A few weeks ago we ditched work and headed to the Atlanta Auto Show, and cruised the showroom of cars, trucks and concept vehicles. Like any good convention, there were sales booths lining the aisles, and most I cruised by. We had our kids with us, however, and the lure of a fancy trampoline pulled them in. They were happily greeted and encouraged to jump, only stimulation was Mom had to fill out a waiver. We have a trampoline and home, so I had no worries and filled out the form as the kids eagerly awaited their turn.
As the kids jumped the peppy sales guy told me all about what made the trampoline different and better, including no springs, no rip safety net and is integrated with adult and kid tablet games. All kinds of cool stuff, at an outrageous price, when you consider what the average trampoline costs, but still very cool features.
As I walked away my husband muttered about all the emails and phone calls I was going to get by trampoline salesman. Dang, I thought. I didn’t even see that the “jump” was a lead magnet and I had invited them into my email. ‘That’s okay’ I thought. I was intrigued by their product.
You know what happened next. Nothing. I never received a call or an email.
This company had, at least, a warm lead since I had someone with me that took them up on their offer to jump. They took the time to get my email, then nothing.
I see many small business owners do this too often. They have good intentions – they collect an email address for a lead (marketing 101) but then drop the ball.
You don’t’ have to go back to your office and write out email after email to send to your new lead. The trampoline company could have had that salesman take one tiny step that would have kept me engaged and on their radar…and if I didn’t buy their trampoline right now, I could have been primed for other products they offered down the road.
Your Automated Sales Force
Do you ever wish you could hire a team of trusted salespeople to stay in touch with your prospective clients? They could reach out to them, keep your business top of mind, give them useful tips and resources and encourage them to buy?
When you put a few simple systems in place, you can easily replace an expensive sales force with automated tools that allow you to keep your products and services in front of potential clients. You’ll not only make more money, but you’ll do it completely hands-free. All that’s required is a little forethought.
This is the forethought the trampoline company, and your business could have to continue to nurture new leads.
Your first must-have tool? An autoresponder. Simply put, an autoresponder is a series of emails that go out on a pre-determined schedule. They’re written to engage your audience and pull readers further into your funnel.
Typically, an autoresponder series will have at least seven emails in it and is used as a lead generating tool. You offer an opt-in on your website with (for example) “weekly tips to stay productive during the dog days of summer” or “daily motivation for busy mompreneurs.” This is also called a sign-up gift, an ethical bribe or a lead magnet. You have probably seen them on websites from Kohls to Mercedes, you local Chamber to CNN. This is what the waiver was at the Car show. They are everywhere because they work. When your reader fills out the form, she’s automatically added to your autoresponder list, and you have her attention with every email.
You have probably seen them on websites from Kohls to Mercedes, you local Chamber to CNN. This is what the waiver was at the Car show. They are everywhere because they work. When your reader fills out the form, she’s automatically added to your autoresponder list, and you have her attention with every email.
Aside from adding your new lead to your autoresponder, the key is to write your email series with specific calls to action.
It’s not enough to just give her tips for being more productive. You have to also give her the opportunity to buy your products or services. This is how your autoresponder becomes your trusted sales force, leveraging your time to work on other projects or take time off.
Done right, your autoresponder can help keep the cash flowing, even when business is down.
Time to make the Sale
When a person first comes into contact with your business they are usually not ready to buy (unless you are a plumber then they need you RIGHT NOW!). Generally, it takes a while for a customer – business relationship to grow, and it takes 5-7 “touches” for a sale to happen (more if the cost of your service is higher). Your autoresponder is handling these extra touches without you having to do a thing.
The fastest way to get your autoresponder up and running is to use a tried and true email provider such as MailChimp. It’s simple to set up, and extremely affordable. Plus, you’ll find many step-by-step tutorials that can get you started.
You cannot and should not try to accomplish this with your regular email account. It is not only illegal to email without proper unsubscribe functions and other specifics an email provider handles, it is also like using a spoon to dig to China.
For the email content, look back over your most popular blog posts and products. Articles can be repurposed to provide valuable content to your subscribers, with a natural upsell to matching products or services.
In addition, think about the questions you’re most frequently asked, what conversations pop up again and again, and what your social connections and competitors are discussing. These nuggets are the building blocks of a compelling autoresponder series that your readers will not only look for but actually read. And if they’re reading, they will eventually buy.
As they move through your series, you want to keep in mind that subsequent offers should be more and more valuable, with the occasional low-priced offer thrown in.
Don’t think it is rude, or pushy to ask for the sale. Sure, you should be providing value and keeping your readers interested and subscribed, but you need to be sure you are asking for the sale as well, and include a call to action on each email.
Thinking about it accomplishes nothing, it’s time to take action!
If you already have an autoresponder check over your automatic sequence for subsequent offers, calls to action and what value you are providing. What emails and offers fostered the most click thru’s? Which brought in the most sales? How can you tweak what you have to make it better?
If you do not yet have an autoresponder set up sign up for a service provider like MailChimp. You can even use ClickFunnels or Ontraport and use the same software for your landing page – where you can house your sign up for your sign up gift.
After you sign up for a service sketch out a series of at least 7 emails. These will go out to your new lead without you having to do anything more than be sure they are added to your email autoresponder. Have it feel like a conversion with a new prospect.
In the first email you thank them, and usually, give them their opt-in gift.
Next in a day or so, you welcome, or indoctrinate them, and let them know what they can expect from you (a weekly email, resources, etc.). In this email, it is nice to tease that you will send them a few resources in the next week. This will get them used to expecting and opening emails from you.
Next email, a day or so later, you can ask if they have any questions and resend the original opt-in gift.
Following emails can answer FAQs, send more free resources and start to educate them on your services. After a few free resources, you can begin to ask for the sale, a consult or a phone call. Whatever your sales process entails.
Whatever you do, don’t stop emailing, after the first few emails (1 to 2 days apart) you can move to email once or twice a week. If you stop it is like you walked out in the middle of a conversation. You want to stay present and available in your autoresponder.
Building this out can take time, and can continue to be tweaked over time. The more you work on it, the better your automatic sales force will be and the closer you can get to six figures and beyond in your business, or more free time.
Don’t end up like the trampoline company or the other thousands of businesses that throw away leads. Get working on your automated sales force.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: TORIE MATHIS
Torie Mathis is dedicated to changing the world. She is a best selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your mentor to creating the life you love. She believes everyone has an untapped potential and wants to help YOU create an awesome life.
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