By Caroline Creedon
Patching Your Pipeline
There’s no denying that referrals are a big part of the business. But the steps that follow a referral are just as important as getting one in the first place.
Once we’ve got referrals and satisfied clients coming in, we start to build a pipeline of people, and with that wealth of incoming connections, we must remember the importance of nurturing them, so they don’t slip through the cracks.
You may have a ton of great connections, but if you don’t show them a little love, you’ll find yourself with a leaky pipeline, with potential clients slipping away every day.
When you get an initial inquiry about your business, the end goal is always to turn that inquiry into a client. But what does that journey look like from A to B?
What we need to do as business owners is make sure that they’re not losing interest. To do this, we need to make the most of that initial inquiry. At this stage, people tend to be really open and optimistic. Once they become a client, you close the loop and at this stage, they’re no longer looking. Use the initial reach out to find common ground and make a genuine connection with them.
Throughout this journey, your potential clients are vulnerable because they’re scoping out the best option and are therefore uncertain about what’s coming next. So, from the moment that inquiry turns into something more, your potential clients enter what we call “the danger zone” meaning they need a lot more from you than you might expect.
There are six important steps you can take throughout your clients’ journey to make sure that while they’re in this “danger zone,” they’re still going to come out the other side feeling valued and confident with what you have to offer.
Here are the six crucial steps to follow when turning an initial inquiry or lead into a client.
- Create scarcity: When someone wants to have an initial conversation with you, you want to let them know your time and availability are limited. In other words, you’re in high demand. To top it off, add a “sunset” moment to let them know there’s a time limit on your open window. This creates a sense of urgency.
- Keep them warm: Make sure that from the time they first hear about you or connect with you to the point they actually sit down with you to have a chat, you’re keeping the momentum going. There are a few ways you can do this, but a simple one is to send an email. Keep a communication sequence going right through, and in this sequence, add some value. A sample email might sound a bit like this: Hey, I’m really looking forward to sitting down with you. In the meantime, check out this article for more information.
- Remove friction: Make it easy for them. Whether it’s your website, your contact form, or even just how to book a meeting, streamline the connection process as much as you can. As soon as someone feels like they have to jump through any kind of hoop to meet with you, they’re likely going to leak out of your pipeline.
- Pre-frame the play: Before you sit down with them, lay out the agenda and let them know exactly what they can expect the meeting to provide them. Is it an opportunity to ask questions? Will they get a brochure or a sample of some kind? What are you bringing to the chat that will add value for them? Use this step to connect, set expectations, and get them excited(it helps to show them you’re excited too).
- Prove it works: If you have a way to prove that your product or service actually works before you have the sales conversation, they’re practically already sold. One tactic is having a series of case studies on a landing page that you can include in your initial email. Help them feel relaxed knowing the meeting is going to be worth their time.
- Show them the way: Once they see how your business can fill a gap in their life, you want to make it easy for them to take the next step. Create a welcoming atmosphere, it might even be a single moment, that leads them into the partnership making them feel certain, confident, and excited.
Ultimately, if you can you follow these six simple steps with every lead, your pipeline from point A(initial interest)to point B(a closed sale)will be rock solid and sealed. Remember, there are a number of reasons your pipeline might start leaking, but these six steps will keep potential clients feel excited, intrigued, and confident.
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