Customers have changed over time, and believe it or not one thing always remains unchanged: there are always visitors who don’t convert. To increase conversion rates you continuously try new messaging, testing new landing pages, inserting pop-ups etc. – but direct sales never play a big part in these strategies.
Inbound (and outbound) direct sales often generate higher ROI than marketing campaigns and advertising do. Selling to inbound leads especially requires less financial effort and more enthusiastic individuals. Due to the resource/budget ratio, inbound and outbound sales bring more revenue and loyal customers.
As a sales specialist working in the field for about 2.5 years, I’ve learned that the most valuable thing in selling things is to start with building trust. Often companies and brands find it hard to build trust around their products, and this leads to a lot of failures. However, fine-tuned communication changes it all.
For one-and-a-half years I dug into the sphere of crowdfunding – the practice of funding a project to help ideas to thrive and become successful. Many new companies for varied and crazy products get on their feet with crowdfunding and direct sales is always a key here. During these one and a half years, insane products came across from an egg-shaped face mask to an SSD to an all-in-one dog poop cleaning bucket. The highlight, though, was that we raised over $7m with an average price of $200 per product.
Pre-marketing campaigns helped us gain consumers’ trust and learn a lot about their interests. And as an inbound sales specialist, I know how important this data can be. I myself generated around $400K with direct chatting, SMS marketing, and chatbot campaigns. Let’s dive into it and discover ways to do it the right way.
What is the difference between outbound and inbound sales?
In a nutshell, in both inbound sales and marketing, you help and sell to people who already are interested in your product. The key is to identify their needs and help them in their decision.
On the other side of the coin is the outbound sales - in outbound sales, you identify people that might possibly use your product and reach out to them to see if you’re correct. During the last 3 months I have spent dozens of hours doing research and gathering information about companies. It takes a lot of time and energy to analyze these companies and stakeholders, and most companies employ both in order to be successful.
For starters, you have a little more understanding of selling strategies. Now is the time to get into the details.
What exactly is inbound sales?
Imagine a clothing retail store right next to the metro station. You walk out of the station doors and go directly to the store. You might not know it, but you just got engaged in an inbound sales process. You already want to buy something, probably unconsciously, but just because you walked into the store means you are interested in getting a new pair of sweaters or socks. Couple of minutes pass, the salesperson or we better call them adviser will approach you and ask some nice and friendly questions to show that they are trustworthy. Now, as you trust the salesperson and are engaged in the conversation, you will end up buying emotions and eventually you will buy the worst colored pants.
You walk out of the store happy and satisfied. First it was just another day for you, you ended up in a nice store, a friendly person helped you to decide what you want for you and voila, you have NEW AWESOME pants. You might regret it in two days, but now you are the happiest person on the planet.
As a human being who loves spending money I emerge myself in such a situation once a week. But let’s talk through the situation as analysts.
What are the phases of an inbound sales strategy?
I’ve been in Sales for 2 years now, working as a travel agent, a crowdfunding sales guy, and now, a lead development representative (LDR). During these couple of years I learned that to run a good business you need a fine-tuned product and a team that can sell it – a simple mechanism that people often fail to create. I won’t talk about product creation, but I will break down what inbound sales looks like regardless of what you’re selling.
The new-pants example above is a basic and structured inbound sales example. I have never seen anything or anyone succeeding without having a concept of an entire working structure. Better structure, fewer hiccups.
A quick guide of inbound sales and analysis of the store example.
Find and prioritize the customer who is in an active search and already is in the dynamic buying process. In other words, turn strangers into leads. YOU are the stranger in the store example.
Connect with all the leads and show them your honesty and friendliness. Build trust and assemble a good relationship with your leads. Without building faith in future customers, you will waste your energy turning leads into a customer wasted on things that are not vulnerable. In the store example YOU are the lead from the moment you enter to the store.
At this stage, start the actual conversation. Ask questions just because questions are powerful. Open-ended questions will uncover buyer’s needs and help to do the last step for converting. Salesperson asked questions and found YOUR need.
As a lot of information about the consumer is known the conversion chances are higher now. The most sensitive part here is that the salesperson needs to switch from adviser to salesperson (very subtly) and show the uniqueness of the service/product to close the deal. Closing the deal is the moment you paid and left the shop with a smile.
The above process might look a bit sophisticated and exhausting to remember and implement in practice, but the most complicated part is identifying valuable leads. Once you can do that well, the rest will be a piece of cake.
Quick tip: the above structure is for direct inbound sales. It’s not that different from outbound sales.
What steps should I take to increase my conversion rates?
First create the ideal customer profile (ICP). This can be done by using different analytical tools and techniques. Do some research and hop into a call with them. Try to qualify them during the call and create a personalized connection with them. Then start exploring them and sell your product with a cherry on top.
