Better conversion strategies can boost your business dramatically for little or no extra cost
There’s little point in generating more leads and enquiries if your existing conversion process results in most of your hard-won enquiries falling through the cracks.
Too many businesses are already generating all the leads and prospects they need … but are unwittingly losing up to 95% of their sales opportunities, and pouring thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of pounds down the drain.
In these circumstances you may not actually NEED additional leads or prospects at all … instead you need much better strategies for converting a larger portion of your prospects into customers.
Some clients have increased their conversion rate more than ten-fold whilst at the same time dramatically reducing the cost of acquiring those customers. Here are some of the strategies you can use:
1. Mapping your sales process
This valuable diagram maps the step by step processes required to convert your enquiries into sales. It tracks the actions you take to prepare for each sale; how you overcome concerns; build trust; understand your buyer’s goals, needs and wants; create certainty that your product or service meets their needs; overcome their fear of making the wrong decision; officially confirm the sale … and see to it that your buyer is truly satisfied. You’ll be able to carefully study your sales process from every angle so that you manage and control each step, convert more effectively and address predictable buyer concerns before they pop up later as objections.
2. Measure conversion rate
What you measure you can manage, yet few businesses ever consider, let alone accurately measure, the percentage of their hard-won enquiries that convert into sales. Without a measurement system you can only guess at your sales conversion rate … and usually it’s an over-estimate! Once you start measuring your conversion rate you can start focusing on lifting your “benchmark” performance using some of the techniques listed on this page. If you measure what you are achieving, then focus on the key factors that will impact on changing it … things WILL change, often with immediate effect. It’s not uncommon for businesses to increase their sales levels by 20% JUST by focusing on their conversion target.
3. Qualify Leads better up front
Time wasted on unqualified leads is the No.1 factor that can affect your sales success, because not everyone is a prime prospect for your products or services. You can be “busy” all day talking to people, but you won’t make sales unless you concentrate on qualified prospects, rather than offering your product or service to people who are unreceptive, not ready for, cannot pay for and are disinterested in what you’re offering. You qualify your leads by offering very specific propositions to ensure that the people who respond to your marketing approaches are only those who have the desire, the capacity and the motivation to buy your product or service.
4. Fish where the big fish are
Even if you have the most technically advanced fishing equipment, you’ll leave empty handed if there are no fish in the lake. But if you just have a simple net, and the lake is teeming with fish, your chances of a catch are much greater. Where you cast your line is crucial to catching fish … and the same is also true in business. Successful businesses fish where the big fish are. They talk to customers who are familiar with their product or service, or already use it, or have a high probability of using it. Don’t waste your time trying to convince people who don’t need your product or service when there are customers out there who already know they need what you’re selling … and are thus part-sold before they even see you.
5. Packaged Information Offers
The right offer can increase your response up to 300%. Yet few businesses ever go beyond a token effort of making “some sort of offer.” Most people wrongly assume that their buyers already know it all, or aren’t interested in reading lots of words. In truth your prospects crave as much information as possible so they can make an informed purchase decision. By “packaging” your expertise into a special booklet, report or seminar and offering it as an inducement to get your prospects to contact you, you can bring prospects out of the woodwork in droves whilst simultaneously establishing your expertise and at the same time educating and informing the very people who are most interested in making a purchasing decision … which increases the probability that you’ll get the sale.
6. Show the chain, sell the first link
No one buys a chain link by link. People either buy the whole chain or they don’t. It is the same with converting business. If you show the customer all the steps in a sale and he or she agrees to the first step, the customer has bought the chain … unless you break it. You show the chain, make it clear how the phases in the sale are linked—from first agreement to purchase order—and then sell the first link … which is attached to the last link. Sell the first link and you sell the chain.
7. Using a planned agenda
A planned agenda for meetings with your prospects or customers is one of the most effective, yet under-utilised, tools in selling. It offers a number of key benefits: it makes your sales meetings more productive, effective and rewarding; it shows you’ve taken the time and effort to plan for the meeting which creates a positive impact right from the start; it allows you to take control of the meeting and keep to the allocated time; it increases your conversion rate by setting the right expectation from the outset; it helps you understand who really makes the decisions; it helps you to record and follow-through on any agreed actions and it will make you look and act more professionally, thus enhancing your reputation and increasing the chance that you’ll win the sale.
8. Onionize to understand
To convert successfully you must first get to the essence of your customer’s problem or needs. You must understand all of your customer’s concerns, desires, fears, and limits. You cannot prescribe a solution until you diagnose their need. You cannot turn your customer’s need into a want until you know how to put value on your customer’s desired state. Just as you peel an onion layer by layer, so, too, you help your customer get to the “heart of the matter.” “Onionizing” is akin to being an investigative reporter, detective, psychiatrist, doctor, and archaeologist. You ask, probe, dig, diagnose, and listen to understand … then prescribe the solution and win the sale!
9. Winning Quotes & Proposals
If either your product or your proposal are weak, your chances of a sale are slim to non-existent. If you normally send out single page “quotes,” you’re asking your buyers to make a leap of faith when they buy from you because they really have no idea if they’ll be getting a great service or a lousy one … and you’re inviting comparison with your competitors. If you focus instead on educating your buyers to understand the true value of your product or service by explaining how it solves their major concerns, telling them exactly what you do for them at each step, they KNOW it’ll be great. This will help you to win more tenders, charge what you’re truly worth and increase your conversion rate.
