5 Steps to Converting Leads Into Customers
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
Converting leads into customers is truly not difficult. The formula is the same for anyone, whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise.
One of the most commonly asked questions from our customers here at Chop Dawg and on our social media is how we go about converting leads into customers. Of course, our marketing strategy is pretty public and not hard to replicate. We put out a lot of free, impactful content through our blog, podcast, and social networks. We talk to people in the industry daily. We make connections.
With that said, the magic happens once someone reaches out to work with us. This is where most companies fail. Yet we deliver, time and time again.
We treat every prospect seriously; it doesn’t matter if you are a $500,000 enterprise customer or a $50,000 first-time entrepreneur.
Although not as public, our strategy to converting leads into customers is just as visible if you truly pay attention and now, we break it down into simple English for you all to replicate…
1) Validating your leads
One of the biggest downfalls that I often find with our clients here at Chop Dawg is they take any form of contact request message as if a validated lead came through their door. Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further than the truth.
The reality is, most of your website visitors won’t be your targeted customer or even someone looking to become a customer. They are simply browsing.
It is the same thing that brick-and-mortar businesses face with heavy foot-traffic. Yes, lots of people come into their stores, but only a few have the ambition of coming there for the sole purpose of looking to purchase on the spot. Most, if they are even thinking about coming back, just wanted to pop in and see what all the fuss is about, etc.
It is critical for any company to truly validate their leads as early as possible. If you’re a service, find out the targeted start date and budget range that your prospective client has in mind. If you’re a business selling a product, did they leave their shopping cart online full? Did they visit the same product multiple times in multiple days but didn’t pull the trigger? Reverse engineer the scenarios that early leads give you, and use this context to better understand if they are legit or someone merely window shopping.
One thing to say about window shoppers… do not discredit them. It frustrates me to no end how many companies do not give these individuals the time of day. First and foremost, if you give them a negative experience, not only will they never come back to work with you if the timing was ever right, but they’ll be sharing their terrible experience with others vs. referring you. Second, you never know how things can change in the future. Read this article we wrote a few weeks back called “There is no such thing as a dead-end lead” and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
2) Understand the value proposition for your leads
Another important thing when it comes to validating your leads is that you start understanding the context of why they are there. For example, with us, we could have multiple scenarios. You have a newly funded startup that has an already existing iOS app but lacks the resources to bring an Android counterpart to life. Perhaps instead, it is a Fortune 500 company which is looking to hire us to introduce a brand new product to their ecosystem without shelling out the costs to create a whole new department, team, etc. Perhaps, it is a non-technical entrepreneur with a great app idea, needing a company like us to help them bring their great idea to life.
All of the leads in the above scenarios would be valid, right? But you know better understand the context of how you can help them.
An existing company will face different obstacles vs. the entrepreneur just getting into the game in this example. The non-technical entrepreneur will need more time to better understand why to make certain decisions vs. a funded startup who already understands the technical world and wants to get right to work.
Context is what helps companies, salespeople, marketers turn leads into clients. Take time with your customers’ business models to understand, and most importantly, appreciate the context of your prospects. It’ll make all the difference over the long haul.
3) Taking the time to learn and care about your leads
This one should be a given yet time and time again, I see companies fail at this. You need to truly care about your potential clients. You need to understand their motivations, what it is they are trying to accomplish, why they have chosen to talk to you, and then use this knowledge to give them the content that they need to succeed.
I tell all of our prospective clients early, if you hire us, you’re hiring a company which will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. It’s the truth.
We care about our clients and most importantly, doing everything that we can to see them have an ROI with us, build a relationship with us, be successful at any venture that they work on with us. Here is the thing. This doesn’t start once they give you your first payment.
No, this starts on the very first email, the very first phone call that you make to them.
One thing to add to this, people, especially the consumers, understand bullshit vs. authenticity and they see through BS right away. Even as a B2B, understand the key decision makers of a company are people. Yes, you’re B2B, but you don’t see me finalizing a deal with Siemens… you see me closing a deal with their CTO or department lead. Take the time to learn about the people that make a company tick as much as you take the time to learn about the why of their products, services, goals, etc.
4) Working alongside your potential customers
Here is a real example of a potential client of ours… right now. This brilliant woman reached out to us with an existing, growing company but looking to build an iOS app to pivot her operations for future growth. It’s a brilliant idea. She is making a calculated investment. She is motivated and has asked all the right questions so far.
Of course, she isn’t technical nor is anyone in her operation, so she is depending on us to work with her and help guide her throughout this entire planning process, not just focus on making the sale.
Most companies in our situation would have either been too impatient after a few months of planning or worse, just tried to focus on closing the sale vs. truly understanding the needs of the customer and ensuring they are building a proper foundation for the relationship.
We have spent two months now working with her to plan out the logistics of her idea, figure out the best way to hedge her risks but keep the same amount of upside, how we can help ensure if she ends up working with us (which we most certainly hope she does) that this isn’t just a one and done project, but the beginning of a long-term relationship, one that increases her revenue, profitability, brand awareness, and ultimately, success of her company.
Understand that the best salespeople do not sell. They listen and help. Work alongside your potential clients and take the time to build a relationship. Let it grow.
Thinking long-term always brings the rewards of planning long-term. Ultimately it will turn into more referrals, more work, more opportunities. Don’t let the financial aspect of closing a new deal blind you to why your company exists or the bigger goals and long-term picture that you have for your operations.
5) Stop selling, start helping
It’s true. If you stop selling to would-be customers and start helping your prospects, you will close a lot more work, sell a lot more products, bring in a lot more contracts.
The art of converting a lead to a customer is truly relationship building. Be authentic. Be you. Most importantly, listen to their needs and guide them. Don’t go for the biggest dollar amount. Go for the largest impact. Ultimately when you do, the biggest dollar will come, significantly more than what the short term will be. Between more work opportunities from a new customer, referrals, word of mouth, references, case studies… the possibilities of growth are endless.
Converting leads into customers is truly not difficult. The formula is the same for anyone, whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise. Service or product. B2B or B2C.
The art is always the same. Take time to validate that a prospect is truly in need of your help. Take time to build a relationship and learn about their needs. Take time to problem solve and hand-hold. Build a strategic, long-term relationship together. When you follow the formula above, you’ll always be successful, and even by chance a lead that you spent time on doesn’t come in, I am willing to bet you, in the long run, they will refer you to others or come back when the timing is right.
It’s funny how it works out that way when you do business the right way.