Inbound leads are one of the greatest gifts to sales professionals because they let you know right off the bat — they are interested in your product.
Yet there are a couple of major issues that keep salespeople from taking full advantage of these opportunities.
First, you can’t determine if a prospect hits your site or calls the store as a real buyer….
Or if you are handling these very qualified customers incorrectly once they reach out…
Moreover, these types of inquiries are becoming more important to survival in the marketplace.
For this reason, I’m going to give you the roadmap to avoid the various pitfalls and how to make these online leads into loyal customers.
A Quick Intro to Inbound Leads in the Digital Age
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it should come as no surprise that many of your inbound leads will come from online shoppers.
However, there are a couple of stats I want to share with you, as they provide insight into how to take care of this buyer…
- By survey, consumers trust the internet more than their friends, family, and especially you, the salesperson.
- On average, people spend 75% of their shopping time on research on the web.
- It takes six to eight contacts to convert an online lead once they show interest.
What can we take away from all this information?
As a salesman, these numbers show me that I need to use the internet to establish trust with my inbound leads. Also, this clientele is easier to lose because of their mistrust and need for aggressive follow-up.
Now, let’s address each of the individual inbound lead missteps you might be making based on this data…
Top 10 Critical Mistakes to Avoid with Inbound Leads
At this point, I’ve really hammered into you how important it is to prioritize online inquiries as a modern sales pro.
But there is something I want to note that may sound contradictory at first…
YOU NEED TO HANDLE THE ONLINE INBOUND LEAD THE SAME WAY YOU WOULD HANDLE A CUSTOMER WHO JUST WALKED INTO YOUR SHOWROOM.
When I buy books off Amazon, I’m still Grant. And when you shop from a website, you’re the same person too.
Therein lies the main root of all these inbound lead mistakes…
You’re treating these prospects like they’re not real because there is this perceived distance.
In fact, online leads are some of the most qualified leads you could ask for. You just have to know how to connect with them…
And it all starts with knowing what NOT to do.
1. You Snooze, You Lose
Do you remember what you were thinking about or doing 47 hours ago?
Yeah, I didn’t think so…
Nonetheless, this is the average amount of time it takes for a company to respond to a lead. So, you can reason for yourself why you need to respond to potential buyers fast.
IN THE SALES GAME, SPEED IS POWER.
There are a variety of software and settings that can notify you when a customer hits your site.
Make use of them, and make contact right away. Day or night. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Your closing ratio is depending on it.
2. No Follow-up Process, No Close
Remember — it takes six to eight contact attempts with an interested party to convert them. The average online business only goes after a prospect twice…
Unfortunately, a big mistake many companies make isn’t only not following up enough; they never established a process for it to begin with!
An effective follow-up strategy would have variety and creativity. As a consequence, it would be able to break through all the noise your customer has blasting at them all day, every day.
Also, following a procedure can help you determine where you are with this lead as you see what step you are along the path.
YOU DON’T WANT TO DEPEND ON “LUCK” IN SALES. TRUST IN A STANDARDIZED FOLLOW-UP PLAN.
You’ll find that consistency and confidence will result in more closes.
3. Assumptions Get You Nowhere
Third, I need you to stop assuming things about the client. Treating these inbound leads like they’re cold is costing you cash.
Reports tell us your buyer spends around 79 DAYS researching online before a major high-value purchase. More than likely, they have read reviews on your product and your company — and compared prices…
On the other hand, there is a bright side to this. Because these leads are so well-informed, they are more ready to have a serious conversation and purchase.
INSTEAD OF ASSUMING YOUR CLIENT KNOWS NOTHING, FIND OUT WHAT THEY ALREADY KNOW.
Aside from your customers appreciating the effort, you begin the sales process closer to the finish line.
4. Why So Secretive?
One of the most antiquated — and worst — sales practices is not being fully transparent with your customers…
By now, you know this lead has been shopping online for hours, even days. This person has consumed mountains of information. Still, they need you to confirm what they’ve seen — which may be incorrect, by the way.
Hiding the price, terms, etc. will only cause people to back off from you. The right way to address the situation is to tackle it head on…
SHOW YOUR BUYER EVERYTHING.
In fact, pre-empt their questions, bring up the cost yourself, or use photos and video to build value.
After all, there is nothing to hide if you sell a valuable product.
