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4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Focus on That Crucial First Year Some advice for how to start: Spend 70 percent of your time on sales.

By Jeremy Ellens Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


In April 2015, I started LeadQuizzes and started working with a business coach, Loren Howard. Howard has built four companies over seven figures, including one that did eight figures in just eighteen months.

Related: 6 Sales Secrets to Turn a Rookie Into a Sales Superstar

The first thing he told me to do was spend 70 percent of my time selling; I thought he was crazy. I felt that I had so many other things to focus on, I couldn't possibly allocate that much of my day to sales.

So, I resisted his advice. But then I changed my mind and took it; and once I started spending 70 percent of my time selling, I transformed our business. New sales allowed us to hire more employees, and the work I had resisted giving up got done by others.

Following his advice helped us surpass in one year the revenues that had taken us four years to produce in our previous business, Yazamo.

I learned a lot in our first business. But, looking back, here are four things I wish someone had told me to focus on much earlier.

1. Create a scalable source of lead generation.

At Yazamo, we had relied almost entirely on referrals and personal connections to drive our sales. These are great for building case studies and your reputation; but at some point, if you want to rapidly grow your business, you have to figure out a scalable source of lead generation, like Facebook or Google advertising. Want more referrals? Generate more customers by paying for them; they'll then go out and tell their friends.

2. Create an effective sales process.

For your sales process, I've found that the biggest indicator of success is a compelling offer that will attract brand new customers and turn them into lifetime customers. To me, the four components of a compelling offer are:

  1. A desirable and compelling main offer
  2. A sales process where risk has been removed
  3. An offer of bonuses to increase the value of your offer
  4. An emphasis on urgency or scarcity to get customers to buy right away

At LeadQuizzes, we worked with three different skin-care companies to generate more leads. Each company used a similar skin-care quiz to capture leads. Each had a similar cost per lead from Facebook advertising. All had high-quality products and great social proof, but they used different offers to attract new customers and got dramatically different results.

The first company sent people from Facebook, captured their information after they completed a skin-care quiz, then sent them to an educational webinar and offered attendees its product for $200. This first company had minimal sales.

The second company sent quiz-takers to a sales page and offered its product for $50. It also had minimal sales.

The third skin company, Annmarie, sent its quiz-takers to a sales page and offered a sample kit for $10 (with a compelling main offer). It also awarded a $10 coupon toward the customer's next purchase and a free educational ebook (bonuses). Finally, it offered free shipping and a money-back guarantee (risk reversal). Annmarie went on to generate more than $200,000 in sales in just two months using this funnel.

Whether you are selling through a sales page, a webinar or a sales call, these four components time and time again accelerate sales success and scalability.

Related: This is How You Make a Killer Sales Pitch

3. Create an effective autoresponder sequence.

Not everyone will be ready to buy from you on your first "touch." You've probably heard that it can take as many as seven touches to convert a lead into a customer. Creating an automated autoresponder sequence, then, is a great way to scalably create those touchpoints, especially when you're strapped for time early on in your business.

I recommend creating a welcome series for new leads that will set expectations of your relationship, offer them value, help them get to know you and ultimately drive them back to buy your product or service.

Here's just one example of a lead responding to our first email at LeadQuizzes, where we asked what values this person stood for:

Following his response, we replied, which led to his setting up a sales call. He didn't buy immediately on the call but a couple of days later, he got the fourth email in our autoresponder sequence and responded with this email:

And that's just a single example of how this series made us over $5,000 from a single lead after we added in the recurring revenue from this sale.

4. Meticulously track your sales metrics.

Once you have a scalable source of lead generation, an effective sales process and an autoresponder sequence, to nurture leads and turn them into sales, you have to be able to track the results. Once you track and understand your metrics, you'll be able to not only scale your lead generation and sales, but identify what points of your sales process need improvements.

Here are some basics metrics you should track:

  1. Advertisement spend
  2. Number of leads
  3. Cost per lead
  4. Contact rate
  5. Close rate
  6. Cost per acquisition

For example, we do a lot of sales calls from our inbound leads; and, looking at our metrics, we found that our contact rate of getting someone on the phone was low. So, we made it a priority to contact our leads faster.

As a result, our contact rate doubled, leading to a doubling of our sales. You should similarly be measuring your results at every stage of your funnel. This way, you can find ways to make improvements. Cut your lead cost in half? Your sales should double. Getting 10 percent of your leads not showing up to your second scheduled call? Cut that in half, and, again, your sales should double.

Do this in multiple stages of your funnel and you should see exponential improvements so you can scale your traffic and business that much faster.

Related: 7 Ways to Close More Sales

Want to scale your business this to seven figures and beyond this year? My advice; spend 70 percent of your time selling, and focus that time on these four areas in your business. Turns out our business coach was right, after all.
Jeremy Ellens

Co-founder of Yazamo

Jeremy Ellens is the co-founder of Yazamo, a Phoenix-based digital-marketing agency specializing in the health and wellness field. Yazamo helps their clients grow their email lists by over 100,000 people in one year and increase their online sales. Ellens was previously named one of the top five college entrepreneurs in the nation by Entrepreneur Magazine, after which he quit his job to pursue entrepreneurship full-time and start Yazamo.


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