Being able to convert leads into meetings is a critical part of the lead generation process.
This article contains, to the best of our awareness, the most advanced and thorough treatment of the subject. It is the most comprehensive free resource to learn exactly how to convert leads into meetings.
By reading this article, you are equipping yourself with tried, true, and practical methods of converting leads to meetings
Yes, it’s a long article, but is zero-BS and 100% helpful.
Prelude is over. Let’s hit it.
If you’re not getting leads onto calls, all you’re doing is paying people to collect email addresses and contact information. Feels good, yeah, but probably isn’t going to actually make you money.
But converting leads into meetings is a challenge.
Around 90% of the buyer’s journey is over by the time a lead reaches out to talk to someone in sales.
That means a lot of the work, such as the entire inbound lead generation process, is already done by the time you talk to them.
You need to make sure that the ground they cover before they contact you has as much impact as possible.
We want to help you cover all your bases before that happens. Here are 29 tips that you can use to help you convert leads into meetings
The longer you take to move someone through your sales process, the more risk you have of not being able to get someone on a call.
It’s all about that speed to lead.
Oh, and when it comes to that topic, you’re not going to believe the speed to lead statistics. (Bring your hankie to that blog; it’s a heartbreaker.)
Here’s a peek.
Along with being the best way to remain top of mind with your prospects, moving fast helps you stay ahead of your competition because if you’re not moving fast enough, someone else will.
The last thing you want to do is miss your chance with a lead because you didn’t move fast enough.
Along with making sure that your sales team follows up fast, you also need to think about how quickly a lead can book a meeting.
Reducing the number of steps here, can lead to a huge increase conversions.
Spend enough time in sales and you know that following up with leads is critical. If you reach out to someone once and then give up when you don’t hear back from them, you’re never going to get people on the phone.
You have to follow up.
In fact, each time you follow up, your odds of making a deal increase. 80% of all sales need five follow-ups.
And, when you consider that 40% of salespeople give up after one call (or that less than 3% of people actually follow up), it becomes clear that persistence can pay off in a huge way.
Any time you connect with someone, you need to establish the next step.
You know what’s next. They know what’s next.
Expectations are huge.
Plus, there’s a psychological hack at play. By setting forth a clear picture of the next step, your leads are mentally committing to whatever that next step is.
You state it. They hear it. And mentally, they’re fulfilling the future in their mind.
This paves the way to the next close.
It doesn’t have to be a big step, but any kind of commitment helps prospects from getting stuck at one particular step in your funnel.
This can be something as simple as sending them a case study (and following up on it) to getting them to book a call using an online calendar.
This doesn’t need to be really hard. Most businesses have a clearly defined process anyway. Just follow the process, and inform your prospect about what they can expect to come next.
Never rely on any one single tactic to set up calls.
You might have the best approach in the world, one that’s been going strong for decades, but the second that stops working, you’re toast.
Instead, use a rotating system of tactics for developing leads and getting them on the phone. This gives you a way to come up with a series of systems that you can fine-tune as you go along.
It’ll help you deal with the endless variety of situations you encounter while prospecting and help you convert leads into meetings.
People love to smile, even when they’re doing business.
Heck, if you were to peek into one of our Friday morning remote all-hands meetings, you’d probably find yourself laughing.
(Most importantly, 40+ people in 30+ time zones singing Happy Birthday on a Zoom call. It’s as bad as it sounds.)
If you can find a way to inject humor into your sales process, do it.
It’s a great way to get folks to relax, which helps them let their guard down and be more open to your ideas.
Not only that, but it’s going to help you stand out from the rest of the salespeople out there who are relying on the same boring templates and pitches.
Use it sparingly, though.
Not everyone wants to read a bombardment of jokes and some people might even respond negatively to it.
But a well-placed bit of humor goes a long way in helping convert leads.
When at a loss, toss in a random tasteful gif.
You can’t just blast someone with sales pitch after sales pitch and expect positive results.
You have to build up to that. Some of the best sales pitches out there start out as conversations, even before a meeting has even occurred.
If you want to convert leads into meetings, talk to people like they’re people.
Ask them questions about what’s working and not working in their business. Find out where they need the most help.
It’s not about making the sale at this point. It’s about building relationships.
Don’t be this guy, though.
When you take the time to just get to know someone first, they relax and are more amenable to the idea of a meeting.
Not everyone who lands on your website or downloads an ebook is ready to buy something from you.
Hitting someone with a hard sales message too soon can scare them off.
