This is the Big Question for many small businesses: Leads are being generated, but wouldn’t it be great for business if more of these prospects could be converted into actual sales? This small business read offers four guidelines which have brought undisputed success to a host of thriving enterprises.
Be extremely responsive
When it comes to new customers and potential business you cannot afford to be passive. Pricelists, quotes or costings need to be given expeditiously as delay is a mark of less superior service. The likelihood of a competitor beating you due to this weakness is high in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Being good is an enemy of the best, so you have to remember that there are no real points gained for ‘effort’. Customers have needs and many of them are urgent (or most prefer prompt service). Hence if you want to give customers a reason to close deals with you, then you need to be on the cutting-edge of responsiveness, rather than average.
Don’t be afraid to clarify needs
Despite our best efforts to reel in customers and close the gap between enquiries and sales, sometimes it is necessary to clarify a few vital facts or concerns. In other words point 1 cannot be misunderstood to imply that we should focus only on efficiency and not accuracy. We need both. This is the important case of understanding first. By understanding the prospect, specific needs (product or service) and concerns (like budget) you move into an empowered position and can be clinical and on-point with your recommendations, quotes etc.
Be precise about promises
Most of the time clients these days are looking for a memorable customer experience. Though they may not spell it out, if inferior client experience doesn’t leave a sour taste during the sale in question, it will certainly affect future sales. Good business is not once-off; if clients are truly satisfied, you should be the first-in-mind service provider when they have a need or when a friend or peer in their circle is looking for similar products or services.
This means being clear about the solution you are offering, right from product, to delivery details, guarantees/warrantees, pricing and any other assertions. You do not want to start off with a client who is happy and ends up being disappointed because promises and assurances were ambiguous or not effectively expressed.
This is a factor that is often overlooked, yet could be costing a business heavily in terms of new business or lead conversion rates (ratio or proportion of actual business or clients secured versus the number of total enquiries coming in). First impressions last and within the first few moments of interacting with someone directly, reading their first email or communicating on the phone for the first time – crucial opinions are already being made.
While all elements of written content, verbal and non-verbal communication are important, we are honing in on tone. The underlying tone when it comes to improving leads, in the vast majority of industries, needs to be professional without being stiff. So do be friendly and inviting so that potential customers feel comfortable, but also let people understand from your tone that you are serious about business. Some red flags to avoid include aggressive tone, abrupt tone, sounding grandiose instead of confident, and sounding unenthusiastic.
These are a few useful keys in a whole bunch of lead conversion strategies. Be sure to look out for forthcoming reads on this topical subject.
Proudly brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).