Online Sales 101: Generating Quality Leads

By Jordan Miller

"Leads" are no new concept to any professional in the build-to-order industry. Whether you sell sheds, carports, or another customizable building, you've likely spent a substantial amount of energy entertaining the questions, comments and downright crazy ideas of prospective buyers from all walks of life. But where do you find potential customers, and how do you ensure that those requests for pink, ruffled she-sheds never run dry?

A crucial component to growing your business is producing a reliable, ongoing stream of sales leads. Here are a few tips that will help you create a system for finding potential buyers, and converting them to customers in the blink of an eye.


1) Know Your Audience

When it comes to finding potential buyers, your marketing message is key. For most products, blasting anyone and everyone with a generic advertisement is not an effective way to generate sales. Instead, start with a bit of research. Who is your ideal buyer? What are their interests? What is their general income bracket? Identify all of the demographic and behavioral patterns you can.

Once you have a sense of what your target customer looks like, craft a narrative for your product or service that speaks to their specific needs. As an example, let's explore that pink, ruffled she-shed...

Let's say that you find that your most frequent buyers are women, that their top purchases include highly personalized sheds (paint, shutters, dormers, etc.), and that they are typically ordered with delivery and installation to urban/suburban areas. What jumps out at you as important to this buyer?

Customization and convenience! Now wrap this into a succinct message that can be communicated quickly via phone, email and advertisements:

"You design, we deliver. Beautiful storage solutions for your busy life in as little as two weeks."




2) Choose Your Promotional Channels

Now that you know what your ideal buyer looks like, spend some time determining the best method for exposing them to your product. Depending on their interests or demographics, your current outreach could be missing them entirely.

There is a wealth of current data on where potential buyers spend their time online according to their gender, age, location, etc. Just take a look at this breakdown of social media demographics. What jumps out at you?

Let's say you're a Facebook marketing fanatic. Awesome! But did you know that individuals who make less than $30K per year, are older than 50 years of age, and/or live in rural areas are the least likely to be found on this platform? Did you know that individuals who live in urban areas, make over $75K per year and/or are women are the most likely to be found using Facebook? What this means is that...

"You design, we deliver. Beautiful storage solutions for your busy life in as little as two weeks."

...may have maximal impact on Facebook, where the target buyer of "woman/urban/cares about aesthetics" is likely to be found. But for a target buyer of "male/rural/+50 years old/cares about agricultural storage"? You may be missing your mark.

3) Capture Your Leads

In the build-to-order industry, leads come in over the phone, to the physical storefront, via email, over social media channels, and in forms on your website. Where is this crucial information going? It may seem like a no-brainer, but we see a ton of businesses who neglect to effectively record their incoming leads in an organized fashion.

If your leads are all headed straight to your email inbox (or nowhere in particular), there's a good chance that you are missing out on some valuable opportunities. Not only does this method bombard you with a constant stream of updates, but it makes it hard to track your sales conversations with potential customers, and which of them are most likely to follow through with a purchase. If you've ever found yourself engaging a potential customer with redundant conversations over the course of several weeks, or forgetting to follow up, or losing a sale altogether, it may be time to look for a more structured solution.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool could drastically enhance your business operations. CRM tools are just running logs of incoming leads that allow you to track their place in the sales cycle, and reach out when necessary. The best part is that many of them are free and can integrate seamlessly with all of your inbound inquiries. Imagine all emails, Facebook messages and website form submissions automatically pushing to once central place. Sound like a dream? It's more attainable than you think!



You can learn more at this article by HubSpot called What is CRM?

Generating quality leads doesn't stop here. You still need to convert them to actual sales! Check out our next blog, Online Sales 101: Generating Quality Leads, Continued to learn more about nurturing leads, building relationships, and increasing your customer conversion rate.

Tags: Sheds

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