Everything is sales-driven
In the 1980’s I was a financial planner and fortunate to work for what was then Hambro Life Assurance (now Allied Dunbar). Then, it was an owner-managed business and Sir Mark Weinberg was the inspirational leader who drove a talented management team to build a young, upstart, unit-linked life assurance company that “broke all the rules” – not in terms of business ethics but in terms of changing an industry that had been stuck in its ways since the Battle of Waterloo. Fortunate, because they taught me to sell, to be proud of my profession and to to acquire all of the skills around personal and professional development that have served me since. Earlier this year I reached a moment of truth – realising that “passive marketing” had provided me with a highly-leveraged one-man consultancy that had reached a plateau of earnings – and that if I wanted to grow a “bigger business” I would have to do something differently. The difference (after possibly 2 years of contemplation) was the initially reluctant conclusion that I had to revert to my 80’s persona (although not clothing style and haircut!) that made me succesful in the first place. To start actively selling The Dental Business School – which we have been doing again this year. With the help of Team CB and especially the talents of my sales manager, Paul Nelson (he of the knotted handkerchief earlier this week), we have galvanised our sales (lead conversion) systems to add to our already robust marketing (lead generation) systems. Business is just as hard to come by as it was always – prospective new clients (PNC’s) still procrastinate and wriggle on the hook – but we firmly and ethically keep tabs on them. The biggest single difference has been introducing “taster days” which allow those PNC’s to attend a Dental Business School workshop and see me in action as well as mingle with existing clients at various stages of coaching. It has been extremely successful as well as introducing a valuable and profitable new income stream. It has also been an enormous reminder to me that there are no “get rich quick” formulas and also that the much vaunted “passive revenue” cult that has grown in coaching, consultancy and internet marketing is just snake-oil being sold to desperate practitioners who struggle to find clients. I wouldn’t describe us anything remotely like an insurance sales outfit – but I would describe us as a sales-driven organisation again. Too many coaches, consultants and even dentists think that if they put enough effort into marketing, the clients/patients will come. Remember Kevin Costner’s famous quote in “Field of Dreams” – “If we build it – they will come”? Well in practice-building – it doesn’t work. If you build it – they will put it into their “around to it” pile. You have to take your products and services to the market, create visibility, create a reputation for value – that’s all marketing. But every working day, somebody in your organisation needs to ask people to buy and eliminate their reasons for delaying that decision. How robust are your lead conversion systems?