Delaying a response to a prospective customer can impact your sales process immeasurably. Does a delay make your business seem bigger, more in demand or valuable, or does it just leave a nasty taste in your prospect’s mouth?
This week we received a question from a Cambridge-based client who relies on Lead generation via Google Ads. His question was ‘How soon should I respond to a sales enquiry via PPC?’.
We break it down in this week’s post, answering (i) how soon, (ii) what you should say and (iii) why. Great stuff in this one for you growing SMBs.
We run through a standard operating procedure every time we onboard a new ‘lead generation’ client. We continually update and tweak this process as we learn to make this onboarding easier our clients.
Part of our onboarding process is to provide an opportunity for our team to learn more about their prospect’s business operations, the details about their products or services, their approach to customer service, and their general commercial perspective.
During this process, we recently received an interesting question from one of our Cambridge-based clients regarding the best way to respond to PPC-generated sales enquiries.
The best way to set up a new Google Ads campaign is to implement a strategy called Single Theme Ad Group or STAG for short. This approach generally results in several different Ad Groups within a Campaign representing themes of enquiry.
For example, if you were selling cars, you could have an Ad Group containing keywords for ‘electric cars’ or ‘red cars’. For each Ad Group, you would have an Ad that highlighted the theme of the Ad Group. For example, ‘Our electric cars fly!’ or ‘Contact us today to discover your new red car’.
The result of this strategy is a prospective customer who searched for a solution to a problem they are experiencing and discovered your solution through the Ad they read and clicked. They have then read your landing page information and either called your sales team or submitted a sales enquiry via the contact form on your page.
So, now we have an interested prospective customer who has contacted your business for the solution they’ve found most attractive. Job done? Not really. There’s still work to do here.
People are generally (i) time-poor and (ii) distracted. If they have a problem they need to solve, they have probably carved out a few minutes of Googling between personal errands or Zoom conferences.
Within those fleeting moments, they have managed to find your business and submit an enquiry. They know, as well as we do, that it’s simple to reach out to other competitors - they have the search results right in front of them, and they’re just a click away, after all.
So, that sets the scene. Your prospective customers are busy, distracted, in front of a list of your competitors and eager to solve whatever problem they’re experiencing.
Suppose you’re fortunate enough that your customer has called you after discovering your ad. In that case, you need to qualify the customer ASAP and see if you can work together by providing the product or service they need. Sometimes, it’s a no-go - sometimes, the product or service they’re looking for isn’t a good fit. For the ones that are a good fit, you need to get them committed to your solution. How do we do that?
Present a good solution to their problem.
This means that during that first telephone call, you’ll need to qualify them and ensure your product/service is the correct solution for them. You’ll also need to set some expectations for the rest of the sales process - or at least the next step.
This should be sufficient for now and should stop them from pursuing other competitor solutions immediately, which should mean you have their full attention.The sale is yours to lose, as they say.
We can apply the same approach to responding to contact form submissions. Like with an inbound sales call, it’s crucial you establish a conversation with them.
For form submissions, you want to call them as soon as you receive the lead - seconds or minutes. No longer.
Rather than emailing your prospect back, calling them establishes a relationship. It reveals the person behind the business, and by calling them quickly, it also shows you prioritise the prospect above everything else.
What do I say?
During this first telephone call you want to go through the same process you use during your inbound telephone calls. You want to establish that your product is the right solution to their problem. Doing this on the phone is quicker, more reliable and better received than via email or IM.
IF you can’t get hold of them via the telephone (let’s face it - people are busy), then an email will be the next best solution. The primary goal of the email response should be…*Can you guess? *
The second goal should be to help them understand if your product or service can solve their problem. To achieve this, your email should ask them additional questions to clarify their request or help define their requirements in more detail.
Now, you don’t want to list a whole bunch of questions. You want to include 2-3 of the most critical questions you need answers to. You also want to answer their questions (if there are any and only if you can).
You don’t want to answer their questions in lots of detail but really just give them what they need to know, now. To expand on the answer or to better qualify them you also want to also suggest they join you for a short telephone call (you knew that was coming).
They’ll really appreciate the effort you’re going to in an attempt to solve their problem - by dropping in a few questions, you’re setting their expectations for the call - the types of questions they can expect. Make them simple and easy to answer, and before you know it, they’ll be offering up times for your call. Eager to speak with you.
Introducing a human-human interaction makes all the difference to a sales process - especially if that sales process begins its life as a Google search ad.
It’s a highly competitive marketplace out there. Listing your business next to others in search results certainly get’s you in front of your prospects, but you need help to stand out. Establishing actual contact with your prospect will help separate you from the rest. Furthermore, it will establish a far better start than those competitors who mistakenly choose only to use email for communication.
We manage a lot of Google Ads. We’ve seen small £100k businesses, and we’ve seen multi-million-pound businesses get this wrong. We once caught a sales team who would answer the phone quickly only to tell the caller to email them. We’ve seen a situation where a founder passed the sales reigns over to their partner only to find that sales disappeared overnight - it turned out that their spouse was leaving it for hours or days until they responded using email exclusively.
Hopping on the phone is the most important method of closing PPC leads, and it will forever be. So next time when you receive a sales enquiry through your website - jump on the phone and make a difference. If you don’t, your prospect will just continue to drop their details to your competitors until someone does.
Call them now. Every.Minute.Counts.
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