Getting sales leads using internet tools has become relatively easy. So why are sales conversions lagging so far behind? The simple answer is that sales organizations have not yet adapted to the way people buy today.
Vast Numbers of Potential Sales Leads
The tools for marketing on the internet are proven. Choose from search engine optimization (SEO), list building, email marketing, pay-per-click ads (PPC), web forms, virtual events, guest posting and more. All of these methods have the potential of capturing large streams of web leads.
The challenge has become the process of sifting through this massive quantity of leads to find the “qualified” leads. Not only that, a smart company will also develop systems for nurturing the “unqualified” leads until they are ready to purchase.
The nurturing process may be called the sales funnel, sales or buying process. Whatever you name the procedure, the goal is to deepen trust level to the point of getting a transaction from the raw sales lead.
Shifting the Focus
Rather than asking salespeople to quickly close every prospective lead, the focus now is to quickly determine who is NOT ready to purchase. The small percentage of qualified leads should be handled with all the skill and expertise of your best sales team member. The bulk of the web prospects need to be “nurtured”.
It is in the nurturing stage that most sales are lost with today’s buyer. The best tool for developing trust in new prospects is email marketing. Far too many companies approach email marketing in a counterproductive way.
It is almost impossible to convince prospects to purchase your goods and services. The key word in that sentence is “convince”. The internet-empowered consumer is virtually unconvinced by every argument you may present about why they should choose your company as a solution.
Give Them What They Want
Today’s consumer will do anything possible to avoid looking like they are stupid – or even uninformed. If they have to read between the lines of your promotion to learn the nuggets of education they want, you will lose them. The best you can hope for is that all your competitors are not doing any better.
When promotion is the only thing the buyer can find to educate them about a product or service they will generally keep browsing. Their goal is to gather enough information to make an educated decision.
Your most powerful tool for turning raw sales leads into actively engaged buyers is to give them information.
- Spill out everything you know about their struggles – maybe without even offering your company as a solution.
- Empathize with the experience of lacking knowledge about your area of expertise and break down your knowledge into understandable chunks of information.
- Respond to their desire to learn with information they can use…even if they buy from someone else.
The suggestions in this article may seem downright bizarre to sales-oriented organizations. If you are of “a certain age” you feel responsible for turning every sales lead into a sale. Sorry old sage. That method is now a huge waste of money and time. Shift your focus and give them what they want.