engage, qualify, convert

Why waste energy on talking to people who does not want to hear what you have to say?

I see this happen all the time, surely there are situations that calls for the “in your face” approach, how and when you apply that kind of advertising strategy will determine your return. In this post we will be taking a look at alternative ways to grow your business, NOT ADVERTISING.

Once again, I want to point out before we get going with this, that misconceptions about the way things work online is something you find alot! One of the bigger misconceptions, in my part of the world, is that big numbers of likes / followers are better, that might not always be the case.

Let’s leave that there for a moment and think about something else: What will you think of a person that approaches you, and asks for something, and when you ask him what he wants, he doesn’t know? Surely you will label that as insane. So why does some businesses do that online?

You need to make up your mind about what you want to do

Advertising are only one part of building a business, not the whole thing. In fact, hundreds if not thousands of different strategies exist and have been tried and tested since antiquity, and the same principles exist online. To start growing your business you have to work out where you want to go, not that you will get there in a straight line; but without goals, your efforts will be wasted.

In this series we first looked at Proposition strategy the second post dealt with Acquisition strategy and in this post we will take a better look at how to get visitors and change them to customers – Conversion Strategy.

In an effort to make this as widely applicable as possible, I will be breaking the conversion strategy into 3 main parts:

  • Engage
  • Qualify
  • Convert

This three sub-sections of the conversion strategy each play a key role and the one can not survive without the other, the order is important too. You do not want to start by telling your visitor to pay you first 🙂 it sounds crazy, I know but it happens.

Step one: Let’s Get Social

The internet made getting your brand out in public, possible for a bigger range of businesses when compared to TV and Paper media, but most definitely not easier. This bring us to misconception number two, simply posting random chirps and cute kitty pictures will not do. Each and every post you make will reflect on your corporate image, so you need to think a bit before you post things, anywhere.

As Kim Garst previously said, “If you are wondering how you are going to explain what you are about to post, you probably don’t want to post it.”

Your social interactions should be complimentary to your end goal, in this case converting visitors. The various available social media applications available, provides a platform to meet people, how you treat them once you met them, determines if you are making the sale or not.

Not going into any strategies, they vary too much and needs to be custom developed for your purposes, but seeing social networks as an open public space that offers easy ways to interact with strangers are a good place to start.

You want an effective yet polite human like approach, that will not scare people off and at the same time forge a relationship, one tiny step at a time. YES, it is hard work and YES it does take long.

Carrying on, it can very quickly become difficult to come up with new things to say, one popular strategy are to help people solve problems. Let’s say as an example you want to sell hammers, tell people of different ways, other people are using hammers and help them to understand the purpose and the physics behind a hammer, show them the latest in hammer handle technology, start a hammer support group…. This list can go on, but eventually by educating people about hammers, they are going to get interested and know exactly where to buy that hammer from.

Funny example, I know but now that we get the point, we can close this chapter and safely conclude that social media is only that, and not the magic wonderland over amorous markets like to make it be.

Is this a sale or a curiosity probe?

At this point we know how to meet new people and make hundreds and thousands of new friends and build a following, right? Maybe, but not enough, you still not making the sale. At this point we can think of our effort as chatting and waiting for business. It’s a proven fact that you can sit and wait for business, a lifetime long and never get one hit. You have to make the move or nothing.

Starting a conversation takes practise, but good ways to get going are NOT TO ASK FOR MONEY! Asking questions will be a good place to start, because you can at the same time qualify your visitor and class them. This is not because of being weird or something, but simply a way to start a conversation and at the same time determine if you will be making a sale or not, in a non-obtrusive manner.

The sooner you can determine if the person you are dealing with, a)wants to buy your product or b)simply looking for information, will give you a clear indication what to ask next – but in fact you are steering the engagement, where you want it to go.

If the person you are engaging with tells you he wants to buy, you can go left, and start with the next step towards making the sale – the actual conversion. But if your visitor answer turns out to be, looking for info maybe buy later or something to that tune, you choose right, and give him your best proposition strategy. Easy.

It doesn’t matter if you are doing all of this alone or have others departments to pass on to, what makes the difference are the fact that you are responsive in a positive manner providing the visitor what he came for without hesitation, with confidence and so efficient that he leaves impressed, no matter what he came for.

Something I saw often while working as a waiter, this is terrible – you can’t only be nice to the buyers and treat the info seekers like cra… not nice, rude. The chances are very good that the visitors simply browsing, the window shoppers, far outweigh your actual buyers. Effectively, by being lazy or dumb or clever, whatever… By treating this crowd wrong, you are slowly choking yourself.

I know what you want!

Stop making the sale, I know I’ve screwed this up a couple of times in the past, and the sad thing is that when it happened, I already knew about it and did it right a million times before, when selling one on one. But simply because it’s the internet one tend to easily assume sales should be different, but it’s not.

The quicker you can respond with the right next question, the quicker your potential buyer will become aware that you are confident in what you are doing and selling.

Confidence is very important and deserves a whole post on its own. Think of yourself as a buyer, how will it look if I want to buy something from you but you are not to sure about the product you are selling? it’s bad and affects the outcome of your efforts here. On the opposite end, if you respond with confidence the buyer will instantly feel better about his decision to buy form you.

For me, a conversion start by you (the seller) making some sort of relevant effort towards improving the way your customer feels about spending his hard-earned cash. This will work differently in different businesses and you will most likely spend some time getting your responses fine tuned.

What comes next, Resources. You can only respond with confidence by knowing what you are selling and have the right tools to back your effort. This applies to every person that will be involved in the process.

I know what you want, let’s confirm.

So that will be 2 double cheese burgers with fries…. Great give me 5 minutes and I’m back with your order.

How many times did the buyer and the seller discuss the price? None, nothing, not once. I can go further and say that if you, at this point, have a buyer that is still shopping, you messed up something already, and need to adjust your approach next time round.

Now, by confirming the order you at the same time closed the deal and paved the way to ask for the cash.

Converted.

That’s alot, enough for this post, do tell me about your experiences in the comments below and keep an eye out for the next post, we will be dealing with Retention Strategy – how to make them come back.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.