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How to Turn Your Leads Into Profitable Relationships

How to Turn Your Leads Into Profitable Relationships
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What matters more than getting a lot of customer leads? Connecting with people who will actually do business with you. Quality trumps quantity when it comes to lead generation; whatever the size of your business, growing your customer base is what creates success.

Don’t get me wrong, attention is great but new leads add up to little more than vanity numbers if they don’t convert.

Here are a few ways to turn top-level leads into more meaningful -- and profitable -- relationships.

Related: 3 Steps to Qualify a Sales Lead

Does your web presence stink?

Your web presence isn’t about you, it’s about what matters to the people you do business with. Embrace social-media channels to get in front of your audience, take advantage of tools that let you learn about the people who visit your website and use that site to provide information they want. Think about brick-and-mortar storefronts that draw you in: you stop because something catches your eye, which means you’re then more likely to go in and buy something. Your website is your storefront. Keep it looking good, keep it current and relevant, so it can attract and retain customers.

Who are your customer’s friends?

Your relationship with your customers shouldn’t end with a sale. Follow up with them to see how they’re enjoying your product or benefiting from your service. Email a survey or ask them to leave a review. And don’t forget one important request: ask your fans to refer a friend who might also benefit from what you have to offer. Even if you don’t get a response or a referral, letting people know you’re interested in their experience is one way to show you value their feedback.

Encourage and respond to reviews

Ninety percent of shoppers are highly motivated by online reviews. Make it easy for people to find and leave public feedback -- and don’t be afraid of reviews that fall short of perfect. If someone lets you know they aren’t happy with your business, be thankful they made you aware of the problem because it gives you an opportunity to make things right. Surveys have shown that most unhappy customers won’t say a thing to you, but they won’t hesitate to share their negative experiences with their friends and friends of friends. Negative feedback isn’t just a chance to repair a problem for a past customer, it also shows potential buyers you’re willing to do what it takes to make sure they’re satisfied.

Stay organized with a customer relationship management system

Every lead and customer matters when you’re growing your business, so don’t lose track of them. Be diligent and save information about every new contact in a safe and convenient location. A CRM system is a tool that stores your important contact information. Modern systems typically use the cloud, so it’s easy to access no matter where you are. This will help you organize info like phone numbers, customer preferences and even notes about previous conversations so you can collect, track, analyze and make use of this powerful data to improve customer interactions.

Related: 6 Growth-Hacking Tips to Boost Your Website's Traffic

Prove you’re an industry expert

Customers want to see that you believe in what you do and that you aren’t just trying to make a quick buck. Demonstrate your confidence by hosting webinars, speaking at events, blogging about your experiences and writing and sharing customer case studies. The more you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, the more you’ll strengthen both your reputation and authority.

Learn when it’s time to make a sale

As they say, timing is everything: knowing your customer’s needs and understanding when to close a sale is just as important as finding leads in the first place. Be prepared to jump when needed in order to make a sale, so you come across as a professional. Be quick to respond -- 35 to 50 percent of sales go to vendors who reply first. If you aren’t already using marketing automation to nurture strong leads, stop procrastinating. You can tailor automated messages so they’re well timed -- not spammy -- to reach out at critical points during the customer’s journey.

Putting these tried and true tips into action will attract and convert the kind of leads you’re looking for: people who are most likely to do business with you. Putting the time in to prepare and polish your web presence, business process, and image will pay off exponentially. With all the pieces in place, you’ll give new leads all the proof they need to make a purchase and have the confidence to close the deal.

Related: 6 Lead Generation Tactics That Can Give Startups a Big Boost