When I initially consult with professionals I generally ask a very similar series of questions.
- I ask them to tell me what their key frustrations are and tell me what their dream your business looks like. The answer is usually some version of:
- I can never leave my business.
- I can’t take a vacation for more than a few days, when I do I have to take my cell and my laptop with me.
- I don’t trust my staff to run the office in my absence.
- I’m the only one I can count on and I’m working 14 hours a day just to keep up.
- My family and I are like ships passing in the night and I feel as if I was lied to about the industry I got myself into.
By the time they’ve arrived at my door step, they’ve undoubtedly determined I’m a systems guy. When I ask them how they believe we will achieve their goal, they tell me, systems. I just want you to put systems in my business.
Once we dig a little deeper I typically find what they really are thinking, ” We just need more clients.”
OK, now we’re getting someplace.
When I ask them in their opinion what they believe will fix the problem of getting more clients, nearly 100% of the time, they tell me they need more leads. They need the phone ring.
Then I come at them with the math questions…
If it is our first coaching session together, they were asked before we got together to be prepared with these answers. The first discussion is about the number of leads they receive every month. Second, we talk about the number of appointments they set and finally I ask what number of prospects show and how many hire the firm. We also discuss pricing and collections and how the firm looks from that perspective. Finally we discuss referrals and what they do in order to create referrals on purpose.
I now have an idea of what the firm performance looks like. This is the perfect time for me to ask how they communicate with all the people who don’t set an appointment when they call in. Nine times out of 10, the answer I receive is, “We don't.”
(I usually expect that answer) Next, I ask them where they store the information about those phone calls, name, address and phone number. Again, typically, “We don't store it.”
The problem isn’t that they need more leads. Quite frankly, giving this practice more leads would be a sin! What they need is to better convert the leads they already have.
I once had a client who received so many new leads every day there was never had a shortage of new prospects. The problem was, this firm's owner didn’t want to focus on the unconverted leads; he just wanted to focus on driving more leads.
Eventually, the firm's primary lead source dried up. The slow season came upon them and all of a sudden they went from having a 30 day back log to wondering if they could fill the next day’s appointments. Now, the firm was ready.
I advised the firm to immediately put a plan in place to begin working the old unconverted leads. They did as I directed, and like Lazarus from the grave new business started coming in. We put a lead conversion process in place so we could follow up with unconverted leads until they buy, die or unsubscribe and then we looked for new ways to make the phone ring.
The good news is, we were successful. Today, the firm is booked for more than 30 days out again. They are confident that they will never let another single lead slip through their fingers.
I believe a business should have a waterfall of new leads, once they are certain they have all the necessary ingredients to maximize conversion.
Any of this story resonate with you and your firm?
Ask yourself these same questions:
Are you harvesting the data from ever person who contacts your office?
Do you communicate with unconverted leads via what I call the five senses: Phone, E-Mail, Direct Mail, Text Messaging and Automated Voice Blast?
If you answer NO to both of these questions, when are you going to change? Will it take a dry season to force you or can you look ahead and decide, let’s start anew. Let’s begin again today so we’ll be ready next year for when winter comes.
My hope is that you chose the latter.