By Chris Moline LEED AP, CAPS
You won’t find many management professionals who make the most out of their internet presence and understand what goes into a solid web strategy. However, you will find many who, scratching their heads, say, “My website isn’t being found” or “I have this great site and all this traffic, but why aren’t we selling more? Let’s pump more dollars into paper clip… er, pay-per-click!”
Yes, I’ve actually heard other business owner call it “paper clip.”
This is true, you may be thinking, but why should you keep reading?
My team makes profit every day by converting online inquiries into sales and I spend more time reinforcing the need for a web-oriented mindset than almost everything else. It pays off.
Here’s what a billion-dollar cooperative had to say about my efforts in a mailing to member owners:
It’s been nearly 20 years since my on-line marketing journey began and now making the right moves is second-nature.
How can this be possible?
Thanks to the Marines I started college later than my peers (early 90′s) and was able to use the web to grow my business when a 28k modem was considered fast. By the time I sold that business in 2007, I hadn’t purchased print advertising in almost 4 years… and that in an industry saturated with print ads, Money Mailers and direct-mail invitations to “private” sales.
Now, I’m routinely asked about how to get more from the web and help sales managers better understand what they can do to get results. Though it’s far more complicated than one blog post can convey, I’ll give away a secret – a sense of urgency can make up for poor content every time. Combined with quality content, it’s unstoppable.
Think about it – people online are in complete control, and they like it that way.
Studies have shown that if a website’s main page doesn’t grab someone within 3-5 seconds, they’ll move on. I focused intently on this in the days of dial-up so my pages would load fast AND be interesting. Here’s how this translates directly to sales today: an InsideSales.com & MIT study showed that if you respond to your web customer within 5 minutes, you are 800 percent more likely to close the sale. Take the graph below for example:
Did you get that?
800 percent more likely to close the sale!
The above graphic shows a mind-boggling improvement in the odds and how they drop sharply after 5 minutes. Is there anything else you can do that would have such a significant impact on your sales?
I’ll even go so far and say 1 minute response should be your goal and I’ve got a track record to prove it. In fact, before selling my web-based flooring company, I relied solely on organic search results and word-of-mouth referrals to generate leads.
“RECENT RESEARCH FROM KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AT NORTHWESTERN AND SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AT MIT SHOWS 800% INCREASES IN CONTACT RATES AND DRAMATIC INCREASES LEAD QUALIFICATION BY RESPONDING TO LEADS WITHIN 5 MINUTES OR LESS”
And it worked like a charm. Still works today, too, and with average sales jumping from $1,800 per sale through the door to over $3,400 per sale online on my team, you can count on better things to come.
Here’s a real-world case study:
I got an online inquiry while driving (ALL online inquiries go through me unless I’m on vacation).
9:40 – Received lead on phone while driving
9:41 – Pulled over on 495 to respond (Why pull over? Ever seen the bumper sticker “Honk if you love Jesus, Text if you want to meet him”?)
9:42 – Sent customer a very-brief “touch-base” email
9:42 – Sent sales person customer’s information (I do not let the customer pick, nor do I farm out web leads on a rotating basis because not all sales staff will be as responsive… the goal is to win!)
9:46 – Customer emails back “WOW! Thanks for the super-fast response. I’m leaving for meetings now and I’ll be available after 2.” And after years of dealing with, and closing, web customers, I know without a doubt that this one is done shopping online now and will sign with us.
9:50 – Sales person emails customer “I’m here between these hours, etc…”
9:55 – I cringe and immediately email the sales person “STOP! Lead the customer, don’t tell them you’re here when they feel like stopping in.” (He’s normally better than this but must have had a weak moment.)
9:56 – I send Outlook appointment to sales person to call and email customer at 2:15.
10:13 – Sales person accepts appointment, realizing he slipped, because initiative is imperative.
After 2, the customer gets set up for an estimate the next day and is closed in-home for $4,800.
It may seem simple… because it can be. I’ve sold millions of dollars to internet customers and relating to them online through the sales process is second nature to me now. It can be for your sales team as well.
Want to know more? Send an email.
All the best,