Converting prospects is no longer about sales technique, it is about patiently engaging and educating and matching their timeframe.
But being a lot more patient than ever before pays off with higher value clients who stay longer. But how patient do you have to be?
Research consistently shows that around 79% of the time “salespeople” have around 3 contacts with a prospective customer before they give up. And it is about 89% who give up after the 4th attempt….
Yet we generally aren’t even beginning to create top of mind awareness with prospects who had previously been unaware of us until about the 6th or 7th contact with them. It takes that many contacts generally before they even really remember who we are, and virtually all businesses have ceased trying with a prospect by that stage.
If you have been in contact 9 times or more then there is a 90% chance that when they are ready buy…or seek advice….then they will choose you. By then you will have created top-of-mind-awareness: they associate you with a particular service or issue and when a trigger event happens in their life you are who they think of.
Clearly patience pays off…if you are in contact with them.
BUT….it is about patience and the right sort of persistence – not just “sales” persistence. Simply being persistent and calling a prospect 10 times in 10 days to ask if they have made a decision yet is NOT “patience”.
Building a process of patient engagement that allows the prospective customer get to know you and your business, and builds their confidence that your organisation is not just in it for the “quick sale” is critical. People seek professional advice mostly from people that they feel they know, trust and like. That cannot be achieved in 1 or 3 phone calls….or even 10 calls and emails in a short period of time. Patience builds trust.
A considered and well thought out engagement process with prospective customers that creates at least 12 touch-points over a period of 6-10 months is a very different experience will generally create the top-of-mind-awareness and sufficient trust. While that may sound like a lot of contacts, there are a number of possibilities to create this sort of engagement process without being a nuisance, including;
- phone calls
- thank you cards or notes
- useful information & articles
- blogs posts
- social media connections or sharing
- seminars & public talks
- introductions to other suitable professionals
- links to “how to” videos and other useful resources which empower them
Many of the engagement steps that a practitioner already has built into their existing customer service strategy can be used for prospective customers as way of keeping in touch of course, so it isn’t as if you have to invent the whole process anew.
If you want to increase the ROI on any of your marketing efforts by improving the conversion ratio’s, then building an engagement – or lead nurturing – process and demonstrating some patience will definitely pay off.