Lessons from sales failures

Sales and marketing

Lessons learned from recent introductory event

Recently, I ran an introductory evening event called “sales growth evening”.

It was designed to teach the audience some sales techniques and get them thinking about how to structure their business in a way that will attract the right clients and at better fees.

At the end, those who wanted could sign up to one of my workshops or apply to work with me privately (yes, I seek applications for this now because I only work with clients who are the right fit).

The introductory event was promoted by an external party and they also managed the logistics.

As the headline to this tip would suggest, the evening produced a disappointing result in terms of sales.

It may come as a shock – but yes, even sales consultants can make sales mistakes. The important thing is that we take lessons from these mistakes. And I’m sharing my lessons with you so that you can apply some of these lessons in your business.

Mistake 1 – Poor targeting

The first mistake was that the people who came to the event weren’t the ideal audience. It was clear through the interactions we had that now wasn’t the right time for most them to work with me.

In our focus to generate revenue in an efficient way, we didn’t choose the right people to get in front of. And as a result, it was hugely INEFFICIENT – the opposite of what we wanted to achieve.

LESSON – It sounds counter intuitive, but reducing the potential pool of clients you want to target will create better results for you. The more specific you get, the easier it is to attract those clients to you.

Mistake 2 – Gave the audience too much choice in the wrong context

If you’ve been reading my Tuesday’s Tips regularly, you would have heard me talk about packaging your services up. One of the benefits of smart packaging is that you can give your clients the “perfect” number of choices that makes their buying process easier.

The mistake I made at the intro event was that I gave them the menu of services I had on offer. While that normally works on websites and when having conversations (depends on the conversation), it simply didn’t work at the event.

One of the reasons was because it was a short event. Second was because it was an educational event – I had already given them so much to think about and learn, their brains could not handle so much more.

LESSON – Packaging your services isn’t all you need to do. You need to know when to offer the right packages. That is, you need a clear sales process for different situations.

Mistake 3 – Team not up to speed on the sales process

The other mistake I made was that I didn’t prepare the team for the sales that we did make on the night.

We had a way to collect payments but we didn’t have:

Answers to common questions clients would want to know about the workshops
Sales and after sales process in place for after the event (who was going to call, follow up etc) so the team couldn’t tell the clients what would happen next

Part of this was that it was the first time I had worked with this company to promote my events and I had inaccurately assumed they would take care of that process for me.

LESSONS – Never assume the team knows the after sales process and answers to all the other questions that you know. It is your responsibility to invest in your team to ensure they’re equipped to make your life easier.


Jenny Tse

Jenny Tse

Owner at Licence to Bill™

I am a speaker, published author, sales strategist and coach to small businesses. Over the past decade, I've worked with some of the largest organisations in the world, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Macquarie Bank and have been invited to speak at the National Audit Conference hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants. I'm brought in by clients increase their revenue. I run a 3 day sales and communication workshop where I teach my 12 step sales process. www.licencetobill.com.au

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Leo Eliades

Leo Eliades , Owner at INSPIRENOW PTY LTD

Hi Jenny, thank you for sharing your honest experience. I can identify with all of these. often we want to please our clients so much that we do provide too much information. I was often guilty of this. When we do, I agree we overload the minds of our potential clients that we are wanting to serve. In my experience we do not like to be in a position where we have no choice and then we also like too much choice even less. I believe a good number our minds can deal with is 3 choices. Articulating the challenges is part of the solution and is extremely positive! and target audience, another good one!

Ling Lee

Ling Lee , at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

I guess its always about finding that balance between not enough and too much information!