Training

Step 1. Cultivate leads

The sales process begins by being able to identify the ideal client who may be in need of our services. Using the provided list of industries, the information below teaches you how to find those targets.

Who Needs A Website?

All businesses need a website. Why? Because websites work. No matter what your business or profession, a website can generate business, promote goodwill among customers and prospects, and deliver strong marketing messages – whether your business is small, large or in-between, well-established or brand-new.

People use the Web in greater and greater numbers, more and more every day. Even if you are a completely local small business, service, contractor or consultant, odds are people have used search engines to look for your web site – and if you don’t have a web site… well, you get the picture.

Your business Web page delivers that picture to your customers and prospects, and does it 24/7/365.

Perhaps the most common misconception about business websites is that they must offer products for purchase, accept credit cards and process financial transactions, and so on. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

While ecommerce websites are increasingly popular, the vast majority of business websites are still information and communication rather than purchase-oriented. If your business offers products and services appropriate for retail sale over the Internet, then by all means you should consider an ecommerce website.

But if, like most businesses, your products and services aren’t intended for Internet sales, you still need a Web page of your own. And you can get one quickly and economically.

How we fix it

We start by going through a thorough intake process to gather all the information, needs, and wants of the client. Then we go back and forth with a limited series of proofs until the client is ready to go live. 

What’s Included:

• Custom built pages
• Fully mobile responsive
• Keyword optimization
• SEO optimization
• One domain 
• Site Hosting
• 99% Uptime
• Information Backups
• Professionally written copy
• Image optimization
• Lead conversion forms 
• Monthly site updates
• Unlimited email addresses
• Website analytics
• Monthly reporting

1. Customers Expect a Good Experience
Think about the last time you visited a website that had a poor mobile layout. How long did you stick around? The answer is, probably not very long. These days, internet users care almost as much about the experience a website provides as they do finding the actual information they’re after. On mobile devices, because of the reduced screen size, users are searching for information in easily digestible sections that also look visually appealing.

2. Search Engines Care About Website Design
If you’ve been running a business website for any period of time, you’re no stranger to the strong-handed search engine updates that get rolled out on a fairly regular basis. In 2015, Google released a notorious update that prioritized websites with a “mobile-friendly design” (under which “responsive” also falls), giving them a boost in rankings.

Google has even stated that they prefer responsive websites over those with both a desktop and mobile version. At the end of the day, Google understands internet users are shifting more and more to mobile devices rather than desktop computers, and they want to ensure people are getting the best experience possible. In recent months, it’s even been speculated that Google will eventually move over to a “mobile-only” indexing model, replacing the current system which they’ve had in place for more than 20 years.

3. Gain an Advantage Over Competitors
The world of business has always been dog eat dog, but even more so online. To stand out to consumers, brands are going to have to go above and beyond in the way they create experiences for buyers. If your competitors don’t have a responsive website design and you do, their visitors are more likely to become your paying customers.

4. They’re Easier to Manage
Rather than having to worry about building a desktop site and a mobile-friendly site, responsive designs are built to do everything in one. This way, you don’t need to meticulously alter the layout of text, pictures, and videos depending on the device your visitors are using. Responsive websites also have faster loading speeds than non responsive designs, which will help with your rankings, something that was directly recommended by Google.

5. Responsive Websites Are “Future-Proof”
As the internet becomes more accessible to people around the world, more than 1.2 billion people are accessing it from a mobile device, accounting for 78% of total digital time spent. The online world is notorious for dishing out fast changes and drastic updates that can throw your website off-track and interrupt business, and by switching over to a responsive design, you’re gaining immediate benefits and protection from the “mobile-only” model Google and other search engines are likely to be moving over to at some point in the future.

Putting up a website for your business is one thing, while regular maintenance is another thing. What most website owners usually don’t understand best is whether it is in their interest to do maintenance for their websites alone or have someone else do it for them.

As a businessperson, you should not waste your precious time working on maintaining your website while you can have someone qualified do the work for you. An experienced web developer can really make great changes to your website by updating it and enriching with content that best targets your audience. While the developer does this, you will have all the time that you need to focus on the core operations of your business.

Another good reason to have web developers to manage your website is that they are qualified for the job and will monitor the site accordingly. If in any case they notice any suspicious activity, a web developer will work to see that the threat is dealt with and eliminated.

What’s included in monthly maintenance:

• One domain 
• Site Hosting
• Daily Backups
• 1-hour of monthly site updates
• Monthly reporting
• The cost of a website paid for over time

1. BROKEN HTML TAGS
Headings look like normal text, bold or italics don’t appear, extra spaces, problems with paragraphs and paragraph spacing.
One of the most common causes of broken content is a missing or incorrect HTML tag. HTML is the “source code” behind most of the internet.

