6 Steps to Keeping a Full Sales Pipeline of Qualified Leads

sales pipeline

1. Capture Everyone, and Put Them into the Sales Pipeline

The first and most important thing is to stop letting people walk out your door. There just aren’t that many people shopping for your services on a given day. Get them all. It is critical that you capture every visitor from your website, your call-ins, and most certainly from your office visitors. That is the foundation of everything. You can’t follow up without the information you need to do so. A sales pipeline with anonymous entries is pretty useless. The fact is I’m probably not buying today. We both know that. Making a buying decision can take a long time (especially if it’s a large financial investment). Some people will buy right away, but most will do a lot of research. The good news is that doesn’t matter. You may not know when I’m going to buy but I came to your website or into your office for a reason. I may not buy today, but I will someday. When I do, you need to make sure it’s from you. That starts with capturing my info. This is the first step to getting me in your sales pipeline. Get my email. In person this is easy. I’ll give it to you because you just spent time helping me learn. I appreciate it. I’ll be happy to give you my email. It’s a little trickier on a website, but it’s the same principle. Just ask, but give me a reason. If I’m already at your site, then it’s safe to assume I’m genuinely interested in learning more about your service. It isn’t spam. I want to receive it. Send me something digital. Have a go-to item for anything I asked about, or anything we talked about. A PDF brochure, links to website articles, reviews of the service I was most interested in, YouTube videos, or blogs or eBooks about some aspect of what I’m interested in, and of course, your contact info. With this stuff I might well place myself at the top of your sales pipeline! Honestly, I don’t want paper; not even your business card. It will go into a drawer or the trash. If you email it. I’m more likely to save it and share it. Most importantly, you now you have a way to follow up with me for as long as it takes to move me toward a sale. I’ve given you permission, and I’ll welcome your contact. What could be better than that for your sales team?

2. Learn What I Care About

So you got a name and email, but you learned a lot about me before I left. If whoever I talked to at your office did their job I probably told you about my interests, my experience, the kind of services I’m seeking, my present situation that prompted the inquiry, and a whole lot more. I also told you all of the concerns that are holding me back: costs, time, ability and many more. I also told you when I was likely to buy. Every word of that is a sales opportunity now and in the future. Keep it all. Even if all your business is done through word of mouth it’s foolish to ignore site visitors and social media contacts. Many customers will fill out one or more of your web forms. How much specific information does that give you? What about Facebook likes and Twitter posts, retweets, etc? It’s usually pretty easy to tell who is interested in what you have to offer, even if they can’t immediately afford it. These people should be your bread and butter, but in most cases they’re ignored.

3. Put Everything In A Central Place

All of that information is great, but to follow up with me, you’ve got to put it somewhere that makes it USEFUL. It’s no good if you can’t or don’t use it daily as part of your sales and marketing efforts. In 2016 I saw more than one receptionist write emails and other customer information down in notebooks or sticky notes. That’s better than nothing, but it doesn’t do much to help your follow up over time. Put it all into a simple database as soon as you can. Do it right after I leave, or better yet, just record it while I’m talking to you! Use a notepad or an iPad. Don’t worry. It won’t annoy me. In fact, I’ll appreciate it. I’ll be shocked that you care about helping me so much. Nobody else does. You can accomplish similar tasks with website forms. For now, just get the basics–my name, email, my interests, and my concerns. What kind of business do I own? What made me seek you out? My primary concerns? You’ve just created a simple, but solid profile that you can build on. It takes only minutes, but it pays off for years. Here’s how.

4. Follow Up Continuously

So now you’ve got my contact info and you know my interests. The problem is, just like all of your other visitors I’m not buying today, but I will be someday. It might be next week, next month or next year. You’ll never know, but it doesn’t matter. You just need to make sure that when we are ready to buy, we buy from you. I want to be in someone’s sales pipeline. Why shouldn’t it be yours? You do that with follow up. You’ll remind me, educate me, and develop me into a lifelong customer. You know what I care about, so just give it to me. Follow up slowly, consistently and automatically over time. I WANT to hear from you. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. You aren’t spamming me. You have my permission. Send me everything you can to guide me to the right decision. You’ll establish your credibility, build trust, and become my friend. I’ll actually remember you.
(Some people don’t believe it when I say this because they’re accustomed to deleting hundreds of emails from every website they’ve ever visited out of their inbox every day. I know I do it routinely. However, you have to keep in mind that you offer something special–something that is crucial to your niche. I’m not talking about a broadly blasted email from the Walmart; I’m talking about personalized emails about things recipients actually care about. For instance, I get emails every now and then from Electrical Guitar Company out of Florida. I’m way into their products, and when I have $4000 to spend on an instrument, I plan on getting a new build from them. So when I get an email from them, I actually want to read it. It stands out from the usual daily blasts I get from everyone who has ever somehow captured my email address. Granted, this is a totally different industry, but the same principle applies. I’m likely to read things directly addressing my interests.)

