Attracting a lot of enquiries for your products or services is a good start – but it’s only the start. Your business will not flourish until you are converting those enquiries or visitors to your website to customers.
The key to converting a lead to a sale is to understand the psychological triggers that will make your potential customers buy – and to have the necessary messages and functionality in place to take advantage of them by making the buying decision easy.
There have been numerous pieces of research about why people choose to buy (this is the same for business to business as well as business to consumer) and have summarised them below, along with suggested actions you can take to improve your conversion from leads to sale.
As humans, we share many characteristics including mental triggers that cause us to take action. By understanding them and using them to help potential customers buy, you make success in business much more likely.
Everybody wants to avoid pain
This is what psychologists call “the negativity bias.” All humans will expend more time and effort to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. This has been demonstrated on a neurological level as the brain lights up more from negative external stimuli than from positive ones.
This is the most important trigger for converting website visitors to customers. However, each of us have different pains. That means it is key to understand your target market is and what their pains are.
How you can use this – the most prevalent “pains” are time spent, complexity, cost and inefficiency. Make sure these are pains for your target market and then focus your marketing copy on the pain, explaining that your product or service offers a solution. You will immediately get interest from your ideal customers. If you talk to potential customers, use a similar approach by asking open questions (beginning with who, how, what or why) to open up a conversation, finding what problem or challenge they have, but also what pain it is causing them before you start talking about your product or service.
Most people love something new or different
Research by neurologists shows that exposure to something new and unfamiliar can generate a feeling of pleasure by increasing the release of dopamine in the brain. Apple take advantage of this by regularly issuing new products with “teaser” campaigns prior to the launch. It gets their target market excited and in the mood to buy as soon as the product is released. Apple know that their consumers will want to try new features or experiences and are very likely to upgrade to the latest product.
How you can use this – what is new or different about your product or service from others on the market – emphasise the differences. Launch new versions without all the planned features and functionality so you can continually refresh it by adding new features or benefits.
Everyone is looking for answers and reasons why
As soon as we learn to talk, we ask questions – why is the sky blue, are we nearly there yet?
Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, a psychology professor at the University of California, found our rational mind is always searching for meanings, as we look for explanations to make sure we can understand everything we experience.
The Xerox experiment by psychologist Ellen Langer found that people are willing to do more for you if you give them a reason, even if the reason is completely arbitrary (people standing in line to use a photocopier were 34% more likely to let someone cut in front of them, even when their reason was as meaningless as “because I have to make some copies”).
How you can use this – explain why you offer a product or service (and the features of them as well) and you increase the likelihood that someone will buy from you. Sometimes this is explained as “features which mean that..benefits”. For example – This car has 4 wheel drive, which means that you can travel safely on icy roads.
Story telling is an emotional trigger
When we read or listen to a story it impacts our subconscious, emotional brain which is associated with sight, sound, taste, and movement. Research shows this is where people make their decision whether or not to buy. Improving lead to sale conversion involves triggering the emotions of potential customers!
How you can use this – your marketing copy should be structured as stories about your products and services that bring the benefits to life. This could be something as simple as a case study or testimonial, or take the car example above and add a story:
This car has 4 wheel drive, which means that you can travel safely on icy roads. Imagine being able to get home without worrying about having to abandon your car and struggle home through the snow and ice in the dark.
The law of least effort
Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, says “A general ‘law of least effort’ applies to cognitive as well as physical exertion. The law asserts that if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature.”
In simple terms, people will always look for the quickest, easiest way to get what they want or where they want to be –a bit like water running down a mountain which always finds the easiest route!
How you can use this – create an easy to follow process for potential customers. Show them how your product or service makes it easy to achieve the result they want as quickly as possible.
We team up with people like us against common enemies
Sociologist Georg Simmel argues we create common enemies because it unites us with people we think are like us.
How you can use this – Think about the benefits of your product or service, especially what pain they remove, then you can explain the pain as a common enemy. For example, building on the example in the previous article of a car with 4 wheel drive:
We all hate not being able to travel when bad weather hits. That’s why this car has 4 wheel drive – so you can get where you want to be regardless of the weather.
The Information Gap Theory
George Loewenstein, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, discovered that when there is a gap between what we know and what we want to know, we will take action to fill that gap.
It’s a bit like having an itch that you want to scratch – your curiosity inspires you to take some action. Not only that, it also increases activity in the parts of the brain associated with pleasure. It’s that self-satisfied feeling when you find the answer you have been looking for!
How you can use this – break down your buying process into a few steps. To maximise lead to sale conversion, don’t give a potential customer all the information they would want at the beginning. It could be too much information for them to take in which would turn them away. Instead, set up a simple process with a few steps. In each step, give some information to a question you think they will want answering, with a pointer to more information. For example, using the car information above:
We all hate not being able to travel when bad weather hits. That’s why this car has 4 wheel drive – so you can get where you want to be regardless of the weather. To find out how it works, call XXXXX now.
Note: this does mean you need to think as a potential customer would – put yourself in their shoes, think of the questions they would have and what order they would ask them in.
We hope this helps – you can get more advice like this from 70 subject matter experts at https://www.bubulexpert.com/existing-sme/