One of the challenges for any business is turning a cold prospect into a paying customer.
With the growing awareness of customers knowing what they want and finding out information independently before even meeting with a potential supplier, this adds another level of complexity to the situation. This is particularly true for small businesses, which may feel they lack the resources to compete with larger content generating competitors.
However, what customers really want is to find information that specifically talks to their pain points. Larger businesses often talk to many customers at once with varying needs and concerns.
Let’s take the example of commercial insurance. Most small business owners don’t want a generic solution that could apply to anyone, they want to know that the insurance they take out for their business is going to suit their particular situation.
As a small business, how do you get around these challenges? Here are 3 things you need to focus on:
By focusing on a particular niche you’re better able to speak directly to your customers about what bothers them. Many small business owners worry that by focusing on a particular group of customers that they will miss out on business. However, just because you are focusing on a particular group of customers, it doesn’t mean you will only deal with customers that fit that mould.
For example, let’s say you are an avid runner with a half marathon coming up and you’ve recently injured your foot. You’ve tried the local physio before but felt they didn’t get how important running is to you. Then you hear about a physio that has worked with many elite athletes (AFL, rugby and soccer players are among her clientele). It’s going to cost more to get into see this physio but her website confirms that she understands how important competition is, gets that you just want to be back running as soon as possible and has access to the latest techniques in injury prevention so you make a booking. You aren’t her target market but your concerns are similar and she has specifically addressed them in her collateral.
Create a process to guide prospects through the path to becoming a customer. This process is known as a sales funnel. It’s called a funnel because prospects will come in at the top and as they move through each step those that aren’t serious or ready will drop away. The number of prospects you’ll be left with is smaller but they are far more likely to buy.
How do you go about creating a sales funnel? The answer relates to the previous point about knowing your customers. What information does a prospect need from you to feel comfortable enough to buy?
In the physio example, she could have a PDF on her website that explains the five mistakes that runners make that cause injury. After reading that there is a link at the back that encourages you to answer a checklist to determine your particular issues. Once you’ve completed that, you’re asked to enter your email address to get sent your results. A few days later, you receive an email invitation to attend an injury prevention workshop for marathon runners. After going to the workshop, you’re then offered a series of five physio sessions and five massages that will keep everything working well up to your race.
So the steps in the sales funnel are:
The aim is to get sign ups for the block of 10 sessions (five physio and five massages). Although this type of setup can be time consuming at the outset, once it’s up and running this can be working for you at all hours to deliver qualified leads to your business.
By monitoring the flow of prospects through your sales funnel you’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t and take action to reduce the drop off at each stage. Are you able to get a lot of people to download your initial step but then few progress to the next level? That indicates that either the first step is not connecting with your customers or the next step is unclear or unappealing.
By adopting the 3 techniques above you can speak to your customer’s pain points, deliver the solutions they need and build lasting connections. As the example above shows, simply using a PDF, an email and a workshop can be an effective method of reaching out to cold prospects and turn them into paying customers.
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