Switching to Inbound Sales
The times have changed. We need no longer obsess about making a thousand connections with other business owners in order to keep new business flowing in. Inbound sales are a more efficient and more powerful way of attracting new business, and can even reduce the amount of sales staff necessary.
When I started Big Surf Digital I followed the accepted wisdom that networking events were essential in finding new business. I’ve been told many times that without word of mouth things wouldn’t move forward. This always seemed strange to me as we can all find whatever we’re looking for quickly and easily online. But apparently there were many reasons why we all needed to focus on networking to drum up business. One reason I was hit with by a particularly aggressive BNI member was ‘How do I know I can trust you? We don’t know each other.’ The logic being that she wouldn’t do business with my business without knowing and trusting me first.
Do you only do business with people you know? What about when you order a meal in a restaurant? I imagine you don’t only eat in places where you know the chef by name. I get it. Trust is a big deal. But that can all be simulated. There are many ways of conveying trust.
Networking can help and I know there are lots of businesses that are built on connections but online presents a better way. Last year I received an online enquiry via the Google search results for a client looking for a website, SEO campaign and PPC strategy, in a very competitive market. A quick proposal and meeting and they came on board. The majority of my clients last year came from web enquiries with no previous knowledge of my business.
If a prospective client searches for a service and finds your informative, user friendly and well-designed site at the top of the search results, a great deal of trust has already been achieved between company and client. Communication that starts from an email contact form is not starting from scratch. Many crucial things have happened up to this point.
1. The client has decided that they want or need what you’re selling. That’s a huge step which means you don’t need to sell the client on the concept of what you’re offering.
2. The client has searched through the competition, found your website and deemed your business worthy of contact.
On the reverse, to get a cold contact to read through your website and email you would be difficult to do. Guess what? You just skipped the sales pitch phase. That’s an important point to consider. Some sales people see the point of contact as the start of the sales process, but in this case it’s really not. In some cases all I would have to do now is a quick email or meeting to confirm all the details. In some cases certainly a full proposal and pitch would be necessary but the prospect is now fairly qualified. Indeed, if you looking to sell products that start at £1000 you can easily convey this in your website copy and Google listings so that you only receive enquiries from customers with a suitable budget available.
No location barriers
Depending on the service that you offer location need not be a barrier. We run campaigns for clients based in England, Scotland, the US and Germany. Some have been the result of word of mouth, but the majority first made contact through our enquiry form on the site, after finding us online.
To acquire new clients through word of mouth or networking wouldn’t be possible in multiple locations without a heavy time investment. With SEO and PPC it’s possible to bring in traffic from regions and countries that you’re company doesn’t even have a base in.
How we do it
We generate solid leads from online traffic, for ourselves and for our clients. We do this through some or all of the following disciplines:
• Search Engine Optimisation
• Google Adwords Campaigns
• Conversion Rate Optimisation
We research our campaigns and competition thoroughly and use SEO or PPC where appropriate to bring in relevant traffic. We test and measure website performance and use iterative processes to increase conversion rates to bring in more cost effective conversions. What would you rather. Call up 100 prospective clients who are probably not interested in your company right now, or start receiving traffic and enquiries from people who are actively searching for what you’re selling?
When discussing what we do with people at networking events I often hear the same response. When I ask if someone has ever hired an SEO company I always hear something along the likes of, ‘I never get any enquiries from my website’ or ‘it wouldn’t work for me, people won’t buy my product online’. In fact years ago I worked on a site for a bed company. The owner didn’t believe that anyone would buy a bed online. He assured us that customers needed to come into the shop and lie down on one first. He was very surprised when due to a mistake his unfinished shopping cart was left online over the weekend, and he sold two beds.
So here’s the facts.
• If you’ve never had any enquiries from your website it is possibly due to poor website design and content combined with not receiving the right kind of targeted traffic.
• It is possible to bring in leads and sales for nearly any kind of product or service through online advertising. This includes winning large scale renewable development projects, selling high ticket items such as diamonds, houses, art and vehicles or more day to day services such as hair products, electronics or yoga classes.