Getting new customer leads is exciting, but that enthusiasm can quickly wither when you don’t know how to best convert leads into new clients.
When this becomes the trend for your small business, you immediately ask, “why?” before seeking out solutions to combat your lack of sales from leads, you should be aware of some important sales conversion facts:
Online leads do not automatically translate into sales.
- Per Marketo, only 25% of leads ready to buy from you.
- 79% will never convert if they aren’t nurtured after the fact.
- 1/4 of leads are qualified, meaning approximately 75% aren’t your ideal customer.
Now, don’t let these numbers frighten you. In addition to this, you must understand the psychology behind the lack of leads turning into sales.
The Real Reason Why People Won’t Buy from You
There are four primary reasons why small businesses fail to convert leads online. These sales barriers are as follows:
- Trust: People don’t trust themselves, so how do you expect them to trust you immediately upon connecting with your business for the first time? Traffic to your website may not always translate into sales if your leads are reluctant to buy from you. The absence of trust can stem from a lack of proof showing you do what you claim, lack of contact information, a poorly designed website, or non-targeted content.
- Authority: If you don’t establish yourself as the authority in your field, through quality content, you will find it quite hard to gain customers, because they may see you as untrustworthy.
- Money: If your price doesn’t match the perceived value of your products or services, you are likely to miss out on sales.
- Time: If the customers feel that the time is not right, they are likely not to purchase.
Turning Leads into Sales: 4 Key Strategies
There are four solutions for converting online leads, which when used together, can increase your sales conversion rates:
- Social Proof
- Content Marketing
- Sales Qualification Process
- Email Marketing Solutions
#1. Develop Trust with Social Proof (Testimonials and Reviews)
Building a reliable brand will ultimately make it easier for you to market your product or services.
One of the best and easiest ways to build trust is through social proof, specifically reviews, and testimonials from your current or previous clients. Social proof will not only confirm that you’re talking the talk, but that you’re walking the walk.
When someone encounters your brand for the first time through your website, you need to:
1) show that you’re an authority, and
2) provide social proof.
Let your current customers sing your praises by encouraging them to write a review or testimonial through email, on Yelp, Facebook, or any other relevant review site. For those “special” reviews, showcase them on your website. Do not worry about getting one or two negative reviews.
This might work to your advantage, in that, they persuade leads to believe that your reviews are reputable. If people see that others are buying your products and enjoying them, they can be persuaded to follow suit.
#2. Help Your Prospects Before the Sale
Helping your prospects means providing answers to their problems through content. This content marketing strategy revolves around blog posts as well as free offers.
Invest your time in writing well-researched and helpful blog content and eBooks. If your leads find that you are knowledgeable in your industry and in the various products that you’re selling, then they will believe in your ability to provide quality products.
You can hire marketing agencies to write blog posts for you. Or, you can learn simple shortcuts and time saving templates to train you and/or your marketing assistant to turn your knowledge into written blog articles for your business website.
#3. Utilize a Sales Qualification Process
One of the most crucial strategies for converting leads into sales is to have a qualification process. Lead qualification is the evaluation of the ability of a lead to purchase from you.
The qualification process involves gathering the necessary information about your leads to move them through the sales process. There are three types of leads: Information Qualified Leads (IQL), Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). How each is determined varies from business to business. Once your qualification metrics are defined, only then will you be able to take appropriate action that will convert your leads into sales.
Using a sales qualification process prevents you from coming on too strong and putting off potential clients. It also helps your sales team save valuable time and instead focus it on customers who are ready to buy.
For those leads who have not been identified as “ready to buy” or an SQL, you can nurture them through your sales funnel using email marketing solutions.
#4. Leverage Email Nurturing Solutions
Email nurturing is one of the greatest tools that you can use to convert leads into sales.
It’s all about leveraging marketing automation to follow up and remain in contact with any leads that come through your sales funnel. If you follow up with leads within 5 minutes, you are 9 times more likely to get a sale.
Strategically sending your clients or customer regular emails will drill information about your business and your services or products into their minds. The more they hear from you, the more they are likely to buy. You want to send targeted emails, to targeted email lists, based on where they are in your sales funnel and how they interact with your emails.
These emails can be anything from newsletters to content offers. The purpose of this strategy is to guarantee the right lead is receiving the right email at the right time.
The Bottom Line
Today, even though most marketing efforts are online, customers still need to feel that personal touch. By incorporating these few lead conversion ideas into your business strategy will help to ensure that you not only have thousands of people stopping by your website, but you will have them laying down their money!
QUESTION: What is your favorite strategy that’s been working for you in your business when it comes to converting leads into sales? Share your comments and questions below.
