It is estimated that 65% of marketing budgets, on average, are spent on activities designed to generate leads to potential new customers. Yet entrepreneurs only follow up on an estimated 20% of the leads – the rest of the leads generated fall into the abyss of sales leads.

Entrepreneurs often spend a lot of their energy attending networking event after networking event but fail to realize they’re actually leaving money on the table by not having a follow up system. They are also working way too hard because they are not automating their pre-qualification process.

Systematization and automation play a key role in getting back your freedom so you work less and make more. Let’s define systematization and automation. Systematization is simply developing a system or to make a process systematic.

Automation is something that is operated by electronics without human intervention.

The most consistently successful type of business that is systematic is the franchise. You see them all around, like McDonald’s. These businesses almost always succeed no matter where they are opened or who runs them.

Why?

Each of these franchises has a systematic approach. This is an important lesson for the small business owner. Even if you never intend to expand to other locations or open up multiple offices, creating systems does two main things:

1. Increases your credibility. When you follow up with a prospect, like you said you were going to do because you have a systematic way of doing so, it increases that trust.

2. Decreases time training staff. When you create a system, include it in your Business Operations Manual. If staff turns over, your systems are outlined for easy reference for the next new employee.

The late great owner of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, made a profound statement when he said:

“Most business success comes from doing boring, diligent work and from developing a system that produces consistent results and sticking to it”.
~ Ray Kroc~

What Ray Kroc didn’t know when he made that statement was that we would have incredible technology that could, when used right, take care of 90% of all that “boring” repetitive work, which brings me to automation.

The top mistake entrepreneurs make when using automation to grow their business is not using enough of it. Yet, you should see the relief in my student’s eyes when I show them how in just one hour they get a whole year of marketing automated. A year of marketing that also engages their audience. Just because you have automation does not mean you don’t have engagement.

The great thing about automation is it gives you leverage.

For example, a simple way to save yourself hours of consulting time with prospects, is to use a simple video on your website. It’s a form of automation that you direct new prospects to. Carefully constructed, your video will pre-qualify the tire kickers out and the serious prospects in.

Remember, your business is a series of transactions that occur and recur but often times entrepreneurs are not outlining their processes or automating them. Yet when you do, you create consistency and that consistency creates trust helping cultivate the know-like-and-trust factor.

Your Excellerator Assignment

Automate or systematize your pre-qualification process.

1. Write down the steps you take before, during, and after meeting a prospect.

2. Identify ways you can automate that process.

3. Once you create a system (and automate it), remember to stick to it.

4. Chart your progress, tweak where necessary, and repeat.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Mininni is the best-selling author of Me, Myself, and Why? The Secrets to Navigating Change and President of Excellerate Associates, home of the sought-after Entrepreneurial Edge System, which shows business owners how to automatically bring in pre-qualified prospects and turn them into invested clients 98% of the time. For her brand new eBook, Get More Clients Now! 3 Steps to More Clients, More Money, and A Business You Love, visit http://www.freebusinessplanformat.com