How can you convert prospects into paying customers with three ingredients?
It’s something that businesses, no matter their size, are constantly asking. While there’s a number of techniques you can employ to improve your conversion rate and convert more prospects into customers, one of the most effective ways of converting prospects into paying customers is to take the human approach, rather than leave it to software.
Now, more than ever before in the 21st century, businesses need to readjust their thinking in terms of customers. They’re not something to simply throw into your sales funnel and forget about. Customers are the one key stakeholder that your organisation must listen to, appreciate their feedback and make key decisions based on their trust, and their demands from the market. It’s not a matter of simply converting prospects into paying customers, it’s all about improving the lives of your customers with your products or services, and showing them that your organisation is trustworthy.
What I’m talking about here, is that if you take a step back and eliminate any personal bias from the equation, you’re much more likely to purchase a product or service from an organisation that you feel is trustworthy, and closely aligned with your goals. This is something that was analysed by Edelman, a public relations and marketing firm founded back in 1952. Edelman launched what’s known as the 2020 ‘Trust Barometer’, which took responses from 34,000 individuals around the globe as to how they feel about the media, governments and businesses.
Edelman’s report says that trust matters to not just the market, but to investors, regulators, employees and of course, customers. “Trusted companies have stronger consumer buyers and advocates,” the author states, adding that in terms of employees, “trust drives workplace recommendations,” and that “trusted companies have greater license to operate.”
It’s clear to see, then, a divergence between two styles of management. The Wolf of Wall Street approach, whereby customers are just a number thrown into a funnel, and the more empathetic and realistic approach that customers are a key stakeholder, and should be treated as such. In the context of long-term relationships, the former will not stand the test of time, and the latter is the only approach.
Authors of the report note that trust is built on the back of both competence and ethics. In the context of business, this starts internally, and is then built upon in your interactions with the market. You should inspire your team with a mission statement and vision for the future, and aim to build a system that supports your team as they accomplish that mission. Once they’re prepared, they can begin to inspire the rest of the market with your organisation’s product or services.
You should treat every customer with the opposite of the Wolf of Wall Street’s approach if you want to ensure they both return to your organisation, and recommend you to their friends, family and colleagues. Without this trust, your organisation will struggle to both attract and retain customers, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. If you’re known as the one offering in a certain market that exists to take customer’s money and ignore feedback, in the interconnected world of 2020, this model won’t stand the test of time.
If, however, you’re operating to improve your services for your customers, they’ll trust your organisation and reward decision making in-line with their interests. Remember- customers vote with their wallets, and they often don’t open them in front of someone – or a business – that is untrustworthy.
Once you’ve built upon the bedrock of trust with your customers, it’s time for you to add some meaningful value. Interestingly, business ranked higher than the media, NGOs and government in terms of competence, and ability to add value to the lives of everyday citizens.
Business was ranked highest in terms of generating value, being the engine of innovation and driving economic prosperity. In the same sense, businesses are one of the most effective ways of adding value to the life of a customer, and still represent one of the most useful vehicles of delivering meaningful change and value to that customer in 2020- and beyond. This is where management and CEOs should step into the picture and maintain a forward-thinking mindset that encourages experimentation and innovation within the organisation.
If you can add value to the lives of your customers, it’s almost certain that they’ll add to the value of your organisation.
Key amongst the findings of the Edelman report is that ethical drivers are three-times more important to company trust than their competence is. This is something particularly important to consider in 2020, where changing attitudes and a lack of consumer confidence is rife. We’ve come back to the example of the Wolf of Wall Street’s sales tactics, which come with a host of unethical considerations. While yes, you may indeed add customers to your books with this tactic, you’re likely to see any returns or referrals if your organisation does not behave with integrity.
You should ensure that your organisation remains one of the market’s leading offerings in terms of its dependability, integrity and mission, which will inspire both your team and your customers. If you go out of your way to contact customers and see how your organisation could improve its services – specifically for that customer – they will trust your organisation more, and believe that you’re making key decision in-line with their considerations; this is invaluable in terms of creating customer trust and converting prospects into customers with reviews that add social proof to your claims of trust, integrity and value-adding services.
Thanks very much for your time, and I’ll leave you with the link listed above to our Guide to Net Promoter Scores, which is an absolutely essential tool to ensure your organisation is leveraging positive reviews to find future customers.
Kobi Simmat, Director & CEO of the Best Practice Group.