“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.
It’s an old saying but hasn’t lost any of its relevance today, even in these times of automated online sales funnels, email marketing and social media. Perhaps it’s even morerelevant because of this trend away from the human touch.
Whether you have a high-touch, personalised sales method, or a more automated, templated one, the ability to take a new enquiry through to the point of sale is vital to the sustainability of your business. Without sales your business will die; it’s that basic. Sales are the lifeblood of any business and yours is no different. So how do you improve the percentage of enquiries that turn into paying customers?
There are many moving parts to this process but having a really good start to the sales journey for the prospective customer is vital. Start right and your chances of securing the sale, even at a premium price is higher. Of course the reverse is also true. Start out wrong and you will probably never make the sale. Luckily the first few contacts you have with a prospect is also the easiest and the cheapest place (in terms of your time) to make improvements to your sales conversion rate. It is also the most efficient place to qualify someone OUT of your sales process and thus waste the minimum amount of your time. Time is probably your most valuable resource in your business and so you need to protect it and spend it where it is has the greatest payback.
The first few contact points you have with a prospect are likely to be a phone call and then some sort of scoping meeting. It’s vital to make these early touches as professional and as powerful as possible. You need to start building rapport and trust as soon as possible (for those prospects you haven’t qualified out), and I have listed a few hints and tips to help you refine your processes here.
- Be 100% focused on that first call. The prospect will know if you are distracted or under stress. If you are driving or on a noisy building site for example, ask for their number and make a time to call them back when you can give their enquiry your COMPLETE attention. That might be even 10 minutes to allow you to get to a quieter spot and arm your self with an enquiry form, which leads me to point 2.
- Use an enquiry form to ensure you ask the right questions and don’t forget important stuff. “When do you want this completed by?” “Have you gone through a renovation (or whatever) before?” “How did that go for you?” “Do you have plans already?” etc, etc
- Smile and be upbeat on the call. People can tell if you are grumpy, stressed or not enthusiastic about their project. They will get the impression that you don’t care or are not mentally able to help them.
- Before you agree to a site visit, request they complete an online questionnaire. This has a few advantages. Firstly it keeps your initial phone call fairly short, thus saving you time. Secondly it gives you some very useful information to think about before the visit and allows you to pitch your business in line with their goals. Most importantly, it provides a small test for the prospect to pass in order that they make it to the next stage. If they can’t be bothered to do a short questionnaire, are they likely to become a good customer? Probably not.
- Send them some information about your business and an agenda outline on what you want to cover off at this initial meeting. This will make your business look professional and is your first formal chance to start differentiating your business from the competition. If you look, sound and act like other businesses they may be talking to, how will they make their decision on whom to go with? It will be price, as that is all they will have to go on.
Follow these simple tips on how to make those first impressions with your prospects the best possible and you are way more likely to secure more, quality customers. There are lots more so contact me to help build your own, customised sales pipeline process by contacting me HERE. A relatively small investment in building a better system will continue to pay dividends for years to come.
For more about increasing the level of trust with prospects and further improving your sales pipeline process, check out this post HERE