A common goal for many companies we speak to and work with is to “gather leads”. By leads, I don’t mean the wires used to jump start a car (although Début Marketing can source these for you too should you need). I’m talking about enquiries and how these are recognised as potential clients or customers based on their demographic.

In marketing, lead generation is the generation of consumer interest or enquiry into the products or services of a business. At least that is the general textbook definition anyway. To put it simply, a lead is just a potential sales opportunity.  Leads are generated for purposes such as  database and list building, e-newsletter/email list acquisition or for sales leads.

The most common methods for generating leads typically fall under the umbrella of advertising and data capture. Great ways to do this are through adverts to sign up or the request to ‘text for more information’, or when you use competition entrants’ data to follow up with them. However, in recent times leads may include non-paid traffic sources such as organic search engine results from platforms like Google, or referrals from existing customers which can be done through schemes where an existing customer recommends a friend.

But the burning question we get asked is not “What is a lead?”, but “How do I convert a lead into a customer or sale?”

Here are some of our top suggestions…

1)     Communication

Communication with leads is essential. How can you convert a lead if you don’t communicate with them. Many leads will not interact again with you without being prompted first.  It is best to communicate in the same method that the lead or enquiry is made by.  You can make the assumption that this is the preferred or easiest method for the enquirer as this is how they contacted you, so communicate through mail if you receive a letter or return the call if someone leaves you a message.  Both of these methods are particularly good because you can add extra information in about your company or product that you think may be of interest.

If a lead is established by submitting an email address, then why not email them. A simple thank you with an offer could simply prompt them to purchase. It is also cost effective.

2)     Combine your lead generation with an action

As well as asking for data make sure and offer something at the same time that could lead to a sale. For example “submit your email address and we will call you with a free no quibble quote”.  This will improve the quality of leads also.

3)     Tell them why

Why should a lead buy from you? Remember they probably know nothing or very little about you at the time of enquiry so tell them how you are different from your competitors and what you will do for them.

4)     Incentivise…

In other words, give them an ‘incentive to buy’ because they came to you.  You commonly see this in the form of an introductory offer, or limited time discount or a free gift with their first order.  But this is only going to be an incentive if they will find what you’re offering useful or beneficial.

5)     Some leads are not worth speaking to so disregard..

Make sure the leads you are going to speak to are genuine. It may seem silly but take some time to check your leads to make sure they genuine email addresses and addresses? You should also look at whether there are there multiple entries with different names but the same contact details.  If the quality of information on or from your leads is poor then they will probably never become a sale and you will just waste time and money communicating with them.

6)     Be patient…

Not all leads will become a sale overnight, it takes time as it may be a big decision for the customer and they will need to get to know and trust you as a supplier. You may need to communicate to leads more than once and some may need their own longer term marketing plan where you communicate to them numerous times.  Rome wasn’t built in a day!

These  points should give you a few ideas on how to convert that lead you worked hard for into a tangible sale, and as they say you can “lead” a horse to water, and hopefully the tips above will improve the chances of the horse quenching his thirst!

Next week the topic is managing your marketing – when should you call in help!

How to turn a lead into a customer

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