Author Bio: ShaDrena Simon is a digital strategist and inbound marketer for Yokel Local Internet Marketing Inc. You can reach her at: [email protected]
Networking is a crucial skill every entrepreneur should develop that can help you grow your business. But, many small business owners avoid networking thinking it requires schmoozing and slick selling. Successful networking is actually the opposite.
Here is what I have found to be the top three business networking mistakes. And, don’t feel bad if you’ve made any of these mistakes. Many of us have once made these same mistakes too. Let’s just focus on which one might be hurting your business and get to work on fixing them to start seeing positive results from your business networking.
Mistake #1. Using your 30 second commercial to recite a long list of all your services.
How do you answer the question, what do you do?
I’ve watched people’s eyes glaze over many times as they try to process the long list of services the business owner is rattling off. Here are a couple examples:
BEFORE Example 1:
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We offer: acupuncture, chiropractic care, Myofascial release, NAET, Neuro Emotional Technique, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, Reiki and yoga classes. Come in for an appointment at our offices in Anytown.”
Yikes! Most people probably don’t even know what half those things are!
How about this example:
BEFORE Example 2:
“I am a business coach. I offer personal one on one phone coaching, group coaching, training courses, mastermind programs, marketing consulting and speaking engagements. I also have a free newsletter and I offer free webinars and business coaching discovery consultations.”
Why this does not work effectively.
Solution: Tell people who you help and what specific problems you solve.
AFTER Example 1:
“I am the owner of ABC Natural Healing Center. We help kids and adults recover quickly from sports injuries, back pain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and many other chronic symptoms without using pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.”
My Own AFTER Example 2:
“I am a business growth expert. I help solo entrepreneurs and small business owners recover quickly from sales slumps, scattered focus and overwhelm. I can help you create and hit the right business goals in 90 days or less.”
Mistake #2. Focusing on converting customers at networking events.
If you evaluate whether a particular networking event was a good or bad use of your time based on whether you made a sale or picked up an immediate referral you are probably focused on the wrong goal. Objectives for networking events are different than for trade shows.
First, understand It’s not your fault.
- It’s only natural as a business owner to want to see immediate results from your networking efforts. After all, much of your success was due to your unbridled commitment to being results focused.
- You invested several hours to attend the networking event, so of course you feel as if you should get something from your time.
Why is this a mistake? … Because that’s not how people buy.
Solution: Focus on making new friends not just new clients.
Since you are networking to grow your business, it might feel contrarian to NOT focus on getting new clients out of it. But, if you’re trying too hard it shows. People can feel when someone is looking at them as just their next sale.
In order for networking to be successful, you do need to connect with people. Be genuine and sincere in making new friends. That’s not to say you should be passive and avoid talking about your business at all. But, first, focus on just being yourself, and not just you the “company” or you the “sales person”.
Years ago I attended an evening networking event for coaches. I was taken aback by a woman who sharply interrupted a conversation I was having with another attendee. Without any announcement or waiting for a pause for permission she shoved a flyer in our hands and told us to sign up for her certification training today because the $2,000 price expires tomorrow.
Here are key reasons why this tactic doesn’t work:
- Her sale offer was to spend $2,000 today, but $2,000 is not an impulse buy price point.
- The problem wasn’t so much that she handed me a flyer. The problem was how clear she made it she was on a mission to leave with lots of sales.
There were about 80 people at the event. Instead of leaving with 1 or 2 sales, she could have easily left with 50 to 70 new subscribers, especially because this was such a targeted group of people. Over time, she could convert 25 to 45 new customers which is far more valuable to her business than the immediate 1 or 2 sales.
This is a much easier networking strategy, but it does require having a list building system.
Mistake #3. Not having a list building system.
What is a list?
- This is an email list of people who are potential customers and clients who are subscribed to be on your email list.
- You can not simply take the email addresses off of business cards or directories of people you met and put them on your list. That is actually against the CANSPAM laws.
Why have an email list?
You may have heard the expression, the “fortune is in the follow up.”
The problem is it’s really hard to keep up with the follow up when you’re taking the manual approach of sending one email at a time. A list building system makes follow up a cinch.
What is a list building system?
- It starts with having an irresistible, free lead magnet.
- A lead magnet is a free offer people receive instantly when they opt in with their email address.
- You let subscribers know they will also receive more tips from you through email.
- You stay top of mind and convert more clients over time when you follow up with valuable tips you deliver through your email system.
Remember, 10 new subscribers is worth far more to your business than 1 new sale.
SOLUTION: Shift your focus from getting more sales to getting a more subscribers.
It takes time to build trust and confidence. When you have a subscriber list you can scale building a relationship with your group of prospects.
If you really want to drive 10 times more referrals be sure to download my free Networking Cheat Sheet template here.
