Help Converting Leads (Q&A)

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Got a question from Matt:

"I'm having some trouble converting leads. I send a heap of free information to the client by email hoping to get some kind of response. 80% of the site, my email doesn't get a response. 20% of the time, the client is interested, but after quoting $1000 per month for services such as Adwords and CRO .. the lead goes cold. Not really sure where to go from here. I'm thinking sending all the good stuff should build a bit of trust and create some differentiation."

There could be at least a dozen things going wrong here.

It's hard to say for sure without going through every step of what you're doing and analysing it.

See, there are two parts to this:

1. Doing the right things.

2. Doing the right things right.

You can be doing all the right things but if you're executing them poorly then you won't get the results you're looking for.

For example, the impact of sending a "heap of free information" depends on things such as the quality of your list, the relevance, timing, persuasiveness of your message, and the context in which it's sent.

Based on what you've told me -- and where I've seen others making critical mistakes -- there are a few areas you can look at to get big improvements:

- Are you sending these emails cold? If so, 20% is an OK response. But if you're sending everything up-front, without the prospect requesting, or at least agreeing to receive, all the info then I guarantee most of them see it as spam. You can usually bump response significantly (while reducing spam complaints) by going slower. Send a personal email and start a relationship before going after them as a client.

- Email is cheap and the inbox cluttered. Business owners get literally dozens of consultants of all kinds trying to win their business each week. So instead of email send a big lumpy direct mail package via courier and show up with IMPACT.

- It sounds like you're relying too much on the free info to do the hard work of selling. I didn't see any mention of a consultative sales call -- you just went from sending free info to quoting a price -- and this is really the key component in your sales process. The free info does little more than get your foot in the door. Whether you get them as a client or not is largely about how well you sell.

- You mentioned "Adwords and CRO", but business owners don't want this. They want more traffic, more leads, more clients, increased profits, lower costs, to beat their competitors, take a holiday etc. Find out what they really want and sell it to them. They care much less than you think about HOW you deliver.

- What kind of follow up are you doing for both the people who don't initially respond and the ones who don't buy right away? This is where most of your success will come from. Everyone has this idea in their head they'll send 10 emails and sign up a bunch of new clients. It rarely works like that. Most of your clients are going to come after the 2nd... 3rd... 5th... 10th contact.

And one final thought:

I know a lot of people talk about "moving the free line" and delivering massive value up front. The theory being you'll generate reciprocity and trust and the prospect will think your paid stuff must be even better.

Rarely works like that in the consulting world.

In fact, it often works against you.

People want to work with the consultant who is so busy making his clients massively successful he barely has time to even talk to anyone else... not the guy who has so much time up his sleeve he can afford to be blindly cold prospecting via email.

The difference in your positioning -- how you are perceived -- can be subtle, but the impact on your results will be substantial.

Talk soon,

Kyle Tully