I was recently interviewed on a podcast (online radio show) and wanted to share this with you on my website. You can listen to the podcast below or read the transcript.
An important part of building a business is to make sure that your sales process is as efficient and effective as possible. Today, we’re talking with Ryan Miller of RJMProfessional.com about how to identify specific parts of your sales process that you can make more efficient in order to produce better results for your business.
Ryan Miller is a sales trainer, sales coach and a sales consultant that enables business owners, sales managers and sales people to grow revenue in their organization. He does this by developing and executing a customized and strategic sales process for each client’s specific needs.
For more information on Ryan’s service, visit www.rjmProfessional.com
Full Transcript of Audio Below
We’ve transcribed the audio into text and formatted it for easy reading below. Please excuse any typos or odd wording, as this transcript is taken directly from the spoken word within the audio above.
Interviewer: An important part of building a business is to make sure that you have your sales process as efficient and effective as possible. Today what we’re talking about with Ryan is how to identify specific parts of your sales process that you can make more efficient and to produce better results for your business.
Your Sales Efforts Should Follow a Process
Interviewer: So Ryan, before we get into some of the specifics, can you share with us, if business owners that you typically work with seem to have a really specific process for their sales structure or are they just kind of approaching selling the way they’ve always done selling? Do they usually have a good process in place?
Ryan Miller: Yeah. I don’t see business owners today having any sort of articulated process when it comes to their sales efforts. What I’m seeing as a trend, probably more still now than ever, is;
- People that are very good at their trade -an expert architect, or a plumber, or whatever it may be; an IT specialist.
- They got into business for themselves because of a specific circumstance and they felt they were really good at what they did and so they went out into the marketplace, did some research and felt like they could provide a great service.
- So they get in the business for themselves and they’re able to provide a wonderful service for themselves.
But what they don’t stop and think about, is the fact that how are they actually going to sell that product or service?
- They don’t have any formalized training.
- They don’t even know how to think about selling their product or service.
- They just know that they can sell it or that they can perform that service well.
So I think that’s where they hit a road block immediately. They’re good at their trade but they just have really not a good understanding of what it means to sell.
Identify Issues Within The Sales Process Early On
Interviewer: Where would you say that road block usually becomes apparent to the actual business owner? For example, it may be apparent for you coming in or for another consultant coming in and saying “Wow you definitely don’t have this process as good as it could be” But when does the business owner start to see the symptoms of that in their actual business?
Ryan Miller: That can definitely vary depending upon industry, the circumstance that brought an end to the business for themselves, maybe they carried a big book of business into business for themselves and so maybe it takes a little bit longer. But I would say that;
- Typically there is that honeymoon phase for anybody who started a business for themselves. Usually that first year is kind of the honeymoon phase.
- Even though you’re grinding it out and it’s very difficult and you’re figuring out a whole lot, you can usually use that whole first year to make excuses as to why a business isn’t performing well especially if you have some money tucked away so it doesn’t hurt yet but you’re not generating a lot of revenue.
- So typically at about that one year mark and it could be nine months, it could be 18 months, but typically at that point you have to start growing that business.
There are some key factors that have come into place as to why they need to grow the business. Lack of money or whatever it may be, I think that’s when they really start to see that “Oh my gosh what am I doing? How do I even go out and stop?”
An Example – Fixing a Sales Process
Interviewer: That’s definitely a good insight and we’re going to get into some specifics that the listener can use to actually find those issues within their sales process. But before we do that can you give me an example of a business that you were able to identify some situation in their sales process that wasn’t ideal and what were you able to do to actually help them make that process better and then what were the results?
Can we provide kind of a clear example to the listeners before we get into the “How to” information?
Ryan Miller: Yeah absolutely. It’s going to sound kind of funny because this one probably took this guy a little bit longer.
- I sat down with an entrepreneur who was doing digital marketing and brand consulting, and he had come out of the industry working for other people, had done a really good job, wonderful quality of work.
- He got into business for himself and I think it was about two and a half years.
- He started to feel like he needed some help and he wasn’t sure what it was.
- So we sat down and we just kind of open air, had a discussion as to where he thought he was coming up short and
- I started to realize, it’s in his head, he had an idea of what it was going to take to grow his business but he didn’t know how to get there.
- So over the course of a three month period, we sat down and really built a sales process for him.
