Qualifying Leads for Better Conversion
Not all leads are created equal
In this Silver Dollar episode of Stay Paid, Luke and Josh discuss four ways you can improve your lead conversion rate:
- Qualify your leads.
- Be consistent in following up.
- Measure your conversion rates.
- Nurture and retarget the leads you have.
Here, we’ll elaborate on the process of qualifying leads so that your sales team can convert leads into sales with greater efficiency.
Nurture leads in your sales funnel appropriately
Qualifying leads for better lead conversion starts with understanding where your leads are within the sales funnel and then nurturing those leads in ways appropriate to their position so that you can keep them moving through it.
For this to happen, it’s necessary to know whether a particular lead is in the awareness phase (top of funnel), the consideration phase (middle of funnel), or the decision phase (bottom of funnel). While you’ll never get 100% of leads who enter the top of the sales funnel to exit the bottom as a new customer, your goal is to move as many qualified leads along the funnel as possible.
IMAGE Sales funnel
Nurturing leads in the awareness phase
Before entering the sales funnel, a prospect first needs to be attracted to your company. They may have read a blog, seen an ad, received a recommendation, or come across you on social media.
Once attracted, you want to sufficiently entice your ideal prospects/customer to enter the funnel. They need to visit your website, download a lead magnet, sign up for a newsletter, participate in a contest, complete a quiz, or perform some other action that lets you know they’ve entered the funnel, are aware of you, and have some level of interest in you.
At this point, it is imperative that you only provide what the lead has asked for or has been promised. Don’t make the mistake of trying to sell to leads in the awareness phase.
The sales funnel is like a map of your leads’ psychological readiness to buy. Leads in the awareness phase simply aren’t ready to buy anything. While they may be curious and explore what’s available, at this point they neither know, like, nor trust you. The best case is they’re willing to stay engaged, so encourage that willingness by continuing to offer them something of value as a way to start building a relationship.
Value will be anything that is entertaining, educational, or endearing. We provide an entire suite of high-quality products that fit these criteria, but regardless of whether you use one of our products, your goal should be to consistently provide free, useful information that will help those leads grow to know, like, and trust you.
How a prospect first becomes attracted, and what action they perform to enter the awareness stage of the funnel and become a lead, will tell you a great deal about their level of interest and how you should follow up.
For example, let’s imagine you’re a real estate agent. You’ve decided to use direct mail and digital marketing as part of a two-prong lead nurturing campaign. You send postcards with a “visit my website” call-to-action as part of a farming strategy. Two people who received your postcard follow your call-to-action and enter your sales funnel by visiting your website.
While there, one person clicks around, jumps from page to page, and exits your site after just a couple of minutes. Their level of interest is low and, at this point, should be nurtured as a low-priority lead.
The other spends several minutes on a few key pages, views six properties in the $250,000–$300,000 range, and clicks additional links. Their level of interest is obviously much higher—they’ve jumped right into the consideration phase. You’d be well-advised to give this lead a much higher priority and nurture them with gusto (Hint: call them right now!)
Nurturing leads in the consideration phase
At some point in your sales funnel strategy, after you’ve been dripping value in the awareness phase for a period of time, you’ll want to start moving your leads into the consideration phase.
During this phase, you want to separate out leads who simply enjoy receiving free value from leads who have a genuine interest in your products or services and you have a good chance of closing. For this second group, you want warmer leads you have a chance of moving into the final stage toward making a purchase.
You want to continue to provide value to leads in the consideration phase, but what you offer should be more directly connected to your product or service. Here’s where you might consider using one or more of the following to identify leads that convert versus leads that won’t:
- Send long-form emails that provide industry insight, tips, research, and the like.
- Offer e-books, manuals, or success guides pertinent to your ideal client’s needs and your industry.
- Encourage registration for one or more free webinars with a subject that is popular with your ideal client.
- Give away a free product sample or free trial service.
IMAGE: Free PDF
IMAGE: Free demo
Your goal here is not to get 100% of the people to take advantage of your offering. Your goal here, as Josh explains, “is to find the people that are qualified for your business that then trigger your phone calls, your text messages, [and] all of your other lead conversion activities that come after that.”
Getting to the close
Remember the reason for nurturing leads through the awareness and consideration phases is to properly qualify leads. Lead qualification is essential for sustaining and scaling your business because few business owners can afford to squander the time and efforts of their salespeople without the risk of losing them (no sales, no commissions). You want to be sure that by the time a lead gets to your salespeople, they have a better than average chance to convert those leads.
Converting leads to sales, especially for high-ticket items, can be a long process, taking months or even years. That’s why it’s important to continuously nurture your leads—you need to stay top-of-mind so that you’re not forgotten during the many twists and turns of the decision-making process.
And don’t be surprised as you follow the advice in this episode and take active steps to better qualify your leads that you end up with fewer leads. That’s okay. Even though the leads are fewer, the quality is higher. Your salespeople will be having more meaningful conversations and should experience higher lead conversion rates.
- Qualify your leads more effectively by knowing where they are in your sales funnel.
- Most salespeople will not follow up with a lead. Be the exception—follow up and use different mediums and you’ll get more conversions.
- Measure your conversion rates. The numbers don’t lie, and you’ll find what works and what needs to be changed.
- With anywhere from 6–24 months to incubate a lead, retargeting becomes your best strategy.
Start to use different mediums for connecting with prospects. Add a least one new medium, either email, social media, phone calls, text messages, or video calls, to your established strategy.
Connect | Resources
- Lead calculator tool: remindermedia.com/calculator
- Donald Miller’s book: Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Storybrand Guide for Any Business