“I suck at sales!”
I don’t know how many times I said that in my business career. Many times I left a sales call completely frustrated and mad at myself because I, once again, didn’t get the sale.
It seemed that no matter how much sales training I took or how many one-on-one consultants I hired, my sales never improved. In fact, I once spent $19,200 on sales training in one year! That year my closing rate bottomed out at a paltry 10%. So much for sales training.
My name is Neil Kristianson
For 14 years my brother and I owned a high-end remodeling company outside of Chicago, Illinois. When the recession hit in 2008 we realized we weren’t salespeople. Suddenly the competition was fierce and the customers were few. Our business dropped in half.
We were getting desperate and willing to try anything to get our sales back to their pre-2008 levels.
Trying to hit the EASY button
Over the next couple of years, we tried a few crazy things to get our sales up…
Hire a salesman
We attempted to abdicate the entire sales process by hiring a professional salesperson. He had years of experience at one of our major competitors. He was going to be the answer to our sales woes.
Once he started at our company we realized he was only a piece of the sales machine at our competitor. They had systems in place to support him and feed him leads. We didn’t. They had a full-time closer to accompany him on the best leads to tag-team the prospect. That wasn’t something we could do or wanted to do.
In the end, even though he had sold millions of dollars per year at his former job, he failed miserably with us. He only lasted a few months and we were right back to doing the selling ourselves.
Buy leads with expensive ads
We placed VERY expensive ads in the local paper. Using the services of a local graphic designer to make the ads, we placed ½ page full-color ads in one of the biggest newspapers around.
I remember the week the ad came out. We literally sat by the phone expecting it to ring off the hook. Wow, how naïve we were. In a two month time-frame, we spent almost $20,000 on newspaper ads and got 2 leads. TWO! And neither one of them bought anything.
At one point we considered buying time on one of the biggest radio stations in Chicago. Thank God we didn’t waste any money there.
Buy an email list
I grew impatient with the slow pace at which my email list was growing (I don’t know why – I wasn’t using it well anyway). So, I hatched a plan to super-charge it!
Using a raffle as an incentive to get folks to sign up on my list, I bought a $1,200 television and offered up a chance to win it in exchange for a name and email address. In a matter of weeks, I had 4,882 names on my list.
I spent the next three weeks going through stacks of entry slips and entering names and email addresses into Excel. I hate to think how many hours I spent in front of my computer trying to decipher handwriting.
I uploaded the list to Constant Contact and sent out my first email. I was so excited! I knew this was going to be the ONE BIG THING to send our sales into overdrive.
The very next day my phone rang. Could this be the first appointment?
No, it was Constant Contact.
“Where did you get your list?”
Constant Contact was not happy with me. It seems my first email had a SPAM complaint rate of almost 7%. How could that be? Everyone had signed up for my list willingly.
The Constant Contact rep questioned me for a few minutes about how I had gathered the names and addresses. He put me on hold. And then he came back to say I had to delete the list.
I almost cried.
I threw myself on his mercy. I told him how many thousands of dollars I had invested in getting those names. I told him how many hours I had spent transcribing the list.
After much begging, he agreed to let me keep only the names who had opened my email. Less than 1,500 people. A very weak victory.
There IS a better way
It became obvious that what we were trying wasn’t working and I had to get better at marketing and selling. I spent hours on the internet, in high-priced seminars and conferences and reading every quality marketing book I could find. Amazon was making regular deliveries to my office. 🙂
Eventually, I stumbled on a better way centered around email marketing – automated marketing.
I changed my whole attitude about email marketing. I realized email is not the “free and easy” way to market my business. It was going to take a plan and some work. It needed a system.
I designed a campaign that attracted customers. MY specific type of customer began signing up on my website. I started to get two high-quality leads to sign up for my list each week.
I developed a series of automatic emails to send to those leads to educate them about my company. I created a Sales Warming Kit to send to prospects before our first meeting. When we went out to “sell” prospects on our services they were already sold! Not every time. But many times a prospect would describe our system to us at the sales presentation. Amazing!
My average customer value began to increase, our close rate increased by 250% and we were busy again!
Without building a marketing and sales process I don’t think I would have been able to rebuild my business. In fact, my business and marketing systems eventually became impressive enough that I was able to sell my remodeling company! That’s right, the value of my company increased because I was able to harness the power of marketing systems and automation.
Can I help you create your own marketing and sales success story?
Imagine if you could look back three years from now and tell a similar automation success story. You have a steady stream of new leads. You have happier clients because you are only working with clients that know what to expect and WANT to work with YOU. You’re getting referrals from all your clients. You’re making more money and stressing less!!
Let me help you get there.
Schedule a time to talk about your automated sales machine