The generation of leads is an integral and vital part of any marketing strategy, but turning those leads into coveted sales is the ultimate goal of every company. Below are some ways to ensure that the leads available to you wind up as revenue-boosting sales.
Don’t Fear Rejection
The old adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” aptly applies in the competitive field of sales. While rejection is definitely a possibility inherent in the sales game, it should never be taken personally or even permanently. Goods or services that are not currently needed by a potential customer may one day be sought out. If this company or individual goes away with a positive impression of their initial point of contact with your sales staff, it is highly likely that he or she will re-initiate the contact later to learn how your service or product can meet their business needs.
Let No Lead Go Unfollowed
Treat every lead like the potential sale it may become. While it is a good business practice to prioritize those leads with the most sales-generating potential, it is important to follow through with every single business contact. That casual conversation at the T-ball game that ended with an exchange of business cards could wind up as a lucrative sale. At the very least, following through with even unlikely leads demonstrates attention to detail and professionalism that leaves a favorable impression on business leaders.
Understand the position of your customer in the purchasing process
Not all leads are equal, and not all potential customers are at the same point in the purchasing process. Therefore, it makes little sense to treat them all the same. When you get a lead, it is a good idea to first determine what they are seeking. Are they on a fact-finding mission, simply going down a list of vendors for information about each? Or perhaps they have already done considerable research on the product and services your company offers and have progressed to the point where they are interested in discussing pricing. Maybe they have narrowed down their search to your product and one or two competing vendors, making it crucial for you to stress the superiority of your product or service and be prepared to back up all claims with solid facts.
Each of the above leads has the potential to become a sale, but for best results, your approach of each should be tailored to their specific point in the marketing process. Droning on about each feature of a product that has already been well-researched by your customer will only bore them and waste their time unnecessarily.
Demonstrate Your Expertise
Your sales force should be experts in their field and ready to respond accurately to any client questions. They must have more than a cursory knowledge of the product or service being sold. They should be able to communicate eloquently about its features and answer questions. While not knowing the answer to a customer’s question is okay, it’s unacceptable not to take the necessary steps to find out. Whether consulting a senior manager, checking statistics, or turning to the company website, all efforts should be made to provide the information the customer seeks.
Interact on social media with potential leads
If you aren’t already incorporating social media into your marketing strategy, you are missing a vital opportunity to connect with your potential client base. Social media is a much-overlooked marketing tool that is available for free to every business. Start a Facebook and Twitter account for your company and keep its content updated and relevant. Not social media savvy? Hire someone who is, in contract with a company that will post relevant blog updates and sends out timely tweets on behalf of your business. Make sure that you or your social media representative is responding quickly and professionally to all online comments and concerns, both positive and negative. Leads from social media can bring sales traffic into brick-and-mortar stores or wind up as online purchases. These leads should be handled just as professionally and promptly as in-person inquiries.
Obviously, each business has its bottom line, but within every sale is a bit of wiggle room. When it’s time to negotiate with your lead, ask them point-blank what the sticking point is. Would a 10 percent discount seal the deal, or are they more concerned with getting an extended warranty? Some potential clients enjoy the idea of getting a little lagniappe with their purchase. A car salesman could toss in an offer of four new tires; a fitness center could extend a 12-month membership by two extra months in exchange for payment in full of a membership now.
In a competitive economy, it is imperative that your business stands above your competitors. Follow these tips to begin turning your leads into satisfied, repeat customers.