Solo entrepreneurs and small business owners from all industries can learn how the sales cycle works to help them set realistic goals for acquiring new customers and clients.
Building momentum is key to generating leads that become customers. My analogy is to imagine a steam locomotive moving along railroad tracks. To keep the locomotive moving, someone had to be in the coal car.
Referring to people, cold calling, and finding potential clients via social media are like putting coal in the boiler. When you start or rebuild your sales cycle, be prepared to work.
Generating Qualified Leads
Selling is more than just scrolling through numbers. Qualified leads are the first step to a successful sales cycle. You must ask yourself: Who is really interested in what I have to offer?
You might have many different answers. Chiropractic care can be provided to patients of all ages, including seniors and active pre-teens. A chiropractor could set up a sales cycle for specific patient types. A chiropractor might offer specials during May to students who have been carrying heavy backpacks for school. This promotion should begin 60 days before the launch date.
Maybe there is a half-marathon or marathon in your area. A chiropractor might then start promoting the service to runners around 90 days prior to the event. This is the start of the sales cycle. It generates qualified leads, people who might be interested in the service.
Share with Leads
My case is that I offer website marketing and article marketing to small business owners and independent professionals in various industries. Every few weeks, I choose a new initiative to contact. I am asking them if they would be interested in more information.
At this stage, my goal is to find people who want more information. This could be via my website, a letter to them, or an initial appointment to learn more about their goals and needs. This is where you can set expectations about how the product/service will work.
Set up a sales appointment
If necessary, I will set up a sales appointment after the initial meeting. After I have made sure that the customer or client is ready to purchase, it’s now time to address any concerns. Set up a sales appointment if they need more information. After sharing information, move them on. You can either say, “Great, let’s get started on that date” or “Let’s get started by —,” and they will let your know what actions they would like to take.
Make sure you have everything they need to purchase the product. It doesn’t have to be difficult and not seem too big. They’ve been through the sales cycle, so there’s no reason to stop them from buying.
Understanding the time it takes to build momentum and generate appointments, and sell is critical. It took me six to seven months to get referrals and speak at local events for foster families and adoptive parents when I was working in the nonprofit sector. After one year, referrals started to increase, and we created a comprehensive community marketing campaign.
We started out with three clients when I founded a small marketing agency. After six months of hard work, I noticed an increase in inactivity. It took me a year to start to see referrals, but then two years later, I began to see a steady flow of leads.
Solo professionals or small business owners can set their sales goals and expectations. By understanding the sales cycle, they will be able to know how to make qualified leads and sell.