Welcome to stage four of our journey through the sales funnel.
As we move ever closer to guiding prospects from having never heard of your company to becoming loyal customers, we’ve progressed to the fourth phase — intent.
So far, your leads have become aware of your company, discovered more about your brand and your offering, and evaluated if they’re making the right choice. Now, satisfied with their decision, it’s their intention to order your product or purchase your service.
Up until this point, it’s been your responsibility to draw the potential customer in, and a great job you’ve done. Your content has been focused on feeding them the information they need to progress to this point. It’s now up to the lead to make the next move, but that doesn’t mean your content no longer matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
No room for complacency
You would be forgiven for thinking that, at this stage, as the customer is intent on choosing your product or service, it’s job done … it’s not.
The nature of the sales funnel means that you lose leads at every stage. Until the customer has purchased a product, and later returned for more, you still have work to do.
Have you ever been queuing at the bar with the intention of buying your usual beer, only to change your mind after watching the bartender pull a crisp, cold pint of an unknown but irresistible nectar?
Just one online advert or recommendation from a friend can have the same impact on your lead, stealing away what you considered a sure-fire sale.
It’s no time for complacency.
Take advantage of any contact
At this stage, your customer may be intent on choosing your product or service, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have all the information they need. In a lot of cases, they’ll take the time to get in touch to ask a final question or secure a quote.
Every time a lead contacts you, it’s an opportunity, and one you mustn’t miss!
In days gone by, most leads would contact you over the phone, meaning you were relying on your customer service team being professional and contributing to converting the lead.
Now, however, the majority of contact is digital, be it an email, a tweet, a Facebook message, or a live chat. This gives you the opportunity to prepare content in advance, both in part and in full.
Prep, prep, prep
Everyone knows the Benjamin Franklin quote: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It’s relevant to so many situations, and stage four of the sales funnel is no different!
Whether you’re inundated with messages or receive just one, being consistent in your content is essential. By establishing workflows and writing content in advance, you have a scalable process in place that will still work efficiently when (not if) your company goes international.
Put processes in place for responding to leads.
If you have customer service staff manning your social media channels and live chat, make sure they know exactly what to say or where to direct people enquiring about your offering.
Once you’ve established these workflows, make them official by documenting them. In doing so, you have a point of reference for you, your current staff, and staff joining your company in the future.
You don’t have to prepare full statements or responses in advance. Although you can, especially if you want to schedule follow-up content, which we’ll come to soon.
It’s important to consider the final questions or requests you may receive from leads who intend to make a purchase. It could be regarding price, a request for a quote, maybe, or an enquiry about your availability. Though your response may differ depending on each unique situation, a substantial amount of your reply can be pre-written and templated.
For example, an email response to a quote request can be templated, leaving you with the task of simply adding a price into the email before sending it to the customer. And just like that, thanks to the template, a 10-minute chore becomes a 20-second task.
Following up: striking a balance
What do you do if, after making an enquiry or adding an item to their online basket before leaving the site, you don’t hear from a lead?
There’s a fine balance between politely checking in with a potential customer, to see if a quote was acceptable or they found what they were looking for, and hounding them. Businesses have differing approaches to following up with potentially lost leads, and it’s a choice for you to make on how your company proceeds.
If you choose to send follow-up communications, make sure they have a courteous tone and focus on offering further support, rather than pushing the lead to complete the sale.
Strike the right balance, and you’ll be perceived as helpful, respectful, and generous. But if you get it wrong, you’ll come across as desperate or, worse, intimidating.
Within touching distance
Your lead is now close to becoming a customer. So close, in fact, that the next stage is actually called ‘purchase’.
So, keep your cool, make sure your content still accurately reflects your brand and its values, and continue to give the lead all the information, support, and direction they need.
Even though you’re on the edge of a sale, your content has never been more important. If you want to make sure your content helps to prevent a loss of leads at this stage, we’d love to help, so get in touch with the Prize Content team today.