THE BLOG

3 Simple Steps to Improve Your Sales Process

02/04/2015 02:44 pm ET | Updated Sep 25, 2015

Mandy owned a successful medical acupuncture clinic in southern California. She wanted to scale her business so invested time and money to increase the lead flow of prospective patients to her clinic. One problem -- it didn't work.

This is when I met her (she was attending a one-day workshop that myself and my co-author Jeff Hoffman were hosting in Irvine around the launch of our book, SCALE.)

A few questions later it became clear that her clinic's challenge wasn't with generating leads, it was with getting the leads who inquired to actually show up for their first appointment at the clinic. She was solving the wrong problem, throwing time and money into increasing lead flow when the real leverage point in her sales process was for her to increase the percentage of leads who came in for that first visit.

What about your business? What's the highest leverage place in your sales process to focus on improving?

One: Start by laying out your current sales process in a flowchart. Make each step in your sales process a box and link that box to the next box(es).

Every time you draw an arrow from one key step in your sales process to another key step, that arrow represents a key conversion point.

Label that conversion point with a letter; you'll use these in step two when you build your scoreboard.

Two. Create rough scorecard to track each key conversion point. Count how many prospects made into and out of each key conversion point and do a simple division of leads in divided by leads out to calculate the "conversion rate" of that step in your sales process.

If possible, go back in time and pull historic data with which to approximate your baseline conversion average at each step in your sales process.

Three. Pick one conversion point to focus on first and brainstorm leveraged improvements you could make to it over the next ninety days.

Don't try to fix the whole process all at once, instead focus on the highest leverage step in your sales process and improve that. Then move on to the next conversion point and so on.

For example, to help Mandy increase the number of prospective patients who showed up for their first appointment, we recommended she:

  • Play with the scripting her office staff used when talking with a prospect over the phone.
  • Send every prospect an electronic report prior to their appointment, building value and pre-empting the biggest reasons why someone might not show up.
  • Improve the "reminder" system they used to call, email, or text to get people to show up.

Other potential refinements to a conversion point in your sales process could include:

  • Refined sales collateral (e.g., brochure, flyer, sales presentation deck, etc.)
  • Improved sales scripting (including how to preempt, reframe, or overcome common objections)
  • Product samples or photos
  • Recorded sales presentation to help your sales team model your best practices
  • Pre-selling tools (e.g. Direct mail letter prior to visit, email sequence prior to sales appointment, prospect questionnaire, etc.)
  • Library of client testimonials and reviews (written and video)
  • Better sales paperwork
  • Automated "follow up" email sequence for all non-purchasers
  • Etc.

Again, the key is to focus on one conversion point at a time.

Your Turn

Map out your sales process. Label each conversion point (i.e. when one step or box leads to the next). Pick one conversion point to start with and brainstorm 2-3 simple enhancements you could make to improve the conversion process at that stage.

Track your results and repeat this process every 90 days.

For more ideas on growing your business, including a free tool kit with 21 in-depth video trainings to help you scale your business and get your life back, click here.