2. CSS ISSUES
You can see the words on a page but they aren’t in the right location, font, or size. Or, the alignment is weird, such as items in a blog feed are bumping in to each other.
Issues with your Cascading Style Sheets (a.k.a. CSS or style sheets) are akin to HTML problems — behind-the-scenes code that gets outdated or broken. With CSS, it’s often a compatibility problem. Since CSS controls how things appear, CSS issues tend to cause things to look weird. Objects or copy are still there, they just look wrong.

3. JAVASCRIPT ERRORS
Most of the page looks fine, but one element just won’t load, like a media item or an expanding menu.
JavaScript is another language that developers use to create website functionality. It is often used in elements that load separately from the rest of the page, which it does by running “scripts,” or commands to retrieve information from somewhere else. These can appear lots of different ways, so it’s hard to give you a broad overview, but you’ll definitely need a developer to fix them. 

4. MISSING FILE SOURCE
Broken images and PDFs that won’t download. 
Things like pictures and documents are often hosted on your website, which means that they live at a URL just like any page or post. If you remove them or change that URL, they won’t show up in all the places you put that item.

5. BROKEN EMBEDDED ELEMENTS
There are too many examples to name—anything where you add code to your website from an outside source in order to display an element like a photo, video, form, button, badge, etc. 
By embedded elements, I mean anything on your website that was added via embed code from another source, anything from an Instagram post or YouTube video to a certification badge from HubSpot. FYI, there are also lots of code snippets you may have added to your website that don’t display anything on the front end, such as for tracking.

6. LOW-QUALITY RESPONSIVE DESIGN
Things look fine on your computer, but don’t look good or operate well on mobile devices. Elements may disappear, navigation may not function, text and images may be the wrong size, etc.

7. 404 ERROR
While 404 Errors may look like broken content, they’re actually broken links. If you try to pull up a page or post and you get a 404 error, take a beat before you freak out.
First, check to see if you typed in the URL wrong, or if the link you clicked had an error in the URL. If the URL is correct but you’re still getting a 404 Error, the page may have been deleted or the URL may have been changed without setting up a 301 redirect.

8. USER ERROR
It may not actually be broken, it may just look broken to you. It’s relatively common for browser settings to block elements on a page, notably JavaScript. It could also be that your browser is very old (*cough* Internet Explorer) and hasn’t been updated to handle modern technology.

Everyone knows that a slow website is bad. Because of a slow site, serious problems arise in the solution of everyday tasks. Sometimes it’s just annoying. Often, slowing of the site is a breakdown, denial of service – causing people to have to wait for the site to load and instead causing them to leave. This is relevant for cases of radical slowing of the site, for example, when the page starts rendering 8-10 seconds after clicking.

Even with a relatively favorable situation with the site (with fast download speed on a wired connection to the Internet and a modern computer), delays in downloading can lead to audience loss and lower conversion rates.

But more than half of the Internet audience today use mobile devices to access websites. So they need to be able to use slower channels and processors to access and download the site.

 

Who Needs SEO?

Blogging ensures that your website is indexing new content with search engines. Google doesn’t want to deliver its searchers outdated information. If you ever happen upon a website that you realize hasn’t been updated recently, you likely lose trust in the information you’re seeing.

Websites that are regularly updated signal to them that the website is current and offering fresh content. It also gives the search engine algorithms more reason to index your website more often, keeping it more on their radar over time.

You may not have a reason to update your homepage as frequently, so a blog is a more practical tool for adding new content to your website on a regular basis.

Why is the First Page of Google so Important? Google is the all-powerful. It crawls the web, determining which pages are the most useful and relevant for its users for virtually any topic. We don’t just trust Google’s results, we rely on them—to make decisions throughout the day for every aspect of our lives. 80-90% of online searchers never make it to page 2 of a search engine results page.

Make sure Google can clearly identify what your site is about. You MUST have keyword-rich, authoritative content on all of your pages.

Quality content generates high CTR (click through rate). Google considers your CTR as an important factor to rank your website and the more you get users to click on your links, the greater are your chances are of better rankings.
 
Static content is different than variable content. 5 Tool defines static content as place-holding information entrenched on pages such as Home, About Us, Products, Services, Contact Us. 5 Tool defines variable content as entries that frequently change or get updated, such as: blog posts, recent news, review feeds, testimonials, events, photo galleries, etc. 
 

Keyword optimization is the act of researching, analyzing and selecting the best keywords to target to drive qualified traffic from search engines to your website.

The more keywords you select that your customers are searching for, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website, the more consumers you’ll convert to customers. … Different keywords have different demand and traffic potential.

