For most businesses, sales come from leads. Leads are potential buyers who reach out to a business for more information. If you play your cards right, these leads will convert into customers.
This is why a lot of advertising strategies are designed around lead generation. Businesses want to run an ad, get the attention of potential buyers, and have those buyers reach out. Simple, right?
Well, it can get more complicated. It takes time to respond to those leads. You need to respond quickly, get to know a person’s needs, and (of course) try to close the sale. If you’re at the top of your game, you’ll also be following up and collecting data as you go along.
The math is simple: If a good percentage of your leads don’t turn into sales, lead generation is a lot of work and ad costs for little reward.
Here are the kind of leads you don’t want for your business, and how to set up your advertising strategy to avoid these kinds of contacts from getting in your way.
The lead who can’t afford you.
If you provide a product or service at a fixed rate, posting that rate online can help you avoid getting hit with many emails from people who are just comparing prices. At needls, we showcase our pricing like this:
For many businesses, it can be tempting to leave prices off a website. If you offer premium services, you probably want to explain your value to a lead before hitting them with a higher price than your competitors. If you’re a custom service provider, you’ll need some more information before establishing a quote.
However, if you offer zero indication of what your products and services will cost, you could end up with a lot of leads that flat-out can’t afford what you offer.
Besides posting pricing, there are a few ways to avoid attracting leads who aren’t willing to invest in what you do:
- Post “starting at…” price points or a range.
- Use webinars or email marketing to automate your sales pitch. This way people will understand your value before you hit them with the cost.
- Get potential customers to opt into a low cost, high-value offer (known as a “tripwire”) such as a consultation. This will help you get to know your customer while also pre-screening their willingness to invest in your solutions.
- Showcase testimonials which imply your price point. If you’re an affordable or flexible solution, feature a past customer saying you worked “on budget.” If your costs are higher, make sure testimonials focus on quality and how “the investment was worth it.”
The lead with unreasonable expectations.
Are you attracting leads with over-the-top expectations? If so, you might want to review the message you’re sending on your website or through your ads.
You need to be able to back up the claims you’re making online. Otherwise, your business could be in serious trouble.
This is a delicate balance. You want your ads to be eye-catching and show off the best of your business. However, if you start getting calls from people expecting you to offer way more than you can possibly deliver, you should take a second look at your advertising and ensure you’re being straightforward about your limitations.
For example, if you run a venue with a 100-person capacity, this limitation should be posted on your website and Facebook page. If you own a salon, posting your hours of operation will inform people who need you at an impossible time.
The lead who you don’t have the time/resources to handle.
In these days of rapid-fire reviews and social media showdowns, anyone can see your company’s reputation at the click of a button.
That means when you close a lead, you should be confident that you can provide what that person needs. You should also be clear on any limitations or disclaimers early on (preferably before any money changes hands) so there is no disappointment on either side.
You should also coordinate your advertising volume to align with the demand you can handle as a business. If you’re running thousands of dollars in Facebook ads, you should have a CRM and adequate staff to manage the leads this can generate for you.
Understanding lead nurturing.
Leads demand a lot of work, and it’s only worthwhile to invest that time if the lead is qualified. Vetting and nurturing your leads is a critical step for business owners. The goal isn’t to get rid of potential customers – it’s to spend more time on the leads that are a great fit for your business.
Start by running ads that focus on educating and inspiring people, instead of just blanket lead generation. These efforts are referred to as branding or “top funnel marketing” (read our article about the sales funnel here <link>). Branding efforts can have an awesome long-term influence on your sales because they ensure people know your name and have a strong understanding of what you offer when the time comes to buy.
Next, use a CRM to organize your leads and track the sales process. Keep an eye out for patterns in your sales – figure out which salesperson has the best close rate, A/B test different ads, and identify advertising methods that bring high-quality contacts (rather than focusing solely on quantity).
Most importantly, figure out what you stand for as a business so you can communicate that quickly and effectively to people interested in buying what you offer.