web-design-lead-nurturing

Getting great leads is really important, but even the best leads will result in almost zero success without good nurturing.  What do I mean by nurturing?  I mean taking care of the leads the way you would if each one of them were seeds in a field.  You wouldn’t just dump them in the field, water them once and expect them to grow immediately, would you?  And yet, that’s what we often do as salespeople.  We give up on the lead before we’ve even given in the minimum amount of nourishment to help it sprout.

We All Do It  (Even You)

If you are in sales, or have ever been in sales, don’t pretend that you’re not guilty of it.  We all know that it takes a lot of hard work to turn a lead into a customer, and yet we give up so easily most of the time.  It seems so much easier to wait for another lead than to work on the previous ones we’ve received.  But all of us know, that the most effective salespeople are the ones that follow up early, follow up often, and nurture the lead through the entire sales process.

We Lie to Ourselves

Common misconceptions among salespeople Lies We Tell Ourselves as Salespeople:

  •  It’s enough to call each lead once or twice before dumping it
    • What’s the real answer here?  How many initial calls are typically made before getting the sale?  Anyone….Anyone???  Well, trick question;  it actually depends on your industry, but in the world of Web Design Leads and SEO Leads the average is normally well over 10.  And that’s the number of calls that it takes when someone answers.  If you count the number of times you had to leave a voicemail, it’s usually double or triple.
  •  Prospects will call you back
    • Ok, I know, I know… Sometimes they call back.  It’s true.  But in general, you have to chase the prospects down.  They feel that it’s your responsibility to catch them at a time when they have time to speak with you, and they’re right.  That’s your job!  Never, Never, Never expect the prospect to return your call.  Make it your general rule to expect that you’ll always have to chase them down.  Then every once in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they do call back.  Again, this is different from industry to industry and from lead type to lead type.  The colder the leads are, the more you’ll have to chase them down.
  •  Emailing first is best
    • I have heard this from so many salespeople, and guess what?  None of them were successful salespeople.  It takes more drive to get yourself to make the call then to send the email, but it’s 10 times more effective.  Never send an email out first before you call if you’re calling on Web Design Leads or SEO Leads.  The phone call builds rapport and trust phenomenally faster.  Not that email doesn’t have it’s place, it definitely does, but it should never be used in lieu of phone conversations.  Sales are made on the phone much easier than over email.
  •  I will lose sales if I follow up too much and become annoying
    • Not true at all.  First off, everyone that you’re talking to knows that your job as a salesperson is to follow up relentlessly.  They expect it, and not only that, if they’re interested in what you’re selling they usually appreciate it.  You’re making it easier for them to make the decision to move forward.  The fact is that if you lose an “actual” sale at some point by following up too much, you are probably the greatest salesperson on the planet, because you’re following up at a frequency that actually is a little bit too much for 1 potential sale.  On that same token though, you probably got 5000% more sales than you would have by not following up as much.   Better to lose 1 sale and gain 50, right?

The Continuous Battle:  Lead Generators Vs. Salespeoplelead-nurturing

There’s a never ending battle between the marketing department and sales department.  How familiar are these statements:

Sales Team:  “We need more leads.”
Marketing Team:  “You’re not taking care of the leads we’re giving you.”

Both can be correct, but in my experience I’ve found that 80% of the time the problem is that the leads are not being nurtured well-enough, and 20% of the time there just aren’t enough leads.

The Takeway

There has to be a balance between the quantity of leads and how well they’re nurtured.  The companies that work the hardest on nurturing the leads are the most successful companies.

Change your mentality regarding what needs to be done with each lead.  Leads are seeds.  Treat them like they’re in a field.  Give them water, sunshine and nourishment and they will grow.  Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that leads are already fully developed and ripe for the plucking.

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In the last 2 years we’ve made several big changes to our company, all in order to accommodate our clients and make our service better.  Our goal is to provide the best Internet Marketing Leads out there and we work very hard to achieve it.  We’ve gone out of our way to improve our quality control, lead distribution, lead types, regions, and have changed our billing to make it easier than ever for new clients to try us out without breaking the bank.

And we’re still not satisfied!

We have many things that we’re continually working on to improve the service that we provide, but we always want to be sure that we are going in the right direction for our clients.

