When the phones get a bit quieter and the bookings start to drop the pretty standard response of small business owners is to up our marketing budget to get us to the top of Adwords or to increase the reach on LinkedIn or Facebook so we can generate more leads.
Is that really what we should be doing though? If you were fishing in a lake stocked full of fish and kept getting lots of bites but no fish does it make more sense to put more rods in the water or try and perfect your fishing technique to actually land a fish. I know what I would be doing.
Step 1 Track your Conversion – Do you know the conversion rate from each of your lead generating channels, if you don’t then how do you know spending more on lead generation is the right choice for your business. Try measuring leads coming in and how many convert to paying customers, if your conversion rates are below 30% you need to question if the channel is right to reach your target customer. Between 30 & 60% your channel may still be OK but your conversion or sales process is not effective and above 60% you just need to do some minor tweaks to boost it to as close to 100% as possible.
Step 2 Nail your Sales Process – Once a lead appears do you have a standardised sales process which nails the experience your customer goes through to engage your business. The trick to conversion is to make your experience simple and so compelling they don’t need to go anywhere else because frankly who has the time these days to run around getting three quotes. You need to understand the best way for customers to engage with you (phone, email, face to face) and then understand what’s next, is it a hand off to a sales person, is it providing an on the spot quote, is it providing testimonials of your work, is it having a fast fulfilment time, is it doing the work without the customer needing to be there. Try mapping this out so you have everything ready to go when that lead comes in, it will give a fantastic first impression of how your business operates.
Step 3 Strike while the Irons Hot – Do you know why marketers love the concept of Big Data? It’s because knowing more about your habits, your likes and dislikes allows them to target you at the point when you need a product or service, are emotionally invested and thus more likely to buy it. Conversely general marketing tends to bounce off, finding its way to the recycle bin if the customer is not in the right part of the buying cycle. You need to apply this concept to your leads, providing a potential customer with everything they need to make it an easy decision to use your product or service. Try on the spot quoting and fast delivery times, convert on the phone don’t give your lead the chance to go somewhere else to compare.
Step 4 Walk in the Customers Shoes – Want to generate more pre-qualified leads for free, it’s very simple, give your customers a great experience and do a good job. It might sound intuitive but it has become a point of differentiation because a lot of businesses don’t do this well, they have chaotic processes and do not think about the small moments of truth for customers. Try testing what you are currently doing from your customers perspective, make the service delivery process seamless and delightful, add customer progress texts, follow up with customer care calls, do what you promise and this will lead to more testimonials and free referrals.
Step 5 Now it’s time – Now everything is in place, you know which channels convert best and what the rate is per channel, you have a clearly defined sales process, you capture the customer and convert upfront and you back this up with a customer led designed process for your service delivery. Now those extra dollars on marketing and lead generation will no longer feel like an expense, more like an investment because you know the efficiency in your conversion will lead to tangible increases in profitability.