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Small Business Corner: Turning Prospects Into Clients

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Turning prospects into clientsThere is an art in turning a prospect into a client, and it’s not something that is going to happen overnight.

It involves establishing a relationship with the prospect; and like all good relationships, it will take some time. To lay the foundation for success with your prospects, you’ll want to follow these steps to build a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Only then will you be able to reliably and regularly turn your prospects into new customers.

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to do to turn prospects into clients:

1. Get to Know Your Customers’ Problems

Is your approach all about you and the business? Do you spend time speaking with prospects and reaching out to them only to keep the conversation focused on you and what you can do? Customers come to you because they have a problem they need help with. Their motivation is to solve the problem, not to hear about your business. That comes later during the decision-making phase.

So what are your customers’ problems? If you don’t know, it’s time to ask. Poll your current customers and get to know what brought them to your business. What motivated them to reach out?

Once you know this, start integrating the problem into your sales process. Through marketing materials, your website, conversations with sales people, your business blog and more you can communicate that you understand the problem they are having and can help.

2. Establish Credibility with Your Prospect

Knowing your prospects’ problem isn’t enough – you have to show your prospects that you’re the kind of company they should do business with. Establishing credibility should be woven into your entire process as a company.

One of the best ways to do this is through social proof. Using testimonials from happy clients on your website and in your marketing materials can show your prospects that other people just like them have benefited from your products and your services. If using social media makes sense for your business, that’s another way to show prospects that you have credibility with other customers. Grow a Facebook following or establish a Twitter presence so that customers have a place to gather and share how great you are.

3. Ask for the Sale at the Right Time

Online marketing has turned the sales process on its ear. Customers are doing a large percentage of their decision-making before they ever reach out to a sales person or contact a company. That’s why using your marketing materials and website to establish understanding and credibility is so important.

But don’t forget to actually ask for the sale! You shouldn’t pressure prospects to make a purchase too soon, but letting a hot lead grow cold isn’t good either. Make it easy for customers to purchase from you when the time is right. Look back at your sales cycle and plan for a call to be made after a certain time, or use an email marketing sequence to ask for the sale. Whatever method makes the most sense for your business, be sure its timed just right.

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business, and they all start as prospects. By getting to know their problems, establishing credibility and asking for the sale, you can move more customers down your pipeline and make your business more profitable.

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