Using inbound sales strategies will turn your leads into customers. Outbound sales strategies will make strangers become your customers. The use of different digital marketing branches such as influencer marketing, online advertising, and referral marketing can increase page traffic and conversions dramatically.
There are various ways to turn anyone who’s surfing on your website into a subscriber and later a customer.
This can help you collect emails or phone numbers. Nearly half of the visitors will give their emails to you if you use good pop-up strategies.
Chatbots are also a good way to collect leads. There are thousands of features in chatbots you can use to collect leads and later do crazy inbound sales. Chatbots allow you to show that you care about your customers, about their problems and also can help you collect insights and improve your product and pages. You can create Ads with Chatbots, gamefy customer’s experience, etc , I’m a huge fan of them.
Using chatbots everywhere from Instagram to Email marketing or just having them on your website Asking the “how can I help you?” question. But always remember, having a chatbot on your website requires a full time support agent. Customers love getting answers immediately. In the big ocean of digital networks, it’s hard to achieve customer’s trust and easy to lose it.As you identify and explore your buyer’s persona, they, at the same time, try to trust you.
You don’t only need to have this whole structure ready to kick in, but also picture it in your head and treat your customers individually
ICING ON THE CAKE PART – check out the quick tips below and be the rocking sales guy.
Tone of voice
Always keep your tone of voice as friendly as possible, and remember Inbound sales don’t mean aggressive selling nor passive-aggressive. You help the buyer to decide for himself. Your duty here is to unscrew his needs—just the opposite. You help your customers to find their needs and make their own decisions.
Personalized conversations with everyone
Everyone loves feeling special in their way – this situation is no different. Don’t use canned responses, fake words, and ask questions.
The early bird catches the worm. Have a full-day sales and support team – this is the only time in the sales cycle when 5 seconds matter. The faster they get an answer,the quicker they convert.
No call to action until the second they decide to leave
The whole selling process has to stay on the layer where you do not actually sell anything to the customer. No call to action until your customer is a step behind the door. Remember, you need to sell emotions and put a smile on their face. Make sure you make them smile ;)
Always be open for some more
Customers love the feeling of uniqueness, of course, as you do. Every time you start a conversation with a customer, take your time to relax and get ready for a long conversation. Ask them to have a phone conversation, which will also help you increase the chance of taking the lead into a consumer. Asking for a call conversation will also help you build SMS strategies and build long-term relationships with your customer.
Using phone numbers
Receiving SMSs and phone calls from unknown numbers never assure that you will get worthwhile content. And the psychology of privacy makes the inbound sales process hard, especially when it’s about the phone number. These issues make collecting phone numbers hard, but not impossible. There are many polite and trustworthy ways to ask the customer for their phone number.
Customers are 10-15 times more likely to convert from a SMS or a phone call than from chatting with you. My experience showed me that SMS marketing has a 60% conversion rate, meanwhile direct chatting has a conversion rate of 15%. One thing to remember once and always. Never spam your customers :) Here are a couple ways you can ask for a phone number without freaking out your customer:
- Ask for the phone number when your customer has taken any action. This will make it easier as they already have trust in you. You can ask them to subscribe via an email address and then offer something instead, then you can ask for their phone number.
- Use support opportunities to ask for the lead’s phone number. Many times people can go to your webpage without understanding things about you or your product and you always need to be there for them. When you provide them support at the end of the conversation kindly ask them for their phone number.
Use Manychat The best chatbot marketing tool for Facebook (beta testing for Instagram). Make flows, tell stories, collect data about your customers, etc. During one year, this tool alone helped my team raise 400K USD for crowdfunding campaigns.
With Telegram, you can advertise anything you want—fast broadcasts, billion advantages, quick bot making, and so on.
Use Pop-up builders to create pop-ups
Pop-ups help you collect convertible leads for your business. 80% of subscribers are convertible to all companies. You need to work smart to turn that information into a consumer.
Use thank you messages for your good
Tell them to thank you for any action they do on your page. Thank them enough and ask them for more.
The selling process changes every day. Before the COVID19 pandemic, everything was different. Customers change their behavior, and salespeople change their approaches. Adopt changes, and be unique in what you do. This is how you can compete with others.
A mantra I like to repeat:
- What keeps you away from your dream?
We spend 40% of our day selling things. Selling mom to cook your favorite meal or selling your colleague the urge of doing something for you just because you are lazy today. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, and everyone knows how to sell.
Catch you later, alligator. Let me know your thoughts on my article: connect with me on Linkedin.
Van used to be a quiet kid, but is now trying to be a good negotiator like Chris Voss. He has been in sales for 2 years and has been working with ServiceTitan for 3 months now. He loves things that challenge his way of thinking and the idea of being mentally and physically healthy and always ready to discuss and collaborate.