Responding to Digital Leads “Best Practices”

The Purpose of this LeadFlow/EventFlow response writing is to assist sales professionals in their follow up activities.

This blog is a place where you can find helpful methods and examples applicable to their quest to convert leads provided them by Prospects International into “live” opportunities. Leads, being the life’s blood of a sales organization, must be followed up on as thoroughly as possible to the natural culmination of their being. The digital lead, being from a different realm and generation than conventional, old school phone or floor traffic leads, has its own personality.

Makeup of the leads:

It is important to know that the LeadFlow lead generation harvesting machine is just that: a harvesting machine. Our internet “net” has a fine mesh so it will capture nearly every person who is searching the digital realm for information on their piano buying adventure. The number of high end vs. mid-range and entry level leads will be determined by the market place makeup, not the Prospects Int’l program working for you. Yes, we can and do tweak the metrics and ads to best accommodate a theme or inventory, but for the most part, the market place dictates how many folks are searching for uprights vs. digitals vs. grands, etc. You will experience a wide variety of needs and urgency, so you will need to do what sales professionals do – qualify, quantify, and create excitement for your product. Most importantly, communicate what your product can do for the consumers who buy them. The naked truth is that LeadFlow and EventFlow are going be a direct reflection of what you have to work with in your market place. It may be a filet or a hamburger steak, but whatever is there, we will bring to the table.

To respond to the many requests you are going to get via your internet Leadflow program, you must understand the reasons your customers are using this method to inquire.

  • Convenience – They want to get information on their own time
  • They do not want to have to speak with a salesperson
  • They can control the communication
  • It’s easy

You must be mindful that the internet culture is one of immediate gratification.

It provides a business with an impressive amount of opportunity, but it has downsides which must be heeded. The way LeadFlow and EventFlow gather contact information is a simple method: we give something, to get something. We provide information about a savings opportunity, an inventory list, a buyer’s guide, or a “What Kind of Piano Are You?” App (in development at this time) to procure their name, e-mail address, some knowledge of what they are interested in, and the right to know them digitally. The right to their contact information which is legally and organically harvested.

The first thing YOU will receive is an e-mail, a digital lead. It shows you that your prospective client has inquired about your pianos. They will receive an automatic response from you with an inventory list of pianos your company has for sale and a buyer’s guide. They will be asked to confirm that they received the message. Where you go from here depends on what they say in their response.

Your first task, job #1, is to make sure you respond either the same day or within 24 hours of their response.

Timing is of utmost important. If you don’t respond, they will either lose interest or your competitor will respond first. Remember, the culture is satisfied best by responding in a timely manner. Leads go from hot to warm to cold fast if you lose your digital credibility by being slow on the draw. Just like any other customer in your store, in most cases, these customers are suspects at this point, and your job is to make them prospects. The best way to do this is to practice question-based selling**. Qualify them! Be a genuine problem solver.

If they respond with a simple “yes, I received your buyer’s guide” (or whatever you automatically sent them), answer with a simple email, one that says thank you for responding. If they supply their phone number, call them and engage in conversation on the phone. If there is no phone, then your customer has the upper hand and maintains control until they begin to engage you in more detailed conversation. Be direct in your questions, but be sincere and genuine. Here is a list of questions to consider.

  • Was the buyer’s guide helpful?
  • What type of piano are you interested in?
  • Is there anything on the inventory list that interests you?
  • Who is the piano for?
  • Are you looking for a new or used piano?
  • Would you like to arrange a personal appointment to see any particular type of piano?

Everyone of these questions is designed to elicit a response. You do not have the luxury of hearing their voice and reading their body language. Remember – your customer, at this point, is a suspect. Turn them into a prospect. The best proven way is through question based selling. Qualify them in a sincere, genuine and gentle way. Your customer does not have to answer your email; they are still in control. Help them solve their problem and get control. The best way to do this, is to ask questions and engage them. Earn their trust by letting them know you are looking to help them find the perfect piano inside their budget.

Use the Phone First!

The phone is the first and best qualifier. If you leave a message on the form of a question, it should look similar to this:

This is Joey with Internet Sales at Prestige Pianos.
Thank you for your online request for an inventory list. At Prestige, we’ve been helping people find the right piano in their budget for years!

I have a couple quick questions whose answers will help me best help you. Please call me at 415-444-4967 at your earliest convenience. Thanks, Randy. Once more, this is Joey at 415-444-4967.

