Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lead Nurturing - Setting Up



Lead Nurturing - Setting Up

What does it mean to nurture a lead? Dictionary.com defines nurture as to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster.
In business when we nurture leads, we are simply attempting to educate people through the sales process and eventually lead a person to the point of sale. Lead nurturing is the act and the process through which we do that.
For some the process is very short, while for others the process is very long. For some, depending on the systems in place, the nurturing is very easy. For others with no systems, it can be a real nightmare and even the fall of the business or salesperson.
First of all, as a salesperson, marketing manager or business owner, you need to know and understand who your customers are. The message you give to young people versus elderly people will be vastly different; the message you give to a business owner versus a consumer will be different. In all cases, you need to speak first to the "croc brain" or the emotions to even get them to listen to you, but in order to do that, you need to know your customer in order to be able to touch on those subjects that will cause them to stop and listen.
Once you know who your customers are, you need to get to know them in order to speak to them and their wants and needs! Visit with them, be genuinely interested in who they are, and when they share something personal, make sure you remember it. In the business world, we meet so many people and sometimes it becomes difficult to remember some of those important little details. If you have trouble remembering everything people tell you, take "quick notes" and store them in your database so that when you call them the next time, your memory has been tweaked and you remember exactly who they are and what they have shared with you. Past conversations are a great way to pick up a new conversation, and your prospect will feel good that you have paid enough attention to remember some details of prior conversations. It will begin to create, foster and grow the "know, like and trust" aspect your customers need before they buy.
When we know who our customers are and what their wants and needs are, we are able to speak to them in their own language about something that is important to them. Now we start to nurture them, grow them, educate them, and stay on the tops of their minds.
The real secret is to get to and stay on the top of minds and continue to educate your prospects, but do it in ways that have impact. You know the old saying about happening to be in the right place at the right time? In business, that is very deliberate. We want to make sure we are always in the right place at the right time!
Sometimes being in the right place means we just made a phone call; sometimes it means we just sent an email or perhaps a card or letter, sometimes it meant we were networking and happened to bump into someone who could benefit from their product or service. You just never know, the options are endless, but in all regards, our names are "out there" if we have been deliberately active.
There are many ways to accomplish this, but they all come back to two major details: your self-initiative and your database! (Obviously my affections are with By The Numbers!)
If you have the self-initiative to follow through on whatever systems you have in place, you will use dogged determination and be active in keeping in touch with your prospects and customers and keep on top of exactly what they want and need. Become the one who can educate prospects by providing information and value them. Show them you understand their business or their situation, and you have solutions to what keeps them awake at night. Become their trusted source and advisor. As they grow to know, like and trust you, your sales will grow, too.
Do not just go to a networking meeting and introduce yourself and walk away; get to know the people. Be very generous in referring and recommending others, too. You want to become go-to person for solutions for all kinds of problems because you have such a large network of friends and acquaintances that you can refer to anyone!
If your database has been carefully tended, you will be able to easily gather the information necessary to speak to your customers' and prospects' wants and needs, you will be able to be a person "of your word" because, not only do you know what you promised to people, but you will be able to deliver what was promised on time, and more or less you will know exactly what you are talking about in sending out direct mail, making phone calls or talking in person. You will be the person who can educate them on what they are seeking. It has been said that a person needs about 13 touches before a sale is made. That includes snail mail, email, direct mail, face-to-face conversations, social media, and other types of advertising.
Oh yes, just have to include this little tidbit, one of the greatest lead nurturing tools still around today is the HAND WRITTEN note. I'm not talking about fake handwriting, but really, truly your very own writing on a card, sent by snail mail. Get in the habit of sending several each day, and you will start to win over the hearts and minds and loyalty of people.
In conclusion, in setting up a lead nurturing process, we need two main ingredients: self-initiative and a good database. The actual way then in which we nurture can vary, but it will be multi-faceted and systematic.
Susan Raisanen is in the business of increasing revenues for businesses through the use of an effective lead, sales and marketing management software. She is a sales professional for By The Numbers ( http://www.ByTheNumbersSoftware.com ) who specializes in educating business owners, sales and marketing managers in regards to the very numbers that affect gross revenues. If you want to know more about lead, sales and marketing management tracking made easy, Susan invites you to submit your questions to her at susan@ByTheNumbersSoftware.com or call her at 480-652-9212.