It was many pieces to that, that we could spend hours upon hours talking about but the end result, ended that being;
- I’m still working with that client a year later and
- We have seen a five times increase in revenue monthly recurring as a result of him being able to articulate that sales process
- It has increased the quality of his work,
- It has increased the quality of his life,
- It has increased the appreciation of the client to receiving.
So there are a lot of benefits to it, for the client alone. A five times increase on revenue for anybody would make people do back flips.
Identify Your Unique Value Proposition
Interviewer: One of the things I want to investigate a little further though is you mentioned helping him be able to articulate what the value proposition was and then you also talked about building out an entire sales process.
Can you explain where the biggest problem was with this particular client?
- Was it on how to actually communicate that value proposition and really figure out exactly what the value proposition was, or
- Was it more on the process of generating leads, following up with leads, proposal generation?
What side of those two options was the biggest problem on?
Ryan Miller: Gosh I hate to say this but my answer would be yes. I think that a lot of people and with this guy in general or specifically, he did struggle with his unique value proposition.
I think some of it was probably, and I think;
- Anybody that is solo especially, or even if you’re a business owner and you don’t have a lot of support,
- If you have a hard time seeing how good you really are at what you do, then
- Because you have a hard time seeing yourself for that,
- You have a hard time demonstrating that to people that you’re trying to sell to.
So you don’t even know what your unique value proposition really is because you don’t really see that for yourself.
So I think that was definitely what step one was. I’m able to see insight of other people but a lot of times that they’re not able to see insight of themselves. So by being able to see that in him, and beginning to instill confidence in him that say like “No no no, you are really good at what you do.
- Let me explain to you why” and so sometimes it just takes an outside resource to be able to look at someone and say “Not only this is what you’re good at but this is why you’re good at it”.
- And then this is how it’s going to play out into the rest of your sales process.
If you don’t have a unique value proposition, I think that everything else after that just completely stalls.
Interviewer: And how do you extract some of that? From a business owner that you’re speaking with, how do you get to the “Why they’re good at what they’re doing”. Is this something you can do within an initial consultation on maybe in hours conversation or is this the fruits of maybe a 30 day process that you’ve gone through with that particular business owner? How do you extract that type of really valuable information?
Ryan Miller: It’s kind of a multi step process but typically a consultation is key for anything.
- Learning as much as I can from them just talking about themselves, talking about their business, their experience, their lifestyle, there’s so much to that. And then,
- Depending upon the complexity of the product or service that they’re selling, really determines whether that could be done in an hour, not the consultation but the follow up meeting, that could be done in an hour or it can be done over the course of a few months.
The more complex the offering, sometimes the more complex that articulation of the unique value proposition really becomes.
5 Steps That Make An Efficient Sales Process
Interviewer: So it sounds like it’s definitely something that you dig in deep and you kind of use your experience of having done this probably a few times to really help a business owner that’s not sure how to do that, get the information out there.
Can we go through a little bit more about some of the processes, the process side of the sales process, not so much the value proposition and the messaging side of things, but can we talk through some of the process part of sales such as;
- How to manage your follow up process,
- How to keep track of deals that are in your pipeline,
- What are some of the challenges that you see business owners have there and
- What are some tools and systems that they can use to address some of those challenges?
Ryan Miller: Yeah absolutely. I kind of believe that there are five main steps to any business’ sales process. First and foremost, and I could spend hours upon hours on each one of these, but just to briefly kind of give you an understanding.
First one is identifying your ideal client – If you don’t know who you’re going after, then you’re going to have a hard time building a sales process because you just don’t know who you’re catering to. So that’s step one and that could include the type of business, the industry, the specific buyer, what they look like, smell like, and talk like, there’s depth to that.
How are you going to engage your prospects once you identify who they are? How are you going to engage them? That is a depth of marketing in itself.
- The vehicles that they’re going to use,
- the frequency by which they’re going to communicate and then
- what kind of accountability are you going to instill with into your organization to make sure that what you’re putting out there is actually providing a return.
How you then turn those prospects into clients, a callback activating. How are you going to make them a client?
- What steps is it going to take?
- Do you have to have them sign a contract, do you have to go through a multifaceted process to make sure that your team on your end is all in place and ready to accept whatever business may come in as a result.
