Cut Your Sales Cycle in Half

There is a flood of information on how to nurture inbound leads.  These methods are often based on using technology to respond to and engage with prospects who have visited your site and in most cases downloaded something offered there.  Once that transaction occurs the prospect should have no doubt that you are going to be sending them further emails.

I do a lot of work in the software and general IT sector.  Many of my clients are small businesses without the time, financial and human resources to implement a technological or workflow solution to lead generation.  There is a super effective solution that delivers results fast.  It has worked in my own businesses and it always works when it is executed.  The only thing preventing success with this simple method is fear.  structure-620304_1280

Step one is creating great content.  How can you define great?  In some cases it depends upon what industry you work in and the types of prospects you focus on.  Great content must be well written, be visually appealing and deliver value to the recipient.  Your great content is something a person would be willing to pay for but do not.

By offering great content to your prospects, you are achieving three big objectives:

  • You have positioned yourself as a subject matter expert willing to share your expertise.
  • A bond has been established between you and prospect that is based on you offering something of great value and the prospect being instilled with a sense of reciprocity.
  • You have opened a door to facilitate further communication and collaboration; not by force but by invitation.

Once you have achieved these three objectives by delivering great content to prospects, you can now execute the most simple and effective strategy to engage more fully with your prospects and convert more leads to sales.  It is so simple that many will wrongly assume it will be ineffective.  This strategy is not resource intensive.  It does not blow your budget.  It does not need fancy software and you do not need to spend hours and hours trying to finesse yourself to a meeting with a prospect.  For many people it requires summoning courage.

So what is it?

Number one has already been explained.  Create some great content.

  1. Post this content on your website with a landing page capturing basic information about the prospect.  I do not like filling out big long forms with all of my contact data.  Try different forms and see what works for you.  I find first name, last name, phone and email work well.  You will also include a short phrase about being interested in feedback and ideas about the topic of the download.
  2. If you have a list of warm prospects, existing clients and/or associates, please consider a direct email to these persons with a link to the download or the download as an attachment.  In your email you need to position the download as having value to the recipient.  The value can be based on research, case studies, ideas, concepts etc. The main thing to remember is you need to tell the recipient why it will be of value. Your email will also indicate that you may be in touch with a select few of the recipients to gain their feedback and insights on this topic that you are passsionate about.
  3. Promote your content on social platforms.  Promote regularly and do not think that you do this once and let it go.  Post multiple times and with different headers and topics. If you use online advertising you should consider allocating a small budget on your choice of platform.  Google Adwords, Facebook and LinkedIn have all shown good results for my clients without burning cash.
  4. Make sure your notifications are working and directed where you will always have access to it.
  5. Once you receive a notification – enter a call to this lead in about 2-3 hours.  If it is at the end of the day, add this call to the morning of the following day.  I know some people tell you to call immediately – within minutes of the download.  I am sure that works but there is a ‘creepy’ factor to that.  I also do not want prospects to assume I am doing nothing but waiting for a notification to hit my inbox.
  6. Make the call!  That’s right – you are going to use your phone and make contact with another person after they download your content. It is how you make the call that matters.  The days of automated email-outs in the hope that at some point the lead demonstrates a buying signal are over.  You are going to take charge of your sales cycle.  telephone-164250_1280

But what are you going to say?  I am going to give you a framework about what to say in that call.  You can configure the framework to suit your own business and personality.  Some people may think my recommended framework is too abrupt and short.  I know how I respond when I get warm calls and I prefer a caller to get to the point without fluff and padding.

If you reach a receptionist/personal assistant/gatekeeper:

Hi [name of person who answered], this is [your name] for [person you are calling]

If the person answering the phone does not identify themselves you use the same framework without the name:

Hi there, This is [your name], is [person you are calling] around?

I like the informality of using the word ‘around’ but you may not feel comfortable with it and your market/industry may be more formal.

I like getting my name out there straight away to save on the painful process of ‘may I ask who is calling’ or ‘your name’ or similar.

May I ask why you are calling?

Sure, [prospects name] downloaded my [white paper/article/presentation] and I need to get her feedback and ideas.

When you are asking for feedback and ideas you are positioning your prospect as a person of importance and you are more likely to get through.

Will she/he know what the call is about?

Yes she will be expecting my call regarding the [whitepaper/article/presentation] that I authored and [prospect first name] requested.

Is she expecting your call?

Yes she will be expecting my call regarding the [whitepaper/article/presentation] that I authored and [prospect first name] requested.

She is not in, may I take a message?

Thanks for that, if you can let [first name of prospect] know I called regarding the [whitepaper/article/presentation she/he requested.  I may send her an email to see if we can organise a time.

Ok – now you are in direct communication with your prospect.  You are not going to waste their time and you are going to approach them as a peer.  I tend to be a bit more informal and relaxed in my calls but you can suit yourself.

A person may answer the call with their name or in some cases [rare] “Hi [your name].”

Hi/Good morning [first name of prospect], I am the author of the whitepaper/article/presentation you downloaded earlier [yesterday] on [topic/subject].  I am very interested in gainig your feedback and ideas…….this is an area that many of my clients are [struggling with/focusing on/planning for etc.]

You may notice there is no ‘did I catch you at a good time?’ or ‘this will only take a few minutes.’  That garbage does not position you as a thought leader in your profession.

Wait for response – many times the person has not read it yet or only gave it a quick overview.  In a perfect world they have some ideas and feedback but the world is rarely perfect.  If they have offered some feedback and ideas about the subject, your objective is to engage more deeply.

“Is [subject] an area that your are [concerned about/focusing on/planning for]?

“Yes- but not at this time.”

“Since I am continuing my research and work/consulting in [subject], I would like to touch base in [timeframe].  I may be able to contribute to you successfully [implementing/changing/developing/competing] [subject] at [organisation name].

If you actually connect with a person ready to take some action now.

“Ok, is there a spot in your calendar you can commit to a discussion about my solutions/work in [subject area]?  

It may help to have a name for the initial session or some target outcomes that the client will receive by committing to the meeting.  Ideally, you have a process developed for these initial meetings that can be used in both online and face to face meetings.

“I have not really looked at it yet.”

“I understand – once you have a chance to go through it, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with feedback and any ideas that arise.  I am researching and working with clients in [subject area] and always interested in input from people like yourself”

You can disengage with this person and go straight to your calendar or CRM and set a time for another call to this person.  In the meantime you can informally send another article/whitepaper/presentation to this person after a couple of weeks.  Make sure it is one that you authored.

That’s it.  It is no different to what successful sales professionals have done for years…..with these possible exceptions:

  • You need to create content or hire a person to do it for you.
  • You must position yourself as an author.  This is not deceptive and positions you as a person committed to being a subject matter expert.
  • You engage with the prospect as a peer.
  • You abolish any fear you have of calling other people on the phone.
  • You follow this process consistently and relentlessly.  You can make calls anywhere so don’t procrastinate.

It is often hard to read a blog and put into action.  I can help you out.  Get in touch and we can connect on Skype or Google Hangouts for 15 minutes to get you started.

In 60 minutes or less, we can find a minimum of $10,000 in your business.  In most cases we will do this for free.  Why?  We are writing a new book and need some case study examples from a few more businesses.  Get in touch and we can see if you qualify.

The most effective online marketing, sales and business growth platform anywhere.