Continually Grow Your Business
Thinking strategically about how to grow your business is one of the first things to get thrown to the wayside when things get crazy. This is a problem because you need to continually grow your business beyond your existing clientele for it to be healthy. But sometimes we get too caught in the trenches of running our business, and we forget to work on our business.
This is especially difficult for people who are heavily and intimately involved in the day to day operation of their businesses. People who feel that they themselves are the best salesperson on their team, and the most motivated, driven team member at the company. And at some level this kind of makes sense—why shouldn’t you be the best person on your own team? It is your company after all.
The problem that arises, however, is that there is only a limited amount of time in each day. Day in and day out, if you are knocking down doors, leaving no stone unturned, and asking for business from anyone and everyone, you will have no time to focus on overall direction and strategy, let alone spend time with your family or take a vacation.
This is why it can be extremely valuable—indeed, absolutely necessary—to hire and train awesome people to assist you. And if your interest lies in growing your business, then the most critical area to hire good people for is lead generation. These people are called inside sales agents (ISAs). A good inside sales agent is a highly effective and accountable salesperson who prospects, follows up with leads, nurtures leads, and sets appointments.
Hire Masters of Lead Generation
Put simply, these are the people who turn cold-called prospects, into warm, likely clients. They are masters of lead generation and will help you grow your business.
So let’s say you are going to do it. You carve out the time to recruit, network, screen, and hire your dream agent or ISA. Then day one rolls around and you suddenly realize that you have a massive amount of training on your hands. So you say, “Hey, start calling all these leads I have, or start generating your own.” All they need to do is have conversations with people and the business will follow from there.
That should take care of it, right? But now things get complicated. You’ll begin to hear the following:
• I don’t know who to call.
• I don’t know what to say.
• I’m better in person than on the phone.
• I’m too busy to lead generate.
• These leads suck!
These reactions can occur even with good, smart people. They are overwhelmingly the result of the ISA having a negative story or narrative that they tell themselves, a lack of understanding of the sales funnel, and an overall lack of confidence. These factors will lead to call reluctance, an inability to turn a “no” to a “yes”, and a general lack of comfort throughout the sales process.
So how do you get these good, smart people coupled with the skills and discipline they need to help your business?
It’s All About the Story
A critical step to turning your ISA into a lead generation master is dealing with the garbage that people already have in their minds. False ideas and perceptions with regards to what it means to do lead generation, make phone calls, and close sales.
If your sales person has good stories in their head—if doing those activities that lead to production have a positive connotation—they will be unstoppable. If they have negative stories in their head about lead generation, setting appointments, and what those things mean about them as a sales person, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t lead generate.
This will more or less fall down to your company values. You need to emphasize that being productive, being creative, and connecting people with products that help them are nothing short of heroic acts. This is how your employees build value for your company—by understanding that their productivity and success create value for themselves and get them closer to the life they want to live, in addition to creating value for clients.
Understanding the Sales Funnel
Once you have built up that positive narrative, the next step is to ensure that any ISA you hire to help you out understands the sales funnel.
The key areas are:
• Who are you selling to?
• Where do the leads come from?
• What perspective do those leads have when they get to you?
Understanding this portion of the sales funnel is crucial. A misunderstanding at this stage is the most common cause of your agents’ complaint, “These leads suck!”
Instill the fact that LEADS ARE LEADS. They may all have different time and follow-up requirements in order to become sales, but a lead is a lead. We all want the hot-and-ready leads, but those are few and far between. The money is made in the follow-up.
Properly teaching your agents how to work a database and lead pile while setting the right expectations for understanding each type of lead is the key to keeping your agent’s head and energy in the lead follow up game.
Turn a “No” to a “Yes”
The next critical step is to make sure they have the confidence to take objections, and to turn a “no” to a “yes”.
Objection handling often stops agents in their tracks. They are afraid that they won’t know exactly what to say when the lead objects to them or objects to an appointment. The old school way of handling objections with snarky scripts is so 1990.
These days we handle objections in a much more sophisticated and conversational way. Teach your agents to ask questions to get to the bottom of a lead’s objection. Offering leads a different solution to reach an even bigger and better outcome is the best way to handle a negative response.
What This Means for You
Alright, so let’s bring this all back home. Even if you are killing it, if you are the best person at your business or too critical to the daily grind, you are going to hit a ceiling. You can only do so much! And as the owner and leader of the company, you need to have time to look at and consider the big picture. That’s how you will grow your business.
So you need to be able to hire good people, and then train them to be ISAs who are masters of your sales process. They will bring in the leads, nurture the leads, and close the leads. You will be amazed (and maybe your pride will even be a little hurt) at how much awesome ISAs will be able to grow your company without you in the trenches each day.