- So you need to make sure that each one of those steps is properly written down and understood by all parties involved to make sure that you’re delivering the best product possible.
So that’s three. Identifying, Engaging, and Activating.
The client experience – You want to create the best client experience possible. I’m sure that many people on the call today have heard that people provide great customer satisfaction, number one in satisfaction. The funny thing is you probably hear very much about somebody like JD Power and associates being touted as Sole Source of Satisfaction.
- Everybody provides satisfaction nowadays but what is the client actually expecting from you? It’s much more than satisfaction, it’s expectation.
- So what does your client want, when do they want it, and how do they want it?
- It’s not one size fits all anymore, regardless of what you’re selling.
- You want to be able to limit your client’s sacrifice.
I heard a great story one time about the fact that everybody is willing to give up something to get something else. Maybe for you;
- You go to your favorite restaurant because they serve the best steak imaginable but you’re willing to drink diet Pepsi even though you love diet Coke.
- So you’re sacrificing you drink preference because of the steak that you’re eating.
- Well every customer in your business, when they make a buying decision, they’re sacrificing something for something else.
- You need to understand what they’re willing to sacrifice and then limiting that.
Maximize revenue from your clients – You want to ensure the greatest amount of revenue per client and I don’t mean taking advantage of clients. This is where some people misstep.
- You don’t want to get too much out of the client but you want to make sure that your clients understand what you offer, what they’re buying and can they use more of what you offer.
- Sometimes people are happy to just land the client and you totally miss out on providing them product B, C, D, and E because you’re just happy to get product A sold to them.
So those are typically the five steps that I believe any business should have if they are to say “I have a great sales process and it’s something that I can begin acting upon”.
Focus on Selling to the Right Prospects
Interviewer: So I think it’s really helpful to put it into a simple five step process like that. One of the things I’d like to conclude on, is giving somebody a very specific next step that they can use out of today to actually implement some of this within the next one to two hours.
So related to those five steps that you mentioned, what steps can a listener do today within the next one to two hours of time to actually make their sales process better or help them develop the sales process from scratch, what would you say is what they should they spend their next one to two hours on for this?
Ryan Miller: I definitely think that the key for any business owner is to identify step one, which was the type of client that you’re selling to, the type of client that you want to sell to, and where you think you’ve missed the boat if you are not selling to your ideal client.
The reason that I say that that’s really important is because you, selling to the wrong clients, has a majority of random occasions. One is obviously, it can just drive you absolutely crazy when you’re selling to people that you want to, but secondly and probably more importantly, especially the smaller the business that you have, so the less time you have to do things.
- When you’re focused on the wrong clients you are missing the boat on the right clients and
- It’s the right clients that will pay you more, they’ll be easier to deal with, and they’re going to have a greater appreciation for what you’re providing to them
- Which then will allow them to go tell more people about you, which grows your business, and
- They want to buy more from you which grows your business.
Ahead of that first identifying category, you can really get a lot of approve.
Interviewer: I definitely agree and I was thinking that would be the answer that you put out there for this particular question. Just to summarize for the listener.
Quick Recap And Next Actions
Interviewer: There are really three key things I think you can get out of today’s interview.
- Focus on your sales process – The first thing is that you need to make sure to actually focus on your sales process. You’ve probably been in business for a while, you’re definitely good at what you do, but you might not have a really defined process for how you actually sell in your business and that’s something that Ryan was really helpful to provide some insight on, specifically Ryan talked about a five part process.
- Identify your ideal client – Figuring out how you’re going to engage with them. How are you going to turn those prospects, from prospects, into clients? How are you going to make sure that they have a good client experience that you’re meeting and exceeding their expectations and that you’re making sure to not sacrifice things that they’re not willing to sacrifice?
- Maximize revenue from clients – Then lastly, making sure you maximize revenue from your clients by providing the most value that you can. That five part process was really helpful and Ryan clarified at the end, that’s figuring out who your ideal client is. That you should actually be targeting and working with is really the key piece to all that.
So as an action item out of today, you can visit Ryan’s website to see his 9 session sales training course or the free content that he has on his website. You’ll be able to learn specific things that you can use to help improve your sales process and also some exercises that you can go through within the training program to actually identify your ideal client to improve your sales process.
Thank you so much for your time today Ryan.
Ryan Miller: Thank you.