In past years, the formula to convert prospects to clients involved a lot of networking, numerous meetings with a prospect, and follow up calls with him or her. Months, even years passed between your first meeting and enrolling them as a client into your programs, products, or services.
You work hard to gain visibility and connect with qualified new business leads. Yet, most solopreneurs and small business owners spend too much time talking to people who are not their preferred clients. They waste this time because they don’t have a clear plan, they haven’t precisely identified their preferred client, and most of all, they don’t systematize their marketing or have systems that help to pre-educate and pre-qualify prospects as well as help prospects self select into their programs and services. Entrepreneurs then wonder why they don’t have more prospects converting into clients.
The present-day consumer is experienced, well informed and has a lengthy list of high expectations. Consumers are accustomed to self-service based on volumes of readily-available information. Word of mouth travels quicker than you can say world wide web.
Many entrepreneurs don’t realize the changing consumer landscape and research shows that upwards of 80% of business owners do not even know their conversion rates. How do you improve your system or site’s improvement? What do you do when you have visitors but few of them take the desired action? How do your visitors know the next step to doing business with you?
These and other questions can easily be answered if there is a regular and consistent plan that includes conversion tracking and monitoring. Conversion takes on a number of actions and can include:
•Subscribing to your newsletter or ezine
•Participating in a survey or answering questions
•Downloading a software or ebook
•Clicking on a link or page
•Going through the process (that is, clicking on certain pages) before clicking on the buy now button
•Product or Service Sales
Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, you need to know your conversion rates and, most importantly, understand how prospects find you, choose you and buy from you.
One thing hasn’t changed in the conversion process and that is building relationships and trust. There are more choices than ever for small business owners but it is vital to have a conversion plan that is consistent with your mission, values and purpose. While the internet provides leverage and business owners have more opportunities to promote their services, many entrepreneurs still struggle by using outdated marketing and selling techniques. They haven’t fully integrated or even started a social media strategy and aren’t sure how to integrate these communities so that their customers find them.
It’s incredibly easy, but can be overwhelming, with how to attract more clients. Like any outcome, you have to have the right formula that mixes well with what you want to accomplish. In an effective formula to enroll clients, you create what matters most: relationships, trust and choices. Today’s savvy entrepreneur realizes they must provide a balance of choices in their products and services and customers expect it and will choose you because of it.
When you’re clear about your market and how they find you, choose you, and buy from you, your marketing and systems become more refined and support the enrollment (or conversion) process. A well thought-out conversion plan involves:
One Part Skill + One Part System = Enrolling Clients
One Part Skill
The most effective way to turn a prospect into a client is to simply think about how you think of them and what you think of the selling process. While marketing is communicating what you do, which will generate prospects, the sales process is about enrolling prospects into clients. The key to any successful formula is to implement effective strategies that fit your values and personality. Many entrepreneurs resist the selling process which becomes an obstacle to getting clients because they are stuck in push marketing and go into sell mode.
The reason most business owners and solopreneurs feel like they are selling is because they often don’t have an effective strategy, system, and they use outdated selling techniques. Authentically enrolling prospects is about being in a place of service, building the relationship and finding what’s most important to the prospect.
Key skills include listening, recommending, understanding human behavior, and providing solutions. When you listen to your prospects, understand the human element, provide value, and suggest resources, the outcome of your generosity can be dramatic. They will no longer consider you as a sales person rather a trusted source and important person to know. After all, people will end up doing business with people they know, like and trust.
One Part System
Conversions also happen when your system is set up to leverage today’s marketplace and addresses the educated consumer. When you set up a pull marketing strategy and implement systems to support that strategy, the consumer requests the product or service not you having to push the products.
Gone are the days of static websites. A good conversion system involves:
•The use of enhanced tools. Tools including video, lead generation and other digital media to create compelling experiences for this empowered consumer.
•A good social media strategy directly targeting your preferred client. Present-day consumers are tapping into a social media platforms. Researchers estimate 70 percent of consumers read blogs on a regular basis and even more are part of a social online community. They are experiencing more video and niche content. Savvy entrepreneurs are realizing their systems must include more than just a stand-alone website to connect with preferred clients in their desired niche.
•A robust pull marketing system going beyond a static website. A website plays a much less central role in today’s market place than it did in the past but is still a part of the process. A robust pull marketing system takes into consideration how people search for solutions (and how they’ll find you using them), such as advertising, search engines, social media sites and the blogsphere. With these systems you need to make sure it helps your prospects pre-educate, pre-qualify, and self-select into your programs and services.
•Automated lead generation systems. Lead generation systems (or permission-based marketing systems) help your ideal prospects find you and is often that first stage in the relationship. When they find you, your systems should help educate, provide value to them, and be clear so they know the next steps in doing business with you.
•Stay-in-touch vehicles. Since only 4% of people will want to buy from you after the first encounter with you, you must have stay-in-touch vehicles that allow you to develop the relationship with the prospect and provide high content information, fostering the trust factor.
•A specific order. Your systems must also be in an order that leads your prospects and provides value. Enough information should be given so you’re reversing the sales process. When you provide content and information on benefits, products/services and create consistency in your marketing (which creates trust over time) then your prospect is choosing to do business with you, helping reverse the sales process, leaving you free from selling. When you set up this system in a particular order it creates a system ripe for enrolling (or converting) prospects to clients.
A well-developed conversion formula includes both skill and a system that takes into consideration the entire business and provides an experience for the empowered consumer while leveraging technological advancements. Take the first step by assessing your current skills and systems to make sure you are creating an environment suitable for conversion.
Lisa Mininni is President of Excellerate Associates, home of The Entrepreneurial Edge System, the only national curriculum for entrepreneurs taking them step-by-step through a systems approach to profitability.
For a free teleseminar on 7/14/10 – Getting all the Clients you Need, visit http://www.freebusinessplanformat.com/getalltheclientsyouneed.
For more information on how your clients find you, choose you, and buy from you, visit http://www.freebusinessplanformat.com.