There are only three ways to create geometric growth in your business, if you know me you’ll know that I talk about the three ways a lot. If you’re not sure what the three ways and the 3% rule are, here's a link to read more on 'the three ways to grow any business'.

Rather than talking about the first way, which is how to get more clients, I want to talk about how businesses are royally screwing this up.

Increasing the number of clients or customers you have is the first dimension of growing a business. It is also the hardest, most expensive and time-consuming way to grow any business. And I hope by now you know exactly what the cost of acquiring a new client is to your business because that’s going to make this sting and get you into action that much faster.

If you don't know, please pop an action on your to-do list to look into this.

Let’s start with story time. This is a real-life story featuring myself and an agency I recently reached out to. Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

I was actively looking and searching for someone to take over some Pay Per Click management for me. After doing a lot of frustrating and time-consuming research I found Agency X.

After reading agency X’s reviews, and looking at their case studies I decided to make an enquiry.

Day 1.

I fill out the enquiry form on their website with a detailed description of what I’m looking for, the website, the current ads, budget and expressing that I’m ready to roll. (As an agency veteran I think I’m pretty good at writing a brief for an agency so surely this will look like a really good, qualified lead).

Then the waiting game begins. 1 day goes by, 2 days go by.

Day 3.

Finally, I get a “thanks for requesting a quote” and I’m sent a generic PDF with costings and a “please let us know if you have any questions.”

I replied 43 minutes later saying “The only question I have is how do we get started?”

Another day goes by, and another.

Day 7.

Now we’re at plus seven days from my original enquiry. Bear in mind that I am a hot lead, I am ready to get my credit card out because I’m in the top 3% of the market that is ready to buy right now.

Finally, I get a response. Another generic, “thanks for your email, our PPC manager is away on holiday” but offering some dates when he’s back to set up a call. The earliest date offered up is another +14 days from that email (so 21 days from enquiry).

Can you guess what I replied?

Thanks but no thanks.

If this is my experience of your sales process I just know that once you’ve taken my money I’ll be even less of a priority. I am an action taker, I want to buy now and I want to get going now. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. And in this day and age of instant gratification speed is money.

I don’t know what it costs Agency X to acquire a client but they’ve just tossed it down the drain. In addition, it’s the opportunity cost of not only losing a good client now but the lifetime value as well as the referral opportunities and quite frankly their reputation.

So, if you have thought to yourself that you need more leads and more new clients into your business I suggest you take a dang hard look at your sales process first.

Here’s what I suggest, plug your leaky sales bucket before you start filling it up with more leads.

Plug the holes in your leaky sales bucket

1. Qualify and be responsive

Look at your qualification process and make sure that you’re responding to marketing qualified leads faster than Clark Kent changes into Superman in that phone booth.

Why? Responsiveness is key in sales. Leaving your prospects hanging for two days is ample time for your leads to lose interest and find someone or be recommended to someone else.

According to the Lead Connect survey, 78% of customers buy from a vendor that responds to their enquiry first.

2. Map your buyer's journey

Move your prospect through the buying journey. What do I mean? Well, it’s quite simple. People have come in to the top of your funnel, there are buying decisions and objections they’ll need to overcome to buy from you. Increase the number of touch points and share information that’s going to support their buying decision.

After a lead makes an enquiry, you can connect with them on LinkedIn or another social platform. You could share a video or some testimonials while you’re putting a proposal together. This is why I don’t like the term “closing”, when you “close” a client it’s actually the start of a relationship. You can build trust and set the tone for that in your sales process.

3. Work on your sales velocity.

Sales velocity is the time between a lead making an enquiry and them becoming a client. There are dozens of ways to shorten this and to increase your sales conversions. All I’m going to say is that making someone wait 21 days to give you their money for the thing that you’re selling is not acceptable, especially for a service such as PPC. I'm not asking for a new Bentley (the wait is three months in case you were wondering).

I think that sums up three KPIs to start looking at: time to respond to a lead, sales velocity and conversion rate.

I urge you to go forth and plug the holes in your leaky sales bucket before you start splurging time and money on filling up the bucket with more leads.

And if you do need help with that, please head over to my free on-demand training at

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