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The fourth installment in the businessDEPOT Live series is done and dusted! And it was all about the most highly requested topic to date, SALES!
Our three expert speakers and I discussed how to convert those leads and bring home the bacon!
We heard from Nicky Miklos- Woodley, a sales and business coach from Evergreen Coaching . Mark Ferguson, the Director of Wil Valor . And Jim Colonas, a sales and growth consultant from Executive Consulting Group.
Here is a small wrap up from the night.
The Great Debate!
What is the most important part of the Sales Funnel: Is it Lead Generation, Nurturing to Proposals, or is it actually Converting to Clients? Each expert will argue how one is more important than the other.
Mark (Lead Generation) started strong - Without the beginning, he reasoned, there is no end. He also talked about how leads are everywhere, so don't put all your eggs in one basket and be a walking billboard of your business.
Jim (Nurturing to Proposals) agreed that Leads were useful, but the middle part of the funnel is where you Qualify that those Leads are actually going to be useful. Nurturing those leads well, and the proposal and close are just confirming what you've already done.
Nicky (Converting to Clients) also made a good case, that without paying customers there is no business. All the time, effort, energy and money that you have put into generating consistent leads is great, but if you can't convert them into an actual paying client then it was all for nothing.
The crowd voted ... and while by acclamation Nicky was crowned the winner of the Great Debate, everyone agreed that Sales was the winner on the night. (And then I pointed out it was never a Sales Funnel, to begin with and told people to watch this video on the Sales HOURGLASS
Sell Me This Pen
The Wolf of Wall Street tested people by asking them to sell him a pen ... we thought that was too easy, so put our experts on the spot with 60 seconds to sell me:
- Size 13 Wooden Clogs (poor Jim)
- A miniature tricycle, in businessDEPOT yellow (lucky Nicky), and
- A radical pink hair treatment (pushing stylish Mark to his limits)
None of the experts were able to close the sale with me in their allocated time ... but that wasn't the point. Instead, each of them led a discussion about their sales pitch - what they were trying to achieve, where it went well, and what they could do differently.
This self-review immediately after a sales opportunity (whether it ends positively or not) we agreed is the MOST valuable part of sales training. All the magic scripts and best shade of lipstick will only take you so far - practice and reflection will make you great.
Our final panel segment for the night featured a businessDEPOT favorite, Rod Abbott from NRE Commercial Cleaning Services. Rod was brave enough to share his Sales journey - as a business owner who is not a natural salesperson, having to find time to generate leads in a competitive industry.
(As a side note, if you have an office between Brisbane, Springfield, and Springwood, have a chat with Rod)
The advice from the panel was both specific and general enough for any business to apply. Measure your activity and conversion rates. Put aside a small amount of time on a regular basis to focus on sales, not be distracted by emails and other work. Talk to happy clients and ask for referrals. There was even the suggestion of an intern or student to revamp the website as a project for their portfolio.
Nicky made two excellent points. Everybody wants to be sold to... they just want to be sold to well, with empathy, not the hard sell. And everybody has the potential to be a great salesperson - just as many of us learned that Sales was icky or sleazy, so too we can learn that it's just about relationships and helping people.
The evening was in support of Safe Haven Community , and Managing Director shared his story and the journey to supporting at-risk domestic violence victims *before* it becomes an emergency. It's not a women problem to be solved by women; it's not a government problem to be solved by the government; it's a community problem to be solved by the community.
To support Safe Haven, we ran a Charity Auction with just one item going under the hammer ... Absolutely Nothing. That's right, we auctioned a big, fat block of emptiness.
And we sold it for $500!
So let's be clear - if I can sell ... nothing ... for $500, then you can sell the value of your business. And the tips from our experts will help you get there.