Think back to five years ago. What was the recommended response time to get back to a lead? Was it 24 hours or perhaps the next business day? The standard follow-up fit well for the traditional lead, but things are different now. Customers are looking for instant response, help, and guidance from sales reps that know the ins and outs of the business. If potential customers don’t get these things, the results can be devastating.
Nowadays, there’s a five-minute window of when to reel in the lead. Any longer and your chances of converting a lead to a customer diminish drastically.
Before we discuss how to convert online leads into customers, let’s first understand the typical mistakes sales teams are making today.
Common Mistakes That Kill Your Sale
Possessing inaccurate or no data
Customers who have previously visited your website, commented on your blog, previously purchased a product, or attended a webinar expect that you have that history on file. Having to repeat contact information or a previous experience can make your business (and you) lose credibility and the customer’s attention.
Passing the “hot potato” of sales staff
Potential customers want to speak to as few people as possible. If you have a sales associate doing some discovery work on a lead, be honest that that’s what the sales associate is doing. People appreciate transparency. When the sales associate or assistant collects all the background information, ensure they pass it to the right salesperson who is versed in the situation.
Waiting 24 hours to contact the lead
Once an online lead is qualified and entered in your CRM, the salesperson should follow-up immediately. Think about when you contact someone using a “Contact Us” form or when you reach out to a business on social media. Instant response is everything today.
7 Ways to Convert Leads to Customers
Avoid losing sales from doing simple mistakes. Here are some ways your sales team can better nurture and convert leads.
- Skip the sales pitch.
The era of aggressive sales tactics is over. Customers want to know your value proposition, the benefits, and solutions to a current issue or problem. What are you offering that’s different from the next business? In addition, most businesses want to get down to the ROI and if it’s worth the investment. Offering them a solution that will help them make more money or save money will push them to convert.
- Offer a bevy of content.
High quality content that is relevant and sent to potential customers leads to a 208% higher conversion rate. More than likely your leads will have already conducted some sort of research prior to having that first interaction with you. Instead of pushing a sale, offer potential leads additional content like FAQs, blog posts, videos, or webinars. People will appreciate being educated up front before making a purchase. Furthermore, it helps build trust with your business that you really have their best interests in mind.
- Know the history.
There are tons of ways to research data in 2015. Use them! When you receive an online lead in your CRM, research their record. Has the lead attended an event previously? Have they downloaded a white paper or an e-book? How many points of contact have they had? This data will give you a better indication of where the lead is in the sales cycle, and will position you for assisting them better in closing a sale.
- Offer an incentive.
Customers like discounts and giveaways. If you’re in a position where you feel like the lead is about 90-95% through the sales cycle, but they need an extra push to get them to close, throw in an incentive to see if they’ll convert. Most businesses will usually have a discount in place for first-time customers or for signing up for a limited time. If customers know they’ll be receiving a savings initially, they’ll be more likely to make a move.
- Explain next steps.
It’s simple to assume next steps if you have successfully converted a lead to a customer. However, if the lead needs more information, more time, or needs a team to help make a decision, you need to suggest the communication moving forward. This is critical as most leads drop off the radar simply because the salesperson never follows up or follows up too much. Ask your lead if following up in the next week is reasonable. In the interim, feel free to send them emails on information and events pertinent to their interests.
- Be available.
When leads are ready to purchase, they want to do it in the moment. Make sure you’re available when they’re ready to buy. If you know you won’t be available, have a sales associate or assistant serve as a backup. Leave an outgoing message on your voicemail and email out-of-office, including who to contact in your absence. If you have a lead that needs more time before they purchase, make sure they have your contact information. Go the extra mile and connect with them on LinkedIn or any social media network.
- Create your personal brand.
This is also called building your social proof. Do you have an active social media presence? What about a blog? Potential customers are Googling you whether you realize it or not. It’s all part of building trust with you and your business. If they see that you’re providing industry expertise in the social space, they’ll be more likely to connect with you and refer you to their network.
A New Approach to Lead Conversion
Today’s customer is smarter. They’ve done their research, read reviews, and become educated on your products and services. The elevator pitch doesn’t faze them. So what will? If you do your own research on your customer base and find out their interests, you can interact with them on whole other level. This generation’s customer seeks honesty and information, and you can provide that with content, your value proposition, guidance, and expertise. Knowing what a customer wants and delivering it to them when they want it guarantees conversion results almost immediately.
Looking to convert more leads into customers? Visit our site on lead conversion and learn how to get the results your business needs today.