10. Educate by giving reasons why
You’re continuously striving in business to move people first to desire and then to buy your product or service, again and again. For most people, the missing link in this process is to provide your buyers with a complete understanding of the reasons why you do what you do, why you sell what you sell, why your product or service is better than others, why they should act, and why they’ll be disadvantaged if they don’t. The more you help your buyers to understand the tangible, compelling reasons why they should take action, the more powerful your positioning, the more people will understand the value and benefits you’re offering, the more they will trust, and the more comfortable they feel with what you’re offering.
11. Create Irresistable Offers
Remember, your prospects don’t need you as much as you need them. They have a multitude of choices available to them. Unless you offer them a really meaningful benefit for doing business with you, it’s easier for them to take no action at all. You therefore have to do everything you can to tip the scales and make it irresistible for them to take the next step. You do this by creating such a powerful and compelling offer that people would be foolish to pass it up. An offer that makes it more advantageous to acquire your product or service than not to do so, one which eliminates all the hurdles they have to jump over to do business with you and makes it harder to say “no” to you than to say “yes,” can increase your results up to 300%.
12. Increasing Sales Skills
One of the most immediate ways of leveraging your business is to continuously train your entire staff in non-manipulative, strategic selling principles, methods and understandings. Effective selling is not just a matter of learning a sales spiel or having the gift of the gab. The finest sales people in the world are helpful, not pushy. They believe in their product and make meaningful recommendations and suggestions based on their personal experience of what actually works. They provide the buyer with the information they need to make an informed decision … and they know how and when to ask for the order! By training everyone in these skills, you’ll be amazed at the massive compounding impact on your business.
13. Mastermind Script Books
Creating a collection of the most powerful, focused and persuasive sales presentations and sales scripts specifically for your business, that your sales professionals can use to consistently shatter industry sales records and effectively counter virtually every objection, stall or form of resistance you’re likely to hear so that you can close the sale. Because different prospects need to hear different responses, you need 15-20 different immediately available responses to each objection to achieve maximum effectiveness with the full range of prospects you’re likely to encounter. If the script or presentation doesn’t close the sale, it advances you more quickly to the close, builds a deep level of trust and sets you up for the next powerful piece of sales dialog.
14. Better presentation skills
Great speakers have some qualities in common. They have inner fire. They speak with authority. They connect with the audience through storytelling. They use their voices well. And they know how to prevent fear from overpowering them. They also know that what you say represents just 7% of the communication experience, whereas how you say it has five times more impact … and your body language represents 55% of the total impact of your presentation. Research also shows that people retain 20% of what they see, 20% of what they hear, and 50% of what they see and hear. The use of visual aids can therefore have a massive impact too and will allow you to get through more information in a shorter period of time.
15. Better Telephone Skills
A few quick calls will demonstrate that most businesses don’t use the telephone “sales-effectively”. For many customer enquiries, orders, or complaints, the telephone will be the primary, if not the only, method of dealing with your business. If you mismanage your telephone efforts, you waste opportunities galore, throw a fortune down the drain and jeopardize relationships with your best prospects and customers. Yet you can enhance the telephone skills of your team members both easily and inexpensively. This can turn the telephone into one of the most powerful business tools available, create a great impression for your business every time and produce explosively profitable results.
16. Constant follow-up
80% of all significant sales occur only after a minimum of five continuous follow ups … yet only 8% of sales people ever ask for the order a fifth time! Constant follow-ups are an enormously effective way of advancing and building your relationships, developing trust and gently leading your prospect to a purchasing decision. You can get as much as twenty times the sales and results if you constantly following up. When something makes such a significant difference, you owe it to yourself to follow up … and keep following up in a nurturing way. It will make a profound difference to your ability to convert business.
17. Recruit sales superstars
There is a special art to attracting and recruiting sales superstars for your business. They are original, intelligent, innovative, relentless, clever, creative, eager to please, entertaining, persuasive, compelling, highly communicative, learn very quickly and are a pleasure to deal with. Superstars adapt to every situation, never give up and become even more determined when presented with a challenge. Within three months they’ll normally be outselling your best performers. They can form a bond where nobody else can do so and make sales nobody else can get. Sales superstars don’t come cheap. But they’ll improve your conversion rate massively which makes them worth every penny!
18. Market research
Creating a need and a demand where none already exists, or convincing customers to do something they don’t know they want to do takes time, money, and more money. Discovering a need and filling it is far cheaper and easier than betting your destiny on a conjecture. Good third party market research not only brings objectivity, but can often persuade prospects and customers to reveal all sorts of issues that they will not tell a company person. It frequently also reveals that the message you think you are communicating is not the message being received by the prospect and can clearly indicate compelling ways to differentiate your business from your competition, which can significantly increase your conversion rate.
Other lead conversion strategies include:
- Capture and Log Prospect Information
- Winning Awards
- Lead Prospects to the Outcome They Desire
- Point of Sale Displays
- Reprinting and Distributing Press Articles
- Extraordinary Guarantees
- Effective Sales Management
- Sequential Marketing Messages
- Setting Sales Targets
- Gathering and Using Testimonials
- Try Before You Buy
By mid-2009 Marketing Wizdom’s knowledgebase contained more than 3.3 million words in 5,922 documents relating to 30 individual lead conversion strategies. That’s equivalent to nearly 12,000 pages, or 47 full sized books.