So….  we want to know what you want.  How can we help you?   What changes could we make to our service that would help you as a client or prospective client?   We’re always open to suggestions and want to do what we can to accommodate our clients in the best way possible.  So please send us your feedback (email us at support@rankleads.com) and let us know what we can do for you.  big_ear2

Whether it’s a new lead type that we don’t currently offer, changes to our lead locations, changes to lead pricing for different types of leads, or anything else that would improve the quality of our lead generation service for you… You name it!  Our ears are open.

We are going to accept suggestions until the end of July and then pick what we think is the best suggestion.  The person with the best suggestion will get 5 free exclusive leads (a $135 value).  We may even throw in a few good consolation prizes if there are multiple good suggestions.

We are excited to hear your feedback and see what you come up with!

Thanks!

The Rankleads Team

 

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Keeping your sales pipeline full of hot prospects is crucial for a successful Web Development, SEO or Internet Marketing business, but finding clients that are interested is easier said than done. Generating enough leads to run a one-man-show might be easy while generating enough to run a large company is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it can be difficult to assess whether it’s time to reach out to a lead generation company or continue trying it on your own and hopefully this article will help you make that decision.

There are times when it makes sense to generate your own leads and times that it doesn’t. If a company can generate their own leads in a manner that is more profitable than leads that they could buy from 3rd parties, and if those leads are as good or better quality than the leads that come from a 3rd party, and if the quantity of the leads that they can generate is sufficient to meet their business goals, then it doesn’t make sense for the company to ever contract with a 3rd party to generate leads for them. Those are very rare cases though. Most companies have problem with at least 2 of the 3 main areas: profitability of the leads (lead generation costs too high), quality of the leads, or quantity of the leads.

Why Do Most Companies Fail In Lead Generation?

funnelThere are so many ways to generate leads and many things that almost anyone can do, so why do most companies fail when it comes to lead generation? The basic answer is that lead generation is much harder and more expensive than most companies are willing to accept. The fact is that it takes about 10 times the time, effort and 3 times the money that most people are willing to put into it to generate a lead, and even before getting to that stage there is a prerequisite of learning how to generate leads in a profitable manner, which also takes much more time, effort and money than most people are willing to put in. Some businesses get fooled into thinking that lead generation shouldn’t be hard because there are some clients that come to them naturally without them even having to spend any money to get those clients, but this is a fallacy. Your easy clients will always come to you easily, but getting beyond the easy clients is hard work, and getting a high quantity of the non-easy clients is very hard work.

Skilled lead generators are generally full-time lead generators. Becoming a skilled lead generator is not something that someone can turn on with the flip of a switch. Some people have a natural ability to be a great networker, or a natural ability to use social media to generate business, but the vast majority do not and will do nothing more than waste time and energy trying to use these methods or any other methods to generate leads.

In addition, it’s very hard to be motivated to do the things that you don’t enjoy doing, and if you don’t enjoy the long and painstaking process of generating leads then it’s unlikely that you will spend very much time on it. In those cases, you don’t really have very many options. You still need to get good leads, or you’ll end up going out of business.

My Company Is Not Good At Generating Leads – What Are My Options?

If you can’t generate enough leads to run the size of company you want to run, or to keep the company solvent, you have a few options:
1. Hire a Lead Generation Company
2. Hire a Skilled Lead Generator On Staff (Extremely Difficult to Find and Very Costly)
3. Dedicate a large portion of your resources to learning and generating leads
4. Downsize / Go Out Of Business

What Are The Benefits Of Hiring A Lead Generation Company vs. an Employee?

Hiring a Lead Generation company is usually the best and easiest route to take for multiple reasons.
1. The commitment is generally fairly minimal in terms of cost and duration
2. The lead quantities are generally strong enough to support your business
3. The lead quality is generally good enough to convert a reasonable number of leads into sales

If we compare this to hiring an in-house lead generation expert, the story is far different:
1. A skilled lead generator is very expensive (if they’re not skilled, they’re not worth hiring)
2. The commitment will be much longer much harder to break if it’s not working out
3. It will take a while to get leads flowing in
4. They usually won’t be able to deliver the quantity of leads necessary to justify their own expenses

We talk to many companies each day that have told us their stories about their lead generation efforts. Every company is different and lead generation skill of the individuals in those companies is different and thus the answer to the question of whether to generate your own leads, hire an employee to generate leads, or buy leads is going to vary greatly depending on your circumstances.

