How to turn leads into customers

How To Turn Leads Into Customers

A ‘lead’ is someone who didn’t buy anything from you before, and the ‘customer’ is one who did. Let’s look at how to persuade leads to make a purchase. How easy it is to turn leads into customers? 

If you’ve been in sales for a while, you faced the ambiguity around the terms lead, prospect, and customer. For our purposes here, ‘lead’ will mean someone who has not yet paid you for any products or services, whereas a ‘customer’ already did. And on the premise of “once a customer, always a customer”, we’ll treat them as such, whether they currently subscribe to our services or not. There are a few things to look out for when trying to convert leads into customers.

In other words, today we’ll talk about approaching someone who has not yet been our buyer and start persuading them to buy our products or subscribe to our services. Let’s see what it takes.

The leads

Leads are people or business entities who show interest or potential to buy your products or services. They

  • Have now or may have later a need for your product or service
  • Can decide to buy
  • Can pay.

Note that we are talking about two different leads: one is self-identified, they express interest; and the other type is that which you find through research! While the first type may need only a small nudge towards purchase, the second type will need your help to realize why they need your product or service.

Either way, turning them into customers will take trust. You’ll have to get in touch, establish credibility, show understanding, and proceed with power of persuasion. Once you identified customer needs, match your products and services to them by communicating the benefits that come with the purchase.

The process of reaching out and turning leads into customers

The SaaS market is booming with offers, multiple solutions are competing for the same leads. How do you stand out from the crowd and draw attention?

1. Offer a free trial

A 7-14-day free trial can showcase the benefit of your product and get your lead to realize the value of your product or service. Before the trial period ends, reach out to your user. Asking them what they liked / disliked about your product gives a common ground for invitation to purchase or for addressing concerns.

2. Always establish a next step

Once you contact your lead, get them to commit to an action, even if that is just a scheduled meeting for another call. Of course, the actual “next step” will vary by lead and context; don’t hesitate to adjust your call for action to the situation.

If your lead expressed interest in your product or service, and they just need a nudge to make the decision, find out what stands in their way to do so now. If a longer call or a face-to-face meeting would help, schedule them.

If your lead is hesitant, not sure about your product or service, ask for their email address to send them further information.

3. Understand your leads’ goals

Quite often, when we see the term ‘goals’ in a business setting, think of standard company-related goals such as KPIs. While those are important, as sales representatives we also need to uncover the lead’s personal goals as well. These can include work-life balance, being able to spend weekends and vacation time undisturbed, etc.

How do you translate such personal goals to the product or service you are selling? Not as difficult as it may seem. There is a common denominator in all the examples above: time. …And a second runner-up, trust. And bingo, incomes your SaaS offer that helps them delegate tasks to a team that can work independently.

Similarly, if you sense that your lead hates getting bogged down with dates and numbers, you can emphasize the fact that your product or service allows users to generate reports and charts with a click of the button.

4. Frame your pitch around pain points

Pain points? For sure, losing money is a pain point everyone can relate to, but how about FOMO – fear of missing out, fear of missing a business opportunity?

Talking about pain points can be more effective than talking about potential benefits because humans are naturally loss averse. So in the time / trust example above, instead of pitching your service as a tool that benefits managers by helping them delegate tasks, try this: 

 “[PRODUCT / SERVICE] can help you organize work, train teams, and delegate more effectively, so you won’t be wasting your workday on balancing multiple tasks, or losing your weekends to catching up and your vacation time to troubleshooting.”

5. Explain why

People are wired to be more open to doing something if they see a good reason for it. So, when you encourage them to sign up for your free trial or ask them to look at their calendar for a good time to talk, follow with a because clause. Because the free trial will give them an opportunity to try your product firsthand; because free slots for this week are filling up quickly, etc.

6. Use the power of storytelling 

While we think of business transactions as purely logical, value driven, they in fact rely quite a bit on emotions. So next time you are pitching your product or service to a lead, share stories about how it changed your other customers’ lives.

Instead of just saying something general like “Feature XYZ of [PRODUCT/SERVICE], helps customers reduce data entry time by 40%,” relate the story of an actual customer.

7. Personalize your methods

That said, keep in mind that there’s no one size fits all approach to nurturing your leads. While one may respond well to regular contact and increasingly more detail, others may prefer to find things out for themselves. So besides cold calling, follow-ups, email marketing, and return on investment reminders, create a FAQ section on your website. Ask questions, offer incentives, and don’t shy away from mixing icebreakers and humor into your marketing communications.

We live in a fast-paced world. In the highly competitive SaaS market, expect your leads to have short attention spans and multiple offers to choose from. Strive to quickly identify your leads’ needs, and make offers that are meaningful to them. Both your methods and your incentives need to be targeted at solving specific issues.

If you had a fairy godmother to assist you in rising to that task, what would your three wishes be?

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