Your Online Business Sales Cycle

Online Business Sales Cycle

 

Creating a profitable business online is a process, just like creating any other business.

And regardless of what it is that you’re offering, your cash flow is based on your sales.

Once you know and implement the online business sales cycle (which anyone can follow), you’ll be able to create consistent cash flow for your business, too.

Here are the six basic steps in the online business sales cycle:

 

Step 1. Choose Your Prospects

“Prospects” is business-speak for potential clients and/or customers. So, who is the person who is ideally suited for your product, program or service? Who’s your ideal client or customer? Who makes up your target market? Is it parents, health professionals, copywriters, dancers, artists, entrepreneurs, boat owners?

It’s critical for the success of any business to choose a group of people to work with, even if that group is very broad at first. As you become more and more aware of what kind of client or customer shows up for you, you’ll be able to more narrowly target that portion of the market, which will make your marketing a lot easier and bring you cash flow a lot quicker.

 

Step 2. Invite Them into Your Funnel

Once you know who your prospects are, you’ll want to invite them into your sales flow – in the business model I teach, I call it your Funnel – by giving them a free taste of what it is that you offer in exchange for their email address.

There are many ways to do this – creating PDFs like checklists and templates, offering free introductory webinars, virtual or live speaking, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, publishing blog posts, participating in groups made up of your target market, etc.

 

Step 3. Keep in Touch

Once your prospects are in your sales flow, you’ll want to keep in touch with them on a consistent basis.

Common marketing knowledge tells us that it takes a minimum of 5-12 times for your prospects to see your message before it even registers.

That’s why so many direct marketers will send you postcard after postcard with the same offer. They know that the only way to get you to take action on their offer is to expose you to the same or similar message over and over until you’re ready to hear it.

A very effective way to keep in touch with your prospects then is via regular email communications. Because following up with your prospects is vital to making sales from them, sending a weekly or even daily email does this work for you.

The bonus is that you can follow up with all of your prospects at once, instead of one by one, which leverages your time – something you should always be striving for.

 

Step 4. Make Offers

And because we want to leverage our time, if we’re putting in the work to connect and engage with our email subscribers regularly, then we want to make sure that we are getting a return on that investment.

To do so, you want to make at least one offer a week that can result in sales for you.

You want to be sure to provide valuable content, but you also want to make sure that you invite people to take advantage of one of your offers on a regular basis.

 

If you don’t make the ask, you won’t make the money.

 

Step 5. Master the Upsell

It takes most new small business owners awhile to grasp the concept of an upsell, but once they do, it takes their business to a whole new level.

Once you have one offer to make to your prospects, start putting together your next offer. You always want to have a place for them to go to next, always have something else to invite them to or to take advantage of.

Find out what else they want from you, then create and offer it to them.

The more products you have to offer, the more sales you’ll make because, instead of having to find new people all the time to buy your one product, you can upsell your current clients and customers into your other offer. And selling to people who have already bought from you is much easier than converting new prospects all the time.

 

Step 6. Repeat the Process

The online business sales cycle is pretty simple really. Once you’ve done it once, it’s very easy to repeat.

As you’re creating your own sales cycle, I suggest documenting what you do as you go along to make it that much easier to duplicate the next time around.

Each time you repeat the process, your list of prospects will grow and so will your income!

3 Easy & Effective Alternatives or Additions to Your Coaching Packages

One of the things I enjoy about coaching is that I get to be creative with how I work with my clients, including how to create easy coaching packages that work for both of us.

In the 15+ years that I’ve been around the coaching industry, I’ve seen a rapid change from traditional 1:1 coaching of three 45 minute sessions per month for a monthly fee to session bundles, coaching programs that last as long as a year, in-person retreats, and much more.

So there are some simple ways that you can add value to your current coaching packages, or offer these alternatives to phone-only coaching as stand-alone packages, that can be very enticing to your clients.

Consider adding any of the options below to increase the value of your packages, or offer them as a stand-alone package, giving your clients a way to work with you at a more accessible investment, as well as help you as the coach to leverage your time.

Here are three of my personal favorites:

1. e-Coaching

In addition to phone sessions, one of the ways that I’ve coached my private clients is through e-coaching, or coaching via email and/or instant messaging.

I hold a firm belief that email coaching is just as powerful, if not more so, than phone coaching – and here’s why:

When you send an email asking for help, the simple act of writing and sending it creates energy that initiates the process of an answer coming to you – and not just MY answer.

