How do you increase sales? This is the most common question business owners ask. And the short answer is, by generating and managing leads.
Leads are persons and businesses that are potential customers and for whom you have contact data. Businesses may acquire leads online through their website, social media interaction, online advertising, etc.
Gathering a list of leads is a crucial marketing task. While social media and other channels charge you to reach potential clients, having your own leads means you can contact them as often as you want—at no extra cost.
However, even a long and detailed leads database cannot guarantee sales on its own. There is still a lot of effort required to convert leads into sales, or, to put it simply, to turn potential customers into real clients.
So, how do you manage leads? The body of knowledge and best practices on achieving this conversion is large and expanding quickly. We have collected here 9+1 tips you can do to tap into your leads and turn them into sales.
In a business world where people window-shop and shop online, trust is a key issue.
Did you know that a staggering 70% of customers abandon their carts without completing their purchase? Customers who look at a beautiful website or interesting social media stories can still have doubts about trustworthiness. Almost all potential customers have had—or know someone who has had—a bad customer experience because they trusted the wrong company.
Therefore, show proof that you are a trustworthy business! This is crucial to help your leads carry on with a purchase.
Creating a trustworthy profile is a task that does not include direct work on your leads database. However, it is an important base upon which to build your communication strategy.
1. Provide social proof
Once you close a sale, ask your customers to review your products and services on your social media and Google. You should do this as soon as possible after a sale. Showcase positive testimonials and reviews on your website.
There will probably be some negative or not stellar reviews, which you should not fear if your overall rating is good. That said, if your overall reviews are poor, they are an indication that there is a problem with your business. In this case, whatever you do marketing-wise will only bring limited results in the long term. Focus on your products and services before everything else!
2. Get in the customer’s shoes and address concerns with a well thought FAQ section
Fear that something might go wrong with prices, hidden costs, product features, delivery delays, etc. can get in the way of converting someone interested in your products into a customer who purchases them.
Address any sales-related fears through a detailed FAQ section on your website and social media.
Make your FAQ visible and easily accessible. Addressing the concerns of your potential clients makes them feel valued. It also reassures them that they will not encounter any problems with your business. Even if they do, there is a clear process to address them.
If you are selling products online, also provide tools that help a potential customer calculate costs, sizes, and dimensions. Calculators take some of the burden and fear away by providing an estimate that the potential customer can trust.
3. Show the value of your products and services
Showcase details about your products and services that help your potential customers understand why they need them.
For example, you could show how your products and services:
- are unique, innovative, or provide more value than the competition
- save money and effort for anyone purchasing them
- help customers increase their income
- are certified by important organizations
Know your leads
Not all leads are equal. Almost as much as 75% of the leads you gather are not your ideal customer.
If your leads consist of different types of people, it makes sense to not treat them as a uniform client. Segmentation is your friend here. Don’t communicate in the same way with all of them.
4. Qualify your leads
“Qualifying” your leads is the practice by which you recognize what motivated each lead to give you their contact data and to group them accordingly.
There are several ways to qualify your leads. A common, helpful classification is as follows:
- Marketing Qualified Leads: these are leads that are interested in your business but have not yet performed any action that suggests they intend to actually buy something. They liked your content—a blog, a video, an advertisement in social media—and that is how you got them as leads.
- Sales Qualified Leads: these are leads that have started a communication about purchasing something from you. They have asked for a quote or for specific purchase information (ex. delivery speed, prices, etc). They have shown a strong intention to buy, but the sale has not closed, for whatever reason.
- Product Qualified Leads: these are leads that have tried your products and services already. For example, they are on a free trial or free package deal, or they got a product on a special offer.
Each of these groups needs a different way of communication:
- For Marketing Qualified Leads, you need to understand if they are valuable leads or not. Only nurture the relationship if it makes sense, otherwise you’re wasting time and resources that could be used in more productive ways.
- With Sales Qualified Leads, it is imperative to find out what is stopping them from buying and to try to close a deal.
- With Product Qualified Leads, you should try to convince them to upgrade to a paying package, or to purchase a complementary product, now that they have a good experience of your products and their quality.
Qualifying your leads allows you to plan a communication strategy that makes sense for each different group of potential customers. This will let you make the right argument to convert them from leads to sales.