The Takeaway & A Few Words Of Advice

Lead Generation AdviceWe talk to many companies each day that have told us their stories about their lead generation efforts. Every company is different and lead generation skill of the individuals in those companies is different and thus the answer to the question of whether to generate your own leads, hire an employee to generate leads, or buy leads is going to vary greatly depending on your circumstances.

Many companies have kicked themselves for not coming to us sooner. Many have come to us after struggling for years with lead generation on their own only to find out that the leads that we generate for them are cheaper and better quality than what they were generating on their own, but not only that, we were able to generate several times the amount of leads that they were ever able to generate and their businesses are thriving better than ever as a result. Other companies have done quite well with lead generation on their own but have still hired us to help generate more in order to take their business to new heights.

My advice here is that there isn’t really a great reason to not at least try using 3rd party leads, whether those leads come from us at www.RankLeads.com or other providers. Keep in mind that not all providers are equal and you will see a significant difference in price, quality, and quantity from every provider you choose. In general terms, the higher the price, the better the quality is, and even though the leads are more expensive you will still be more profitable with higher quality leads than lower quality leads.

If you’re interested in finding out more about RankLeads.com’s lead generation to see if it’s a good fit for you, please give us a call at (866) 512-7463 or Contact Us and let us know a little about your company and what you’re looking for. We’ll provide you with all the information you need to help you make the right decision for your company.

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We all get them. People who call up asking a thousand questions without any real intent of purchasing. These tire kickers can waste your time if you don’t deal with them correctly. I see many sales people trying to push to make a sale off of any call that they get, which is actually a good habit. However if you are not aware of how much time one tire kicker can take out of your sales persons day.  Many people who are just “price shopping” are just looking around and doing their initial research. This is fine, but your sales teams need to know who is price shopping and who is actually really serious about buying your services or products.Price Shopper

There are a few ways to determine if someone is a price shopper.

  • They require more contact and have more questions than your average client who is ready to buy right now. Because they are in their initial phase of doing research they are still gathering information and probably comparing you to your competitors.
  • When probed for a budget they have no idea. This should raise a red flag because if they are a serious prospect then they will most likely have a budget in mind. If not, then they are an uneducated prospect who needs to be educated. Educating your prospects is a natural phase in the sales cycle and should happen with every SEO and web design lead you get.
  • After educating them they still have questions about areas that you have already described.
  • They are hesitant in conversation or tone. Most people start out this way but if someone is still hesitant after you have described your USP as well as taking the time and educating them then it is a red flag that this person is still looking.

 

When selling SEO or web design services you will undoubtedly come across people who are still price shopping. It will happen.  The absolutely worst thing you can do is to throw them away because they were not able to buy right then.

Most of the successful web designers and SEO companies we sell our leads to have a system where they collect the price shopper’s info and continually market to them on an ongoing basis that is automated. Doing this not only continues their education but also it helps them to keep you at the top of their mind.  This is a way of turning lemons into lemonade the process takes a while longer but will provide you sales and keep your sales people working with prospects that are really interested and ready to buy now.

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Sometimes I am asked if we find it easier to sell leads via phone or email. Most of the time I find that the clients who sell well are the ones who are the ones on the phone. Email works as well but most of the time the sales rep that calls as soon as he gets the lead is the one that closes the deal.

There are a few reasons for this:

Smiling businessman talking on the phone

First, when emailing back and forth with someone it takes a while (normally) for them to respond to your email. This can lengthen out your sales process to an unnecessary level.  Also when answering someone’s questions via email your responses can spark new questions. This is not a huge issue by itself but it can throw your conversation off in a direction you did not want to take or sidetrack your sales pitch. With email, there is no tonality or inflection and the reader may not completely understand how the message was written or worse, take it the wrong way.

