Lead Conversion – Suspects And Prospects To Customers
Having lots of sales leads is great, but they are useless unless you can convert them into customers. Generating leads is not easy, converting them to paying customers takes time, skill and money.
When working with my private clients to help them attract new customers/clients, I normally like to look at the whole of the customer cycle for each business. In most cases, sometimes, I find they simply want me to fill their bucket with fresh water (which I can do) when they have holes which are leaking water out at the bottom almost as fast as they fill it at the top. When in fact what they need a customer system which can then be broken down to three integral parts. First is identifying your ideal customers and start generating targeted leads, Second, focus on converting those leads into paying customers and finally Third, is to look after the customers like royalty so that not only do they keep coming back for more but they become your raving fans for life and return with friends and family. This is something that Zappos an online store has developed down to an art.
Understanding Lead Conversion
To understand lead conversion is actually very simple but implementing it is another story. The term refers to the process in which a lead is processed and converted into a sale, an account. The lead itself can come from a variety of sources including advertisement, trade shows, marketing events, mailing and electronic mail campaigns. During the lead creation information is gathered to see how an individual or a company rates as a lead. The intent is to make sure that the party is qualified as a lead worth pursuing. If enough information is gathered for the lead it can sometimes be converted into a paying customer/client.
Basic Elements That Help In Lead Conversion
The reason a lead is so valuable is that it has information that can help qualify a person. There are some basic elements in the lead and those include the name, telephone number or email to reach the individual, in some cases the address depending on what the lead is for (some services are limited to a certain area) and what is it that qualifies the individual or company as a lead. All that information is necessary, but any additional information is very useful when trying to convert them into paying clients/customers. One of the most powerful books on sales and closing sales is by Ben Gay III "The Closers", with over 3 million copies sold to date.
Building Trust & Credibility
The number of times I see clients trying to cold call or cold mailing list and try and sell straight off the bat from first contact. Yes this might work with less than 3% (low hanging fruit) of the times with a good list but you can get a higher rate of 30% or more if you first try and build up trust and credibility with your prospective customers by providing them relevant information or reports on how to find or understand the product or service they might be searching for. The more you educate them the greater the chance of building up trust and credibility over time, after at least seven or more emails, newsletters or postal mail can you think about making them an offer for your product or service. By this time you should have built up enough trust and credibility with the client/customer for them to buy from you (provided they are in the market for the product or service you are offering). One of the best books on building trust and credibility is "The Speed Of Trust" by Stephen M.R. Covey.
Remember You Are There To Service The Customers Need & Wants
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are trying to convert a lead into an account is that they overwhelm the person they are trying to sell to. They will make the mistake of throwing everything they offer at the client in the hopes that they will sign up. This usually happens with commission based sales systems. They then work in a top-down approach which can become very time consuming and frustrating to the client. A better approach is to understand the needs of the client by asking a few questions regarding their wants and needs.
If you try and go too fast for the sale you will get shut down and will end up without a sale. Think of the sales conversion as a first date. You cannot expect everything to go too fast or you are risking never seeing the person again. You have to get to know them and what they like. Then you can make a better case for the relationship to move forward. Your sales should work the same way because they are indeed a relationship that you are trying to create with a potential client. You should always be looking at the lifetime value of each client over that of a one time sale, every time.
Trust Is So Important
I cannot emphasize trust and credibility enough, these two factors and how powerful they are in influencing clients to buy from you. Account conversion is all about building trust with the client and it is not a process that ends once the account is created or the sale is made. The client must have reasons to place their trust in you and it must be more than just the product. The account executive or the sales representative needs to understand that the client is not only buying the product or service. They are buying because they feel that they can relate to the person. Like the old saying goes "They need to buy into you before they buy from you". An account executive that has a dry personality and a monotone attitude will not inspire the customer. There is an investment being made into the account and it does not matter how small, the important thing is building a relationship through trust.
After an account has been created it is important to stay in touch with the customer. That can be done through a mailing list which the customer can get additional information on the products/service. Newsletters and offers are great things to direct customers and when they have great service and results from you they will be more likely not only to increase their account or make further purchases but to also recommend you to the people they know. The trust that you build will serve to increase your business in the future.
Would love to hear your views and thoughts on the subject?