Many business owners have no idea what their conversion rate is (how many leads are being turned into actual sales). And the truth is that you’re not going to improve your conversion rate if you don’t know what your baseline is.
The first step is to measure your conversion rate, and it’s really not hard. Simply note every time you encounter an interested prospect (e.g. someone who calls you to ask about your services or who walks into your store) and then mark down whether that person ended up making a sale or not. You may be surprised at how low your current conversion rate is.
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Before you implement any new strategies to improve your rate, however, you need to develop a specific, focused approach to handling your leads and make this a systemised part of your business.
Your conversion rate will improve automatically. You’ve already invested marketing funds to generate the leads. Make the most of that investment by defining your specific, repeatable sales steps that will convert your leads into customers.
First, write down the specific steps that you take each and every prospect through to get them familiar with you and your business. This will depend on the cost of your product or service, your target market and how complicated your offering is.
If you sell ice cream to people in a food court for example, your process is likely to be far simpler than someone who offers financial advice or somebody who sells luxury jets. Once you have your current process steps written down, ask yourself: Is everyone in my business doing this the same way? If not, why not?
What are your specific selling process steps? Once you have these documented, train your team to follow the selling process. Ensure you support this with the necessary materials and then measure the results of each specific step. Make changes to your sales process based on the results of your measurements.
We call this testing and measuring and it should be an ongoing process in your business, not just for sales and marketing, but for every system.
Find your specific sales ‘flag’ – that point in the sales process where your prospect will do some something specific to indicate they are ready to buy. If you can identify that flag for your business, then direct your efforts into making that flag go up, and your conversion rate will improve dramatically.
Once you’ve got a handle on your conversion rate and you’ve put the effort in to ensure you’re measuring it and improving on it all the time, you can start to look at new ways to generate more leads.
These might include anything from classified advertisements, to radio campaigns, developing strategic alliances with other businesses, referral strategies or host/beneficiary relationships.
Bear in mind, however, that it’s not worth spending the time, effort and money on new lead generation campaigns unless you’ve ensured you’ll be able to convert those new leads into sales.