5. Follow up quickly after you acquire a new lead
Time is money in the case of leads, especially for those who have shown an active interest in your products and sales and qualify as sales leads. The key here is “follow-up.”
Did someone ask for a quote and haven’t come back to you two days later? Did someone like your post but did not follow your Facebook Page? Has the free trial of your product ended but the customer did not subscribe to your paying service?
Follow up on them with a timely phone or email. Leads will either activate, thus leading to a sale, or decline your offer. Not only will you gain more sales, but you will also know which leads to qualify as unresponsive. This may let you see patterns that will help you fine-tune your marketing approach in the future.
Nurture the relationship and create triggers for action
In many instances, it is worth waiting for your lead to mature.
This is especially the case for service professionals, like doctors and lawyers. Not everyone needs a health check-up or a lawyer right away. When they do, however, you want your name to be the first to pop to their mind. Therefore, you need to nurture the relationship with your leads, because they could become customers in the future.
You can nurture the relationship mainly through communication:
6. Email marketing: become an authority and offer value before selling
Having a regular newsletter is an excellent way to remind your leads of your business, products, and services.
However, to be efficient, you need to keep it interesting, clever, short, and not too frequent—once or twice a month is more than enough for most businesses. Most people dislike too frequent, repetitive, long newsletters.
Create content that makes for an interesting read. Choose material that will make you stand out as an authority in your field of business, like blog posts that answer potential questions. This offers both free value for your leads and a perfect introduction to your company.
Include incentives in your newsletters, such as offers, coupons, discounts, or gifts. Such incentives make the leads feel valued and motivate them to open your newsletters, visit your website, or ask you for further information. Keep in mind that offers and gifts don’t need to be particularly expensive to be pleasing.
7. Phone marketing: make it personal to those interested
Some businesses prefer phone marketing and contact their leads through the phone.
However, this works better for after-sale service with existing customers than with leads.
Phone marketing is ideal to remind people that a subscription is near its end, to inform them on a complimentary product, or to promote an upgrade.
Phone marketing can also be great if you have a special deal for hot leads that have been recognized as highly engaged with you. In this case, making an offer that seems “customized,” asking questions about their preferences in a survey, or simply contacting them to ask how you could help them, can make them feel valued. This can encourage them to make a purchase.
Phone marketing, however, may be too intrusive or pushy for those leads that are Marketing Qualified and are only vaguely interested in your business. You risk alienating them and annoying them instead of enticing them.
Consider your phone strategy wisely, depending on the group of leads you are targeting.
8. Online Events: create an experience to communicate directly with your leads
Online events for subscribers and leads who follow you online offer a great way to communicate directly with your potential customers.
Organize webinars, podcasts, or online presentations. Make these available to your leads and use them as an opportunity to engage directly with your potential customers, reply to their questions and concerns, and build trust and authority.
Online events can convert leads to sales very quickly because they attract the leads that are the most interested in your business.
9. Create a sense of urgency
Make your leads feel they need to make a purchase now, or risk missing out on a great opportunity.
If you have a limited-time offer, remind your leads that the deadline is fast approaching. If you have products on a limited stock, remind your leads that there are only a few pieces left. If you are retiring a collection, inform your leads that the collection will not be available for much longer.
Such actions set the timing for sales to “now” and will convert to sales those leads that postponed purchases for later.
Bonus tip: Track your results and trim your leads database periodically
Working to convert your leads to sales requires effort and cost. If you spend your resources on unresponsive leads, your loss is double: you get no sales, and you take up all the cost.
This is why you need to use metrics to measure how your leads conversions perform.
Metrics will let you recognize unresponsive leads. You can then set them apart as a separate group, for which you can develop a specific strategy.
Set a time limit for unresponsive leads. Remove them from your sales funnel after that.
Some suggest that you send one last communication to your leads. Announce that, since you have had no news from them for x time, you are removing them from your newsletter. Complete the communication by saying that they are welcome to subscribe again whenever they wish. Indeed, this could activate some of them.
Whatever you do, always keep in mind that your leads database is a living thing. You are constantly recruiting new leads, converting to sales a percentage of them, and dropping those who are not responding to your efforts.