An SQL is a sales-qualified lead or a lead that has been determined to be worth pursuing. While not every lead will become a sales-qualified lead, every sales-qualified lead could potentially turn into a sale. This is why it’s so important to know how to convert your leads into appointments: the more appointments you schedule, the closer you get to closing deals and making money.
1. Follow up
- Follow up by phone. A follow-up call is the best way to go here. Try not to leave a voicemail, but if you do, make sure you are genuinely friendly without being overbearing and sales. Voicemails left with pitches and salutations are usually just deleted on the spot. Once you speak with your prospect, try to schedule an appointment right away to move them through your sales funnel as quickly as possible and not risk losing them during their decision process.
- Follow up via email. Your follow-up emails should be short and sweet. If you don’t hear back from your prospect after five business days, send a brief follow-up email stating that you wanted to see if there was anything else he or she needed before making any decisions for their business needs (this will also hopefully remind them of exactly what those needs are so they won’t get distracted). If they still don’t respond, DON’T SEND ANOTHER EMAIL! You can always pick up the phone again at this point and try another call instead of sending more emails that could be ignored or buried in an inbox overflowing with other messages.
This is the stage where you want to be a human being. You want to come across as friendly, empathetic, and interested. The best way to achieve that is to just talk like any other person would, but about your product.
Now’s not the time for a sales pitch. You’re only going to start a fight if you come in with that approach. Instead, focus on building rapport and getting them interested in what you have to offer by talking casually about your product’s benefits and features that are relevant to their needs. Allow them to respond, engage their critical thinking skills, and actively listen so you can address any concerns they might have in this initial conversation.
3. Case studies
To get the most out of your marketing, you should regularly be creating case studies that demonstrate how you can help prospects solve their problems. After all, no one buys a product to just have it sit in their desk drawer. They buy a product to solve an issue they’re having, and case studies show that your product has helped others with similar problems.
Case studies are more than just a sales tool; they have many benefits for both you and your customers:
- They help generate sales by demonstrating the value of your product or service
- They can increase customer retention
- They showcase the benefits of your solution over competing products or services
4. Align a plan for the prospect
Determine what’s next with your prospect. If they are not ready to move forward, you need to get them on a timeline of when they will be ready. In the meantime, you need to determine how you can continue to add value and engage your prospects until they are ready. The key is to keep that pipeline full and moving!
5. Understand why the lead is holding back
Before you go into your discovery call, understand why the lead is holding back. Most of the time, it’s not because they’re skeptical about a product in general or you specifically—it’s because they don’t think your product can solve their problem.
It helps to pinpoint their thinking so you can solve specific problems before getting on the phone with them. This will help avoid ‘discovery calls’ where both parties are trying to fish for information without any clear goal or outcome in mind.
6. Be customer-centric
You’ve heard this advice before, but it bears repeating in the context of how to turn sales-qualified leads into appointments: be more than a salesperson. Be a trusted advisor, someone who has the customer’s best interests at heart. When you take the time to understand your customer and show them that you care about their needs, they are more likely to trust you—and buy from you.
The first step is to ask questions about your customer’s situation and offer solutions that speak directly to their pain points. If you have access to data from other sources (including past conversations with sales-qualified leads ) that can help contextualize the discussion, use it! If not, focus on what information makes your product or service uniquely well-suited for that individual.
7. Identify their pain points
Once you’ve got them hooked and engaged, it’s time to dig deep into your prospect’s interests. Ask questions that elicit their needs and desires. Is this a new business or an existing one? What are they using now? What are the pain points they need to solve? The answers that you get will provide you with information about the prospect as well as what products work best for them.
A good salesperson is a great listener. Make sure that you listen carefully to everything they say, so your next question can be directed specifically at any area of concern or interest. It might take some time, but if you can identify their pain points at the beginning of the conversation, then getting them on board should be much easier.
8. Spend time nurturing the connection
- Spend time nurturing the connection. Begin by creating a buyer persona, or a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
- Create a sense of community. You are providing them with an opportunity to understand their own needs better, giving them something they want (answers), and even helping them get closer to a solution (you).
9. Create a sense of urgency
To create a sense of urgency, you want to make sure your prospect knows the offer won’t last long.
If you are marketing to a high-end audience, you might be able to imply scarcity by limiting the number of customers or explaining why your product or service is difficult or expensive to produce.
For this strategy to work, however, your prospects must trust you.
The good news is that there are many ways you can build trust before making an offer. You can do this by:
• demonstrating expertise and knowledge about your industry;
• sharing testimonials from satisfied customers; and/or
• illustrating how your product has helped people like them in the past.