As we hunker down for the biggest selling season of the direct sales year, it may seem like sales are coming easier – and in a way they are easier. People are a bit looser with their wallets because they’re planning to spend money: for friends, family, teachers, and themselves.
But don’t be fooled, just because money’s flowing a bit more freely doesn’t mean you can be lax in building your business. In fact, now is the time to cultivate stronger relationships in your business to ensure smoother cash flow year round.
Building Your Sales: Understanding the Sales Cycle
Think of building your sales and customer loyalty as two halves of a circle. Building your sales is all about generating revenue and building loyalty is about ensuring sustainability, making any season a strong selling season.
Let’s start with building your sales. In the next post in this series, I’ll discuss building customer loyalty. Imagine your business is the hub of a big wheel. From that wheel, six spokes keep everything stable and moving:
#1: Meeting new people – This is where most consultants spend the most time and get the most discouraged. They’re “bumping carts” at the local grocery store, passing out business cards at networking functions, and getting frustrated at the lack of results.
While it’s important to meet new people, you need to spread your efforts around into other marketing areas as well.
#2: Lead generation – Whether it’s through your internet presence, speaking engagements, vendor events or home shows, these are people that have expressed an interest, but haven’t become a client yet.
These folks are your “maybe” pile. This is the second most frustrating place on the wheel, yet a very necessary component of your business marketing. Until these people get to know you, like you, and trust you more, it’s unlikely you’ll ever turn them into a client.
A word for warning: never count a “maybe” as a “yes.” Until the contract is signed, the payment is made, or the show is on the books, it’s NOT a client relationship; it’s still a maybe. Period.
#3: Working with clients and customers – Team members, paying guests, and hosts all constitute your client base. If you serve them and you are compensated for serving them, they are your customers.
Most people would believe that this is where the money is made, and while you definitely generate revenue here, you’ve still got to develop long-term loyalty to make your business work.
Next time, we’ll discuss the other half of the sales cycle, and how to build a loyal base of business customers that continue to buy from you for months and years to come.
In addition to founding #dstips on Twitter, Lisa also publishes the popular and highly recommendedPartyOn! A weekly ezine for direct sales professionals. Get your free business building tips at Home Party Solution.com.