This is not for you if your business provides emergency services eg drain unblocking, after-hours dentistry etc. But, if you sell a product or service that's not an emergency response your potential customers could just do nothing.
Obviously some people buy from you or you wouldn't be in business. And some people can't afford you so they'll never buy from you. But, these two groups represent only small percentage of the total opportunities available to you.
There is a massive missing-middle group of people who want what you sell but haven't handed over the money because they've run out of steam.
Truth is, doing nothing doesn't hurt enough right now to keep them going.
Science tells us that it takes more energy to get something moving than it takes to keep it moving. That's true for sales too.
Your future customer has already done the hard part - they've started. They've found you and made contact. They have motivation and momentum.
You're going to make more sales if you don't let that momentum bleed away into doing nothing.
You can't do much about the prospect getting distracted, but sometimes our business processes kill the momentum. We can fix that.
Here are a couple of ideas I've seen work to conserve momentum. You might find them useful.
Research has shown that you have the highest chance of turning a lead into a sale if you respond within 5 minutes. If you wait 24 hours your chances fall off a cliff.
My former business partner is famous for yelling "Pick up the forking phone." We were training small business owners to respond to Google Ads leads. He was trying to convince them that responding by email at the end of the week wasn't going to turn internet leads into customers.
It's still good advice, but it doesn't work as well as it used to. People have become less likely to answer calls from unknown numbers.
You can work around this by sending an SMS message to the lead telling them you're going to call just before calling.
Using WhatsApp can also work to speed up responses. I recently added a WhatsApp integration to a lead management system I built. Here's how it works:-
A lead fills in the enquiry form on Facebook, a landing page or the client's main website.
The system responds by sending a WhatsApp message to the lead's phone number. The message says something like
We've received your enquiry from Facebook. Would you like to discuss this using WhatsApp?.
The message has a yes and no buttons.
If the lead hits the yes button we send a WhatsApp to the assigned salesperson with the lead's contact details.
In the client's market people respond well to it. We've sent 6648 messages only 292 said no. That's better than 95% acceptance rate.
Include the soonest possible delivery date in your quotes / estimates. Something like
If you confirm the order today we can get your new air-conditioning installed on Wednesday.
It won't work for everbody but it might win a few more sales from people who want a quick resolution.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is a strong motivator to take action now. You can make use of this by giving the prospective customer a reason to act now or lose something. E.g.
Confirm within the next 24 hours, and we'll knock $500 off the price.
Or how about ...
Pay the deposit to secure your booking within 24 hours and we'll cover the cost of the ferry.
Don't make your prospects guess. If you want visitors to your website to fill in an enquiry form make the form unmissable. If you want to turn more quotes into sales tell the prospective customer what to do next.
Here's my go-to phrase. You're welcome to adapt it to your style and tone.
If you'd like to go ahead with this please reply YES and I'll get the ball rolling. Otherwise yell with any questions.
Here's a thing. Your business processes might add friction which reduces momentum.
For example, I worked with a client who needed a lot of extra information from leads before they could prepare a quote. They had a long form where the lead could enter the information. The form fed the info into the quoting system.
From my client's perspective the process was efficient. But, the lead's experience was rough.
The lead would fill in a short enquiry form on the website. They would then be redirected to the long form to enter the rest of the information.
And that killed the momentum stone dead.
You see, the long form asked for information that nobody knows without looking it up. They had questions about the start and end dates of previous jobs. Contact details for your previous employers and so on.
What made it worse is that there was no way to enter some information and save your progress. If you didn't know everything you couldn't continue.
We improved the percentage of leads completing the long form by changing the flow a little.
It started in the same way. A lead would fill in an enquiry form on the website.
We then sent an automatic email with:-
And, the lead would be redirected to an intermediate page with the same text as the email and a link to the long form.
It's not perfect but preserves more momentum.
An indicative quote gives the price based on incomplete information.
The words on the quote reflect this. For example, I had a swimming pool built in my back yard. I can't remember the exact words on the quote but it was something like...
The pool will cost X. If we encounter any underground pipes or cables that need to be moved it will cost more, but no more than Y.
This keeps the momentum going. I was able to tell the pool contractor to go ahead on the basis of the indicative quote.
I worked with a client who rents boats in a popular holiday / fishing area.
You don't need a licence to operate one of his boats. But, his insurance charges a higher excess (co-pay) if an unlicenced customer damages a boat.
He wouldn't confirm a booking before a prospect with a licence sent him a copy of the licence. So some old bloke who wanted to sit on the water with a few buddies and fish and drink beer would have to find his licence, scan it, resize the file, attach it to an email and send it. Simple work for the youth, a momentum-killer for anyone born before 1970.
We solved this by changing the quote to show one rate if you presented your licence when picking up the boat, and a different (higher) rate if you didn't have a licence or didn't have it with you.
Over the last few years I've done deep work with a handful of clients to increase the number of sales they made from their Google and Facebook leads. I've put what I've learned into a 9-lesson email course.
My experience has been that it will deliver more sales if:-
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