If you promote a business on the Internet today, you probably use a variety of tools to attract customers to that business and then have additional software or web-based systems to manage those customers through the sales process.
About this time of year, those frustrated from slumped sales, lower website visitation, increased competition and less money to work with than the year before start looking for solutions to the problem.
I’ve been really getting into a television series over the past year called
The Profit, where millionaire entrepreneur and investor, Marcus Lemonis, partners with companies to help turn them around. His three areas of focus are fixing the product, people and process.
In every episode I’ve watched, the owners of the company have been working hard at improving their “product” over a period of years. The fireworks happen between “people,” of course, as you would expect from a reality t.v. show.
But, for some reason, there is NEVER any mention of business owners working to improve their “process” until Marcus takes over.
When the business started, the original owners would put their “process” in place and that process was used from day one to where they are todayLosing sales and gaining debt.
That fact struck me a few months ago as I realized the commonality between The Profit and growing a business using the Internet. When sales are down, business owners tend to criticize their product or blame their people. The resulting actions taken usually involve:
- Firing the web guy (or gal) – ALWAYS the first move! After all, it must be his (or her) fault why the website isn’t converting leads and sales like it used to.
- Lowering the cost of help – Outsourcing has become so popular because business owners believe their local people are not performing to the expectation level of what they cost. So, why not fire them, outsource the work, spend less, and just lower performance expectations? Sad but true, folks. Sad, but true.
- Lowering price – Justified with the false belief that people just are not buying anything anymore.
Well, what a pathetic ride that is! Please don’t be that person!
Improve Your Process for Control and Profit
Personally, and Marcus might differ with me on this opinion, but I believe you can improve your sales in quantity AND dollar value far more quickly by changing your process than if only the product or people are changed. What “process” is your first-time visitor brought through when he or she enters your website? How can it be improved to get the sale…and get the sale FASTER?
If you want to get out of that sales slump, or break through the sales revenue plateau you’ve been trying to break through for years, you’re going to need to carefully evaluate (and potentially change) your process. That change in process could involve a transition to new tools for better management of a lead and customer…throughout the entire period a person is a customer.
How do you know if your process needs a closer look? Well, that answer is an easy one.
Over the past year, I’ve been working very closely with clients to upgrade their business and sales process. Thinking back to our discussions before the process change was agreed to, I can remember the extreme emotional cost my clients were going through because they had not focused on process change before that point.
Consider the following indicators as to whether a change in process is a possibility for your business.
You may be ready for a change in your web marketing, lead gen, lead cultivation, sales, fulfillment, and even your overall business PROCESS if you are:
- Abandoned by your helpers because they just can’t stand dealing with the multiple components of, or archaically manual, process anymore
- Abusive toward your customers because YOU are the one that’s unorganized but you take it out on them
- Afraid when the phone rings because you’ve spent more money than you’ve made and have creditor hell hounds on your trail
- Alcohol or drug dependent due to complete business overwhelm
- Alone in a vast sea of high tech sharks
- Angry that you can’t do what you want to do because yet another feature you need is not available
- Avoiding logging in to make a change for fear of breaking something
- Ashamed to tell people what you use because it’s so old and out-of-date
- Annoyed by lack of technical and training support
- Begging for your money back because you can’t figure out how to get started
- Badly misguided by a helper you thought knew what he/she was doing
- Blaming others for your lack of leads and sales
- Bored of your work because you see no other options for expanding
- Broken from lack of sales and thinking of closing up shop
- Cancelled from your merchant account for “7” years because you online transaction process was not PCI Compliant
- Cheating your family from your time because you work overtime in your business
- Confused by what features you have versus what you don’t
- Delaying delivery of sold products because you have to do everything manually
- Distracted by new fads that require weeks or months to experiment with before they’ll even potentially help you make more leads or sales
- Dangerously close to turning off everything and going out of business
- Difficult to pin down for a decision
- Disliking using the Internet to grow your business
- Defeated because you feel you’ve tried everything to increase your leads and sales and nothing has worked
- Damaged mentally by being so stressed out every day for so long
- Denied credit because you are so behind in payments due to long-time low revenue
- Depressed because you just don’t know how people are making money on the web these days
- Drugging yourself to sleep every night just to get some rest
- Dishonest to your spouse and family about your income
- Damaging your relationship with your customers by missing appointments
- Divorcing because your failing business was the final straw
- Diseased due to huge amounts of stress from your business over many years
- Dreading the next round of payments to keep all your web marketing tools functional
- Ending one direction in your business and starting a new one
- Excusing technical issues because they happen all the time and you’re used to it
- Embarrassed by a broadcast email that sent the same message to your customer list eight times!
