Sales Training for Entrepreneurs
Is your marketing spend producing interested leads, but not converting into sales? If you are spending thousands on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay Per Click), or any other marketing campaigns, it makes sense to treat these prospects with the greatest care. Unfortunately, many small to medium businesses are letting precious leads slip through their fingers. Today I will share with you three practical steps to solve this problem and convert more leads into sales.
1. Respond quickly
According to a large study on lead response times, your odds of contacting and converting an interested lead into a sale decreases exponentially for every 5 minutes of delay1. This intuitively makes sense – would you rather buy from a business that responds in 5 minutes or 24 hours? Strangely, most companies consider the latter timeframe as an acceptable standard.
Firstly, ensure that your contact form requires a phone number. This may deter some leads from submitting their details, but a phone conversation will always outsell emails. Additionally, if you want to convert more leads into sales, email conversion rates are generally poor. You can cater for these less qualified leads using a lead magnet.
Next, put systems in place to ensure that leads are responded to as soon as possible. This may mean having a special email account for new enquiries. You can then enable email notifications for this address so you receive them live on your smartphone. (I generally do not recommend any other notifications as they can be a terrible distraction!). Make sure you call these leads quickly to maximise conversion rates to sales.
Finally, make sales a top priority in your own mind. Entrepreneurs often procrastinate on leads because of their personal aversion to selling. They hide behind emails or engage in “busy work” to avoid having sales conversations. This mindset will be the death of your business!
2. Follow up
Another major sales mistake is not to organise follow-up (unless you are selling a product that is $100 or less). To convert more leads into sales, you will need multiple touchpoints. Sadly, follow-up is often perceived as being “pushy” or “like a stalker.” As a result, leads are left to make a decision on their own, if they get around to it at all!
To change the follow-up mindset, think of yourself as a guide. Buying is the destination, and the decision-making process is the journey. There is a jungle of information out there, and the prospect needs help navigating it to reach civilisation (their goal). As the subject-matter expert, you cut a path through the irrelevant facts so your buyer has a clear view of what’s best for them.
If your lead doesn’t convert into a sale immediately, book a time to catch up with your prospect when it suits them. Treat it like an appointment to ensure that both parties are clear on timelines and action points. Call the buyer at the agreed time, and don’t forget to ask for the order at the end!
3. Ask for the order
If your sales conversations usually end with “call us if you have any other questions,” you are not going to convert more leads into sales. People are naturally indecisive and easily distracted. You can help them overcome indecision and procrastination by assertively asking for the order.
If you truly believe in the value your product offers, why would you ever hesitate to close the sale? Your buyers want to know that you are confident about the results you are promising. Without a strong closing question, you will unconsciously communicate that your product can’t be trusted.
Contrary to outdated sales training, you don’t need fancy techniques to manipulate or push people to buy. After you have invested time guiding them and showing you care, simply ask “Would you like to go ahead?” or “To proceed, here are the next steps…” Whatever your question, make sure it is a “closed question” (they can only answer “yes” or “no”), and simply ask it!
Go on, convert more leads into sales!
There’s a saying that “Marketing makes the phone ring, but sales makes the till ring”2 To convert more leads into sales, you need to respond as quickly as possible, follow up, and ask for the order. Follow these steps, and you will maximise the ROI (return on investment) for your marketing dollars!
The lead response management study; James B. Oldroyd, David Elkington; 2009
2 Author unknown