5 Tool utilizes proven methods, industry-leading websites, and award-winning tools while researching the best keywords and phrases to improve a site’s SEO.

Getting reputable, relevant, and well-respected links (by Google’s standards) will dramatically improve your Google ranking.

The landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, and today, the importance of building high-quality links has never been higher. The need to understand and implement high-quality campaigns is essential if you’re going to compete and thrive online, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. 

Outbound link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. A hyperlink (usually just called a link) is a way for users to navigate between pages on the internet. Search engines use links to crawl the web; they will crawl the links between the individual pages on your website (inbound), and they will crawl all outbound linking websites.  For this reason, we ensure all our outbound links go to proven, authoritative sources in that respective industry.

There are many techniques for building links, and while they vary in difficulty, SEOs tend to agree that link building is one of the hardest parts of their jobs. 

Who Needs Social Media?

If you don’t have any social pages, you are missing out on business. Not everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Most people, however, do spend time on at least one social media platform. Its getting harder and harder to connect to prospective clients, so If you can meet your audience where they already unwind, you are already over one of the outreach hurdles.

The good news is you don’t have to try and cover every single platform. While each social media company tries to steal ideas and features from the others, such as Instagram and Facebook borrowing stories from Snapchat, they still tend to appeal to certain demographics. You will likely find that most of your customer base tends to gravitate towards one site more than others. This allows you to focus your efforts on that platform, at least in the early stages.

This narrowed attention will enable you to connect with your audience on an emotional level, but it also means you can provide engaging visuals as well as useful information and facts. These different modes help you build a stronger bond with your viewers, ultimately leading them to be customers.

Social media helps to build virtual connect with your customers. To build and prove your credibility, you need to constantly gain consumer confidence. Having a consistent presence on Social media offers you a unique opportunity to establish an ongoing bond with your customers.

Show your audience that you are listening by creating and sharing content that speaks about their interests, pain points and questions. 5 Tool’s social calendar service gives a business an opportunity to create a dialogue with your audience instead of just constantly selling to them.

Creating social media pages is important, but making sure those pages are optimized with all the correct information is vital. You increase your overall exposure by making sure the following are accurate:

  • Business type
  • Logo
  • NAP data (name, address, phone)
  • Website
  • Hours
  • Photos
  • Services
  • And much more!

Even if you never intend to use them, you should control your business’s assets on every platform – and sooner rather than later. Often clients tell us that their target audience doesn’t use Facebook or similar social media platforms so they don’t plan to do any marketing there. That may indeed be true, although you might want to first test the theory by looking at the actual data. Usually, however, folks just get busy running their business until one day they come to us in a panic:

“Someone’s posting horrible stuff on a Facebook page that has our name on it!”

Now the effort has to be focused on proving ownership, clearing away the mess and counteracting the bad publicity. Claiming your digital assets first, even if you don’t plan to use them, is a much better use of your time.

“Oh, we’re too small to be of interest to hackers,” people protest, but we’ve seen it happen too many times to organizations you’d think would be under the radar. It’s not worth trying to second-guess what a nasty mind with some computer skills will do.

And the hijacking sometimes starts very innocently. On Facebook, it’s usually someone who wants to check in at your business. If you don’t already have a page, Facebook will helpfully start one for you. Other people start posting and tagging because they think it’s the right page, and it starts to grow. Unfortunately, it will probably have the wrong information, will look out-of-date and may even have objectionable posts that you can’t delete.

In many traditional marketing avenues, the smaller business often has a tough time competing with larger corporations. With social media marketing, however, the playing field is much more level. While you might not have the budget of large corporations in your industry, you have the personal touch and authenticity that your customers crave. And with social media you can compete much more on a local and/or regional basis.

When it comes to competing with other small businesses, this is an area that is still largely untapped. Some of your competitors might have dipped their toes into the social media scene, but most of them are not operating with a well-formed strategy. If you can plan and execute a true social media campaign, you still have the chance to stake your claim on whatever platform you choose.

Social media marketing is here to stay, and you need to start taking advantage of it. There is a lot to learn, but it doesn’t mean you have to drop all the things that you already do well. Instead, make sure that your audience knows about all that great stuff. If you start small and work smart, you’ll have your first campaign behind you, and you’ll realize that it isn’t so scary.

Who Needs Reputation?

Having an online presence is absolutely essential. This begins by having the most basic listing presence in what is today called the maps “3-pack.” 

In this day and age, most research is done online. Information is not only easily accessible but so are opinions and other resources that can prove useful to a consumer. As a business owner, you will want to extend your reach when it comes to visibility and findability.

