What I learned from the President of EMEA Motorola operations, an ex Dallas Cowboy and a $500m CEO

I learned an AMAZINGLY important lesson last week. I don’t want more sales.

Isn’t that insane? That I would willingly tell people that I don’t want to make more sales?

Here’s the deal. What I learned (from the ex-President of Emerging Markets at Motorola and an ex-NFL football player) is that if our media business, MeBox, got 1000 orders for membership funnels in tomorrow, I’d be fine.

1000 customers is fine, 5 is dangerous

If I had 1000 orders come in, all with their deposits paid, I could take a loan out against the final balance and hire a team FAST to deliver all that work.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is when I have 5 new customers come in.

If I had 5 new customers come in, could I cope? It’s not enough to hire a new team. But it’s also too much for our current team.

I need to make sure 3 things happen.

First, that every new customer is profitable. Sounds obvious, but most of the time when we sell a core product to a customer, we don’t make much profit on them because we’ve spent so much acquiring them.

Second, I need to space out all my sales so I have enough time to qualify, consult and work with each customer.

Third, that all customers have enough trust in me for them to follow what I tell them to do. They’re already desperate to work with us, not risking anything by handing over a deposit.

So how do we do this? How do we qualify customers, space them out and make sure they’re profitable?

Our sales funnel. We need to structure our sales funnel.

I want you to imagine going to a bar and asking the first person you see to marry them. They’re probably going to say no.

Well…at some of the bars I drink at, they’re more likely to say yes…but that’s another story.

If they did say yes, they’re probably not worth marrying anyway.

So what do you do? You ask for a number, you ask for a date. You get to know someone. That’s our sales funnel.

How we get to know someone and move them through the process to total trust?

Think about your sales funnel. Think about the options you have to help people. What’s free? What’s going to cost them a small price? What’s your core

Your customers don’t want a shorter lead time between sales

sales person marketing funnel

No sales please. We’re British. Ben Rosett

One of the massive benefits of funnels and community design is shorter sales cycles. A shorter length of time between someone coming into your community and purchasing.

At first, my CEO and I thought we were geniuses. Shorter sales cycles! That’s what EVERYONE wants!

Nope.

It turns out that people don’t want shorter sales cycles. They can’t handle it. Even services and digital products need time between first contact and a sale.

I’ll give you a real life case study of where this went wrong.

We worked with an insurance agency, who offered a new type of health, life and dental insurance. They had a great product, they’d been selling it for years and it worked.

We used online advertising, funnel structures for the website, content marketing and a cloud app to take inquiries. MeBox helped that insurance customer generate close to $1 million in under 9 months.

They were not happy with that.

Imagine going from 10 calls a week. To 10 calls an hour.

The same number of staff, same sales team, same everything. Then increasing the calls from 2 a day to 80 calls a day.

They had to bring more staff in and train them. They had more people call in and need support and guidance. Their demands skyrocketed while the infrastructure stayed largely the same.

The problem is that we hadn’t allowed them to grow naturally. We couldn’t predict how many sales would come in, but it wasn’t so many that we could borrow against the income.

Lesson learned. We don’t want too many sales.

Even digital and online products require support. Online courses, worksheets etc. They all have a resource strain.

How we changed what went wrong

First, we now make sure that all our customer can expand and grow their business. This means understanding how their staff are trained and how they plan on growing. If their team aren’t willing or ready to deal with an increase in sales, we don’t work with them.

Second. We ourselves, at MeBox needed a smarter approach to selling to customers. Our process required a lot of work from the CEO, myself and our management team. We can’t grow that way. So how can we deliver the same results without getting involved ourselves?

Third and final, I learned that you need to have tough and difficult conversations with people you trust. Find people that support your growth both personally and professionally. Let them ask questions and challenge your ideas. You’ll come out a better person.

Wrap up

The process of sales, understanding what businesses can actually handle, was revolutionary to me. I understand what people mean when they say “it’s a nice problem to have!”, but the truth is that it really set us back. All of a sudden we were a company fucking up someone else’s machine. We were supposed to be helping.

What about you? Ever had a time when things went so right, they went wrong? What is it about your own sales and delivery process that you can remove from your own time? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Avatar

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.