QUESTION: Share your comments. What is getting in your way of creating a list building system for your business and networking?
© Copyright 2016
Finding new clients
Thousands of businesses use LinkedIn to connect with new clients every single day – but for some reason, you can’t seem to imitate their success. Let’s say LinkedIn has never worked for your business, and you think that it never will. Worst of all, you can’t figure out why.
I have the answer: the biggest barrier to LinkedIn success is your own attitude.
Adjusting your LinkedIn Mindset
Finding new clients requires a positive attitude about LinkedIn — a belief that it can work for your business, and a willingness to find out how. To help you embrace the potential of LinkedIn, we’re going to look at some of the most common misconceptions – the limiting beliefs that are hindering your ability to find new clients. This is more than just opinion – we’re going to let statistics do the talking, and prove why you need to develop a positive LinkedIn mindset for finding new clients!
LinkedIn Misconception #1. ‘LinkedIn only works for businesses in the United States’
Most people don’t realize just how global the LinkedIn network is. LinkedIn has over 260 million users, in over 200 hundred countries – and less than a third of those users are based in the US. LinkedIn is huge in countries as diverse as China and the Netherlands, making it a viable source of clients for countries the world over. If you’re a local business, finding new clients through local groups and businesses is easy. And, if you’re international, you can target clients from virtually anywhere in the world.
LinkedIn Misconception #2. ‘Twitter and Facebook are better for generating leads’
LinkedIn alone accounts for over two thirds of all visits to corporate websites from social media channels. Facebook generates just 17% of these visits, and Twitter even less, at 14%. As a result, LinkedIn generates more leads for businesses than any other social network. If you aren’t active on LinkedIn, your business is missing out traffic, leads and clients.
LinkedIn Misconception #3. ‘LinkedIn has never generated any clients for me – why should it now?’
LinkedIn is a rapidly growing network, with a year-on-year increase in users of almost 40%. In other words, the odds of finding new clients increase by almost a half every single year. If you haven’t been able to generate new clients, you simply need to try a new approach – and abandoning LinkedIn altogether will cost your business more every year.
LinkedIn Misconception #4. ‘LinkedIn isn’t relevant to my industry’
Regardless of your business niche, you’ll be able to find special interest community groups on LinkedIn full of industry leaders and relevant discussions. All types of business people are active on LinkedIn – from post-graduates looking for experience and knowledge, through to CEOs of multinational companies to athletic coaches from high schools and universities and even facility directors who deal with building maintenance – so regardless of your target audience, finding new clients in your industry has never been easier.
LinkedIn Misconception #5. ’I don’t believe that you can generate leads by posting comments’
Commenting on LinkedIn discussions allows you to show your expertise, and develop relationships with potential clients. If you’re able to solve someone’s problem, they’re going to be grateful to you. They’ll view you and your business as helpful, authoritative and trust-worthy which increases their interest in working with you. Commenting is more than showing off – it’s helping people with your knowledge and thought leadership and nothing is more powerful for finding new clients.
In closing, the statistics don’t lie – LinkedIn is a powerful tool for finding new clients, and if you and your business are struggling to capitalize on that, you might need to adjust your mindset.
QUESTIONS: Have any of these misconceptions stopped you from finding new clients? What other factors are still limiting your LinkedIn success? Let me know in the comments below!
© Copyright 2016
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Does marketing ever feel to you like you’re bothering people? Does marketing make you feel uncomfortable because you feel like you’re “selling”?
People’s lives today have become so incredibly inundated with an avalanche of information, commercials and advertisements, so it is no wonder that as business owners and service professionals you can often feel like yet another unwanted interruption or worse, spam in your attempts at prospecting and marketing.
There’s a lot of different ways I help my clients improve the results of their marketing. Today, I want to help you with one specific component of your marketing and that is to shift your marketing tactics from one that is perceived as something you are doing “to” them (that is unwanted) to something you are doing “for” them (that they appreciate and thank you for!) (more…)
Are you frustrated with the results you’ve been seeing from traditional live networking events? Well, did you know if you run a strong online campaign that will help you convert more prospects who you meet offline? That way, the people you do meet face to face at live networking events have many ways to stay connected with you and to learn more about your area of expertise.
Here are 5 key ways to help you double your networking results:
1.) Make sure you’re networking with your target market or referral partners
If you want to double your networking results, the first thing to check is to make sure you’re not fishing in the wrong pond! There are hundreds of different networking events and opportunities you could spend your time attending. But, that does not mean that they are necessarily the right crowds for you. Seek first networking groups and events that attract a higher percentage of attendees who do fall in your ideal target market profile. It’s much harder to get the visibility you want in a group that is diluted with too many people who are NOT your target market. (more…)