Ever heard the phrase “ABC: Always Be Closing”?
It’s so catchy, isn’t it? And it sounds like solid advice. Any salesperson will tell you that closing is the most important part of a sale.
But, to me, that advice is short-sighted.
If you’re only focused on getting prospects to close the sale, you’ll miss the beautiful opportunity to build a relationship with that customer. Yes, beautiful.
As an SaaS, your focus should be on relationship building. If you can get a new customer to stick around, you’ll get much more value from that customer. But if you’re pushing your prospect to purchase right now, immediately, without delay, you could be sabotaging yourself.
Closing is both an art and a science.
The science of selling is all about applying psychological tricks and hacks. Through science, you figure out what language to use and precisely when to use it.
But the art of selling is all about creating an emotional connection with your customer. It’s about delighting your customer so that they never feel pressured, coerced, or confused. Instead, they feel happy that they’ve finally found the solution to their woes.
No doubt about it, you need both. Science without art is soulless. Art without science is toothless. To convert prospects into customers, you need to establish a connection and a hook. You already know the mechanics of closing, let’s focus on the connection and elevate it to an art form.
Defining Your Prospect’s Journey
Before you can close a sale, you’ve got to understand your prospect’s journey.
- Why did they arrive on your website?
- What or who referred them to your website?
- What are they looking to accomplish?
- How can you help them accomplish this goal?
Here’s a list of questions to ask when defining your prospect’s journey.
Instead of looking at your prospects like dollar signs, look at them like real people who have real deadlines, real bosses, real budget concerns, and a really short attention span. Depending on who you’re targeting, your prospect may not even know how your product will enhance their lives.
The last thing any prospect wants is to be pushed into the deep end of buzzwords and slick marketing. That’s soulless science at work.
To get your prospect from “what’s this” to “buy now”, you’ve got to invest in nurturing. I can’t emphasize that enough– nurturing is the most important part of the equation.
So, create a comprehensive lead nurturing campaign where you address the following:
Who your product is for –
Here’s where you flesh out your customer personas. Figure out who will get the most out of your product, and then focus on those personas.
No, your product is not a one size fits all— and trying to appeal to every possible buyer will not end in a delightful experience for you or them.
Be transparent on your website and in your marketing materials about who will benefit from using your product. And then go forth and find those people.
Others (who aren’t the perfect fit) may stumble upon your website but, because you’re clear in your messaging about who your product is for, they will self-filter and leave. That’s not bad news– you’re actually helping prospective, but ill-fitting, customers from wasting their time and yours.
What your product does –
Do you use industry jargon and marketing keywords to explain your product? If you do, here’s the result: Prospects have no idea what in the world you do, and how you actually help them.
This is a mistake that so many SaaS businesses make. They’re basically speaking to their competitors, and not to their prospective customers.
Sure, your prospect may have arrived on your website because they used a specific marketing keyword that you rank for. However, they don’t know what that keyword means. Repeat after me: They do not.
In a very likely scenario, the prospect came across the keyword on a blog post and thought, Hmm… I wonder if that’s what I need. And then they copied and pasted the keyword phrase into Google, and wound up on your page.
This doesn’t mean that your prospect is dumb, it just means that they’re not as familiar with your product as you are. They need a quick rundown of what your product does and why they should care.
Why your product –
Explain why you’re different from the competition.
You’ve got a unique value proposition. You need to make that proposition clear and obvious when building your relationship with a new prospect.
How to use your product –
After you’ve properly introduced yourself through the who, what, and why, it’s time to discuss the how. Prospects need to know how your product works and how to use it to solve their issue.
Your user library should be well-stocked with tutorials and guides on how to use your product. Host webinars and then save those webinar recordings as extra resources for your customers. Create a steady stream of educational blog posts. Share tips and tricks via email. Promote your content on social media. Provide easy access to all educational resources on all outreach channels.
Embrace Content Marketing as Part of Your Prospect’s Journey
In addition to tutorials on your product specifically, make available resources that directly enrich your prospects’ lives. This will help you close the sale because A) you’re showing prospects that they can trust you, and B) first-time visitors rarely become new customers.
Here’s how it works:
Lead nurturing starts the very minute a new visitor lands on your site. Nine out of 10 visitors won’t purchase during their first encounter with your brand. Or the second, or the third… Studies show that it takes 9 encounters with your brand before conversion happens.
So, how do you get prospects to engage with your brand 9 times? Not through hard sells, that’s for sure. If the prospect comes back to take a closer look, but you’re just screaming “buy now!”, it won’t help convert them. However, if you can give away valuable information and resources that truly help your prospect, you’ll eventually convince them to buy your product. And what’s better? It’ll be their idea.
Content marketing is how you deliver value to your leads. Yep, you’re marketing (shhh…) but you’re also developing a relationship with the prospect at the same time. You’re establishing trust, building your reputation as an expert, and giving them the information that they need to succeed. Everyone wins.
I won’t lie to you. It takes a lot of time and effort to set up a lead nurturing campaign, especially if you focus on content marketing and not just stuffing prospects down the sales funnel. However, a well-educated prospect often converts into a happy customer.
When creating a lead nurturing strategy, keep these best practices in mind:
- Be patient – It won’t happen overnight.
- Insert testimonials – Social proof convinces better than manufactured marketing.
- Show case studies – Customers like to see your product in use.
- Segment your emails – Target your messages to specific customer personas.
Get Rid of Any Bumps Along the Path
Once prospects are ready to buy your product, they shouldn’t need to jump through hoops. Simplify your ask.
If you’re asking any of the following, you’re asking for too much:
- Customers must create accounts with no option to check out as a guest
- Customers must give a physical shipping address for your digital product
- Customers must click through several pages to check out (I’m a fan of the one-page checkout)
- Customers must select credit card type (Yes, it’s a small detail, but any bumps in the path will slow down the checkout process. You can automatically configure the credit card type based on its first two digits.)
Customers don’t want to sit through a long checkout process. In addition to limiting your checkout steps, it may be helpful to show them where they are in the checkout process.
Remember that you can always ask for additional information later.
Before you go, check out this related resource:
Don’t forget to download this list of questions to ask yourself when defining your prospect’s journey.