Of course, traditional marketing factors still apply. Location, signage, print advertising, etc. are all important things to consider, but since a majority of people rely on finding businesses and services via the internet, it is incredibly important that you have a web presence – so why not go for the best and ensure that you claim your Google Maps listing?

Google is one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the world today. When your business is claimed and seen on Google, it brings an extra added level of trust to your business. With Google referencing your business and making it easier for others to find, it’s simply one more layer of exposure, trust, and satisfaction that you are providing to your audience and customer base.

1. Online Reviews Boost Your Search Rankings
The more text there is online about your business, the more attention it’s going to get from Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. when someone types in a search query about a product or service you offer. Having more happy customer reviews about you will help strengthen your SEO position on the Internet, which will generate more organic traffic to your business.

2. Giving Your Customers a Voice Cements Their Loyalty
There’s a certain level of relationship trust you bestow on your customers when you sincerely ask for them to post reviews. On one level, it spurs you on to give them your best service. On the next level, your customers appreciate that growing relationship along with your great service. They want to post a positive review and share with their friends and family. This is the very essence of today’s “relationship marketing”.

3. Just One Positive Review Can Boost Your Sales
Recent studies show that even your very first positive review can convert the merely curious into new customers—by up to 10 percent! The first 50 positive reviews can ratchet the conversion level up by about 30 percent. Another study showed that 85 percent of consumers feel they need to see at least 10 positive reviews about a business before they venture into customer-hood; but that there is a growing contingent of consumers who feel the need to read even more reviews than that.

4. Great Reviews Can Shoulder Some of Your Marketing Budget
If you’ve got a great product, a great service and are really going above and beyond with customer service—and your happy customers feel engaged and are posting reviews for you, they are helping you out with your marketing. Because 88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations from friends and family, freely encouraging your customers to post online reviews actually saves you dollars you can funnel into other budgetary needs.

5. Reviews Generate More Reviews
When you take positive reviews and broadcast them across all of your media channels (website, social media, other marketing efforts), it stimulates other customers to post reviews as well. It encourages them to become part of your conversation and boosts repeat and new sales as well.

A business’s NAP should be consistent across the website, GMB listing, and on top tier citation sites. Virtually any business that wants an online presence can benefit from citation building. Local businesses benefit the most, and citations do have a stronger influence in the local algorithm, but citations also influence businesses that show up in the localized organic results. And for the online-only businesses, citations can be a trust factor.

A citation is gained any time your business information shows up on a new directory listing online. Google and other search engines consider you more important than you were the day before. Citation growth helps an increasing number of local customers find your business online. These will include third-party sites that people use, like Apple Maps, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, Foursquare, Mapquest, Houzz, YP, TripAdvisor,  and many more generic and niche sites.

Citation sites/listings often show up in Google’s organic search results for keyword searches and brand searches. Search engines trust these sites, so it will be of utmost importance to ensure you or your clients’ NAP data is accurate on third-party citation sites as well as on Google My Business.

Who Needs Digital Ads?

A recent report found that 40% of small businesses are investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and that number is growing daily.

PPC is considered a version of “inbound” marketing. As “outbound” methods like radio, TV, print, and billboards have lost luster, methods such as PPC have gained popularity because you’re dealing with an already captive audience. If you know a potential client is already searching for your product or service it makes the goal of getting them to your website much easier. 

PPC advertising is a cost-effective way to drive more traffic to your website, regardless of budget. As the name suggests, you only pay the publisher when your ad is clicked. Ad prices are set by bidding, which allows you to be flexible with your ad spend. And unlike many other marketing strategies, PPC allows you to reach and engage your target audience with ease.

Quite possibly the most advantageous part of PPC is the transparency. ROI is easily tracked through call-recording software and online submission request forms. 

Anyone not currently running a pay-per-click campaign or simply looking to improve upon what they have is an ideal candidate, especially if their products and/or services are searched for frequently online.

 

Social media can become an essential piece of your business marketing strategy.

Social platforms help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every month, it’s no passing trend.

Marketing costs add up, and not every business can afford huge ad campaigns. But you can get a lot of value for your dollar with social media advertising.

Your business, regardless of size or budget, has an opportunity to grow your audience and reach your objectives through ads on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Business owners looking to engage and interact with consumers can do that on social better than any other medium. The list of potential industries that could run successful ad campaigns on social is endless. All you need is an imagination. 

Essentially, you’ll use geotargeting to deliver the right message at the right time. For example, if I search for “marketing agency,” Google (or any search engine) will deliver results based on my location. I might see a local marketing agency ad. This ad is more likely to be successful because I’m actively looking for a marketing agency in my area. 

