In my last post, I talked about the customer funnel. Did you know there is a prequel? Today we’ll be talking about the art of seduction, or the process of turning your leads into customers. It’s less about marketing, and more about relationship building.
How do you go about creating those relationships and making them sustainable enough to build customers into? It starts with trust.
Expand Your Initial Avenues
Don’t be confined into two or three mediums to attract leads or retain customers. Use all your available options. According to Jesse Mawhinney, Marketing Manager of Kula Partners, a Marketing and Web Development agency, you should vary your platforms to cast the widest net. “Varying your platforms” in essence mean to utilize social media, print, word-of-mouth and in-person materials to build your brand.
According to a poll conducted by MarketingSherpa, only one out of five potential customers open targeted emails. That’s only a 20% initial success rate. To engage with leads you have to engage in multiple platforms and (cliche as it may be) think outside the box.
Keeping your social media presence consistently updated will keep you constantly top of mind with your clients. Platforms such as Facebook are also a great medium to demonstrate your expertise in your field as well as to showcase past projects. Don’t discount physical avenues either. Mailing materials such as brochures to prospective clients gives a (literally) tangible example of your creativity and professionalism.
Emotions are a powerful tool, don’t be afraid to use them in your opening maneuvers to secure a client. Don’t be afraid to personalize the experience if you know what client you’re going after. While building your brand try and build your emotional repertoire with your prospective clients. There’s a saying in radio, “pretend you’re not talking to several thousand people, pretend you’re talking to just the one.” It’s the same with engaging customers because in the end that’s exactly what you’ll be doing. You’re wanting to connect and expand upon that one relationship. People love personalized experiences – we seek out relationships naturally, personalizing the process builds familiarity, and familiarity builds a repeat customer.
Follow and Listen
So, your leads are circling the entrance to the customer funnel. Do they have questions or concerns? It’s best to address them quickly. Make sure you can follow up to any concerns fast. The Harvard Business Review has stated the quicker the follow-up and response time, the quicker not only sales can be made, but your leads/customers will want to close faster and collaborate more in the future.
If you think about it, it comes down to common sense. It’s all about relationship building. Listening to your lead’s concerns and addressing them quickly never hurt either. A large part of winning business is listening to the customer. Here you can use this opportunity to humanize each other, yet again building a stronger relationship.
How would you do this? Be pre-emptive and use your metrics from past clients. Try sending them a tailored FAQ answering any questions they may have pertaining to your product or service. Previous information garnered from follow-ups or from past projects will help you have an idea on what to look for. The same Harvard Review listed above states simply the more follow-ups with your client the more on-mind you are, and the more secure they’ll feel in your abilities. On average, five follow-ups throughout the week (such as one per day perhaps?) that are answered quickly and succinctly is shown to help put client’s minds at ease and helps abate unforeseen issues.
Have The Homefront In Order
Whether you’re working for yourself or in a small team, your sales team and production teams both have to work in tandem to build a two-pronged approach. Having your people aligned requires keeping track of important communication details and decisions and an amount of general streamlining to work.
Building a standard account or portfolio based around the customer helps; including contact info and pertinent background information is the obvious beginning. Keeping realtime, updated notes around ongoing client decisions, feedback from both your team and theirs along with any quantifiable metrics is an invaluable next step. Any qualifiable information on the customer’s demeanor or concerns being dealt with can go a long way, too. It’s about creating that humanized approach both in-person and through outgoing materials.
Co-ordination is key here. You’ll want whomever is dealing with your client to have effective communication with the people working on the project. In your client portfolio it could help to include a work-breakdown structure (WSM). It will help you breakdown who is doing what and when and how long everyone should spend on those tasks. On top of that, implementing a work-breakdown structure allows you to easily co-ordinate what things need to be done, what is currently being worked on and what has been completed. Combine that with strong client relationship building and frequent follow-ups, you’ll have a well-oiled project-crunching machine. This is where CRM software comes in handy, as it’s suited to exactly this task and more. Having a strong, coordinated team where everyone is on the same page can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a returning client.
Tip: Using an app like Daylite makes it easy to organize all the moving pieces, communication, and decisions on deals and client projects.
If you can prove that you’re not only capable of competent work, but reliable and friendly, you’ll have your lead locked in a deal and be able to turn that customer into a repeat customer or referral source. Building that trust is what it’s all about. Not only will they be impressed with what you’re offering, but they’ll want to work with you on an emotional level.
About the author:
Xander Cavalier is a former radio broadcaster and community organizer with grass-roots experience in Northern Ontario. He is currently based in the GTA. You may reach out to him on LinkedIn.