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How to convert even more warm prospects into paying clients

Chartered marketer and best-selling small business marketing author Dee Blick, shares her tips on that on that all important prospect nurturing process.  
For most SMEs getting warm leads - folk interested in buying your products and services is crucial. But converting as many as possible is vital for the lifeblood of your business.

In the last 30 years I’ve worked with hundreds of small businesses helping them to increase their conversion rates with astonishing success. Here are 4 of my top tips. I hope they help you crack on with your marketing in 2014 with a real sense of purpose and optimism.

1. Take a long hard look at your prospect to client acquisition process. Scrutinise every communication you send. Are you pinning your hopes on converting a customer in a great face-to-face meeting and so rushing any follow-up documentation, making it so generic and template based that it bears little resemblance to what was covered in your face-to-face meeting? A detailed and bespoke follow-up summary or proposal is crucial in helping a prospect to arrive at the decision to do business with you. Each stage of the communication process counts in moving your prospect from the very early stages of awareness and interest through to evaluation, desire and kerching, action. Don't invest all your energy in one stage and ignore or diminish the importance of other communications.

2. Are you relying on e-mail as a follow-up tool? Don't! Pick up the phone. Start a two way dialogue so you can ask questions and explore needs. Listen intently. You’re not selling a product or service in the early stages. You’re selling the idea of a getting to know you meeting. In my experience, once the value of a sale climbs into four figures, the phone becomes vital. E-mail might be efficient, but it's not always effective. So, if you get an enquiry through your website, don't make e-mail your first response, use the phone to build the relationship.

3. Explain your follow-up process at the first meeting with a hot prospect. I work with clients that are nervous about following up a meeting, believing that in doing so they are "chasing" their hot prospect. However, explaining to your hot prospect that you will following up with a document and booking in a telephone call once it has been received, because you want to give them the opportunity to ask any further questions makes the call a helpful one. It primes your prospect to receive it.

4. As your meeting is drawing to a close with a warm prospect, ask them for feedback. Be bold! How do you compare to their current provider? Are there questions you have not answered? Don’t let your meeting end with a whimper and an assumption all has gone well when there may be outstanding issues to resolve - even deal breaker questions. Don't assume your prospect will yield this information unless you ask for it.

Dee Blick is a multi award winning Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with 30 years marketing experience. Dee is the author of The 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses For Your Small Business which has been endorsed by CIM and is available on Amazon. It’s a practical book, packed with hundreds of proven top tips, templates and case studies and rated as excellent by The Sun newspaper, Elite Business Magazine, CityAM and winner of the BookBag nonfiction book award.

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