By Gary Johnson, M.A. MBA
Would you be surprised if I told you more than 97 percent of the business owners and executives I talk with around the U.S. cannot tell me how many prospective clients called or walked into their offices inquiring about products or services in the last two months? How do you feel about that? Do you think that is a risky way to run a business? I do. Many of the business owners I speak with are looking for creative ways to attract new clients and most are shocked when I tell them they have prospective customers they have interacted with at their offices every day who could have become customers without having to spend another dime on marketing if their team would have been more diligent.
As an MBA student I was taught that it is impossible to manage what you cannot measure. In business, we all know in order to provide great products or services, we must have accurate measurements in place for quality control. Yet most business leaders donâ€™t do the same kind of measurements when managing their sales results. If I was a consultant for hire and you asked me to help increase your sales, the first thing I would ask you is how many qualified people either called into your office or walked into your office in the last two months inquiring about a service or product you provide. Keep in mind, as I mentioned earlier, most business owners cannot tell me that number. Therefore, as your consultant, I would ask you to track it.
Letâ€™s say, for argumentâ€™s sake, 100 people called or walked in inquiring about your products or services in the last 60 days. I would ask you, of those 100, how many were actually followed up on? Letâ€™s say the answer is 48. I would then ask, how many of those 48 potential clients were followed up with twice? Letâ€™s say that the answer is 25. Then I ask how many have been followed up with at least 3 times in the last two months and we determine the answer is 12. I then share you with you that 80% of sales occur between the 5th and 12th contact and 88% of your leads are being abandoned after the 3 contacts. How would you feel about that? Probably shocked but keep in mind that these numbers are real according to a recent study on sales follow up.
My point is that what is watched improves. How can you possibly improve some aspect of your business if you do not first measure it? If you do one thing differently as a result of reading this article it should be to routinely measure key components of your sales process. After you have determined what facets need to be analyzed, put systems and training in place to provide you and your team with the results you deserve!