Start measuring everything.
I recently finished reading the entrepreneurial classic The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. In chapter 10, the author says:
But ask yourself, if you could increase sales 10 percent by doing something as simple as wearing a blue suit, would you do it? Would you make it important? The answer is as obvious as the question is ridiculous. Of course you would!
And it is the obvious that must be addressed by Quantification at the outset of the Business Development Process.
Begin by quantifying everything related to how you do business.
I mean everything.
And that’s my plea to you today: Start. Measuring. Everything.
Track your website statistics.
In a recent newsletter, I shared the statistics that reflected the success of my site redesign–something I could only know for sure because I track various metrics for how people spend time on my site.
While before I might have hoped that the brighter colors and revamped navigation bar would positively impact visitor engagement, now I had proof that it did! Here’s a sampling of the results:
- My bounce rate (that means the number of people who visit your site but don’t click to a second page) dropped by 6%.
- The number of pages viewed per visit increased by 25%.
- The average time spent on the site increased by 31%.
It’s impossible to get excited about statistics–and yes, I sometimes get excited about statistics–if you don’t know what they are to begin with.
Track your time.
Of course, it’s not enough to track only your website metrics. Some of the most illuminating information can come from tracking your time.
Logging how long different projects take me has allowed me to make better decisions–about how many projects to take on at one time, how much to charge, and whether certain services are worth it for me and my clients.
I currently use Billings to keep track of projects and how long they take, though I’ve heard great things about FreshBooks, too. (For now, Billings, at a one-time fee of $39.99, provides me with all the tools I need, so I’m in no rush to switch to FreshBooks at $19.95 per month.)
Since I’ve started tracking my time, I’ve been able to generate much more accurate estimates for various projects, and I’ve learned which tasks take me longer than they should–and are therefore top of the list for delegating when it’s time for me to bring on team members.
Track success of different conversation models.
I’m not one for scripts (they always feel so scripted!), but I do use certain models for different conversations.
When I first started my business, I didn’t think I had to be strategic in my talks with prospects.
I hate the hard sell, and didn’t want to sound like telemarketer reading from a sales book. It’s my business after all–couldn’t I just roll with it? Wouldn’t that be the truest reflection of me?
Not if the “me” I want to reflect is a successful entrepreneur eager to help others earn a solid living by doing what they love.
I first started to shift my perspective when I heard Mark Silver talking to Jennifer Lee about how a sales call is much like a medical intake exam. It was such an unexpected concept, it made me sit up and pay attention. This has lived on a post-it in my office ever since:
What’s wrong? Where does it hurt? Am I right the right person to help you? How can I best do that?
And man did that make a difference in my success rates! By speaking to the truest need, I was able to assess the situation authentically and offer some relief–either by determining which of my skills could be of the best use, or by referring the prospect to someone who would be a better help.
Similarly, Annemarie Cross helped me shift how I tell people my prices. It used to be that when someone asked how much it cost to have me write their bio or kickstart their SEO, I’d just go ahead and name the price. After all, I love transparency and hate the runaround.
But Annemarie suggests frontloading that conversation by outlining the services. The way I write a person’s bio (and the additional perks I offer) and my approach to a client’s SEO are quite different from my competitors, and that’s by design. I’ve created packages that I believe to be of tremendous value in helping others thrive online, something I want my prospects to understand.
Once I flipped how I tell people my prices from “It costs X and that includes A, B, and C” to “In that package I provide you with A, B, and C, and all of that comes at flat fee of X,” I booked more clients. People saw how much care I put into my services and believed they were getting their money’s worth.
What do you measure?
What gets measured in your business? What’s made the biggest difference in how you run your business? And what do you know you should measure, but haven’t started to yet? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.