Now let us contrast email sales to telephone sales:

When you are on the phone with a potential client, you have their attention right now. This is a major win; it can be hard to get your clients attention because of the pace of their schedules. If you have their attention, you have already won half the battle. With the phone, you can explain your concepts of your SEO or web design solutions and products quickly and make sure that they understand the value of your offering. You can respond to questions quicker and more effectively than email. You have the ability to “set the flow” of the call so you can steer the conversation where you want it to go. When on the phone what you say is just as important as how you say it. Your tonality and inflection of your voice is one of the ways human beings communication. This is an advanced sales tactic that season sales pros use but everyone does this when telling a story or a joke.

When looking at these two approaches it’s pretty easy to see that getting on the phone and speaking with your potential leads is the best way to make sales. Email is still useful and defiantly has its place in your sales tool belt but should not be your primary tool to generate sales unless your service, location or physical constraints demand it.

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I am going to talk about something that I touched on in a previous blog post. In the last few years I have noticed that the web design and SEO industry has grown exponentially. Every year there, are thousands of web designers and SEO companies starting their businesses and opening their doors for business. Because we sell SEO and web design leads to these and more established SEO and web design firms there are a few things I notice when I am speaking to them about their sales process.

The first is that the newer companies always have lower prices. Having competitive pricing is not a bad thing it actually makes a lot of sense especially when starting out. However, one of the biggest issues I notice with new web design and SEO companies is that they focus too much on how much lower their prices are than their competitors.

This model does work. However if you are looking to scale and grow your company this model of focusing on how much less you cost versus the other competitors is something that will get you in trouble fast. You will probably get more deals from your lower prices but many times, you will be building a clientele that can barely afford your services and extremely demanding.  These are the clients that you will learn that you really can’t afford to work and are not worth bringing on to your business (unless you have a product or service specifically designed for them).

Eventually as you start growing your SEO or web design business, you will need to start doing one of two things. Either you can continue to expand your client base rapidly with your lower prices or you can start to focus on the “why” of your business. If you choose to increase, your client base and try to bring on as many jobs as you possibly can you will need to scale your sales, marketing and production side of your business to bring on the new jobs and fulfill the work. You can outsource all of this as well. This model does work but it become a numbers game of gaining X many clients = X many company assets to generate X dollars of revenue which will = X dollars of profit. Again, this does work and there are successful businesses doing this and focusing on the smaller dollar projects but there are a ton of moving parts to set up with it.

value vs cost comparison with gold coins on hand

The other option is to focus on value and the “why” behind your business. When you are first starting out it may be very enticing to lower your prices to get your business going. That is a standard tactic and understandable. When you have a few clients under your belt you now have the option to keep your prices low (explained above) or help your potential clients understand why they should pay you more than your lower priced competitors. This is otherwise known as your value proposition. It’s the “why” behind your services or your company. Normal value propositions include coupling SEO with your web design services or including hosting with your services or free minor tweaks to the website…the list goes on and on. If you are able to help, your potential client understand why they should use your services and pay a higher rate for them. Most companies that have been around for a while use this tactic. The reason for it is because they are able to make it easier for their customers to understand why they would pay more.

Once you have a list of clients that are willing to pay you what you are worth then you can start to scale your business slowly and deliberately rather than the artificial scaling that lower priced companies will need to take to keep competitive with you.

I bring up these points because this is something that I constantly see happening in the web design and SEO industry. New businesses constantly pop up but most of them are go after the “reduced price” philosophy of running their businesses. Again, this does work at the start of the business but there are some potential downfalls with that model long term.

If you can help your clients understand why they should pay more for your web design and SEO services and it will reward you in the long term. If not then you will be playing the exact same game that all the other web design and SEO companies will be playing and there is always someone who is willing to do the work for less than you.

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Over the years of generating leads for many companies we have seen various ways and techniques of helping a lead to convert through sales funnels. This post is to help some see the value of a longer sales funnel that will help you get more sales with your web design and SEO leads.

In this industry, we see many new upcoming web designers and web design agencies purchase leads from us. It is always interesting to see why some clients do extremely well with leads and others simply let the ball drop or don’t know how to take someone from an “interested” state to a “client” state.

I will explain what I see most new web designers and agencies do with their sales process.

First, they get in contact with the lead and then answer all the leads questions about what they can do for the lead as well as how much it costs. They usually are very reactive on the call or email. They react to the clients questions and concerns rather than explaining everything about their service and showing the value and reason why the client would work with them over another designer.