However, geotargeting doesn’t only need to be based on real-time location. It can also be based on historical location, meaning it can target people who have recently visited a region. On the other hand, it can also target those who actually live in a particular region and aren’t just passing through. You can use all of these geotargeting options in your marketing campaigns.

Additionally, it’s also important to consider how you’re going to use geotargeting to your advantage.

For instance, an auto dealership may target specific neighborhoods where they know average income matches up with their typical buyer. A retail furniture store may use geo-targeting in a “conquesting” campaign by fencing all its local competitors. Someone marketing products to twenty-somethings, may fence a concert of the corresponding age demographic.

When you go on YouTube, how long do you watch videos for? If you had to make a guess, what would you say?

You might be surprised to learn that the average user spends 30 minutes per session on YouTube.

Within this 30 minute timespan, the user will be exposed to multiple YouTube advertisements—which is where your small business could be.

More and more people are turning to the Internet for their news and television programming. Instead of running a commercial on more traditional (radio, television, or print) channels of advertising, running an ad on YouTube allows you to connect with potential customers through a more targeted approach. Statistics from 2019 also show this strategy to be very successful when targeting a younger demographic with your message.

Step 2. Qualify those leads

Once you have a firm understanding and grasp of what a good potential lead is, you will work to qualify those leads using several different methods. These include, but are not limited to: company provided lists, your own cold-call cultivations, call-ins, referrals, leads groups, chamber meetings, lunch & learns, etc.

How To Qualify Leads

Qualifying is the process that allows you to find out whether a lead is actually a prospect. A prospect is someone who has the potential to become a customer. Leads, on the other hand, are just potential prospects.

If you don’t qualify a lead, you may be wasting your time with someone who literally can’t buy from you.

You will visit, email, or call the lead which is where you will do the bulk of your qualification, but it certainly isn’t where it ends. At every step of the sales process, you’ll continuously evaluate prospects for more and more specific characteristics.

There’s a hierarchy to qualification. That is, sales reps must qualify prospects at three different levels — “organization,” “opportunity,” and “decision maker” sales qualification.

Organization Qualification

This is the most basic level of qualification, and doesn’t tell you much other than whether you should do more research. If your company has buyer personas, reference them when qualifying a prospect. Does the buyer match the demographics of a given persona?

Opportunity Qualification

This form of qualification is probably what you thought of when you read the title of this post. Opportunity sales qualification is where you determine whether your prospect has a specific need or challenge you can satisfy and whether it’s feasible for them to implement your particular product or service.

Decision Maker Qualification

Let’s say you’ve determined that your prospect’s company is a good match for your solution and fits your ideal buyer persona. It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty — can your point of contact actually pull the trigger on a purchase decision?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.”

This phrase is the root of countless arguments, but it’s as good as gold when it comes to sales qualification. Your prospect will provide you as much information via their tone of voice and delivery as the words they actually speak.

Here are some tip-offs (both good and bad) to listen for when qualifying a prospect that can help you determine whether to advance the sales process or disqualify ASAP.

Good Signs to Move a Prospect Forward

Excuses

Wait. How can excuses be a good thing?

According to Psychology Today, we make excuses to resolve cognitive dissonance — mental stress caused by holding conflicting beliefs. Excuses help resolve our actions with who we want to be.

During a sales conversation, your ears should perk up if your prospect tries to explain away previous inaction regarding business pain. This indicates one of two things: either the excuse is legitimate, or your prospect wishes they had done something about it earlier and is trying to rationalize why they didn’t. Either way, it confirms their pain is real.

Specificity

Prospects who can give specific answers to questions such as “What are your goals?” and “When do you need to see results?” have thought carefully about their problem. Listen for sequential plans, thought-out explanations, and statistics. Specifics also indicate that your prospect feels real pain. After all, people without real problems don’t spend time thinking about why they exist and how to address them.

Of course, the caveat is that specifics must be accompanied by reality. A prospect who says, “I want to quadruple revenue in the next two weeks,” is using specifics to demonstrate that they don’t have strong business acumen.

Knowledge

Specificity’s partner is knowledge. A knowledge check is your best bet for qualifying at the stakeholder level. True decision makers will have intimate knowledge of company goals, challenges, and needs. A contact who doesn’t have access to this information likely isn’t going to be valuable in the sales process.

Red Flags in the Sales Process

Inconsistency

A prospect whose answers contradict each other is likely one who wants to be helpful, but can’t because they don’t possess adequate knowledge. However, this isn’t a dealbreaker — prod them to tell you who does know the answers, and continue qualifying the opportunity with another contact.

Short answers

True business pain permeates an organization — executives lose sleep over it and employees have to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. If you give the impression that you can help alleviate the pain, prospects will want to talk to you.