5. You Forgot to SELL!
I cannot believe I even have to go over this since it is such a grave error…
An inbound lead came in, they had interest and questions… and what did you do? You failed to properly take them through the steps of the sale.
Regardless of how educated this buyer seems, they need you to demonstrate the features and benefits of your product.
THE TRUTH IS THAT IF THIS PERSON WERE CERTAIN, THEY’D BE A CUSTOMER, NOT A LEAD.
People get panicked when it comes to parting with their hard-earned money. Your role as a salesperson is to reassure them and convince them you’re providing something of value.
With this in mind, let’s be sure you’re selling to the correct person in the first place…
6. Decision-Maker Dilemma
I want to impart a word of caution on these inbound leads — otherwise, you’ll end up making mistake number seven…
The person contacting you about your product may not be the decision-maker on the deal. Presuming as much will end up in a lot of wasted time and disappointment.
If you assume anything at all, it should be that there are multiple layers of decision-makers. It’s safer than the alternative.
Think of it this way…
An executive needs to purchase a watch for her husband’s birthday. More than likely, they will have their assistant compare prices, call your storefront, or look at bands…
Yet the choice of which watch will be made by the busy executive. Respectfully ask if there are any other individuals who need to look at your proposal.
Not doing so will translate into a lot of work with someone who can’t pull the trigger. And without a close, the rest of the sales process is worthless.
7. One Channel = Minimal Chances
Another way you are mishandling these qualified customers is by only communicating with them in one way.
You’re either only sending them emails…
Or only texting them…
Or only leaving voicemails…
You get the picture.
IT’S A HUGE MISTAKE TO NOT USE ALL CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION TO CHASE UP THESE LEADS.
By using all the methods at your disposal, you immediately increase your chances of making the touchpoints necessary to sell them.
Every person has a different way they prefer to be reached. If you send 10 emails to a guy who only texts, you’re not going to get anywhere. You gotta hit them everywhere until you figure out what works.
Besides, using one line of communication is just lazy. And since you’re here, I hope that’s not who you are.
Therefore, I hope you’re not making the next mistake either…
8. Quitters Never Win
There is NEVER a reason to give up on a lead — unless they die.
The ultimate strategy for winning the sales game contains:
- And a variety of approaches for making contact.
You already know that quitters reduce their chance of success to zero…
So what are you doing leaving this lead alone?
I’ve gone after big deals for years before they would even have a conversation with me. Consequently, these clients have been some of the biggest in my life.
THE BIG FISH IS WORTH THE CHASE.
But then you have to make sure you give them what they want…
9. Right Lead, Wrong Product
Once you finally have that potential buyer in front of you, I want you to remember this…
Many customers who look online are shopping for a product that they will NOT end up buying.
Therefore, assuming the lead is asking about the right product for them is a major oversight.
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A SALESPERSON TO OFFER CHOICES AND ASK QUALIFYING QUESTIONS.
These are just a few examples:
- Would you like the gold or silver band?
- Since you’re looking to redo the flooring, are you also considering changing the cabinets?
- Would you consider going up or down a package on this new car?
Right now, write a few examples of qualifying questions that apply to your product or service.
Then, take the time to really nail your process down.
Otherwise, you risk your client walking away with nothing.
10. Not Researching Inbound Leads
This last huge mistake regarding inbound leads I see salespeople make every day, and there is no excuse for it…
With there being more smartphones than people on planet earth, why are you not looking up everyone who is shopping your business?
Through five minutes of research online, you can get insights on:
- Who the decision-makers are
- What their needs may be
- How to close the deal
You can do this for whatever you sell. Individuals have social media accounts and blogs. Similarly, corporations have websites and reviews.
PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY TO DO BUSINESS WITH PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEM.
Use research to familiarize yourself with the leads, and use your knowledge to close.
How to Level Up Your Inbound Leads Game — Every Day
As a result of more and more internet purchases, the art of converting online leads into customers is vital.
And despite all the data I’ve given you here, there are even more moving parts to consider…
For this reason, you need to review this material every single day to keep it fresh in your mind and you on your toes…
As a part of my sales training platform, Cardone University, I have included these strategies and more content related to inbound leads. You can get started here and benefit regardless of how long you’ve been a salesperson.
After all, consistency is key to success in sales and scaling your bottom line.
Until then, may avoiding these mistakes be the launching pad to more closes.
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