I've been looking for a replacement garage door recently and whenever a reasonable amount of money is to be spent then I've always believed in getting 3 quotes from different suppliers. After calling 3 companies that could help, one tried to close the sale while on the phone doing another job (without turning up to see us), we left a message for one that didn't call back and a third one turned up and gave professional advice and followed up with a written quote.
Not happy with this, we called some more businesses and out of another 4 calls, only one turned up and gave some great advice but failed to send a quote as promised.
You may be wondering why I'm telling you this story but consider this: Out of 7 local businesses, only 1 has actually fully responded to the needs of their customer while one has wasted time turning up, only to not finish the sales lead generation process of sending a quote as promised.
Could closing a sale be as simple as responding efficiently and professionally to a sales opportunity?
When I refer to 'conversion rates', this is the percentage of opportunities that are converted into s sale. If you receive 10 enquiries and 6 of them become customers then the conversion rate is 60%.
From my experience selling on third party sites I have found that sales conversions are much higher when I respond within hours to an enquiry. Even responding a couple of days later has resulted in responses such as 'thanks, but I've decided to go with someone else'. Frustratingly this even applies at the weekend if someone makes an enquiry on a Saturday but they don't get a response until Monday. Regardless of what the quality of the service or the price might be, it seems that many customers quickly lose interest if they don't get a prompt response.
The perfect lead generation?
We are all human and nobody is perfect when it comes to responding to enquiries. It's easy to forget to respond or to be too busy and if we are too busy with too much business being generated then we might let the odd sales opportunity go but if we look back to my story - that's 6 out of 7 businesses that failed in their lead generation process. And it's not for a small order of pennies and pounds, it's much more.
You might be reading this thinking 'yes, but this is tradesman/they have limited capacity/my industry isn't like that etc' (delete as appropriate) but this isn't the first time I have experienced this - and I guess it's the same for you. Failing to respond and an ineffective lead generation process is common across almost any industry.
How to improve conversion rates
A solid lead generation process should consist of a clear, well working process from raising awareness of your services, attracting interested customers and closing down the sale. An opportunity should remain in the pipeline until it is either closed - lost, closed - won or closed because the customer has decided to either go ahead at a later date or not at all.
If you plan to spend a lot of money on advertising but are unlikely to chase leads until it's converted or lost then don't waste your time or money.
It's possible to automate parts of your lead generation using, for example, automated email marketing and this is something to consider seriously in your business as it can save time and money AND lead to higher conversion rates and sales. However, there will always be times when the personal touch is needed that can't be fully automated and the level of personal touch depends on the type of business.
Facebook and Google Ads, business networking and email marketing are great tools to generate leads but they cannot be highly ineffective if you don't respond to potential or qualified opportunities properly.
It might sound simple but responding professionally and timely to enquiries can make a huge difference when it comes to winning an opportunity. Now you know how to improve your conversion rates.
Contact Think Twice Marketing to get help with your lead generation process.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.