When you put a problem out into the world, not only do the synapses in your brain start firing (our brains can’t help but answer questions) to come up with a solution, but the Universe starts working in order to bring you a solution as well.

It’s why experienced coaches understand that the real coaching happens between the sessions.

And e-coaching is also just a whole lot easier – you don’t have to schedule a call, you don’t have to be tied to a phone, or even a computer (you can e-coach via smartphone). And your client doesn’t have to wait until their next session to get the support they need – they just send an email!

2. Audio Coaching

For those of you who would rather coach by talking instead of typing, here’s an idea for you.

I had a private client once who was a coach and she was happy to receive questions via email from her clients. But she preferred to answer those questions via audio. What I suggested she do was to simply call into her recording service or use the app on her phone, record her answer, and then send the client the MP3 link to listen to. She loved answering client questions this way, and they loved hearing her voice. Simple and brilliant!

3. Video Coaching

Video coaching has become popular over the last few years, but there are many coaches who still prefer phone-coaching. However, video coaching is an effective alternative and might be preferred by some of your potential clients. When I was private coaching, I did video coaching most often with my clients who lived outside of the United States via Skype. It was free for both of us and it was the next best thing to being in-person.

And you could also offer video coaching in the same way that I described above in #2. For example, I had another private client who preferred recording a quick video where she could share screenshots, links and more in response to her client’s questions and requests for help. I do this for my Lively Biz students using a free service called Loom. Sometimes it’s so much easier for me to answer a question by showing how to do something via a quick Loom video vs typing it all out.

Which one of these alternatives or additions to phone coaching could you add to your current packages or that you could create a stand-alone package to offer?

I’d love to know – share with me here

How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Struggles of Every Entrepreneur

4 Most Common Struggles of EntrepreneursWhile the message and the market of your business may be different, there are some stumbling blocks that seem to pop up for even the seasoned entrepreneur.

Here are four of the ones that I frequently coach on with my private clients:

1. Not moving ahead even when they know what to do.

Almost always, this is a fear-based immobility. Whether it’s fear of failure or fear of success (the later seems more prevalent for entrepreneurs, including myself).

We come up with all kinds of excuses as to why something isn’t getting done, but most often it has nothing to do with anything other than fear of the possible result of moving forward.

If you’re afraid of failing, remember that in our online world, we get to test things out with very little risk. My favorite strategy is to ‘fail fast’. Put it out there, see what happens, tweak until you get the result you want.

If you’re afraid of success, then you need to take a look at your Big Money Why (BMW – see #4) to see how you can make it more powerful and motivating (tip: money is never enough of a motivator, believe it or not). And you need to put a process in place for how you will handle the abundance that’s to come.

2. Being self-disciplined enough to make and stick to self-imposed deadlines.

The wonderful thing about being an entrepreneur is that you’re your own boss. The tricky thing about that is most, if not all, of our deadlines are self-imposed. Which makes them very easy to move, doesn’t it? I know because I’ve struggled with this one more than once.

If we go back to knowing what your emotionally driven motivator is for the success you desire, you’ll be more likely to stick to those self-imposed deadlines – but only if that BMW is strong enough.

Here’s a simple but very powerful tip for you in sticking to your own deadlines: Make them public. When I launched my first info-product, I told my ezine list that they would be able to buy it on a certain date, which gave me about 3 weeks to get it done. And done it was.

3. Claiming leadership status and fully stepping into the role of the CEO of your business.

Once an entrepreneur gets the foundational pieces in place for their business, it’s actually easy to stay in the start-up phase, because it’s comfortable. And because often they don’t know what the next step is, what the next layer of the business should look like, to take them to the next level.

The sooner they can take on the leadership role, by becoming the CEO of their business (even if they don’t call themselves that), the faster the growth of both the entrepreneur and the business.

One of the ways you can step more fully into that role is by delegating. So if you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re still doing too much of the managing of it, and especially if you’re doing all the admin work, and you haven’t hired an assistant yet, it’s time. Start with one small project and add from there.

For every task in your business, ask yourself, “Is this something I should be doing?”

Because remember, even if you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

If the answer is no, then pass it off to a capable assistant.

