Tuesday 11 March 2014

Winning and keeping new clients

All businesses need customers to survive (hopefully we are not telling you anything that you do not already know).  What is surprising is the amount of businesses that we meet that have no plan as to how they will win new work.

Any sales pipeline or funnel needs to be managed and that requires a plan (your plan should be slightly more detailed than 'I need to sell more stuff to more people)  Without this plan, how will you know how long your sales cycle is, how many suspects, prospects and qualified sales leads you have and what your business needs to do to survive in the coming months and years

The definition of ‘Sales’ according to the English Dictionary is
“…the exchange of goods or services for an agreed sum of money…”   and
“..creating the opportunity to sell ..”

The key words here are ‘money’ and ‘opportunity’ without both of these things you do not have a sale (and it could be argued that you do not have a business

Managing a sales pipeline is a process – just like many other processes in business – and once you have found a process that works, you should stick with it

An example of a sales process might be;

Suspect – a wide range of potential people who may or may not be the right target for your business  
Prospect – a subset of your ‘Suspects’ who have been narrowed down by a set of criteria that is specific to your business
Qualified Prospect – a prospect who has been contacted and identified as being interested in the types of products or services that you offer
Lead -  a qualified prospect who is interested in YOUR products
Client/Customer – someone who has bought from you and who will potentially buy from you again

Please note that this last category is very important (for more than one reason) – a ‘Lead’ is not a ‘Customer’ until they have bought from you.  Do not confuse the two.  You MUST treat your ‘Leads’ as such until they confirm and pay for an order from you

In each stage of the sales process you must be moving towards a sale

Don’t be sidetracked by ‘Leads’ that will never turn into ‘Customers’.  This kind of wishful thinking will distract you from your core business and will ultimately lead you down a path of wasted effort and frustration.  When a ‘Lead’ is not moving through your sales pipeline REMOVE them and take them back to the qualification stage

We would love to talk to you in more detail about how we could help you to develop a plan to win and retain more customers.  

Call us on 084 3289 3288 or drop us an email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com and we will get right back to you

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and the work we do at www.blueboxconsultancy.com

Business planning - not just for when you are applying for finance

We know that business planning has had a bad reputation in the past - due in no small part to the way that agencies (most of whom no longer exist) pushed unwanted business plans onto any business owner who was looking for some grant funding.  This has done us - and the recipients of these plans - no favours at all.  That having been said, every successful business must have a plan - if you don't have a target, how do you know when you have hit it?  But we are firm believers in real-life business planning - to us that means working with business owners and senior management teams to create a living document which reflects the ambitions of each business.  The process is not onerous (well, at least not for the teams that we work with) and the outputs are both revealing and useful.  
When we start working with a business we want to get to know them and part of our process is understanding what your goals and aspirations are, what you have done in the past, what you want to do in the future and what makes your business unique
Some of this may seem a bit trivial, but our years of experience show that by understanding these things will give us a greater chance of creating a business plan that will be meaningful to you (and therefore have a greater chance of being used)
We will then go away and add our magic – this may take a little while and we may need to come back and clarify some things with you.  When we return we will present you with a business plan that has been crafted for you – non of that ‘one size fits all’ stuff for us
We know that there are loads of people out there who will try and sell you a business plan – but none of them will develop a plan like we will – we don’t like to brag (but we will anyway) – our business plans have been used to secure funding for a whole load of our customers
So whether you are looking for some Government funding, you want o apply for some finance from a lending institute, or you just want to get your business on track and be fighting fit for the end of the recession – you will need a good solid plan – and we are the folks to help you!
Contact us now by email at enquiries@blueboxconsultancy.com or by telephone on 084 3289 3288

Learn more about Blue Box, our people and some of the things we do at www.blueboxconsulatncy.com