Hope you are well and are looking forward to a restful holidays.
As things start to quiet down for us over here at Unlock The Game, I usually spend this time of the year reflecting on all the changes we have seen within the businesses of our own private clients, our own business and the overall changes in the market place over the last twelve months.
Many of these changes started as little unknown variances and subtleties that we noticed within the many sales processes that we have analysed in the past year – which have now become my major predictions for the new year that could significantly impact (positively or negatively) your business in 2015.
I normally only share these predictions (which most have come true over the years) with the business owners and entrepreneurs in my Private Client Group.
But this year, I’ve decided to share them with all of my subscribers (all 73,605 of them, as of this writing) because they are so dramatic and everyone needs to be aware of them to head off major sales declines in their business next year.
On a side note, since I’ve been living in Sydney now for the last 11 years, usually during the month of December and January almost every business owner takes off for the holidays and doesn’t get back into action until late January.
Not this year. In the past couple of weeks I’ve never spoken with so many ambitious business owners who are working during December and asking to see me during the month of January for sales strategy advice.
What’s going on?
They are worried.
They know the global economy has fundamentally changed in the last 12 months.
Selling is getting harder, not easier.
If you’re planning on marketing and selling the same way you did last year, in 2015, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Here are my predictions:
1. “Random Selling” is no longer a sustainable strategy
The world of selling has dramatically shifted in the last 12 months. I don’t think anyone would argue against that fact.
What used to be a simple transaction, speak with a potential prospect and then make the sale, has become a faint memory of how it “used to be”.
The selling world has shifted from simple to complex.
Most likely you are feeling this shift in a very personal way -- through the sheer frustration of having too many choices for what you “should” be doing to create a steady stream of new paying clients.
Most Business Owners are frantically doing what I call “random selling”...meaning everything they’re “supposed” to do to feel like they are doing the best they can like: networking (not predictable or leveraged), referrals (not systematic or scalable), social media (not targeted lead generation), online content publication (the illusion of authority), and hiring new staff (huge fixed cost investment when they don’t bring in new business).
Random Selling is what happens when all the options around you reach the point where they all appear to have equal weighting. The choices are endless. Everything seems equally important, when in reality they are not.
2. Persuasion is OUT, Differentiation is IN
Selling in 2015 will truly become a battle of differentiation, and no longer a battle of persuasion.
That is a BIG statement if you believe that you or your sales team needs to get better at PERSUASION.
If you aren’t feeling the commoditization of the internet on your business (i.e. web leads only shopping you for price, being compared to a competitor one click away, low conversion from those calling you from your website, getting no respect when you are really trying to help someone, etc.), then you will real soon.
Here’s a little tip for you, even though you might think your potential clients are comparing you to someone else, the reality is, they aren’t comparing you, what they’re really doing is RANKING you based on how much they trust you and how much authority you convey.
When the world was less commoditised, conveying trust was enough to make the sale.
Now it’s only half the solution, the other half is you clearly and succinctly conveying authority and “market ownership” positioning in the niche that you do business. And by authority, I don’t mean trying to find something about your product that is different (almost impossible, since your nearest competitors can make the same claims as you), I’m talking about the total separation from you and your competitors based on your potential clients being drawn into your world as a “safe” place where by default, you are the best choice for them.
That statement draws the proverbial line in the sand that says it’s time for you to seriously consider changing the way you think about how you acquire new clients.
3. Social Media is a medium, NOT a Sales Process
I spoke with a business consultant yesterday on the phone who was looking for my advice on how to grow her business next year. I asked her where she is investing her time to create new clients, guess what she said:
a. Posting daily on her social media outlets
b. Posting daily articles to her blog
That is called BROADCASTING, with the “hope” that someone seeing her posts/content will enthusiastically contact her to inquire about her services.
Sure that can happen from time to time, but for a consistent high-growth sales strategy, that’s a pipe dream.
It’s kind of like the fantasy that we dream about sometimes hoping that a news reporter from a major news outlet will do a full profile on us and our business because we believe the general public wants to know about it. The news reporter isn’t calling anytime soon.
I worked with her on getting clear on who her ideal client is, how many paying clients she wants next year, identified where her ideal clients are clustered and outlined a strategy to draw them directly into a custom inbound trust-based funnel.
Turns out her ideal clients are not seeing her blog posts or social media posts. Now she is working with us on a targeted approach to make sure she earns the income she wants in 2015.
4. For B-to-B Businesses, the internet is like “quick sand”, take your prospects OFF the web and away from “e-media” as fast as possible
I ran a Master Class in Sydney a few weeks ago and the biggest issue that was talked about was this mad rush to keeping the majority of the sales process online.
a. Visitor comes to website
b. Submits form for white paper or widget
c. Visitor receives white paper link via email
d. Visitor downloads and reads white paper (hopefully)
c. Visitor is called relentlessly for “follow-up”
d. Visitor “hides” from the calls
What a nightmare process... the last thing you want to be doing is chasing prospects.
As one participant said emphatically: “Calling back and getting a hold of these web leads is getting almost as bad as Cold Calling!” Wow, now that’s a powerful statement.
In 2015, you need to COMPLETELY change the way you sell. When a lead comes in, do not send them anything that they need to fetch from their inbox.
Mail them something of substance in the MAIL that shows you can solve their problem and makes it clear that you are the AUTHORITY on the topic (like a “targeted” book).
Then, with the book, include a coupon for a Complimentary Business Growth Session (or whatever fits the problem you help them solve) that has an expiration date on it.
Now watch what happens when you call them back not to “follow up”, but to get some “feedback” on what you sent them.
You get RESPECT and trust, those two ingredients must be built into your sales process to succeed in the new year.
Today’s selling environment has become like a “Rubiks cube”, you’ve got infinite combinations to figure out before you find the exact one that is perfect for your business.
The only person that can pinpoint and find that combination, is someone that is not in your day-to-day operations (not even your own marketing person), but someone who has a “forest” from the “trees” perspective.
I know these predictions may trigger more questions for you and that’s good, it’s got you thinking differently, which is my goal for you in 2015.
If you’d like clarity on how to differentiate your business and sales process in 2015, create a “moat” around it so your potential clients choose you over anyone else, I’m opening up a few Complimentary One-On-One Sales Growth Sessions for ambitious business owners who are ready for a re-think of how they sell and grow their business in the new year.
Your comments and feedback are welcome below....
To your success,