Here’s (an edited version) is one of the frequent questions I get to the blog, and my answer. If you think you might find this ‘service’ useful for yourself or your business, please feel free to contact me directly on [email protected]
So, what’s my issue? I offer leadership development and coaching services, primarily to businesses (or to business people). I am based in Cardiff but my work is not generally conducted in the South Wales area. In fact, not at all so far. I used to work in the big Corporate world, and, through contacts from there, I have set up as an associate with other people who run similar businesses.
The advantage of being an associate is that they do all the work in terms of finding business, and I simply get called in to help deliver it. The disadvantage of course is that I have no immediate control over getting the work, and therefore I am at the mercy of those associate companies.
I have a wealth of experience from many years working at the sharp end of major change within organisations, and have hundreds of hours of experience coaching senior people. I am a certified (with the ICF) coach, and can really help businesses to find ways to improve their bottom line through improved performance and effectiveness of their workforce.
The trouble is a) identifying potential customers and b) getting a foot in the door to talk to those potentials. Once at that point, I am sure I can turn these leads into business.
I have a web presence, and I blog articles regularly. These have a pretty good following and attract some regular interest (but sadly not a lot of business by this direct route). (www.gyroconsulting.com)
Any insights or suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated – Louis Collins – Gyro Consulting
Firstly, I think Louis’ idea of partnering up with associates is a really good one, but he has clearly spotted the major flaw with the approach. Effectively what he is asking is how does he improve his sales approach.
His marketing is first-rate, take a look at his website, and his credentials are also first-rate. I’m sure he does a great job.
The issue for him is one of simply taking people out of his marketing funnel and through into his sales process. And doing it efficiently.
He asked about introductions as a way forward. It can be a good idea though this is a difficult strategy to maintain. You are limited by the strength of the relationship of the person doing the introduction to the person you are being introduced to. Some people I trust, and some I don’t and so it goes with introductions. In a very competitive field, this approach can be hugely beneficial, as there is no doubt it can cut through lots of messing around to get appointments.
As regards Louis’ question about a) identifying potential customers and b) getting a foot in the door to talk to those potentials he should rest assured I hear the same thing from 99% of other businesses! This really is the $64 million question.
This is very much the nature of ‘inbound’ marketing, and the problem that a lot of people face with it. They get engagement as Louis has talked about, and maybe even build a following as he has. However, that doesn’t necessarily tun into cash sales.
The good news is that most people, when they are about to ‘pull the trigger’, will research a purchase extensively. And to this end Gyro’s digital footprint is perfectly adequate. If you visit the site, you may agree it could be a more modern looking website, it’s a little hobbyist, probably a reflection of the budget Louis has to build one, and that is a problem with some of the word press themes.
Content wise its excellent, and his credentials are there for all to see. However, his target market don’t have the time to delve too deeply and I think Louis needs to hit them harder than he is and faster too.
I also think he needs to narrow his focus. I can see whats on offer, and its first-rate. but its difficult to get that across isn’t it? Every company needs a simple ‘spin’ or ‘angle’ that can differentiate you from the rest.
I recently met a coach who made a big deal out of the whole ‘Northern’ no nonsense approach that she takes. The reality was she was not really very much different from many others I’ve worked with, and I’m sure, perfectly good, but that initial differentiator was really interesting.
Whats yours? Whats your USP? That will help with the rest of your marketing immensely.
The Sales Process
Generally speaking and for Louis’ type of consultancy in particular there are a few considerations. You can pay people to introduce you, you can leverage your existing networks and ask them for leads, you can buy data bases. Or you can simply pick up the ‘yellow pages’ and call people.
It’s this bit that most people fail at. Not enough activity.
In all likelihood, what you are doing is excellent. Other than maybe paying attention to your USP of course.
However, its unlikely you are doing enough of it!
How much new business generation do you actually do? How many days per week? Or even hours per day? How many times do you call people, approach them on LinkedIn with a premium profile or even think about employing a sales agency to set appointments for you? (I know a good one Uprise Marketing in Pontypridd no affiliation)
Whatever, at the heart of solving the problem of increasing your customers, is the activity you currently do, and then doing more of it!
This is selling, as opposed to marketing (or at least as a part of marketing) I’m willing to bet your doing a great job of marketing yourself, its closing the loop that’s the problem? And it often is to be fair.
This ‘link’ or relationship between the seeding activities or the inbound marketing as its called today, is often difficult to see. And many organisations put more and more into the first rather than see there is a problem with the second.
While it’s by no means the be all and end all, there isn’t a single sales problem that can’t be over come by talking to more customers.
Yes, we can get more and more sophisticated, and we can jump in at the end of the process with a good SEO plan and maybe get really organised with some kind of automated system like those offered by Hubspot (who I heartily recommend by the way, though I’ve no affiliation)
And as Jay Baer talks about in his new book Youtility (Another recommendation! Not an affiliate link) – marketing today is about help not hype! It’s about being out there and being useful to enable you to cut through the ‘noise’.
It’s about being a resource for people before during and after the purchase. A resource that’s so valuable they would willingly pay for it.
But, and especially for the smaller scale operation, it also has to be about actually asking for the business. Inviting people to do business with you.
And doing more of this is always at the heart of driving sales.