Speak with someone who runs their own business or is in sales or marketing, and you’re bound to hear them talk about acquiring more leads. People undertake all sorts of activities in the name of lead-chasing, including paying for email lists, attending networking events, cold calling, advertising on social media channels, search engine marketing, and the list goes on.

It’s understandable that leads are so desirable. Leads are the foundation for new customers, and without them, businesses can feel rightly nervous about generating future revenue.

Leads can also be expensive. If you engage in search engine marketing such as Google Adwords, you will be paying for every single lead, regardless of whether you make a sale.

All other things being equal, increasing the quantity of leads will ultimately result in increased sales, but what you are really trying to achieve. How effective is a sales strategy that focusses heavily on lead generation?

Let’s consider that there is something more important than leads that should be attracting your attention – and that’s conversions. Conversions are that important next step that turns a lead into a paying customer. And without conversions, a lead is actually pretty useless.

So if you find yourself caught in a cycle of chasing leads for lead’s sake, and if a large percentage of those leads are not converting – and never will – then it may be time to rethink your strategy, and refocus where you spend your time and energy.

Let’s look at 5 ways you can increase conversions in your business.

Know your audience

It’s important to know who your desired customer is, so gather as much information about them as you can. (You may think you instinctively know who they are, or that you know from experience, but consider too that your ideal customer may not be your current customer.)

Some important questions to ask yourself about your target audience:

  • What motivates my customers?
  • What frustrations do they have – especially ones that my business can help them overcome?
  • What are their interests?
  • What is their common demographic profile – age, gender, income, household?
  • Where do they spend their time online?

Have a clear sales process in place.

Processes are a guaranteed way to increase efficiencies in your business, ultimately saving you time and money.

A sales process is a process that can be followed systematically to guide a prospect to the best solution that you can offer for them. To create your process, you need to be able to identify and articulate what you can do for somebody in a way that is compelling and appealing. It should represent value for the prospect and hopefully also alleviate a problem they are looking to solve.

The process could include a phone call, a face to face meeting, a quote, a presentation, or a series of emails. Once in place, this process can be applied to any new lead to guide them through to conversion.

Test and measure: split testing

Particularly in the digital era, it’s a good idea to get into a “test and measure” mindset. This is especially helpful when it comes to lead conversions.

Look back on the last few occasions when leads were converted into sales. What processes did you undertake? Did you do anything differently? Did you use a particular tool to aide you?

Make a conscious effort to rule in or rule out one element of your process, so you can compare the results over time. Sometimes split testing will surprise you and you’ll uncover that what works or doesn’t work is not what you assumed.

Predetermine objections and remove obstacles

Tap into your high school drama class. Close your eyes… and really imagine that you are your prospective customer. How would you react to your own sales pitch? What questions would you have?

It’s well worth your time thinking about what objections your customers might have, or what hesitations. Then you can prepare answers to them to include in your conversion process.

This will have the effect of bypassing any common objections or obstacles that might get in the way of a sale.

Understand customer lifetime value

It’s also important to think long-term when it comes to your potential customer.

You might be focusing on an initial job or payment you’d like them to sign up to, but have you thought about what this customer could mean to your business long-term? Are they in a position to take up repeat business? Can they become a referrer to your business? What other areas of your business could they be interested in?

So investing your time and thinking into how to convert your leads is a high impact activity, and time well spent on your business. After all, having thousands of leads is great, but it’s only when those leads convert that you have paying customers, and ultimately a profitable business.