Leads to Customers – Part 1

Sally Balwin Recruitment HRM Business Development Organisational Development Brisbane Brendale Strathpine Albany Creek

Sally Balwin
Recruitment | HR | Business Development

One of the Holy Grail questions business owners want to know the answer to is “how do I turn an inquiry/cold lead into a customer?”  For example, if a business has the email facility on its website and receives a limited enquiry or you are at a business lunch at a table of strangers, how do you approach such situations to generate customers?

This question was posed at the Albany Creek Business Contacts meeting this morning, with members intently listening and contributing (yes  …  they too want to know answers).

Unfortunately, there is no Holy Grail answer, however, most involved in the conversation agreed that the best approach regardless of the circumstances is to try and create a relationship.

In the example of an email inquiry, it was suggested that a business owner needs to take an approach of answering the inquiry however, moving the enquirer to further contact (ie, give a little information and ask for a bit more).  Scott Deaves, David Deane Real Estate added that if possible add a bit extra information to the initial response to try to create a conversation.  He went on to add, “if possible, try to get a phone number rather than continue in writing which enables better ways to communicate with the prospective”.

Dan Milgate, Fit4Life Personal Training concurred with Scott and added, “invite the enquirer to meet and discuss further as, if the nature of your business enables, tell the prospect that by meeting you can get a better handle on their needs to customise and personalise the product/service to them”.

The business needs to demonstrate its interest in the inquiry by responding as soon as possible but no later than 24 hours from receipt of the inquiry.

Discussion flowed to the question of the business function scenario.  Kirsty Newbery, Caring Cottage was quickest out of the gate to suggest “that you ask about others [at the table]  – what their business is and about – and listen to what they say.”  Build rapore and find the hooks relevant to your business and then ask more questions to highlight and discuss further these points giving an opportunity to either demonstrate your expertise in relation to the matters and/or open a direct dialogue in relation to your business and how you can help.

Rob Carmody, Australian Integrated Communications indicated that his business in many instances is built on cold calling/leads and his approach is about asking questions about the person and/or their business – get an understanding about them – their goals, directions and needs.  This is the beginning of building the relationship.

Damian Jenkins, Australian Unity, North Lakes contributed by suggesting “even when you meet someone for the first time take the long term approach of developing into a relationship”.  In other words, approach this meeting as the beginning of many conversations with a view to developing a relationship which may result in a customer and/or a good referrer of customers.

It was agreed to be honest and upfront and not providing “spin” to win the customer for them to then find it was all baloney.

Another clear message from the group is – Don’t go straight in for the hard sell – you will lose them right away.

As evidenced by the diversity of businesses that have contributed to this discussion, the skill is to learn how to create conversation to build relationships in all mediums a prospect may use to communicate with you.

So, why is this Part 1 in relation to Leads to Customers?  Well it became apparent that there is another conversation in relation to this – that is – if you are a colleague/networking or referral colleague, how do you turn an inquiry/cold lead into a hot referral for another business.

Tune in on 14 May 2014 when this question will be discussed by the group and answers revealed.