6 Tips for Converting Leads into Clients

You've started your sales cycle and reached out to several businesses online, netting a few leads. It should be easier from here on out, right? Maybe not. Lead nurturing can be the most crucial process in closing a deal, yet 65 percent of B2B marketers don't do it. Because of this, did you know that 79 percent of marketing leads never convert to sales? To help you better close the deal, here are six tips on converting leads into sales:

Ask the Right Questions

Do your research to determine your prospect's needs and how you can fulfill them. General questions tend to waste time and make it easy for the prospect to lose interest. The key is to ask questions targeted to the business and industry. Make sure you're up to speed on recent developments and company news. Being informed and asking the right questions establishes credibility and trust.

Establish a Personal Connection

Discover any common ground you may have with your prospects. Connecting with them on a personal level will help them see you as more than just a sales agent, and will give them more of a reason to want to speak with you. Prior to your meeting, look for mutual friends, shared sports interests, upcoming or just passed birthdays, past jobs—these are great icebreakers to get your prospect talking.

Know Your Competitors and Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition

Chances are that prospects in need of a service are going to have options. Your job is to find out what your competitors are offering and identify your unique selling proposition. What is it that distinguishes your service from those of other companies? What makes it the best choice? According to a study by Forbes Insight, 58 percent of customers report that salespeople are unable to answer their questions effectively. Knowing what your competitors have to offer enables you to speak intelligently about your unique selling proposition.

It's Not About Selling; It's About Helping Them Buy

Rather than focusing on selling your service to a customer, adjust your positioning to help them buy. At this point, you've already identified that there's a need for your service, so the challenge is helping the prospect make the decision to buy from you. Offer advice on how your prospect can get more value from your company, and work on helping to provide a solution to his problem.

Let Them Do the Talking

Believe it or not, the less you say, the more effective you are as a salesperson. Oftentimes, when you ask a question, staying silent for a bit longer than usual—three to four seconds is known as the "golden silence" in sales—forces the other person to open up about his needs and motivations. Once you've established rapport and trust, the prospect is more likely to offer information on challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. Listen to what your prospects have to say and adjust your sales technique and positioning accordingly.

Be Persistent

Did you know that 80 percent of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact? Giving your prospect time to think about your offer is a good thing, but it's important to be persistent and follow up. Unless there's a hard deadline on their end, prospects generally don't feel urgency in getting back to you; it's easy to get distracted by more pressing issues. That's why it's your job to stay at the top of their mind. If they decide to go with another vendor or postpone the job, be sure to maintain a relationship and send an email every couple of months. You may catch them at a time when their circumstances have changed and they are ready to engage.

Bhavin Shah is the CEO and cofounder of Refresh, an iOS and web app that finds common ground with the people you meet.

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