Congratulations! You got a visitor to offer up an email address, subscribe to your newsletter, or follow you on social media, and now they’ve become a prospect. After demonstrating their interest in your business and your services, the ball is in your court now, so where do you go from here?
Turning your prospect or lead into a client is not always an easy process. If it’s not approached the right way they’ll end up moving on to someone else. We’re all familiar with a little something called a “summer fling.” They were fun when we were young and naïve, but it’s not the kind of relationship you want with potential clients. When a prospect shows an interest in your business or your services, you must follow up with them so they don’t forget about you! It is critical to your business’s success, which is why the next item on our MSP Summer BuckIT List is to follow-up with leads to avoid that short-lived summer fling. Check out how you can have a successful follow-up process and solidify your relationships with business prospects for the long run.
The Follow-Up Process
By filling out a form, your visitor has shown interest, taken the initiative to engage, and turned themselves into a prospect by converting into a lead. What’s even better for you is that you now know who they are, you have their email address, and - depending on your form fields - you know what interests them. They have started the process, but now it’s up to you to continue the engagement and start a conversation. So what’s the best way to approach this?
Get the timing right
The first thing you want to do is follow-up within 24 to 48 hours of your prospect filling out a form. The chance of successfully closing a lead into a client decreases dramatically after 3 days, so make sure you follow-up ASAP. You can do this through a quick call, a letter, or a brief email. Most people find it harder to slip away once they have engaged with another person, particularly one who is personable, who answers their questions, and who isn’t just giving them a sales pitch.
We all know it would be ridiculous to propose marriage on a first date. For most new prospects, it’s a major turnoff if they’re asked to break out their wallets right away. So cool your jets, give the process some time, and do some nurturing first.
Lead nurturing is where you build a relationship with your prospects and gently nudge them down the sales funnel until they are ready to become a client. You’ve already collected their contact information, so now you can further engage and educate them, but you should also gauge which topics they are interested in so you can provide them with the content they’ll find most valuable. Consider sending a survey or asking what their biggest business challenge is on one of your website forms. Your goal is to compel them to return to your website frequently and consume more content. Each new eBook or whitepaper download is the opportunity to learn more about your prospect so scatter calls-to-actions (CTAs) to these assets throughout your website where it makes sense to. Lead nurturing is all about establishing a relationship with your prospects. The information you glean through their website activity can then be given to your Sales team to close that lead.
When lead nurturing, make sure you cover 3 basic bases:
- Know - You should provide your prospect with the opportunity to learn more about your company and your services. Have a conversation with them or direct them to where they can learn more on your website.
- Like - You should help your prospect relate to your company and see the benefits of your services. Suggest that they follow you on social media or subscribe to your blog if you have one. Provide them with information they’re interested in and also keep them updated about special promotions.
- Trust - You should help your prospect trust your company and their decision to become a client. Provide them with case studies and other client testimonials to show them that you are a good business partner.
Stand out from the crowd
Most of your prospects are probably also being courted by your competition, so do something that will catch their attention and make them forget about their other options. Mix in some ice breakers or fun facts about your company into your email marketing to set yourself apart from the bland emails that flood their inbox. Pique their interest by delivering high-quality content that caters to their needs, and be sure tell your prospect exactly how you can help fulfill those needs. Again, this is a long-term relationship you’re looking for, so be friendly and make a personal connection with your prospect. Provide them with your contact information, including your full name, phone number and a business email address to keep the door open in case they want to get in touch with you. Your Sales team should also update your customer relationship management (CRM) software with notes from each interaction they have with a prospect so talk tracks are personalized to their business needs. I know it may seem tedious, but it can help you tailor each conversation and ultimately seal the deal.
Pop the question
It may not seem groundbreaking, but when the time is right you should simply ask for the sale. They became a prospect by showing their interest in your services, so ask them if they’re ready to get started – you’ll be surprised how many say “yes.” A good thing to keep in mind if you’re a bit timid: if you don’t ask for the sale, your competition will.
Getting your prospects to click around and stick around might seem like an art, but with the right approach it is something you can master. Following-up with your prospects will keep that Grease-styled summer lovin’ a long-term partnership.
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