Employee compensation economy concept. Woman working on laptop sitting next to young man under money rain. Pay difference concept.

This approach is usually very short a few emails and normally one or two calls. This approach does work but it is the same approach that thousands of new and up and coming designers are taking. The major flaw with this approach is that it does not provide enough education and value in such a short time to take the clients mind from price to value. Because of this, many designers have to work harder than their peers just to stay busy.

I will now explain what I call the optimized web design sales approach we see.

First, the web designer calls the lead directly after getting the lead. The reason of the first call is qualify and listen to the lead and understand what they are looking for. It is a lot easier to give someone exactly what they want. The only way to find out what they want is if you ask them, a lot of time they tell you exactly what they are looking for.

Once the needs of the lead are understood and confirmed they will may ask to see something right now. Many new web designers feel pressured to give out an answer or show them something right then and there. That is not something you really want to do unless you actually have their solution right then. Normally a second phone call is set up. The second phone call will give you time to prepare a solution that meets their needs and will help them focus on the value behind your solution rather than just the price.

Once on the second phone call a solution is presented that meets their needs. This is why on the first phone call you don’t want to launch into price and features too soon until you really understand the client’s needs. This second call normally takes place with via screen share (www.join.me.com is my personal favorite) sharing your screen with the client and going over what you can do to help them is one of the most effective ways of helping them to see the value of what you can bring them. This will also help them stop comparing you against the other web designers they may have spoken with by price alone.

Once the client understand the value behind what you are offering and has all their questions and objections resolved then they are ready to do business normally at a higher price than other web designers who are trying to stay competitive have quoted them by price alone.  We will go over closing a deal in another blog post.

Because there is so much competition out there for web design and SEO agencies it is imperative that you stand out from the crowd. Listening to your potential client’s needs (even if you already know what they will say and need) then present the solution to them and focus on building the value or “why” behind your product or service.  Taking this approach will help you close more deals with higher revenue per average sale.

 

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ferrari

Having great sales people is not enough to ensure success.  You have to keep your salespeople well-fed by providing them with great leads.  A great salesperson without good leads is like a Ferrari without gas.

The bottleneck in most businesses is sales.  Figuring out how to fulfill the orders that come in is never as big of a problem as generating the business in the first place.  The businesses that are able to figure out how to consistently generate profitable sales are the businesses that are built to last, and those businesses generally rely on sales leads as part of their formula to success.

The better the leads are and the better the salespeople are, the bigger the sales are.  The formula is simple:

Good Leads + Strong Salespeople = Huge Sales
Cold Calls + Strong Salespeople = Weak Sales

Many business owners think that good salespeople should be able to generate their own interest
(create their own leads) and close their own sales.  There are certainly people out there that can do that, but they’re few and far between.  The roles of lead generation and salesperson are two very different roles, similar to a

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kickfeetup copy

1.  Opportunities:  An increase in qualified prospects means an increase in opportunities to establish strong business relationships, and generate sales.  Qualified leads provide you with an influx of interested business owners who want to hear more about your services.

2.  Time is Money:  Most advertising methods are costly and time consuming.  Lead generation firms have proven methods that deliver high quality leads on a routine basis.  Focus on what you do best, and filter out the time wasted on uninterested prospects and dead-end proposals.

3.  Experts Know Best:  Lead generation firms have invested an incredible amount of time and energy to keep their processes up to date with the increasing changes the modern marketing world faces every day.  It takes an entire team of professionals to test, and consecutively operate marketing campaigns that deliver qualified leads.

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2014-business-resolutions1

The new year marks another anniversary for our services, and we’ve accompanied 2014 with incredible gains.  If you frequent our website often you’ve probably noticed the big changes being made by the Rank Leads staff. We’ve catered our improvements to your needs and desires.

You spoke, and we listened.  Our delivery times are faster, our lead quality has become second to none, and our improved support leaves no questions unanswered.    Our representatives are now on standby, happy to walk you through our processes via email and phone.  Whether you’re a big corporation or a one-man show, our new pricing structure has a flexible plan for you.  With the new year’s arrival it’s time to take advantage of these improvements, and implement the gains necessary to make 2014 your best year yet.

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