The Missing Step in Converting Prospects to Buyers

Every qualified prospect matters. When someone is eligible, interested, and serious about becoming one of your customers, it is critical to your ability to reach your sales goals that you take the necessary marketing actions and practice the sales techniques that will work to convert those prospects into buyers. Whether you are selling alpacas, breeding services, fiber products, or other related goods and services, your success depends upon turning those prospects into customers.

Let’s say you’ve done your best at explaining your alpacas, farm, and support services to prospects who have inquired by telephone, from your website, or at your show booth. Yet they are hesitant to schedule a farm visit or, if they are already at the farm, they are not taking the initiative to purchase. What is missing?

I like to say that selling is really two things:

1. Helping prospects make a good buying decision.

2. Getting them to act on your recommendations.

The first involves presenting information in a way that tells prospects what they can get from you. This information helps them make a good buying decision on their selection of alpacas and whether or not you are the breeder from whom they buy them. They come to you expecting you to be the knowledgeable, reliable resource they can trust. Their perception of your alpacas, the people working in your business, your farm, and any information you give them has a significant influence on whether or not they feel you can meet their needs and satisfy their desires.

If you are like many alpaca breeders, you are very skilled at communicating your knowledge of your alpaca’s bloodlines and strongest characteristics, what brought you into the industry, specific herd management techniques you use, farm operations, lifestyle factors about the industry, and maybe even all you do to provide outstanding customer support. You are passionate and want to educate your prospects and might even make recommendations for them to consider.

However, this first step – no matter how well executed – is not enough to convert prospects to buyers.

Getting the prospect to act on your recommendations is the step that actually converts a well-informed prospect into a customer. This involves asking the right kinds of questions during the inquiry, on subsequent farm visits, during follow-up contacts, and especially at the point when the prospect is ready to make a buying decision.

Inquiry – Be sure to include several good questions to assess the real needs of your inquiring prospects. Go beyond asking about color, bloodlines, and other specifics to open questions that generate a detailed response. Try these, “What appeals to you most about getting into the alpaca industry?” or “What specific characteristics are you looking for?” or “What is most important to you in selecting the alpacas you intend to buy?” Their response will give you decision-making factors you can then address.

Be sure to ASK for the farm visit, requesting a specific time when you can schedule it. Until they see your farm and your alpacas, most prospective buyers do not yet have enough information to make this important business/lifestyle decision. Your job is to make sure they get there.

Try questions that offer prospects a choice, such as which day or what time they want to schedule a visit. For example, you might say, “Would you like to schedule a farm visit this weekend or is next weekend better for your schedule?” When they respond, confirm the visit details.

Farm Visit – As you present the benefits of your alpacas, farm, and support services (helping prospects gather information they need to make a good buying decision), ask questions that request their agreement to the benefits you are presenting. These are known as “trial closing” questions. An example might be, “Does this alpaca seem like she would fit into your breeding program?” or “This herdsire has the characteristics you are looking for, wouldn’t you agree?”  Your prospects’ agreement helps them confirm in their own minds that this is a good buying decision.

After your prospect has responded to a few trial closing questions with, “Yes,” be sure to ASK for the sale. This is what will get them to ACT on your recommendation. Called the “final close,” it is the critical action that converts the prospect to a buyer.

For example, if your prospect replies, “Yes,” to the question, “Does this alpaca seem like she would fit into your breeding program?” your response might be, “Great, shall we go ahead and write up a contract for her now?” or “Good, would you like me to load her in your trailer today or would you like us to deliver her to you next week?” If your prospect’s answer to “This herdsire has the characteristics you are looking for, wouldn’t you agree?” is “Yes,” go right into a final closing question, such as, “Then would you like to book a breeding to him for your female?”  Unless you ask, you are not closing, and you will not sell as many alpacas and breedings as you could.

To step up to more sales, you must not only give your prospects the information they need to help them make a good buying decision, you must ask them to take action. What is that action? To visit your farm, to buy your alpacas, to book breedings, to purchase your fiber goods, or to purchase other related services you might offer. By consistently helping your inquiring prospects make a good buying decision and getting them to ACT on your recommendations, you will increase your conversions from inquiries to farm visits and from prospects to buyers. Try it; it works!

Julie Wassom
“The Speaker Whose Message Means Business”
Marketing and Sales Speaker/Consultant/Author
Call me: 303-693-2306
Fax me: 303-617-6422
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