A prospect who’s giving you one-word answers isn’t someone who feels there’s basis for a conversation. It could be that the problem is a non-issue, or the contact isn’t clued in enough to feel its severity. Depending on what you think is going on, disqualify or try reaching out to another member of the organization.

Sales success rests on effective qualification. Your ability to find good fit prospects will make or break your business. Prospects who turn into happy customers mean not only revenue, but increased word-of-mouth, referrals, and the possibility of cross- or upselling. So it’s imperative that you get it right.

We have custom handouts for each service we offer. Whether you drop it off or email it, you will start by adding your “notes from the pros” on reasons why they need 5 Tool Digital’s help.

 

For every lead you talk to or visit, grab their info! Whether it’s a business card or off their website. Every time you collect, whether they are interested or not, send them an invite to your next Lunch & Learn. This is a good way to keep nudging potential customers.

Many salespeople are loath to disqualify prospects and shrink their pipelines.

Their natural instinct is trying to work as many leads as possible, but this isn’t the best approach. The quality of your leads matters more than the quantity.

As a salesperson, your most precious asset is your time, and it’s far better to spend it on a handful of your best prospects than spreading yourself thin across dozens of leads. Trying to close every deal that comes along is only going to result in dead-ends with poor fit prospects, while you neglect prospects likely to buy.

These three levels are listed in the order you should use them to disqualify.

For instance, if your prospect is a complete departure from your company’s buyer persona, it’s safe to disqualify them right then and there on an organizational level. Maybe one day, you’ll serve their type of buyer, but right now you don’t — so don’t waste time trying to shoehorn your offering into their business.

Similarly, you could be speaking with the CEO of an organization with complete budget authority who passes Decision Maker qualification with flying colors. But if there’s no problem, there’s no need for your solution. Qualify for business pain first.

Also keep in mind that unless a prospect can be qualified on all three levels, you shouldn’t advance them in the sales process. For example, if you ask your prospect about the company’s strategic goals and they’re unable to answer, it’s a good sign they’re not close enough to the decision process and lack influence.

You should disqualify this contact at the stakeholder level, even though they pass at the opportunity level.

There’s a hierarchy to qualification. That is, sales reps must qualify prospects at three different levels — “organization-level,” “opportunity-level,” and “stakeholder-level” sales qualification.

Organization Qualification

This is the most basic level of qualification and doesn’t tell you much other than whether you should do more research. If your company has buyer personas, reference them when qualifying a prospect. Does the buyer match the demographics of a given persona?

Opportunity Qualification

This form of qualification is probably what you thought of when you read the title of this post. Opportunity-level sales qualification is where you determine whether your prospect has a specific need or challenge you can satisfy and whether it’s feasible for them to implement your particular product or service. The other half of a good buyer persona, opportunity-level characteristics gives insight into whether a prospect could benefit from your offering.

Decision Maker Qualification

Let’s say you’ve determined that your prospect’s company is a good match for your solution and fits your ideal buyer persona. It’s time to get into the nitty-gritty — can your point of contact actually pull the trigger on a purchase decision?

Step 3. Run Snapshot report on qualified leads

We will set each sales rep up with their own Snapshot report widget. Whenever someone fills out your widget, a Snapshot Report will be generated and emailed to you and them. 

Only qualified prospects get snapshot reports… not leads, only PROSPECTS. They cost money to process so we don’t want to just run them for anybody. Serious leads only!

Step 4. Pitch & promote based on Snapshot results

Step 5. Time to Followup

How to Effectively Follow Up with Leads

Each type of lead will require a different level of messaging. Depending on how the lead came to you, it may be hot and ready to close or may need a bit of warming. For example, a lead that comes to you by way of an email opt-in campaign as opposed to a lead that filled out a ‘contact me’ form on your webpage are at different points in the sales funnel and should be approached accordingly.
Organize the leads into at least three groups: Hot, warm, and cold. Seems a bit remedial, but trust us, you’ll want to take note of the leads’ temperatures so that you don’t treat them like one size fits all. If you’re interested in doing a more robust lead scoring initiative, there are software programs available which will separate your leads based on point values you assign to various consumer behaviors. Move leads from group to group as you get to know them better and move them closer to becoming a paying client.

Arrange for a ‘thank you’ email or phone call to be made within 12-24 hours after a lead comes in. Offer to answer any questions they may have to demonstrate the care and attention you provide to each customer.

Personalize your correspondence by including the recipient’s name in your emails, sending them information based on the pages visited on your website, or responding personally to an online inquiry instead of pushing canned responses.

