May 12, 2021
Mark Stewart - Key Account Executive
Sales is the lifeblood of any successful organization looking to grow. And that process begins with lead generation.
While everyone has their own ideas about what does or doesn’t work when it comes to specific sales techniques, I think we can all agree on the basics. You find new leads, nurture relationships, close some business, then rake in the profits and watch your bank account soar. You win some. You lose some. And—if you’re not tracking—you may forget to follow up and miss out on some. Sounds about right. But how do you get a new prospect from point A to B? And more importantly, is there a way to do better and close more business?
The solution is to develop a clear, effective, and repeatable process—one that’s easy to communicate and get your team on board with. That may sound easier said than done, but the good news is there’s no need to take a shot in the dark or reinvent the wheel. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure to work with many pest control organizations just like yours, and the most successful ones all use a similar system. In fact, I’ve personally seen companies double their growth just by incorporating some of the methods outlined here.
Step One: See Where You’re At
Gut instincts can definitely lead you in the right direction, but smart operators know that decisions based on hard facts usually pay off the most. Before you make your next move, you need to ask some key questions and find out how your sales team is doing. Are they consistently following up with leads? How many have they converted into customers? How many were lost? If any opportunities are stalling out or on hold, why?
It may sound a bit elementary, but answering these questions can provide some eye-opening insight and possibly reveal the secret to improving your close rate. For example, if your team has many open opportunities, it may mean they’re spread too thin. In that case, it’s probably a good idea to add new personnel or consider dividing teams into lead generators and closers. If your software can send automated reminders, like voicemails or emails, to remind potential customers about your service offerings, then maybe it’s time to take advantage of those features.
Likewise, if you find that your team is losing a large percentage of sales due to client objections, then perhaps it’s time for some additional training. In this case, getting down to the “why” is where the magic happens. Was the price too high? Was it a case of bad timing? Were they already doing business with a competitor? Once you find out, you’ll be able to train your team accordingly on how to address common issues and overcome those objections. Your software can help here too if it allows you to record this type of information, bringing us to the next part.
Step Two: Track, Manage, and Advance
Next, you need to find a simple and repeatable way to track and manage your process. Then, you can look for ways to add efficiencies and make improvements. In order to do this, your salespeople need a quick and easy way to capture and view crucial information. This is where lead progression software comes into play. But even if you don’t have access to a solution like PestRoutes or a system with these capabilities, it’s still vital to find a way to record this information—even if you have to rely on the trusty pen and paper.
A two-pronged approach works best here. First, you need a method for your salespeople and technicians in the field to record and access this information while on the road. You may be thinking, “the sales team makes sense, but why do technicians need access?” Picture this: your technician is in the field and just completed a job. Wouldn’t it be awesome if they could quickly see if there are any prospects in the area they could check in on? Imagine how many extra opportunities you could close just from that alone.
Next, you need a way to view this information in the office so you—or whoever’s in charge of your sales team—can quarterback the process. From here, you should be able to track that key information we talked about in step one. You can also get a quick heads up on where prospects currently are in the pipeline, which in turn can reveal any potential customers who haven’t been contacted yet. When things get busy, it’s easy to let a few prospects fall through the cracks from time to time. That’s why, if possible, it’s a good idea to leverage your technology to send those automated follow-ups we talked about earlier.
It’s definitely a good idea to contact your software provider to see what they have to offer in the way of lead progression solutions. I don’t want to sound self-serving here, but if you’re a PestRoutes client, you’re in good shape—all this functionality and more is waiting to be explored. Just saying.
Step Three: Get The Service Agreement
Once you’ve gotten to this stage, you may think your work is done. But not so fast. As any good marketer will tell you, happy customers can be your best ally when it comes to finding new prospects. So, put your best foot forward in the field and leverage your technology and automation tools to strengthen your relationships. And don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and referrals while you’re at it. Your software may be able to help you there too, by sending automated messages prompting them to do just that.
This is also a good time to note that if you’re using a third-party platform or DocuSign-type solution, there are some efficiencies waiting to be explored here as well. Your software should have some sort of built-in service agreement functionality that will automatically add the customer’s information. If not, you’ll need to manually enter that data into the agreement, which can take precious time and attention away from other matters. Anyone who’s seasoned in this game knows time is of the essence. Automating routine data entry like this can literally shave a day off your process. Just think about what that extra time could mean for your business.
Step Four: Repeat
Once you hit this point, it’s time to go back to square one and look at your reporting to see if there are additional areas to improve your process. As you know, an owner’s job is never done, and the business of adding efficiencies and making improvements to your organization is never truly finished. Only by continuing to evolve will your business be able to reach its full potential. By implementing the method outlined here, you’ll be on your way.