Direct Sales Success: Think Quality, Not Quantity

After a month of talking about getting more bookings in your calendar, I realized that it might be a good idea to spend some time thinking about building a profitable business. Because you can have a ton of bookings in your calendar, but if they’re not high quality bookings, you’re spinning your wheels.

The quality of the booking determines the quality of your business.

Frustrated Businesswoman on the PhoneI don’t care if you’re booking one-on-one appointments or home parties, it’s important that you focus on the quality of those appointments, versus the quantity. I’d rather have 7 high quality appointments on my calendar than 15 or 20 “maybe” bookings.

As I’ve been teaching my new 7 Bookings in 7 Days Class, the number one thing I’m hearing over and over is that people haven’t really given much thought to the 80/20 rule as it relates to the customers in their business. As a general guideline, the Pareto Principle suggests that about 80% of your business will come from 20% of your top customers. It makes good business sense to spend more (time, attention, and perhaps money) on those clients that are your very best.

It seems counter-intuitive, but the more you focus on your best clients, the healthier your business becomes.

Mike Michalowicz, author of the book “The Pumpkin Plan” talks about weeding out your business “pumpkin patch” so that you can cultivate hardier fruit with the clients in your 20%. You’ve got to clear out the dead weight and weeds so that you have fertile soil to grow bigger “pumpkins”.

By focusing on your best customers, you get the opportunity to hear their issues, and connect more intimately with them. They come to know, like and trust you more, which means higher spending, better referrals, and ultimately, customers for life.

But most direct sales professionals are scared to trim the fat.

They’re scared to turn away business because they’re afraid they won’t get anymore. I’ve never seen an industry riddled with more fear than this one. In fact, we laud the direct seller with the most shows on her calendar, instead of celebrating the direct seller who has the maximum impact at the shows she’s already holding.

An entrepreneur – someone who’s trying to grow a successful business (instead of an expensive hobby) – needs to look at the leverage points in their business and maximize them for profitability. Think about it this way: if you could get the same results doing three shows instead of seven, why would you waste your time doing the other four shows?

Focus on quality, not quantity.

I had a client friend that was in a pickle. She was given an opportunity to work with a client she didn’t like, but she “really needed the money”. She debated for a few days before she finally declined the offer. Then she proceeded to kick herself for about a week (I can’t believe I turned that money down! I’m so stupid! I really could have used the cash!). About that time, she got another offer from another potential client – a client that turned out to be a perfect-fit customer. Had she said yes to the pain-in-the-butt client, she wouldn’t have had time in her calendar to say yes to her perfect-fit customer.

Don’t use quality as a crutch.

This doesn’t give you permission to cherry pick “only the very best” if it means avoiding doing the work. Sometimes we have to work with someone so that we have practice in getting clarity around who our perfect-fit customer really is. The teams I’ve worked with, however, don’t tend to exhibit this problem. Quite the contrary. It seems that most consultants will take whatever they can get without any thought to how a potential client might line up with their business vision or personality.

There is no amount of money that is worth making your life miserable with a client you can’t stand.

Business owners get clear on who their particular target market is. In direct sales, your company has a vision of the kinds of people they want to serve. You can’t serve all of them equally well. There’s a certain subset of those people that are perfect for you. Those are your perfect-fit customers. Give yourself some clarity around who they are, then pursue them relentlessly.