You need to have a lead qualification system in place. Qualifying your leads (determining how likely someone is to buy from you based on their behavior on your website), helps you send the right message to the right person at the right time.
That person who downloaded your ebook probably isn’t quite ready for a meeting, but the person who keeps asking questions in your chat box is probably ready to talk.
When you take the time to qualify your leads, you’ll notice a huge uptick in meetings (as you can see, this happens to be something Chili Piper excels at).
Think back to the last time you bought something online. (Apart from drunk ordering on Amazon, of course.)
Did you check any reviews first?
You probably did because social proof (knowing that others have successfully used your product) helps us make decisions.
User reviews, testimonials, and case studies can help push people down your funnel and convert leads into meetings before they have even talked to you (and after).
Any time you get the opportunity to share something a customer said about you, do it.
If you’ve got case studies, don’t just stick them in the case studies section of your website.
Share them. Send them to people. Make sure they get read.
It’ll reduce the amount of time it takes to convert a lead.
Not to toot our own pipe, but we do this all the time.
Our product marketer, Jason, is a case study machine, busting these things out like crazy.
Why? Because they work.
Our prospects want to know that when they make the investment in our product, it’s going to pay off.
, showed how one business, SaaSOptics, doubled their book rate, quadrupled sales, and 2xed their inbound pipeline after implementing Chili Piper.
(Not sure about you, but that’s a lot of persuasion packed into three minutes of video.)
The best teams have a solid process for both lead generation and sales.
If you’re not sure what your process looks like, sit down and put the whole thing on paper.
List out where prospects come from, what objections they have, what their concerns are, how you overcome these objections, where people drop off, where they sign up.
You want to make sure that your sales team follows the same path.
And, you want that path to be as effective as possible to convert those leads into meetings.
It sounds a bit tedious to carefully construct this elaborate map just to understand the journey.
But let me tell you, that map is solid gold.
It allows you to pinpoint precise moments in the process where you’re hemorrhaging leads, losing followup opps, or failing to ask for the sale.
Your map can be as thorough as you want it to be.
Better yet, it can be simple.
The idea is to know where you’re at in the journey and how to act accordingly.
What gets measured gets managed.
Manage your sales process by measuring it, understanding it, and analyzing it, and you’ll start converting more of those leads into meetings.
Once you’ve mapped out your path, look at the data from that journey.
The data (things like conversion rates) will tell you a lot about how effective your sales process is.
Pro tip: If you’re not “that kind of salesperson,” sync up with marketing. There’s probably a data nerd over there who will be more than happy to show you some numbers.
Are there bottlenecks or any other places where people are getting stuck? If so, eliminate them (if you can) or modify the process.
Are there spots where the sales team is doing too much manual work?
Automate as much of that as you can by using Chili Piper.
You want to reduce both the time it takes for someone to make it through your sales process.
I’m not the fishing kind of guy, but here’s the metaphor: if you want to catch more fish, you hire the best guide you can.
Your guide will take you to the places where the fish are big and biting.
If you want to convert more leads into meetings (and sales), hire the best salespeople.
When you have rockstars on your team, you have people who have put in the time, learned what works and doesn’t work, and who know how to not only get people on the phone, but know how to get them to say yes.
You want more yeses.
(Also, yeses is a weird word.)
Always spend more time focusing on your prospects than on yourself.
Sure, it’s a sales call, but when you spend the whole time talking about your business and how you can solve their problems, you’re going to lose their attention.
Instead, talk about their needs. Ask about their frustrations.
Take the time to really understand where they’re coming and what’s going on in their business. The more you listen and pay attention at this phase, the better.
Once you’ve taken the time to understand their pain points, it’s time to talk about how you can help.
Call it customer centricity, being a good listener, or channeling your go-giver. The idea is simple: focus on them.
When was the last time you talked to your customers?
If you don’t remember, then your lead generation efforts are probably falling a little flat.
People’s needs change all the time and your sales tactics need to change to reflect that.
At Chili Piper, we know it’s important to talk to current customers (there’s an example below of how you can reach out to customers).
And to spend time where they hang out to help you grow a deep understanding of what’s going on in their business before they even show up (and once they’ve become customers).
The more up to date your understanding of them is, the more successful you’ll be at getting them into a meeting and converting them into customers.
Hand in hand with getting to know your target audience is knowing how to identify their problems.
Odds are, you’ve got a solution or product that solves a few different problems for people.
