Knowing how to close a sales lead is the most important skill anyone in sales can have. Some leads are tougher to close than others, but there are ways to gain trust and increase the likelihood of making the sale. Here are seven strategies for doing so!
Resistance is a part of the sales process. It’s rare for a buyer to have no hesitation and no resistance when considering the purchase of a product or a service, especially when they know they’re being sold to. While the prominence of online sales has radically altered the tenets and conventions of the sales process overall, buyer resistance is still a major problem for most brands–even if a user can easily find your product online, how can you overcome their potential resistance to following through with a purchase?
Fortunately, there are several tools and strategies that can push you past this all-too-common obstacle, and most of them rely on the world of content marketing, social media marketing, and the management of various online communities.
1. Real User Testimonials
Testimonials are the best tool you have to convince other users that your products are worth buying–the problem is, you can’t create them yourself. You have to rely on your users to post testimonials on their own, but you can offer a little encouragement. Post regular reminders to your followers and customers to rate and review the products they buy from you. You could even hold a promotional giveaway to recognize a randomly chosen reviewer, which will incentivize more people to post reviews.
If you have an e-commerce site, you should integrate review functionality that allows your users to review products on each individual product page. That way, incoming viewers will be able to see reviews immediately, and their resistance may be quelled by that reassurance. It’s also a good idea to encourage video reviews, posted on individuals’ YouTube accounts, which link back to your site and build your domain authority in addition to providing more testimonial content from real users.
2. Online Communities
Online communities are another outlet for people to use when feeling resistant toward buying a product. Online communities like forums and groups carry substantial authority, much like user reviews, and since threads usually have multiple participants, they also provide a wide range of opinions on given topics.
There are two key ways you can use online communities to overcome resistant sales leads. First, you can woo external online communities by finding the most relevant, authoritative communities in your space, and offering free products or samples to their user base. This will facilitate topics about your products being posted on the forum, which will in turn generate more authority and credibility for your business (and more backlinks, which will build your domain authority as well).
The second way is to create an online community of your own by building a separate forum or discussion area on your own site. Much like product review sections, this will allow resistant leads to scope out your business without ever leaving your website, giving you more opportunities to show off your credibility through the words of your own customers.
3. Personal Branding
Personal branding is another tactic that can soothe the concerns of some reluctant online buyers. Generally, brands are perceived as being impersonal, bureaucratic things, and people would rather buy from a person than from a faceless corporation. That’s where personal brands come in handy. Just like you would build the reputation, personality, and influence of a corporate brand, you can build those same qualities in a personal brand for your salespeople, marketers, or even your company president. The key is to maintain regular conversations and social engagements without always pushing a sales-based agenda.
By perpetuating a strong online presence, especially through social media, you’ll be giving your corporate brand a personal face, and as a result, you’ll end up with more customers who feel like they’re getting a personal, human experience when they consider making a purchase from you.
4. Video Demonstrations
Video demonstrations are much like video testimonials in the sense that they’re interactive pieces of content that can help to persuade reluctant buyers, but they can be created entirely on your own. This is especially useful for e-commerce sites, or sites dedicated to promoting specific products. Rather than relying on static images or incomplete sales copy to accurately describe the product in question, you can use videos to show your products in action (and potentially clear up any questions that users typically have).
Doing this allows your users to visualize themselves using your products more, and makes the transaction seem more personal (provided you use a person in the demonstration), and more tangible.
5. Free Trials and Free Offers
Another great tactic for webmasters is the use of free materials to incentivize otherwise inactive web visitors. For example, if your company sells subscription-based software to business owners, you might encounter resistance from individuals who aren’t sure if the product will satisfy their needs. Offering a free trial of your product, with no contingencies or requirements, allows them to clear up any doubts they have about the efficacy of your product.
Sometimes, free offers work just as well. For example, a B2B company may not be able to provide a “free trial” of its marketing services, but it can provide a free downloadable whitepaper covering important topics in the industry today. People like free things and resent unwanted commitments, so help your reluctant sales leads become familiar with your products and your brands with a handful of free opportunities.
6. Informative Content
By now, you should have a regular content marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience and informs them in subjects related to your industry, your products, or your brand in general. This exists in part to drive more traffic to your site through search engines, but it also exists to inform your potential leads in making better decisions.
On your product and services pages, provide links to relevant content on your blog, such as instructional articles that could help a user understand how your products are meant to be used, or an industry overview article that explains why your services are important. Most sales resistance comes as a result of a lack of information–so if you can provide that information, you’ll eliminate that resistance.
7. Informal Follow-ups
Online marketing also gives you the opportunity to follow up with your web visitors, though you’ll have to do it informally and subtly if you want to persuade you resistant leads to come back. For example, if you can collect a user’s email and first name when they come to the site for the first time, you can send regular email follow-ups with special offers and new deals. Or, you can implement a retargeting strategy to post advertisements on previous visitors’ browsers, prompting them to return to you after a specified period of time. You can even use social media to casually interact with inactive followers, or ones who have expressed interest in a product previously without buying it.
Taking advantage of these tech-based strategies can help you overcome even the most resistant potential leads. Once implemented, these tools and tactics should gradually improve your conversion rates and result in higher revenue. Best of all, these tactics establish a self-perpetuating cycle of buyers–buyers who enjoy your product will post reviews and testimonials, and engage more with your brand online, which will drive more business from other resistant leads as they see you become more trustworthy.
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