Although a well-aimed marketing campaign and a worthwhile product are essential to developing a reliable client base, without properly converting leads into customers everything else becomes a moot point. This is unfortunately the case when focusing solely on identifying fresh prospects rather than converting those that already exist. It's just like buying more food than you can consume; the end result is a waste of both energy and capital.
So, what should you do? Well, stop buying food is definitely not the answer . But instead of preparing again for shopping, take a few minutes and look into your own “kitchen” to see what's cooking :).
Mmm, looks delicious!
Now, moving from the kitchen parable to lead conversion, I have prepared below a short list of strategies for more focus on existing leads. Let's see together what they are:
Qualify the leads correctly
This is the most common mistake of business operations. A lead must be assessed on the basis of how likely they are to further engage and become involved. Of primary importance is to ask yourself the right questions before considering them qualified:
- Are they interested in your product or service?
- Do they need to consult with anyone else before moving forward? and, most importantly;
- Are they in the position to become involved?
Without these fundamentals clearly established, conversions would not take place.
Educate the leads
This is not defined as simply presenting them with static information. Instead, you should focus on content that brings value to your qualified leads and drives them into taking further action.
There are two primary phases to consider for a leads education strategy:
- Content production: establish what you want to communicate and how you want to do it.
- Distribution: determine where and when (if possible) the leads are presented with your content.
The significance here is that such engagement will determine exactly how aware and interested the prospects may be. Conversely, you create a strong relation and your leads will feel that their needs and concerns are being proactively addressed (as should be the case).
Offer a trial period
This is especially useful when leads are already “on the fence”. Offering a no-obligation trial period for your product, it shows that you are confident in the product.
This also gives the potential buyers the confidence to continue down the conversion road.
This type of “hands-on” approach helps you strengthen the relation with your leads. The more actively a lead will participate in your trialing methods, the more likely he or she will be to convert.
Build trust with users’ stories
This is particularly useful as we are in the age of a communications revolution. It is becoming more common for a prospect to rely on objective feedback of existing clients rather than simply on the claims of the company itself.
Here are some of the strongest trust signals you can use:
- Test cases
- Guest posts from your clients
This lends an air of transparency and honesty to any sales campaign. Existing clients should be happy to represent a product they are confident in and potential customers will draw nearer to the actual conversion.
Integrate follow-ups into the conversion process
Never forget that much like a fledgling flame, a potentially converted lead needs to be supported with an adequate amount of follow-up engagements.
These can help address any problems as they arise and prevent what may be minor questions to develop into a lost conversion.
Along these lines should also be mentioned the increasing efficacy of product demonstrations. These may be interactive demonstrations using web conferencing or live demos to a selected group of qualified leads.
This approach gives a chance for mutual interaction as well as the ability to answer any major concerns on-the-fly and in real time; further bolstering the chances of an ultimate conversion.
Periodically measure the conversion rate
Just as the adage goes, “If it's not broken then don't fix it…” there are other instances where sales may drop, and the reasons are various.
What needs to be monitored here is the conversion rate of visitors in various stages:
- Lead generation: Leads collected/Visitors
- Lead qualification: Qualified leads/Leads collected
- Overall website conversion: Number of sales/Visitors
This provides you with a better understanding over the different aspects of conversion. The monitoring process should be done on a monthly or quarterly basis as any short-term analyses may not be representative of a trend as a whole. Just remember to always use the same metrics each time you calculate your conversion rates, so that the evolution in time of the conversion trend would be accurate.
Back to you
These are but a handful of ideas which successful businesses have adhered to in regards to maintaining optimal conversion rates. Yet I'm sure there is a lot more to tell about lead conversion
How do you convert your leads? Are you using well-known, proven strategies, or something more unconventional? I'd love to read about your experiences in the comments section below.