Prospects who engage in a “live” conversation are worth their weight in gold and should have top priority, placed in the green or “go” category. The nature of Internet leads runs the gambit from hot to cold and everything in between. In an effort to qualify and categorize them, use the phone first. It is your best radar and friend. There are those prospects in today’s world who prefer only text and/or e-mails, but the vast majority of serious buyers can be engaged via the phone if handled properly.

If a prospect doesn’t answer your voice message within 48 hours, do not default to e-mail right away. Call again, less business-like and even friendlier. Always try to have a real conversation. Work on deepening the relationship as opposed to opting for electronic communications. The second call can be:

Hey Randy,
Joey with Internet Sales at Prestige Pianos again.
I just wanted to be sure you got my message. I realize how busy we all get, but I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t excited about assisting you in your search for the perfect piano. In response to your online request for an inventory list, I had a couple quick questions whose answers will help me best help you. Please, call me at 415-444-4967 at your earliest convenience. Thanks, Randy. Once more, this is Joey at 415-444-4967.

Using the phone to qualify is step one. Your best chance to talk a prospect into the gallery is for you to hear their voice and have them hear yours. Feelings cannot be conveyed as well over the net or via an e-mail as they can with human interaction. The purpose of capturing Internet activity is to give a sales representative the opportunity to turn the activity into relationships. It may be easier to send texts and e-mails, but the easy thing isn’t always the most productive.

After you have determined if a prospect will not engage in a phone conversation, you must then work to engage in electronic dialogue.

Your objective is to engage them in communication so you can get a commitment for them to come into your store.

In order to do this, you have to respond in such a manner that you skillfully answer their questions without giving too much information, to secure the commitment you are seeking. Sell the opportunity to experience the perfect piano. Sell the one on one “in store” appointment, NOT the piano. PARTIAL INFORMATION is key. Ask the right questions and be interested in their needs without sharing prices over the phone or via e-mail. This is the tight rope you must walk. You must answer their questions, yet “question based selling” means that you are the inquisitive one, the one learning to best solve their problem of choosing wisely. One way to respectfully answer a question, but not provide too much information is to use “windows” of price, products, and time frames. Use broad stroke answers when asked for specifics. Here is a dialogue example:

Your standard e-mail response should look similar to:

Dear Randy,

Thank you for your inquiry about our pianos! My name is Joey and I am here to further assist you in finding the perfect piano for you. You have my e-mail address and here is my phone number should we decide to have a “live” conversation – 415-444-4967
Two quick questions:
Did you find the inventory list helpful?
What type of a piano are you interested in learning more about?
I thank you again or your inquiry and look forward to your answers.
My Best Regards to You,
Prestige Pianos

Randy’s Response:

Thank you, Joey. The list was fine, but it didn’t give me any prices to consider. Six pianos down was a black Boston baby grand. In doing some research, I found out that Steinway makes this brand, but I’m thinking it won’t be as expensive. I can’t afford a Steinway, but I do want a good piano. How much is that piano? If I can afford it, I will come in and play it.

Joey answers:

The Boston GP-156 is the smallest of the Boston grand pianos. This may be a good choice depending on how it feels and sounds to you, especially if you have limited space but desire a grand piano. Since we have new and used pianos which range in price from under $10,000 all the way up to the prestigious Steinway grands which cost over $100,000 we are well equipped to help you find the perfect piano for you inside your price range.

I am not allowed to quote prices over the phone or via e-mail. Although there are rules which prohibit me from publishing a price in an e-mail, I can be a little more helpful on the phone with you. I can also help arrange a time to explore the pianos we have on the showroom floor that are in your price range.

Please provide your phone number and when the best time is for you me to call you Randy. I am excited for the opportunity to serve you.
Many Thanks!

As you can see Joey gave Randy all the info he could without answering the question about how much that particular piano was selling for.

If you disseminate too much information before the face to face encounter, you empower them to make a decision before they experience the instrument that is best for them. Many will try to make a decision over the phone if you give them too much information. PARTIAL INFORMATION is your best friend and remember to be the one asking questions to steer them toward the “live” experience. A good piano buying decision must be made by touching, hearing, seeing and feeling the instrument. Don’t be afraid to cite this fact.

I can’t state this enough – Sell the opportunity NOT the piano.

SELL the “one on one opportunity” and gain personal, face to face rapport. The internet is about lead generation. Closing piano deals is still a people skill which must be done in person. Your conversion ratio from lead to sale is all about taking digital traffic and turning it into people who walk through your door.

Please feel free to contact us about our ever growing volume of digital marketing. We love to talk about sales. We are here to help you capitalize on this exciting lead generation opportunity.

**We highly recommend the book “The Art of Question Based Selling” by Thomas Freese

Happy Selling,

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