5 Fail-Proof Ways to Convert Cold Leads & Generate Sales [+ Examples]

January 3, 2023 | Shane Barker (Edited December 14, 2023 by Sam Pelton)
People shaking hands to close a sale

For any business owner - big or small - closing a sale is crucial for their growth and success. While most sales teams love finding a red-hot lead they can promptly convert, it is seldom easy like that. In the majority of cases, you will have to start with cold leads and warm them up with tact over time. Even after that, there is no guarantee they will become your paying customers.

The good news is there are plenty of options for interacting with cold leads. You must, however, get creative to generate buying interest. Here is how you can increase your chances of driving higher sales for your business:

1) Talk less about your offering; provide more value

Customers of today do not want to be sold a product or service. They want to be sold "value." When you shift your mindset to value-based selling, you put the customer's needs first and guide them through the buying cycle in a way that creates a positive outcome in their mind.

Principles of value-based selling

Therefore, before approaching your cold leads, study them. Research thoroughly about them online. What are their pain points? What has worked for them in the past? In your business emails, phone calls, and other communications, ensure your product or service benefits are relevant to them and easy to understand. For instance:

  • Does your offering improve productivity for those who use it?
  • Do you offer free training to get new customers up to speed with the product?
  • Will it help them optimize their business and profitability with project insights?

Most companies bombard potential customers with messages pressuring them to buy. Stand out from the crowd by delivering value.

2) Provide a sample of your product or service

List your USPs and use them as a hook to offer a free consultation, free trial, free shipping, or an attractive discount - depending on what you sell and your industry niche. A sample of what you offer could nudge your cold leads closer to warming up.

Take Grammarly as an example. The AI-powered writing assistant allows users to try out the tool for an unlimited period for free. However, the features they can access are limited.

Breaking down grammarly business model

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Similarly, you can also offer a time-limited free trial. Xero, an accounting software, offers a 30-day free trial and unlocks all of the product's features and optional add-ons, giving users a complete taste of how it feels to use Xero.

Once the lead has warmed up enough, it becomes easier to bring them to the other side of the funnel, i.e., get them to be your paying customer because they have already sampled what you have to offer.

3) Start an email drip campaign to nurture

All leads - cold or hot - need to be "nurtured." Email drips help guide prospects and even existing customers by building a sales funnel in a logical, well-panned-out way that yields conversions.

A campaign of this type "drips" information about the product or service, little by little, building interest among the audience. An action commonly triggers drip campaigns. However, for an effective drip campaign to occur, you need a reliable email automation tool.

For instance, if a user subscribes to your email list, you could send them a welcome or onboarding email first, followed by educational content at regular intervals.

Sales email drip campaigns follow the same drill. For instance, if someone lands on your accounting outsourcing company's website and downloads a whitepaper on the benefits of outsourcing, you immediately send them content via email.

One week later, send another email showcasing how a client of yours cut 30% of the overhead expenses by outsourcing their work to you. A week after that, you could send an email nudging them to try your service for free by booking a consultation.

One critical aspect, however, you should take care of is the frequency. Avoid bombarding your leads with emails unless you want them to block you or mark you as "spam." Another great tactic to avoid spamming is following DMARC statistics and taking steps to guarantee email security, which is important for effective email drip campaigns as well.

4) Leverage SMS marketing

SMS helps you warm up leads who are familiar with your business but have yet to be ready to speak to you. Since SMS marketing is permission-based and requires prospects to opt-in to receive messages, it is possible to make a significant jump down the funnel.

Moreover, SMS enjoys an open rate of 98%, and 80.5% of consumers say they read a text within 5 minutes of receiving it. You can also connect with those with limited internet access through SMS.

When cold leads agree to receive a text from you, giving them an immediate value proposition is essential. For example, if you want to boost loyalty for your eCommerce store, introduce mobile-specific promotion codes that the cold leads can use.

Similarly, product demos and webinars are critical touchpoints where the cold leads warm-up or slip away. Sending a follow-up text is a nice personal touch and serves as an ice-breaker. It also gives your prospect a point of contact they can engage with if they have any queries or concerns. Here are a few SMS templates you can nick:

  • Just after the webinar: "We are so happy you attended our webinar! I'm here if you have any questions about the [product]?"
  • A week after the webinar: "[Name], how's it going? Did you know the [product] has an add-on feature to help you with your [goal]? Let's connect sometime this week?"
  • 2 weeks after the webinar: "Hey [Name]. We're running a 20% discount on the [product] for a limited period. Would you like to give it a shot? Let me know."

5) Run retargeting campaigns

If you have ever looked at the number of visitors your website received each month and wished just three percent could convert into paying customers, you are not alone!

An Episerver study showed that most sales do not happen during the initial visit to a website. According to the report, 92% of consumers visit a brand's website for the first time to do something other than make a purchase.

That is where retargeting can help you reach your past visitors with relevant messaging based on their browsing behavior, boosting ad engagement rates by up to 400%. So, what exactly is retargeting?

It keeps track of all potential customer activity on a website - for instance, how long they browsed the site, on which pages they spent the maximum time, whether they came back the second time, and so on.

Flow chart of potential customer

The data gathered helps you stay on their radar - after they have bounced off - and show them relevant ads to capture their interest even when they are on other websites.

Retargeting uses cookie and pixel-based technology to track site visitors and show them ads. Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads are standard when remarketing.

For example, Facebook has a "custom audience feature," which allows you to feed the email addresses of cold leads to display ads to them. This way, you can connect with them with your pitch (or ad) before sending them a direct message or email.

Through the ad, you could discuss a common pain point, spread awareness about your brand, or put something thought-provoking that makes the retargeted audience re-visit your website with the intent to purchase.

Over to you

So, what is the best sales approach for you? The process of closing a sale is a lot like running a marathon. It is not supposed to be rushed. Similarly, you can push someone to purchase from you without taking the necessary steps of targeting, qualifying, and nurturing your leads based on specific predictors.

When it comes to warming your cold leads in the hopes of converting them, you must focus on offering value. You need to be consistent enough for them not to forget about you. Establish expectations around the buying process and earn initial trust and commitment.

Be creative about how you approach your cold leads and thereby, increase your chances of getting successful conversions.

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