them.

In the case of Sue and her staff, the phone message they were leaving didn’t interest their prospects. When they started leaving more customer-focused messages, they got more return calls, more prospects signing up for their free workshops and more business.

Second, prospects don’t create obstacles to sales. Every obstacle to sales comes from small business marketing that isn’t doing its job. If you’re not attracting the number of new clients and profits you want, it’s not the qualified prospects you’re selling to but the selling that’s the problem.

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