The Key to Increased Sales – An Effective Lead Conversion Program
Although the process of lead conversion is unique to each business, most successful programs have a few things in common. Following are a few things to consider before you walk into your next sales appointment.
A successful sales meeting starts in the research phase, when you seek to understand your potential client and tailor a presentation for that prospect. During your preparation, one of the most effective things you can do is to build your presentation around “outside market data” instead of “your product data“. Believe it or not, your prospects are more interested in what’s happening in their industry or market than they are in your product.
- Establish the Pain Point: “Product data” is all about you and your company: what you do, what products or services you have and how they work. While useful, this information is less immediately relevant to potential clients than “market data,” which is information gleaned from the marketplace that establishes your client’s pain point and illuminates why, from a broader market perspective, they are feeling this “pain.”When we meet with potential clients – which in our case are business owners – we might share the following as one of our sets of “market data” on employee management:
- The average cost of a bad hire for small companies is $60,000 per year.
- Managers spend seven hours a week or more sorting out personality conflicts among staff members.
- Forty-six percent of new hires leave their job within the first year.
- Eight-five percent of employee morale sharply decreases after the first six months on a job.
In other words, we establish that hiring and retaining good employees and keeping them satisfied can be expensive, time consuming and difficult. At this point, notice that we have said nothing about the benefits or features of our products and services.
We have, however, established a common ground in which to enter a dialogue on what our potential client may be experiencing in relationship to hiring and retaining employees. It’s a common frustration with most business owners and it is a frustration our product can solve – but we get to that later in the meeting.
When you open your sales meeting with market data, you may also find that prospects who had “counted you out” become engaged and more open to working with you. On average, only 3 percent of prospects are ever truly ready to work with you. These are the “ripe fruit” of the market, those who need to buy now. There is another category, what I might call “ripening prospects” who might be open to meeting with you and this might be another 7 percent of the market place. All in all, with a product driven approach, your efforts will mostly fall on deaf ears or about 10 percent of the market place.
Other prospects, such as those who were not really thinking about a need for your services (roughly 30 percent of the market place) or those who didn’t think they were interested (another 30 percent), will typically not entertain the idea of working with you if you present a product-data driven presentation. A market-data driven approach opens up as much as 60 percent more qualified and interested prospects willing to meet with you.
- Enter a Dialogue: After you discuss market data, your prospects will usually open up and share their frustrations on the same topic as well as others. For example, when we present our statistics on the cost and difficulty of hiring and keeping good employees, many business owners note that they too have had difficulty attracting good employees, have suffered from high turnover or are frustrated with the fact that 80 percent of their sales comes from 20 percent of their sales force. At this point, we listen and gently lead the conversation to discussing what we can do to help our prospects address their pain.During this part of the conversation, we also weave in examples or case studies of how we’ve helped other companies solve the exact same problem our prospect is facing. This demonstrates that we understand the problem and that we have a good track record for solving it.
- Close the Conversation: After discussing pain points and possible solutions, prospects are either ready to work with us, clear that they don’t need our services or “on the fence.” Typically, we give prospects an incentive to make the decision on the day of the meeting, so we don’t have to invest hours following up and re-presenting our offer.There’s a saying in business that “proximity is power,” which means that you have a greater chance of signing your potential client or customer during your in-person meeting than through follow-up calls or e-mails. So, if the vendor-client relationship looks like it will be a fruitful one, we make it in our potential client’s best interest to take the next step before the meeting concludes. The longer the time the prospect takes to make a decision, the further they get from the pain they felt and understood during the meeting. And the less the prospect feels the pain, the less committed they are to making a decision.
Your Turn: Try It Out
To make the market-data approach work for you and your sales team, take a moment to inquire, “How would I apply this to my business?” Here are some questions to address:
- What are the consistent pain points of my clients?
- What market data could help to establish these pain points?
- How would I present this information to potential clients?
- What client work could I use to develop case studies?
- What problems do these case studies demonstrate that my business can solve for clients?
- What incentive could I give to clients to spare me the time and cost of following up?
- How could I automate this sales meeting/lead conversion process so that my entire sales team could apply it?
Connect with your sales team for feedback on client pain points and work together to develop tools, such as presentations, case studies and scripts, that would support them in turning referrals into sales.