Mastering the art of the sale isn't just about enticing potential customers to engage with your business, but about keeping them moving down the sales funnel all the way to the contract’s dotted line. Within this sales funnel, many businesses get lost. While they’re able to generate qualified leads, they aren’t able to transform those potential customers into actual customers.
Successful lead engagement means creating a personal relationship with your customer. Though the days of individual, face-to-face sales may no longer be as common, those personal methods continue to be the heart of the sale. In fact, that individualized approach is exactly what made modern sales successful. Technology allows us to track customer engagement and to focus efforts.
Forging that connection in a modern, heavily competitive world is a challenge; however, it’s surmountable when utilizing the right techniques.
If you want to know how to close more sales, start with these five steps.
1. Provide value
Before everything else, there has to be value for your customers. This is the beginning of the sale process, the heart of the hook and the core of the end sale. You need them to see the value in what you have to offer, something that they want. The value proposition can be so obvious to businesses that they don’t think it through, but crafting it carefully is the critical first step in successful lead engagement.
Are you offering a way to make life better? A way to make it easier? Does your product remove something negative in the life of your customers or add something positive?
The other side of providing value is giving your potential customers the content they want in the format that they need. For some customers, that might be an actual direct mail piece -- think seniors. For others, it might be in the form of a mobile app that they can download to their phone. Video content is ideal for many potential clients. If what you’re giving them is the right content or the right product but in the wrong format, then it’s not giving them the value that they need. It’s about the whole package.
2. Offer information
Information is power and comfort. One key to engaging potential customers is to offer them as much information about the process as you possibly can. Realize that while your team might be intensely familiar with the processes of your company, potential customers are very much not.
Don’t wait for potential leads to come to you with questions or concerns -- particularly when it comes to things like timeline, delivery and managing potential problems. Always be the first to reach out when you have new information. Keeping customers in the loop shows you’re invested in them, offering them a sense that they are a valued part of the process and not just another number on a sales chart.
A simple email is sufficient to keep potential customers in the loop, though whatever form of communication you’ve established is absolutely appropriate.
3. Maintain integrity
Honesty is an essential part of this process and of any successful relationship. There is never a good reason to offer customers or potential customers anything that could be misleading. It’s a solid rule for businesses to make a commitment to honesty and integrity no matter what problems may arise or what kinds of issues could come up.
This goes especially for claims about the efficacy of a product and the timeline of delivery. Don’t promise more than you can offer a customer and don’t hold back when it comes to saying what the process actually is. You will never be sorry for telling the truth to a client, but any kind of falsehood will come back negatively, damaging not only potential leads but also current customers.
4. Create an experience
Look to the overarching experience that you are creating for potential leads, keeping in mind that people are driven by their humanity. Run yourself through the process that you are offering to potential customers and think about what improvements you could make to it. Keep in mind that these are not unconnected steps but a conglomeration.
What kind of responses does your process elicit? Where are the gaps in the experience? Think about the sales process as a chain, with each piece tightly linked to those before and after. Then look at that experience and create tighter links in that chain as you make an effort to more effectively engage your leads. Often, there are obvious weak links that can be mended in order to keep the overall experience unified and compelling for potential customers.
5. Tailor your approach
As you work to create that overarching experience, be sure to meet your leads where they are. At what point are they in the sales funnel? Are they researching? Ready to buy? Your customer engagement efforts shouldn’t be the same for someone who is making a first inquiry about your product as for someone who has previously been connected to you.
Again, we see that lead engagement is all about the personalized, individual experience that you’re offering to your customers. One of the best ways to give them that kind of human appreciation is to amend your message to meet them where they are.
The common thread through these tips for improving conversion rate is that they all move toward building that positive and personal relationship with the customer. It starts from the very beginning and moves through the whole process, bringing you to the end result that you’re looking for: making that sale.