5. Send Content I Care About

With everything you know about me, now you can segment me into the right box. Say you’re an attorney, and I’m seeking your services. Am I a contract, lease, or general counsel guy? Do I have general questions that can be answered by one of your blog posts? Is there something you can send me to make yourself a trusted source of information? I get sick of big businesses sending me blanket print content when a cursory look at my purchase history would clearly indicate I have a very narrow range of interests. If they paid attention to that, they might not be losing market share to mom and pop operations. Start sending me information that matters specifically to me. When you do, I’ll open your emails and click on your links. I’ll know that you remember me and that you care. You’ll be helping to educate me about everything I need to know to buy the right service. It doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact, it shouldn’t be. You don’t need a lot of fancy newsletters that take a lot of production time. If you have to do those, they won’t get done. Simple emails are fine. Simple emails get opened and read. And guess what: It’s easy. You don’t have to create great content. It’s out there for the taking. The Internet is filled with information and people are begging you to link to their content. Just find it, forward it, and even store it to use again later. You’ll gradually assemble a huge library of content that you can use again and again and people will thank you when you send it. Content Is Easy You already know what I’m interested in. Send me things that match my interests. Here’s an easy one: all business owners are interested in increasing sales. How many different people could you send an article like this to that would value its content, even if it doesn’t directly address their specific industry? OK, so let me say this first: I’m about to mention a lot of stuff here, but you have to believe me when I say this is easy. It really is. It’s already out there and it’s free. Chances are you already have a lot of it. The rest is easy to find, save and use. Every basic legal question has a wealth of information readily available. You have the expertise to know what information will be useful. The Internet is full of brochures, reviews, articles, photos and videos available for use. Gather them up. It’s easy to quickly collect and store a list of digital materials and links that can be put into emails that you can send automatically over time. Just keep saving new content as you find it. You’ll have an ever-growing library of content that you can use again and again for any purpose you can imagine. Types Of Content You Can Send The Service I Want Send me everything about the service itself–the one I inquired about or the one you think would suit me better. I told you what I’m after. Now keep reminding me of it!
  • Digital Brochures
  • Links To Relevant Blogs
  • Magazine Reviews and Articles
  • Reliable Forums
  • Informational and Review videos
Improving My Business Fuel my passion! Send me more of this than anything else! Keep reminding me of why I am passionate about business, customer service, innovation, and all things that get people out of bed in the morning. Reinforce my values when I buy. This is stuff about my dreams of achievement. Everyone can relate to this on some level. This is what really motivates me, not just to buy, but to do pretty much everything I do.
  • YouTube Videos
  • Articles About my Industry
  • Examples of Previous Work
  • Industry Specific Blogs
  • Magazines, Books, Articles, Websites.
  • Cool New Technologies or Techniques You’re Using
Buying Your Services Now I trust your firm and want to give you my business. Show me how I can get it. Tell me everything I need to know and do to get the service I’m after.
  • Financing
  • Payment Plan
  • Promotions
  • Options
Don’t make me think. Tell me everything I need to know. Give me the ‘Easy Button’ for acquiring your services. Overcome My Concerns Don’t let my concerns stand in my way. Show me how much it can improve my business, how low my payments can be, and what my ROI will be. Whatever I told you is holding me back: don’t let it. I want your services. Help me get them. Win Me Over Time Don’t try to send everything at once. I’ll never look at it all. Give me small bites consistently over time. That’s the key. The more you stay in contact with me, the more I’ll remember you and appreciate your efforts. Build a relationship with me. It doesn’t matter if it’s weeks, months or even years. When you’ve got me in a trusted system, you can stay in touch no matter what. Keep It Simple I’ll say it again: it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to create a lot of fancy, graphic-intensive emails. Just a simple text email can do amazing things in terms of building trust and long-term relationships. ‘Hey Billy, I saw this video about green energy building in Arizona. Thought you’d be interested. Hope you’re doing well.” When I see that, I’m thinking “Wow. This guy has a pretty serious commitment to customer service if he still remembers me and my interests.” All you have to do is just stay in touch and show that you remember me. Your competitors don’t. When it’s time to buy, I’ll buy from you and only you. Think about sending that email to EVERY person interested in that same service. There may be hundreds of them! I know us small business owners like to think we’re chronically unique, but in reality, our interests overlap a lot. Even if they don’t you can do it quickly and easily.

6. Automate Everything

Most businesses think it’s impossible to try to keep track of thousands of people all with different interests, concerns, and buying time-lines. It’s Easier Than You Think. Using any of the hundreds of CRM and automation platforms available, it has become simple to capture new leads, group them all by interests, and follow up with everyone without having to think about it. Nothing slips through the cracks. And it happens while you are busy doing other things. Best of all, you can launch it with a single click. Now when I walk out of your office door, you’ll just put me on an automated follow up campaign that matches my specific interests. It can be whatever you want it to be, and it can go on for weeks, months, or even years, continuously and automatically. Learn and Improve Best of all, the more you interact with me, the more you’ll learn. With every new email, you’ll learn more and more about me. You can track who opens your emails, clicks your links, and visits your website. You’ll know who’s interested, what they’re interested in, and when they’re likely to buy. You’ll learn what works best to drive the most traffic and new sales. Over months and years, you’ll be building an ever-growing mountain of new opportunities that will convert to new customers and new sales continually over time.

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Billy Tegethoff

I started Gojira Marketing based on the idea that there are some glaringly obvious things business owners could be doing to improve their sales, but that few have the time to implement. It's hard enough to make a run a business without working against yourself by not having some basic web infrastructure in place. That's why this company exists.