Losing sales opportunities is never something you wish to do. Still, it's something all businesses will inevitably have to deal with all the time. Ideally, you'd have a 100% lead conversion rate, turning all of your leads into sales. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to ever happen. No matter how good your conversion strategy is, you're going to miss out on sales. This might discourage you, leading you to think that there's no point in focusing on your missed sales opportunities. However, there are many times where you're losing sales that could easily be converted.
What's the best way to stop yourself from missing out on easy sales? Well, you need to understand why you're losing them! Here are the top ways businesses lose sales and miss out on opportunities:
Landing pages are the pages that people land on when they click on your online adverts. The best landing pages will direct leads towards a specific decision, based on the purpose of your ads. For example, if your advert is for a new sale, the end goal is to get people to buy products. Therefore, the landing page must reflect this and encourage people to add things to their basket. A great landing page gets straight to the point and directs consumers to the end goal. It explains why they need to do this thing, then makes it easy for them to do it.
Terrible landing pages come in all shapes and sizes. Some examples of key issues include pages that take an age to load, ones that give no information, ones that give too much information, and non-existent landing pages. If a landing page takes ages to load, people will click off it before they even see what it has to say. Similarly, pages with no information are too confusing for consumers, so they just leave the page. If there's too much info, it gets annoying for the user as they can't be bothered to read all of it. Again, they click off after a few seconds. Lastly, non-existent landing pages are where you just make people land on a random page of your website that doesn't connect to the advert. E.g. you advertise the sale, but the landing page takes them to your homepage. You've put extra steps between the user and the end goal, so they're less likely to make a purchase.
As a consequence, you miss out on loads of sales by having awful landing pages. Work on this, and you'll be surprised at the boost your conversion rate receives.
Lots of businesses still make sales over the phone. This is particularly true of small companies or service-based businesses that rely on consultations/bookings. Therefore, you need to answer the phone when people ring. Remember, consumers are impatient people - and you should know this by looking at yourself. If you try to call a business and receive no reply, what are you likely to do? Sure, you may try again or you may leave a message. What if there's still no reply after a few hours or a day? The chances are you give up and find another business instead.
Now, from the business owner's perspective, this is the worst possible thing to happen. Not only have you missed out on a sale, but you've driven the consumer to one of your rivals. If the rival company answers right away, they're as good as gone. Understandably, you might be in the middle of a job or have lots of work going on, meaning you can't answer all your calls. Not only that, but you also don't have the time to respond instantly. After all, you have a backlog of calls to return, so they keep piling on top of one another.
The simple solution is to ensure you stop missing out on calls - or at least manage to respond right away. Nowadays, companies like Zintel provide services to notify you of missed calls. This could help you send a message or call someone back immediately, rescuing a sale. Or, if you can afford it, you can outsource your call management to a virtual receptionist. Now, someone will answer all of your calls and forward the messages to you. Here, the consumer knows their message will reach you, so they'll wait for you to get in touch. Again, there's no telling how many sales you miss out on by not answering the phone!
In some ways, the previous point falls under this heading. Not answering calls is technically poor customer service. However, this point is more to do with other elements of serving customers/consumers. It relates to online businesses, shops, cafes, etc. You can miss out on hundreds of sales by providing a below-par service for people. Let's look at a couple of scenarios - one online and one in a physical store.
A consumer visits your website, seeking information on your products/services. Here, you have a prime lead as they're interested in what you offer. Unfortunately, your customer service is terrible as they can't figure out how to contact you. You may have email details, but they get no response from you. The FAQ section on your site barely exists, so they have no answers to their questions. It's really poor, so they leave your site and look elsewhere. All of this can be avoided by having multiple avenues of customer service. Make it easy for consumers to contact you and get the information they require. It could be the difference between converting a lead and giving a lead to a rival company.
Now, imagine you own a store and a customer goes inside. Your employees don't greet them, nobody smiles at the customer, and there's a general lack of energy given off. The customer asks someone where a product is, and they reply gruffly and point in the general direction. The customer still can't find it, and they decide to leave because the employees are terrible. This is another example of customer service causing a loss of sales. Your employees need to be helpful and look like they enjoy working in the store. They should go out of their way to assist customers, directing them precisely to the product they're after. A simple smile from a shop assistant and the right directions could've turned this scenario around and led to a sale.
Consumers know they should be given a certain amount of respect from businesses. After all, your company wouldn't function without paying customers. Thus, you have to provide excellent customer service to everyone. As demonstrated in the examples, a lack of customer support can cause simple sales to slip through your fingers.
Too many business owners are disheartened when a lead seemingly slips through their fingers. More accurately, you've tried to secure a sale, but the lead just hasn't committed. On your website, they may have added things to their cart but didn't make the purchase. You might have had a conversation over the phone or through face-to-face consultation, but they weren't sure whether to choose you or not. In these situations, your natural reaction is to assume it's a lost opportunity. So, you go about your day, looking for other leads.
On the contrary, the missed opportunity comes from leaving things as they are. Particularly in the case of consultations, where clients might play a little game with you. When they're considering different companies, they don't like to make a decision at the first consultation. Instead, they're waiting to see who wants it more and who is willing to come to them. By not following up, you miss out on the chance to secure a sale. A follow-up email or call can be all it takes to convince the client that you are worth their money. As a result, you've secured a sale that looked like it was lost.
The same goes for online businesses, and it's even easier for you to follow up. If you have someone's email address, you can send them a message reminding them they have products in their cart. Alternatively, using online ads will help you follow up. Adverts are usually targeted using cookies, taking information from a user's browsing habits. If you've paid for the right ads, they should be seen by people that recently visited your site. It's a little reminder to them that they were thinking about buying something but didn't do it. This 'follow-up' might convince them to go back and make the purchase. Think about it this way, if you never follow-up, you'll always lose sales. If you do, there's a chance you might turn things around!
Clearly, you can miss out on sales in many ways. However, these four scenarios are where most businesses lose easy sales. You will never convert all of your leads, but you can certainly do a lot better than you currently are. If you're guilty of falling victim to any of the issues discussed in this guide, you're doing a disservice to your business! Work on avoiding them, meaning you secure some easy sales.