The One Question That Can Help Transform Your Sales Target

By Doug Bennett, with special guest Michelle Terpstra

Do you have a big juicy revenue goal for 2022? If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, have you worked out how many discovery or sales calls you might need to secure in order to hit your target?

I know from multiple conversations that the word “sales” strikes fear into the heart of many business owners, but what if every time you heard the words “no thank you”, you used it as an opportunity to hone your sales process?

If that sounds like a good plan, you’ll be thrilled by the rest of this blog where I’ll be sharing top tips from Michelle Terpstra, Sales Strategist and Coach, who helps growth-focused entrepreneurs take control of their sales process and sell their services for premium prices.

You can hear our full conversation on the Goals Do Come True podcast.

The first thing I wanted to know was the criteria Michelle was using to measure her success.

Bring the data, not the drama

Michelle: “You need to use conversion metrics. If you are running a discovery call to enrol people into your programmes and you close two out of four per week, you have a 50% conversion rate. If your goal is to make $20,000 per month and you sell at $5,000, you need four clients, which means you need eight calls. It’s really simple maths but everyone forgets this.

When you have your conversion metrics down, your goal then shifts back from how much money you want to earn to how many calls you need to arrange. Then, if you can rely on your average conversion rate, you can sleep nicely and know that your clients will come through, because you can lean on your data. I always say that clients need to bring the data, not the drama, and that’s how you can be super successful in selling and growing your business.”

The wonderful thing about Michelle’s theory is that, hopefully, the more sales conversations you do, the more successful you’ll become; this could mean that within a few months, you achieve your sales target with fewer calls (which leaves you with more free time).

How to make a “non-sale” a useful experience

Michelle went on to share that receiving a knockback for your service can be one of the fastest ways to accelerate and streamline your sales process.

Michelle: “If a prospect hasn’t said ‘yes’, then their answer is ‘no’; there is no ‘maybe’ in sales. If someone says to you ‘send me a proposal and I’ll come back to you in a week’, they’re unlikely to commit. It’s really important that you get their ‘yes’ or ‘no’; and if you hear a ‘no’, politely ask ‘why?’ 

Let the person know that you are always looking for ways to improve your sales process and offers, and you’d love to find out if there is something different you could have shared that would have resulted in a sale. This information is gold for you as a business owner.

It’s also really useful to use this strategy in every situation that you hear ‘no’. You might be doing something outside of your comfort zone, like asking to go on a podcast or asking for help, but if you simply accept ‘no’, you haven’t learnt anything. Go back and ask ‘why?’ and that will give you what you need to grow and refine your process more than any other piece of information.”

The benefits of having a strategic sales process

Michelle clearly has a well-oiled sales process thanks to her own expertise and hard work. As you know, I am a big advocate of a work optional lifestyle – check out my earlier blog Why Making Work Optional Is Worth It (And Closer Than You Think) – so I was also very happy to hear that Michelle is taking time away from the coalface.

Michelle: “I want my time back; I worked super, super hard last year to get my business to the level that it’s at, and now that I have the recurring revenue, I’m in a position to bring people in to help me run my business. I have such a great foundation in place, it frees me up to create more fulfilment in my personal life too, so I’ve decided to take a personal trip with my family every single month. I’ve already planned out the first four trips; this year is all about fun, and any entrepreneur will understand why taking time off is such a huge goal!”

I love that Michelle is prioritising family time. It’s a theme that I cover in my book Think Simple Win Big: How to Build the Business of Your Dreams With a Few Simple Goals; it’s important to make sure that there is reward for all of your hard work!
What’s your goal for 2022? Are you focused on setting up a service-based business or taking time back for yourself? If you would love support to manage either one of these goals, drop me a line at And whatever you do, remember that whenever you’re told “no”, get curious and ask “why?”

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