When it comes to your firm, you’ve set up your sales strategy - search for prospects, show them a demo or presentation, and then look to close the deal. However, you may notice that the amount of leads being converted is not growing, maybe your emails aren’t being read or generating much response or action. This isn’t a coincidence. If your firm’s sales strategy sounds similar to what was just described, you’re stuck in the past.
Back in the day, this way of sales may have worked fine, but that was when sales teams were in control and customers would go to a salesperson first for a consultation to learn more about their problems and what are the possible solutions. However, when the age of the Internet exploded in recent years, this drastically changed the dynamic between the customer-salesperson relationship. Those looking to invest their money can now easily consult search engines in their own time and do their own research on any questions they face without ever meeting in person with a salesperson.
Because each individual has different challenges and has done varying degrees of their own research, if you quickly jump in and push a standard demo or presentation at them, it’s no wonder why sales reps seem to quickly lose their relevance and importance to customers, leading to minimal growth in sales. This methodology takes no effort in recognizing the context of its buyer –who they are and where they are in their buyer’s journey –and seeks to only close a deal.
With this new current way of buying, how can financial advisors aim to become relevant again and necessary to a customer? It all starts with putting down the mindset of impersonal, pushy sales and taking up the effort to nurture your leads in their buying journey.
What is lead nurturing and why is it important for your sales team?
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with prospects, with the goal of earning their business once they are ready, emphasis on the word “relationship”. It’s not about pushing your own agenda, but rather making your sales efforts customer-centric and focused on what the lead needs to achieve their goals and overcome their challenges.
What makes lead nurturing so essential to a sales strategy is that it builds trust and actually provides help that is relevant, valuable, and personalized to the buyer, helping them to move forward in the sales process.
Think about it, if a potential customer is able to build a genuine, individual relationship with a salesperson and the support provided addresses exactly what they’re struggling with, they are much more inclined to want to continue their buying journey with you by their side. In order to nurture leads effectively, you –the salesperson –need to relinquish the desire to be in full control and instead, adapt your role to working alongside the buyer, guiding them with helpful content, resources, and support.
Now you may be wondering, how can I start nurturing my leads in a practical way? This is where the Inbound Sales Methodology comes in. While there are 4 parts to the methodology, we’ll focus on the last 2, Explore and Advise, as these relate most to the process of lead nurturing. Walking through these 2 components step-by-step, we’ll look over how you can start to incorporate lead nurturing and a better sales strategy into your firm today.
Using Lead Nurturing to Close more Deals in the Explore and Advise Stage of the Inbound Sales Methodology for:
While the Identify stage involves gathering preliminary information on your prospect and the Connect stage looks to start up an initial conversation with them, it is in the Explore stage where you -the salesperson -can dig deeper through an exploratory call/meeting and learn what their specific goals and challenges are. You want to be able to pinpoint exactly what your lead needs help with and show that you are on the same page as them. Zeroing in on their goals and challenges is key to lead nurturing because in order to help your prospect, you need to know what they’re struggling with in the first place.
Once you’ve had an in-depth conversation with your prospect on what exactly they are looking to achieve and you’ve thought about the solutions that would work best for them, you may notice that they’re not quite ready yet to make a commitment with your firm. It is precisely here where you can start sending them different forms of content that would be helpful for them in order to nurture them to be ready for closing. If the lead receives content that truly does provide value, addresses where they’re at in their buyer’s journey, and helps answer any of their questions, they will not only be more willing to move forward in the sales process, but a relationship of trust is cultivated between you and the lead.
For example, as a financial advisor, let’s say that through an exploratory call, you’ve learned more about how the lead wants to invest a large amount of his capital but struggles with not having enough time for his family. Through the conversation, you recognize that your firm can provide exactly what the lead needs, in this case, alternative investments. However, if you try convincing them to buy an alternative investment solution from you right away, they may feel overwhelmed and turned off from your firm.
Instead, you want to nurture the lead by providing helpful resources such as blog articles or an eBook, with possible topics like “The 5 problems with traditional investments these days” or “3 questions you should ask yourself when considering alternative investments”. Notice how these types of content address the lead’s unique pain-points and help to gradually introduce them to alternative investments. If they engage with the content you send them and they indeed find it helpful, this can be used as a starting point to continue building a relationship with the lead and help them to move forward through the sales process.
Following the example, here is where you introduce your firm’s investment solution to them and explain how your unique investment solutions will help them achieve their goals and challenges that you both discussed previously. Based on all the information you’ve collected on them thus far, you can present a tailored solution based on their distinct needs and buying context in order to close the deal. Because all the way up to this point, you have nurtured your lead with helpful, relevant content and have established for yourself a position of credibility, they will have a more open ear in hearing about your firm’s solutions, versus if you had just tried to push a sale on them with no prior relationship with them established.
When attention and effort is intentionally invested in nurturing your prospects and leads, this helps set up an excellent foundation to closing a deal better and faster, and results in a win-win situation for both you and your prospects.