- Enemies with your IT person
- Fearing the next round of plugin updates will take down your website again
- Fighting with software developers to get that API working again!!
- Furious when your support ticket hasn’t been responded to in four days
- Failing to grasp how all your systems and software work together
- Forced to upgrade software required for your business to function and features you need are removed
- Falsely lured into a “costly” shopping cart that can’t do what the salesperson said it could to
- Guilty of manually sending an email to a new customers after he buys something because your system doesn’t send an email automatically after a purchase
- Hateful of social networking because you feel it’s just a time suck
- Hurt financially when someone demands a refund because the product was never delivered
- Hiding from your customers by not taking their phone calls
- Hungry every day because you don’t have time to get lunch because you’re buried in administrative tasks
- Horrible at managing multiple priorities and your business suffers because of it
- Harming your own business spending so much time on the techy aspects instead of selling and promotion
- Humiliated that your competition has passed you by
- Ignoring money producing tasks because you’re stuck managing programmers and developers on technical tasks
- Insecure about your online transaction process being NOT secure!
- Ill constantly from overstress and overwork
- Jealous when you hear about people making money online with sales funnels and auto-responders…and you don’t know what either of them are
- Killing yourself by working 18 hours a day when you know a lot of the work could be done automatically if you made some changes but you don’t have time to make those changes so you just choose to suffer
- Lying to yourself that no changes would help
- Losing current customers to your competitors more than this time last year
- Neglecting your followers and list subscribers because you just don’t have anything interesting to send to them
- Never seeing sales increases per month and only decreases
- Only getting an initial sale and never up-sell, cross-sell or back-end sell
- On a first name basis with “3” or more API developers
- Pessimistic toward your business growing over the next three years
- Problem solving challenged because your decisions haven’t worked out well lately
- Poor and still spending money on web tools that are not helping you sell!
- Poisoning your good products and services with horrible customer service
- Rude to your helpers because they ask you one too many times how to do something in your legacy custom CRM
- Sad to hear your industry is growing but your sales are shrinking
- Sorry you were not open to looking at more efficient business management systems earlier
- Stuck with a system made 10 years ago that doesn’t work with anything today
- Testy every time a customer calls to ask you a question
- Unable to conduct business for two weeks because you just discovered Act! doesn’t work with the Windows 10 upgrade
- Upset that your website developer hasn’t called you back in a week
- Wasting time and opportunity
- Worried you’re going to have to layoff your staff if sales do not increase soon
There are probably 100 additional indicators of a process needing improvement than what’s on this list. If any of them resonate with you, realize you are not alone. In fact, most peopleincluding your competitors—are in the same boat right along with you.
My question for you is this: Is growing your business and making a profit important enough for you to finally take a step toward turning your business around?
You Don’t Have to Wait for “The Profit” to Turn Your Business Around for You
If you can relate to any, some, or all of these process pain points, please call me immediately at 720-535-9285 for a no-obligation discussion about how we could work together to improve your business management and sales process…for PROFIT!
You are welcome to use my contact form and send a request by email, but eventually, we’re going to just need to get on the phone. So, we might as well just get to it!
Also, who is that one business owner friend or family member suffering from any, some or all of these process pitfalls? Please share this post with that person and encourage him or her to contact me for a no-obligation consult.
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Marty Dickinson is the Here Next Year Web Marketing Club manager and author of Lions Always Win: How to Spot What You Want in Business and Life…and Get it Too!. Without knowing what you truly want, and the tools to get you there, your business is guaranteed to fail.