4. Having an emotionally driven motivator for your Big Money Why (BMW).

This is probably the most important one…

Money is NOT enough of a motivator, no matter how much you want it, or are attached to the ’6-Figure’ or “million-dollar’ mark. There has to be a reason behind wanting it, something that is so strong that it drives you and the business forward, no matter what.

If you find things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, or it feels too hard much of the time, or you just aren’t using your time and talent effectively, take a look at your Big Money Why. And if you haven’t done this before, then that’s your coaching homework.

In as much detail as possible, write out why you want the financial success you do. Is it to give to your family, is it to give to others, is it to create a charitable foundation, is it to take care of elderly parents, is it to enable your children to get the best education you can give them, is it to travel and expand your world view, is it to buy a nicer home for your family, is it to give experiences to those you love – they are a thousand reasons why, but you need to be very clear of what they are for YOU before you can make them happen.

Inside the Lively Biz Business Club, we focus a lot on your Big Money Why, as it’s one of the most powerful exercises for shifting the members into passionate action in their business.

Click here to get on the wait-list to be first to find out when the Club re-opens

Measure Your Results for Faster, Easier and More Success

When I was studying for my MBA, my most challenging class was statistics. And even though I managed an A- in the class, it took every one of the few analytical brain cells I had to do so.

So when I sit down to analyze the statistics of my business every year, I’m still surprised to find myself engrossed, fascinated, excited and practically dancing for joy. Armed with this critical data, now I know exactly where to spend my time and efforts going forward to receive the highest and best rate of return.

I ran a total of about 10 reports, but let me share some of what I learned specifically from my shopping cart’s reports:

CRM Stats

The backend system I use (Infusionsoft) has the ability to run sales reports in a variety of ways. Below are four of the reports I run, what my results are, and how you can apply the results to your business:

a. My Monthly Sales Totals…

…showed me how many sales I made each month, and from that information, I discovered that my best month financially was November, followed very closely by December, then January.

I reviewed my marketing and sales activities (in other words, the offers I made) for that month, and what I found was this:

In November, I opened the Lively Biz Business Club membership for the first time.

In December, I opened the Lively Biz Accelerator small group coaching program for the first time.

In January, I offered a handful of spots for private Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats with me, which always sell out very fast.

While the Club has a low price point, I designed and followed a specific launch plan, which resulted in a lot more enrollments. If you only have higher price points in you business model at the moment, consider if you can add a lower-priced leveraged offer to your menu of services.

Both the Accelerator and the Business Breakthrough Virtual Retreats have higher price points, so if you’ve already developed some products or programs at the lower-priced end of your funnel, consider adding a more comprehensive program at a higher price to your offerings to increase your bottom line.

b. My Sales by Campaign…

… showed me which special offers were the ones you were most interested in taking advantage of. Now I know which offers to consider repeating, or offering on another product or program in the future.

This is something you can do as well. Guessing if a special campaign you ran worked well or not doesn’t make good business sense. Tracking actual numbers does, however, and it’s super-simple to do if you have a backend system that has that feature.

c. My Sales by Clients/Customers…

… showed me who my top clients/customers are, what they’ve bought, and how much they’ve invested in my offerings. And since I know that one of the most effective ways to grow a business is to make additional offers to those who have already bought from me, you can bet that not only will I do that, but I’ll do it in a way that makes them feel special – because they are to me – by offering them special access or discounts or additional benefits as my way of thanking them for their continued business and loyalty.

If you track this information, you can do the same and increase your sales and your customer loyalty at the same time.

d. My “Where did you hear about us” Report…

… showed me that even though I thought that some of my online networking efforts weren’t really paying off, mainly because I didn’t think I was focusing enough time on them, I was wrong. It seems even the small amount I had been doing was making an impact.

So now I know the top three places to really focus those efforts going forward. If you’ve found online networking to be a struggle for you, tracking this information makes what can seem like an overwhelming marketing activity (some lists are SO active) into an extremely manageable and once-again enjoyable one.

I gleaned all of this information from just four reports from Infusionsoft. And this doesn’t include the reports I ran for my web stats via Google Analytics.

Measuring the results of your business activities is critical to your success, and anyone can do it (it’s really one of those “if I can, anyone can” kind of things). I really want to encourage you to take a look at where you’ve been over the past 6-12 months, analyze that data, and make some strategic decisions about where you want to focus your efforts going forward to get where you want to be.

I’d love to hear which of these tips you’re willing to embrace today. Feel free to share with me below.