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Use the Pipeline Selling View for Faster Business Growth

Medford, Oregon, September 27, 2014 — For years I’ve heard Dan Kennedy say that Marketing *IS* the business, and determines your growth, and that what your business actually does or produces is “just the deliverable.”

BlueGraphAnd this made sense because being in business means trading your product for money. And therefore the part where you get the money is at least half the business.

Many Entrepreneurs Ignore Marketing. Oops!

But I’ve noticed that many entrepreneurs focus only on production — the auto mechanic goes into business himself so he can work on cars, the baker starts a business so he can bake — but though their work may be superlative, the world does not beat a path to their doorway, and they wonder why. It’s obviously because they ignore the half of their business which creates the money. (Perhaps they ignore it intentionally, hoping that the pesky problem of marketing will go away if they ignore it.)

And just this week, I had the epiphany that made it all so clear. Just look at this picture —

I was working with Pipedrive, a CRM (customer relationship manager) software oriented to selling. Which is exactly what we should all be doing more of.

The thing about Pipedrive is that the default and most important view is of the ‘Sales Pipeline,’ which means how some now-unknown person out in the universe moves, step by step, to become your paying customer. This will be clearest if you see what this Sales Pipeline looks like —

Here’s what It Means

I’ve divided up the sales process into five parts that make sense to me. You might use different labels, but for our example let’s use these labels and assume we’re selling Cadillacs. We have these five actions that we, or our business, must take, over and over, day by day, ongoingly —

  1. Prospecting — These our our Outreach projects. It would include any advertising (banners, direct mail, seo, newspapers, cold-calling) that reaches out into the universe to find prospects for what we sell.
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  2. Presentation — This is the stage where we make a pitch, demonstrate the product, take the prospect for a test-drive in the case of a Cadillac.
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  3. Closing — This is the stage where we get a “Yes,” and fill out the sales form, and get payment and signature as required to make it a confirmed sale.
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  4. Follow-Up — Although there will have been follow-up actions previously, this official stage is for all of the staying in touch that keeps new customers happy, and where you gather any information that will be needed to deliver your product. (For the Cadillac, it would be filing the registration papers with the state, gassing up the car and any final checks in the shop, writing down the mileage, etc.) In my example I’ve included a “Milk Run,” which is a weekly check-in with your top 10-16 prospects who haven’t bought yet.
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  5. Fulfillment — Here is where you Deliver what you have Offered. In the case of the Cadillac, you give the guy the keys and his paperwork, and off he goes.

Such a sales process could be easily devised for any business. Because these are the typical actions that occur with the prospects who become your paying customers.

Where Is Your Company Breaking Down?

If there is no prospecting, then you’ll have few or no people arriving on the left side of our pipeline. If you don’t capture some information so you can successfully arrange a presentation, then the people who do show up will move no closer to a sale. If you don’t ask for the sale, and succeed, then none of these presentations turn into money. If you don’t follow-up, many “sold” or “nearly sold” prospects simply drift away, because you forgot about them and something else captured their interest.

And finally you have Fulfillment, where you deliver what you offered. This is the part where nearly all of us tend to focus ALL of our efforts — the mechanic focusing on fixing cars, the baker focusing on baking — and because the earlier stages were neglected, the mechanic has few cars to repair, and the baker sells few baked goods.

The Selling View of Business

Now here’s the new idea:   What if you viewed your entire business from this viewpoint?

What if your ENTIRE BUSINESS was seen as this five-step operation?

Wouldn’t that cause you to see the entire thing in a different way?

You could not ignore the steps that attract and land the money. You could not focus only on production (Fulfillment). And how could your business languish or go broke if you ALWAYS had your eye on the essential steps that brought the money?

It would also become obvious just which of the five steps — prospecting, presentation, closing, follow-up, and fulfillment — is working the best, and which stages need improvement. And this will guide you to the exact steps needed to incrementally improve your business, better and better and better. By focusing in the right place, and fixing the most important things, you step into the company of the world’s most profitable organizations.

Why Some Companies Grow

Have you ever wondered why some companies grow? Even when their products or services are .. second-rate?

  • Maybe you know burger shops better than McDonalds … but McDonalds grows, year after year
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  • Maybe you know jewelers better than Tiffany’s … but Tiffany’s knows how to sell.
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  • Maybe you know banks that treat you better than Bank of America … but Bank of America prospers.
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  • Maybe you know car mechanics better than the dealership … but the dealership shop stays full, week after week.
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  • Maybe you know books better than “Bongo Playing for Dummies” … but the “for Dummies” line sells millions of books.

The Secret Formula Hidden in Plain Sight

It’s really not a mystery.

So I wonder why it took me so many years to see it clearly.

It’s all around us, just about every single day … Look at the companies that grow. They’re easy to spot. They advertise. Their messages are all around you.

Ask yourself: Do they focus on operating a strong, systematized selling system?

You will see that they do. So if you want more growth, the roadmap is clear. Do what they do. Focus on operating a strong, systematized selling system. Succeed at this and you will grow. You cannot do otherwise than to grow.

Take a Look at the Selling View of Business

And start growing.

 

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References:   Books by Dan Kennedy, such as “No B.S. Sales Success in the New Economy.”  And Click Here for information about the Pipedrive CRM.

 

 

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