Converting prospects to customers is challenging and expensive. Depending on the company and marketing tactics, it costs 3-5 times to acquire a customer than it does to keep one. The conversion process is a series of finely honed steps that move people from inquisition to participation.
The occasional misstep slows the process and increases costs, but it doesn’t derail the relationship. It can even lead to chuckles down the road. But, there is nothing funny about these five fatal errors that alienate prospects and customers alike. Avoid them at all costs.
- Failing to follow up: When customers and prospects ask for more information, send it as quick as possible using the recipient’s preferred channel. Every day you wait reduces the likelihood that they will ever respond. If you wait a week, most people won’t remember the original request.
- Following up too much: A request for information or signing up for a newsletter isn’t permission to move in. Deliver what you promise with an attitude of gratitude. Then stop. Leave stalking out of the mix. There are laws against that now.
- Poor housekeeping: If you communicate with your prospects and customers, document the conversations. When different people in your organization contact prospects with the same questions, you are shouting, “we don’t know what we’re doing!” If the same person makes the contact, it is even worse.
- Blind automation: The objective of the conversion process is to start a dialogue. Automated emails with “do not reply” return addresses are one-way messages. Always provide easy ways for your recipients to respond to your information. Allowing them to click “reply” and have their response sent to a person is the easiest.
- Pitching off topic: Asking for information on a specific product or service doesn’t indicate an interest in everything else your company has to offer. Stay focused. If you do the first part well, the relationship may develop into more. Until then, your objective is to keep your prospects happy and engaged in the conversion process.
These errors are the ones I see most often. What have you seen lately that alienated you from a company?