We like to talk about pushing leads through the sales funnel, but it’s not always about pushing so much as it is about dancing. Lead nurturing, if you really think about it, is about taking a step forward, experiencing a setback, and then stepping forward again, and so on, and probably managing a few twists and spins along the way. True lead nurturers know this, which is why, instead of attempting to deliver the same messages in different disguises and expecting or hoping to get a different result, they focus on removing the barriers to sale. They recognize that lead nurturing isn’t just about pressing the lead to commit until the lead finally submits, but about setting expectations, cultivating trust, tearing down walls, and building a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship.
The best way to ensure that you set the right expectations with a lead you are nurturing is to be very clear about who you are, what you’re offering, your approach, and your current capabilities and goals for the future.
Setting the right expectations is also about showing the lead that you are willing to put what is in his or her company’s best interests at the forefront, whether or not anything’s in it for you.
When a lead presents a problem that your company isn’t suited to solve, you can either simply tell the lead that your company doesn’t provide the solution to the problem the lead has described and try to get the lead to focus on what you can do, or go the extra mile, and present an out-of-the-box solution that the lead can implement independently, or offer up a referral that will meet the lead’s needs. When you go the latter route, you set the expectation that the lead can rely on you as a true partner. When you go the former route, and tell a lead that you can’t provide a solution to a problem and offer no alternatives, you run the risk of shutting down the conversation entirely.
When you tell a lead that you can’t resolve a problem, and leave it at that, you’re not nurturing the lead; you’re stopping the conversation dead in its tracks. When, on the other hand, you tell a lead that you can’t resolve the problem, but offer a few ways that the lead might resolve the problem independently or through another third party, you keep the conversation going, and set the expectation that you will always have the lead’s best interest in mind—regardless of what’s in it for you.
Setting expectations shouldn’t be about merely telling a lead what your company can and can’t do, but about showing the lead that you are equipped and willing to be a true partner—assuming that you are equipped and willing to be a true partner.
Obviously, setting the right expectations helps cultivate trust with leads that need nurturing. So does making promises and delivering on them, even prior to a formal engagement.
Tell the lead you’re nurturing that you plan on reaching out to them to set a next appointment by a certain date, and then reach out to them by or on that date. Tell the lead you will make an introduction to someone or some third party that may benefit them, and then do it. Promise to send a certain deliverable by a certain time, and then send that deliverable on time.
To truly nurture a lead, you have to be willing to make certain promises in the absence of a formal commitment, and to be prepared to always make good on your word. To do these two things, you have to manage your time very wisely.
Cultivating trust doesn’t happen overnight, but over time, yields fantastic rewards. Set aside time each day to make good on your lead nurturing-related promises, and you will see positive results. You will see how you have the power to make a lead rely on you as a trusted advisor, and consequently, to consider you and your company as indispensible.
Want more insights on lead nurturing? Return to Info.VenderePartners.com next week for thoughts on how to tear down walls and build a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship with your company’s long-term leads.