Leads have a preferred way of communicating and quite frankly, you have no idea what that is at this point. Use social media, email, snail mail, and phone calls to connect with potential clients.

We don’t mean to reach out directly using every single communication tool you have! Just be sure that you’re readily available no matter your lead’s preferred medium. So, respond to social media messages quickly, answer your phone and return calls promptly and check your inbox.

Remember, it typically requires 7-10 touches before a conversion happens. Creating a follow-up schedule will ensure you remain consistent with your communications and prevent you from letting the leads you worked so hard to attain fall through the cracks. Your communications calendar should aim to keep you top of mind with your leads but not become a nuisance.

A good rule of thumb:

• Emails: once per week

• Phone calls: once per month

• Face to face: once per quarter

Anything more than that and you run the risk of getting the brush off.

If you have a CRM (contact/customer relation management) system, you’re way ahead of the game. CRM’s allow you to keep record of all customer outreach and the results of those communications. If you don’t have a CRM, no worries – that’s what Excel is for! Simply create a spreadsheet which includes your prospects contact information and notes regarding the dates and methods used to nurture those leads.

A good rule of thumb:

• Emails: once per week

• Phone calls: once per month

• Face to face: once per quarter

Anything more than that and you run the risk of getting the brush off.

Qualifying your leads is a very important step and should be done as early as possible. Don’t get trigger happy and abandon leads because they may take a bit of work to close, but be smart about what you’re chasing down. Three qualifying categories to consider:

Do they have the means to make a purchase?
Are they motivated?
Are they the decision maker?

If you discover they’re not qualified at this time, don’t toss their info! Put them in a ‘to be followed up with later’ file and create a campaign to target those leads which you’ve put on the back burner down the road when their circumstances may have changed.

Lead prospecting is all about remaining in front of your clients without getting on their bad side … a sort of omnipresence, if you will. Your goal shouldn’t necessarily be to convince them to buy, but rather to be there when they’re ready to buy. This type of reliability bodes well for your brand and makes those leads feel respected and valued. What better way to cultivate your customer base than that?!

A good rule of thumb:

• Emails: once per week

• Phone calls: once per month

• Face to face: once per quarter

Anything more than that and you run the risk of getting the brush off.

Step 6. Close deals

Effective Strategies to Close Deals

Traditional sales closing techniques usually employ some psychological tricks designed to give that final nudge. Here are two of the most common.

Now or Never Closes

This is where salespeople make an offer that includes a special benefit that prompts immediate purchase. For example:

  • “This is the last one at this price.”
  • “We’ve got a 20% discount just for customers who sign up today.”
  • “If you commit to buy now, I can fast track you to the front of the implementation queue.”

This technique works because it creates a sense of urgency and can help overcome inertia when a prospect wants to buy — but for some reason isn’t pulling the trigger. Of course, you should always establish value before offering a discount or promotion.

Summary Closes

Salespeople who use this closing technique reiterate the items the customer is hopefully purchasing (stressing the value and benefits) in an effort to get the prospect to sign. For example:

“So we have the Centrifab washing machine with brushless motor, the 10-year comprehensive guarantee, and our free delivery and installation service. When would be a good time to deliver?”

By summarizing previously agreed-upon points into one impressive package, you’re helping prospects visualize what they’re truly getting out of the deal.

Sharp Angle Closes

Prospects often ask for price reductions or ad-ons because they know they have the upper hand — and they also know you expect it. If you have approval from your sales manager to do so, try the sharp angle close technique to catch these prospects by surprise.

When they ask, “Could you add on a few extra hours of onboarding at a discounted rate?” reply, “Sure. But if I do that for you, will you sign the contract today?” It’s likely they won’t be expecting this response — first, because you agreed to their request, and second, because you’ve proposed closing today.

In a sales engagement, reps should endeavor to:

  • Discover the customer’s needs
  • Effectively communicate how specific products or services offer an affordable and satisfactory solution to those needs

If these two requirements are properly achieved, then there should be no barrier to closure. The closing question can be asked directly at that point.

Question Closes

To achieve these two foundational goals, it’s imperative that reps ask prospects probing questions. Effective salespeople focus on closing a sale as soon as a conversation with a prospect begins. Through a series of questions, they develop desire in the client and eliminate every objection to purchase.

One can even close the sale in the form of a question, which allows the rep to address outstanding objections while gaining a commitment at the same time.

For example: “In your opinion, does what I am offering solve your problem?”

The question allows you to discover whether the prospect is sold on your product while keeping the door open for further selling. If the answer is ‘no’ it remains their opinion (not yet the truth), thereby allowing you to continue to sell. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then signing on the dotted line is the next step.

Here’s another question close: “Is there any reason why we can’t proceed with the shipment?”

