Mastering the art of the deal isn’t simply about convincing potential customers to participate with your business, but about keeping them moving along the sales funnel until they reach and sign on the dotted line. Unfortunately, a lot small businesses lose sight of their final goal during this process and fail to convert too many leads into a sales. As any successful business owner knows, transforming potential customers into actual customers is the line that separates a growing business from a failing one.
Successful conversion means establishing a personal relationship with your customer base. While the days of individually negotiated, face-to-face sales may not be as common, those personal connections still remain the heart of any sale. In fact, that individualized approach is what actually makes for a successful modern sales strategy. Technology allows us to track customer engagement and to improve our focus, but relationships are still the foundation on which a business is built.
Establishing that connection in today’s competitive market can be a challenge, however, but not an insurmountable one when using the right techniques.
If you want to improve the success of your sales funnel, start by trying these five steps.
More than anything else, a business absolutely must provide value to its customers. This concept remains at the very core of the sale process. To complete a sale, you need to demonstrate to the customer the value you can provide, something they want. The value proposition can be such an obvious concept that many businesses simply fail to fully think it through. But deliberately crafting that perceived concept of value is the critical first step in successfully engaging a lead.
Are you offering a service that will improve their lives? A product that will make their day a little easier? Does your business remove a negative in the life of a customer or add something positive?
The flip side of creating value is providing your potential customers the content they need in a format they want. For some customers, that might be something tangible like direct mail, while others might require something virtual like a downloadable app. Make the mistake of providing your customers what they need in the wrong format and you’re not really giving them the value that they want. You need to think about the big picture.
Customers want to know who they’re doing business with so they can establish the trust necessary to feel comfortable about making a deal. A successful strategy when engaging a potential customer is to provide them as much information about the process as you possible. Understand that while you and your staff may be intimately familiar with how your company operates, a new customer comes into the process with fresh eyes.
Don’t wait for potential leads to approach you with questions or concerns, especially when it comes to managing potential problems, delivery, or deadlines. Always make it a habit to reach out to the customer whenever you have new information. Keeping customers in the loop demonstrates that you’re invested in them and help makes them feel like a valued part of the process.
The quickest way for a business to fail is for its customers to lose faith in the organization to keep its word. There’s never any excuse to provide a customer with misleading or incorrect information. Trying to skirt the truth in order to close a sale will only offer short-term rewards. But once you’ve established a reputation for stretching the truth on what you can deliver, your business has already crossed a line that’s nearly impossible to come back from. That’s why honesty, transparency, and integrity rank as the key components for the most successful brands.
Integrity especially applies when it comes to claims about scheduled delivery and product results. Don’t make the mistake of promising more than you can realistically offer a customer and don’t hold back when it comes to honestly describing what the process really entails. You’ll never regret being honest with a client, while lies or misleading statements will always come back to haunt you.
Make it an Experience
Examine the overall experience you create for potential customers, keeping in mind that people are driven by human nature. Go step-by-step through your sales process and consider what areas you could strengthen. Understand that these steps are not isolated, but all interconnected.
What kind of response does your sales process generally elicit in customers? What gaps do you see in that experience? Think about the sales process like a chain, with each piece working to strengthen the next. Then examine the process and create tighter links that not only refine the process, but help to further engage your leads. In most cases, the weak links in your sales process will be easily identifiable. The hard part comes from developing consistent ways of strengthening the process as a whole.
Customize Your Approach
As you developed that overarching experience, make sure to meet your leads where they are at in the sales funnel. Identifying where they are at in the sales process will help you determine what strategies to utilize to move them further along. Are they at the gathering information stage? Are they ready to make a purchase? The way you interact with a customer needs to change depending on where they are at in the process.
Once again, we see that when it comes to engaging a potential sales lead, it’s all about developing a personalized and tailored approach. One of the most effective ways of giving the customer that kind of individualized interaction is to adjust your message to fit they type of information they require.