My last post detailed how I achieved a 42% conversion rate on a $10,000 product.
One of the key aspects of that campaign was what I like to call “Quality of Communication.” The sales process can be described as an exchange of communication. Some people think the job of a sales person is to twist the arm of a prospect and convince them to buy a product they don’t really want. I don’t agree.
I think the job of a sales person is very similar to the job of a match maker, dating site, a job recruiter, real estate agent or a coach. The idea is to find the right fit. When you have the right fit then a sale just automatically takes place because it is a win/win situation.
Part of finding the right fit is to exchange some communication about what the prospect wants or needs and what the product can offer. The mode (and quality) of communication is therefore key to the success of a campaign. In the end, all communication is in the form of words and images. So theoretically we can (and sales and marketing people do) communicate in many, many different ways including:
2. Google Adwords
5. Telephone calls
6. Personal sales visits
7. Skype video calls
10. Twitter tweets
Most of those communication methods allow for words to be communicated. Some also allow for images to be communicated. Are they all equal then?
I believe that a billboard ad or a Twitter tweet is a very low quality form of communication. A billboard ad isn’t very well targeted (unless the message is for all freeway drivers) and is one directional unless there is another communication method suggested by the billboard ad.
A Twitter tweet is lost in a sea of meaningless drivel and the very fact that it was delivered by Twitter sends a message that the sender didn’t even consider it important enough to use a higher quality form of communication.
You can measure the quality of communication by the trusted and true conversion ratio. What percentage of impressions to those types of communication result in a sale? If the goal is to simply move the prospect from that form of communication to another, then what percentage take the call to action to switch forms of communication and then what is the conversion ratio from that form of communication to the actual sale.
In the case of billboard ads, you are lucky to have one in 50,000 viewers visit a web-site or call a telephone number. Direct sales from billboard ads for non-food items under $10 are nearly non-existent. In the case of Twitter tweets, you are lucky to have one in 100,000 twits visit a link in a tweet. Direct sales from Twitter tweets are pretty much non-existent.
Internet business owners often focus on web-sites and email as their preferred forms of communication. That makes a bit of sense. I’ve had web-sites that converted at 5% directly to sale. I’ve had other web-sites that converted 50% into an email lead and then 20% of the email lead into a sale which then takes place back at the web-site. That’s about a 10% conversion rate by combining web-sites and emails and then optimizing the heck out of them.
But there was no optimization in the campaign I wrote about yesterday. There was no A/B testing nor multivariate testing. I rented a 1,500 email list and turned it into a million dollars and 100 buyers of a product that costs $10,000. That was a 6.67% conversion rate from list to purchase and a 42% conversion rate from telephone call to purchase… without a single optimization.
I have NEVER come close to 6.67% conversion rate using only web-site and email as the sole methods of communication. The difference was a telephone call. Telephone calls are MUCH higher quality of communication than web-sites or emails alone. Why?
1) There is now a human being involved. That instantly increases trust. How can you tell if a web-site / email campaign is even current? The human who created them might have died three months ago and the computers are still chugging along.
2) It allows for a discussion. Sure; we can have a discussion of sorts via email… but that is rarely satisfying for a pre-sales prospect. Sure; we can have a comment section on a web-site and simulate a group discussion… but that only goes so far. A discussion takes a telephone call or a visit. Complex sales require a discussion. Web-sites and emails are great ways to communicate some of the information required in a complex sale, but you better be prepared for a phone call (or more than one) and/or a visit if you want to close high dollar complex sales.
3) Telephone allows for more subtle communication in the form of tones of voice and timings of questions and answers.
4) People like to buy from friends or people that they can imagine as their friend. It is pretty difficult to build a relationship that can be called friendly via only a web-site and email. It is pretty easy with a casual telephone conversation where you are just exchanging information and seeing if there is a way to help the person on the other end of the telephone line.
The best conversion rate I ever achieved with a web-site was in the 55% range… and that wasn’t a conversion to a sale. It was to simply give me their email address and/or telephone number. I never experienced anything higher than about 10% from cold traffic to a web-site to an actual sale.
The best conversion rate I ever achieved with an email was in the 55% range… and that wasn’t a conversion to a sale. It was simply to clicking a link to visit a web-site. The best sales rate I ever received directly from an email was about 3%.
But I converted 75% with a telephone call. And I showed a kid with little or no experience how to duplicate my efforts with a 42% overall conversion rate on a $10,000 item with a telephone call.
Telephone calls are one of the highest quality forms of communication and therefore one of the highest converting forms of communication. Don’t throw away that valuable tool just because you want automation. It is entirely possible to automate anything with business systems. It is also entirely possibly to do conversion rate testing with telephone calls. I’ll write about methods to do that soon.