This question asks either for closure or more information as to why the customer isn’t quite convinced. It’s win-win.

Assumptive Closes

This closing technique draws on the power of positive thinking. If you believe, from the first piece of email outreach, you will close this deal, it can have an incredible effect on the rest of the sales process.

What’s important here is to closely monitor your prospect’s interest, engagement, and objections throughout. After a call or meeting, ask, “Did this presentation align with your expectations?” If you’ve just provided them with new information about your product or service, ask, “Does this sound like something that would be valuable to your company? Does this meet a specific need or pain point?

By keeping your ear to the ground — and assuming good intent from the start — you’ll bring an authority and direction to your sales process that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

Take Away Closes

If you have kids, you’ve likely noticed if you take a toy away from them — they’ll want it more than ever. Use this similar psychological practice on your prospects.

If they’re balking on price, remove a feature or service and present the discounted offer to them. It’s likely, they’ll be thinking about the part you removed rather than the discounted price.

Soft Closes

The soft close is a way to show your prospect the benefit of your product and then ask a low-impact question to ascertain whether they’d be open to learning more.

For example, “If I could reduce widget maintenance by 25% and increase widget productivity by 15%, would you be interested in learning more?

You’ve clearly stated the benefits without making any demands or sudden requests.

If the example above still seems too direct, you could ask, “If I told you I could reduce widget maintenance by 25% and increase widget productivity by 15%, would that align with your company goals?

This removes their need to commit to you in the slightest, and gives you more time to learn about their business needs.

Being skilled at closing is arguably one of the most important techniques a salesperson can master. Find a mentor or fellow salesperson who excels at it and learn from them.

The way consumers make purchasing decisions is constantly changing, so it’s important to continually reevaluate your sales strategy with your staff. Selling any type of product or service can be a fine line to walk–you have to find that perfect balance between being persuasive but not arrogant or annoying.

This takes careful planning, but fortunately with a solid strategy in place you can make sure your company is staying consistent and closing more deals.

You have to remember that when trying to make a sale, the customer needs to come first. Below are some of the most effective strategies to help close your sales faster:

1. Identify the decision maker.

No matter what industry you are in, knowing the decision maker is crucial to a quick close. Many times the decision makers will send someone else into the fire to learn all of the information they can about your company. If this is the case, be sure to put yourself into the head of the decision maker so that you can customize your sales pitch to that person’s interests, even if they aren’t there.

Of course, your best-case scenario is that you sit down with the decision maker. Do whatever you can to setup a meeting with that person.

2. Be real.

A client can sense if you are being genuine during the sales process. In other words, it’s important to convey to the client that you care about their business and not just the deal. Coming off too calculated can turn people off; however, remember that there is nothing wrong with being prepared. It’s okay to appear like you’re ready for every question that comes your way, just simply don’t act like you don’t care about the customer’s best interests.

3. Create a sense of urgency.

Attach a deadline to the deal to help give the client an incentive to commit. Whether it’s a discount or something free, make them feel like they have the upper hand. This does not mean rush the customer; it simply means try to give them a little extra reason why your product or service is the right choice, and the right choice right now.

4. Overcome objections.

Preparing the sales presentation to address and overcome potential objections can speed up any deal. If something catches you off-guard, you might need to take some time to think up a solution. In a past Inc. article published here, sales expert Tom Searcy calls this having a “landmine map.” By having an outline of anticipated problems and a thoughtful analysis of the risks, you can reduce the resistance.

I highly recommend sitting down with your entire sales team and having each person come up with objections they might anticipate. Give them your sales pitch and see if there are any objections you and your team may have missed.

5. Know your competition.

Competing for business is tough. Knowing the areas that you are more competitive than your competition can lead to that quick close. Again, this is all about preparation. Do your research and make sure that you make note of something that you are doing that your competition is not. This is oftentimes the biggest selling point, so you don’t want to ignore it.

6. Watch what you say!

Don’t put your foot in your mouth. Keep it to the point and focus on your areas of expertise. You want to be real and personable, but you have to remain professional.

Step 7. the contract

  1. Guide your client to our Agreement page and have them fill in all the fields, including the credit card information. Make sure to put your name where it says “Approved By.”
  2. You are now done with your part in the closing process. Wasn’t that easy? This is where their info is sent to the 5 Tool Digital team and we begin our intake process, gathering tons of information to get them started.

It’s simple. All our contracts are 12-month agreements. When you sign someone up, you get the first month’s payment immediately. This way you’re making money right away!

Our products range in price from $129/mo to $299/mo. Our recommended bundle sells for $995/mo.

So you can see it’s very easy to build up a lucrative income as you add clients each month.