Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
Why fresh leads and closing deals are part of the same process
Quick. Without giving any deep thought to it, what’s more important -- fresh leads or closing the prospects you have?
Most business owners and executives will quickly say leads. I bet you did too. Truth is, this is a trick question. The answer is neither and both. Because the two really can’t be separated.
I better explain. There shouldn’t be any doubt that generating a lead is the beginning of the marketing and sales process. But, most products or services are not sold on first contact.
And, when people are just kicking the tires, can we really call them a lead at that point?
This isn’t just for business-to-business deals. Most of consumers investigate, research, and look at options before plopping down even twenty-five bucks on an accessory for our smart phone.
Potential buyers are thinking:
“Is this really going to solve my problem?”
“Do I trust the person or website that’s trying to sell me on this?”
“Is there a better value elsewhere for my money?”
“My cousin Sal can do that for half what you’re quoting, so why should I pay you?” Yikes!
So, let’s get this straight. When someone answers the phone and actually takes a moment to speak with you, meets you at a chamber showcase for the first time, or lands on your website and downloads your ebook they’re not a considered a lead!
A suspect perhaps, but not a lead.
Sure, having a suspected prospect is a good start. It’s just not enough to close the sale. These not-ready-to-buy suspects aren’t leads yet so don’t get too excited. How you treat them next will make or break a purchase.
Don’t believe for a second that the seventy people who gave you a business card at a trade show, downloaded your free report, or chatted with you for ten minutes over the phone are ready to take the next step and buy. Too many companies make that mistake.
Here are steps you can take to attract prospects and turn them into loyal customers.
Think like a buyer, not a seller. You’ll set yourself apart from competitors when prospects believe that you have their best interest at heart. Demonstrate that by truly thinking like a buyer. Talk about benefits, not features. Say “you” and mean it. Offer the value and education you’d want if you were looking for your product or service. That means that your marketing and sales process must match up to the buying process that your suspects go through on their way to becoming customers. Your buyer gets to decide what the next steps are during each stage on the path to a sale -- all you get to do is guide them on the journey. But, when you and your team think like buyers, you’ll end up in the driver’s seat.
Sell your content before your offering. No matter how small the purchase price or big the commitment, establishing a relationship with your suspected prospect is job number one. Lead nurturing starts the instant that your business makes first contact and starts the process of moving people from early impressions to having enough trust in what you say to buy. Content is the best way to do this and is anything of substance that makes sense for your business -- ebook, webinar, email newsletter, presentation at a conference, social media, or a hundred other content-based activities. Approach your buyer from their perspective, instead of your own. Do this with an authentic and educational approach and the chances of a purchase go up dramatically.
Ask for the sale, just don’t push for it. People know that you want to sell them something, but initially they just want the valuable information you’re offering. Yet, after you’ve sold the value of your expertise with great content it’s okay to ask how you can help get them closer to their goals. Be a valuable expert who is knowledgeable about the exact issue at hand and has a solution to offer. It’s even all right to suggest your offering at the end of a talk or ebook -- if you don’t you’ll be doing your suspect a disservice when you neglect to let them know that you have a solution. But, it can’t be in your face pushy and suddenly all about you and your company. Hard-sell tactics won’t cut it. Otherwise they’ll never trust your company enough to do right by them.
It all begins with your marketing and sales process. When you think about getting fresh leads and closing prospects as part of the same process you’ll quickly turn suspects into qualified buyers.
Thinking like your buyers is a powerful way to help people think differently about you and your business. Don’t let your value be determined by your competition. Guide your leads from start to finish by solving the problems they have.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.