The better you understand your target audience, the better you’ll be at not only identifying their problems, but helping them solve the right solution.
Once you’ve got this figured out, start creating content that shows how you solve those problems.
Blog posts and infographics are great for this. But, if you really want to make an impact, solve the problems in the places where they hang out.
Go on LinkedIn and post about it.
Find Facebook groups where people are asking these questions.
Help people. Full stop.
Don’t ask for anything in return.
It will help you convert those leads into meetings.
Continuing the theme of understanding your prospects (and knowing where they hang out) is knowing where the big fish are.
This one can be a bit of a trial and error game.
But if you’re not spending time where your ideal clients are (those dream clients), you’re not going to convert many leads into meetings.
What you’re going to find is that people are interested, they can’t afford you.
Or they’re not ready to spend the money.
Or they’re still trying to do everything themselves.
This gets old fast.
You convert more leads when you’re surrounded by the leads you want.
The great thing about really understanding your customers is that you know what kinds of problems they’re dealing with and the kinds of stories they’re telling about those problems.
This puts you in a position to tell potential customers those same stories and convert leads into meetings.
Case studies are a great example of this. There aren’t many types of content in the B2B sales that have a higher conversion rate than case studies.
Case studies tell the story of the problem that your customers are experiencing and then they tell the story of how you solve that problem.
And, it doesn’t just tell the story. Case studies provide examples, percentages, and dollar amounts that concretely demonstrate just how effective your solution is.
One last thing around getting to know your ideal customer is that it gives you a sense of what is causing them the most grief in their business.
Their nemesis, if you will.
Chances are, you’re trying to help them eliminate the threat of that enemy from their business.
So focus on that common enemy. If you can do it while telling a story, even better.
Focusing on this common enemy is a great psychological trigger that creates a sense of camaraderie and trust, making it easier for you to both get someone into a meeting and close the deal.
Sometimes, the best way to get something is to just ask for it.
Sales is no different.
No tricks here.
This approach works best if you’ve spent time developing a relationship first.
Maybe you’ve been chatting with them on social media or you met at a conference.
Maybe you think they would benefit from your solution.
If they meet the criteria, ask them if they’d like to hop on a call to discuss the problem. Then, when they’re on the call, ask for the sale.
Here’s a short video showing you how this goes down.
Warm leads tend to respond better to meeting requests than cold leads do.
(Obvious statement of the decade. That was free.)
When it comes to creating warm leads, few tactics work better than putting out solid content and making sure it gets in front of people.
Because sharing content on social media can take a lot of time, it’s a good process to automate with a social sharing platform.
But, don’t just share new content.
Check your analytics to see which posts tend to bring in the warmest leads and share it, too
Bonus points if you both share it and update the content before you do. Google tends to rank freshly touched-up articles higher anyway.
The more eyes you get on your content, the more people see what you do.
This, of course, helps convert more leads into meetings.
Often, when you want to convert leads into meetings you have to play the long game.
Sometimes, the best way to play is to help connect people within your network.
We’ve talked about the benefits of helping your prospects solve their problems. You can take this one step further by helping them solve problems that you can’t solve directly.
You do this by connecting people.
If you’ve got someone in your network who can help a prospect, make the introduction without asking for anything in return.
It’s a great way to build up the trust you need to convert leads.
And it helps you stay top of mind when they hit the point where your product or service can help.
21. Personalize it – Convert leads into meetings by forming real and personal relationships with them
If you’re using cold outreach to convert leads into meetings, you have to include some level of personalization.
This isn’t just making sure you’ve got their name.
You have to go a little deeper than that.
You have to learn a bit about who they are and what they do.
Have they published any content recently?
Did they recently get a promotion?
An award maybe?
Maybe their company was just in the news because of some amazing milestone or deal or something like that.
Make it obvious that you’ve put some effort into learning about their company and that you’re doing more than just changing their name in an email template.
Getting intel is as easy as googling.
Check out this interview we did to learn how to do this without being creepy.
Don’t be creepy.
If you and your team aren’t already doing regular sales training, it’s time to change that.
Create a training schedule that addresses all stages of the process.
Things like improved telephone skills, exploring different sales methodologies (this ties into tip #4), or even public speaking training.
All of these skills mix together to help improve sales ability, whether you’re trying to get someone on a call or convert the lead into a sale.
Reach out to happy customers and ask for referrals.
Seriously, just do it.
It greatly reduces the amount of time and energy you spend getting leads on the phone.
