So you’ve got hundreds or thousands of people looking at what you have to offer. What now? While generating sales leads is definitely the first step, the leads you get are worthless until you learn to convert them to customers. It’s time to complete the cycle with five proven methods to increase the number of leads that turn into paying customers.
1. Build Personal Relationships
In today’s fast paced, high tech world, it’s easy to think that sales and marketing have changed from being people to becoming big faceless corporations. Well the simple fact is that people still buy from people.
Think about it. Have you ever walked out of a store because the sales staff was obviously more interested in chatting with their friends then seeing what they could do to help? Have you ever dealt with a rude customer service representative who told you that everything was your fault and they couldn’t do anything about it? Have you ever decided not to deal with a company because the people are not very nice? We all do it.
Companies have come up with all kinds of ways to get people to check out their product or service, but if the people you meet when you walk in are unfriendly or unhelpful the sale never gets made. The people who deal directly with customers need to be friendly, helpful, and take an interest in the real lives of every potential customer who comes in. Work on making the interaction between sales people and new customers personal and friendly. More than anything else, people buy from people they like.
2. Better Company Image
Never underestimate the power of a trusted brand. When all else fails we tend to go with the names we know and trust. If your company has a trusted image, then the products or services you offer inherit that same trust. Have you ever shied away from what looked like a good deal because it was coming from a company you’d never heard of? I know I have.
So how do you build a better company image? Well there’s a lot to it, but one of the basic elements is familiarity. Familiarity breeds trust. People are naturally wary of things they don’t recognize. So get your name out there, sponsor community events and keep doing it.
Building a strong company image takes time so don’t expect this to happen overnight, but there’s a reason big companies do it. Then next time you watch a commercial for a big company watch for the product promotion. Many times you won’t see it at all; all you’ll get is a feel good message about the company. There’s a good reason they do that.
3. Better Products & Services
Improving your product or service to help the people you are trying to help can increase your sales conversion dramatically. Most big companies spend about 10% of their revenue on introducing new and improved products.
In many of today’s fast paced markets constant improvement is a must. The secret is to pick a specific target market niche, and focus your improvements on that market. If you try to satisfy everyone with your next big improvement you will end up satisfying no one.
4. Targeted Communication of the Value
The more focused a company is on its target customer the more likely they are to succeed. Instead of trying to satisfy everyone, choose a specific market and focus on it; even if your product or service is also a great fit for other markets.
In the early sixties Coca-Cola was outselling Pepsi-Cola by approximately 5 to 1. That was until Pepsi decided to stop trying to sell Pepsi to everyone and decided to focus all of its marketing efforts on the teenage market. They launched the choice of a new generation and hired teen icons like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The result was that in one generation Pepsi went from being outsold 5 to 1, to being only 10% behind Coca-Cola in sales.
More companies have failed by trying to reach too broad of a market than have failed trying to reach too narrow a market. A good measure of whether your chosen niche is too large is to consider whether it is reasonable to expect that 80% of the people in your niche will have heard of you in the next 12 months. If that’s not achievable then you should consider narrowing your niche. Chose you niche and focus on it.
5. Better Follow Up
Most people don’t buy anything as a result of the first contact. It takes time to build the value of a new thing up in our minds to the point that we are willing to open up our wallets. On average you have to contact a person between 3 and 7 times to get a sale, even if you are selling something that person is looking for.
When you follow up, don’t push for a sale. Just ask if they got the initial information, and ask if they have any questions you could help them with. If the offer is something the person would consider, then they appreciate the help in a friendly relaxed way. If it’s not something they are looking for right now, it’s a long shot that you are going to convince them they need it. Your objective is to follow up enough that people who are looking for the kind of help you have to offer will think of you first when they decide to buy. People who don’t need what you have won’t buy; don’t waste your efforts there. Keep your offer on their mind for a while, and the people who need it will respond.
There is definitely a lot to say about converting leads into customers, but these five tips should get you thinking along the right lines. Build your personal relationships. Build a trusted and familiar company image. Continually invest in improving your products and services. Target your advertising to a specific group of people. Follow up to keep your offer in the minds of the people who can benefit from what you have to offer.