For one, it gives you an immediate personal connection to the lead. An email that starts, “I was talking with Alice over at Cool Cats and Kittens Corp. and she mentioned that…” is going to capture more attention than a generic cold email.
It also helps you find people who have a problem that you solve and are looking to buy.
You are also in a position to potentially skip any gatekeepers by getting a direct introduction (which makes all aspects of the sales process easier).
Sales and marketing are often two totally independent groups within a company without any real connection to one another.
Ideally, sales and marketing should get together more.
In my twelve years of marketing experience, I’ve had to learn this the hard way.
One thing I love about working with Chili Piper is that sales and marketing are tight with each other. Members of the marketing team are sitting in on sales meetings, and SDRs are on our marketing calls discussing churn.
There’s really no way to separate sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing need to work closely to ensure that there are certain things in place to help convert leads, like consistent messaging.
Bring the two departments together and have them talk about what they need to do their best work.
Maybe sales needs more (or better) enablement material to help them close a deal.
Maybe marketing could have a better understanding of the objections that the sales team is hearing and how they overcome those objections.
At Chili Piper, the sales team and the marketing team regularly meet to discuss churn. We also get together to discuss our shared KPIs.
If possible, schedule regular meetings between sales and marketing to make sure everything is running smoothly.
We’ve talked about social media a little bit, but it deserves its own mention.
If you’re not using social media, it’s time to start.
And by “using social media,” I’m not just talking about having an account.
I’m talking about Gary Veeing the heck out of it. (Yes, I just turned Gary Vaynerchuk’s name into a verb. Sorry, Gary.)
Social media can make or break a company, even in the B2B world.
People fall in love with companies that have a strong social presence. Not only do they engage with such companies, but they spread the word.
Social media also gives you an excellent opportunity to follow your customers (and leads) and their conversations through social listening (following certain hashtags, for example) to provide a comprehensive understanding of who they are.
If you’re not using a lead nurturing program of some kind or another, you’re missing out on sales.
It’s great when someone signs up to get your ebook, but if all they get is an ebook, they’re probably not going to become a customer.
You need to have a whole system in place to coax them down the funnel.
Set up an email sequence to follow that lead.
You’ve got them at educate. Now start the nurture process.
The great thing about lead nurturing is that it helps inform other things we’ve discussed, like qualifying your leads (based on how much they interact with the sequence) and asking for a meeting (which you can do with the last email in the sequence).
Letting prospects know that the clock is ticking on your offer helps light a fire under them to make a decision.
It’s a good way to establish a sense of urgency, which is what some people need to make up their minds.
There are plenty of ways to do this.
Some people just aren’t in a hurry. They know they need to solve a problem, but they also feel certain that it can wait.
Setting a time limit on your offer forces them to act sooner and it helps you stop wasting your time on prospects who aren’t interested. Once the time limit is up, move on to step 28.
Quick tip: Countdown timers and “last-chance offers!” can sometimes feel gimmicky, so make sure you use urgency honestly, ethically, and professionally.
You can only try to get someone on a call so many times before you need to walk away.
Don’t do it right away, obviously.
Five or six touches are good.
Propeller CRM says that 80% of all sales require five follow ups to close.
But before you go, send one last email to your prospect — the breakup email.
This is a short email that says something like,
Hey, it sounds like we’re probably not the right fit for your team right now. Not a problem at all!
You won’t hear from me anymore, but if things change, feel free to send me a message. I’d like that.
Here’s another example, with a touch of humor and the all-powerful gif.
You don’t just want to disappear into the fog.
You want to clearly state, it’s over, it’s been fun, so holler if you want to try again.
Often, this soft takeaway is a simple send that gets the prospect talking with you again.
This last one is a bit of a no-brainer, but it needs to be said.
The easier it is for a lead to book a meeting, the more likely that lead is to do so.
Imagine this scenario.
A lead lands on your website, gets curious, and requests a demo.
She clicks the call to action button, and ten seconds later she’s in a meeting with a sales rep.
This is not Alice in Wonderland fiction.
This is what Chili Piper does. The tool converts leads into meetings so quickly and easily that you’re not even sure what happened.
(Was that a white rabbit that just ran by?)
This is what the process looks like in gif form.
The process, again, goes like this:
Ten seconds have elapsed.
Converting leads to meetings has never been so easy.
Any single one of these tips can help you improve your ability to convert leads into customers.
However, they work even better if you combine them.
Figuring out exactly what works best for your business and customer can be a challenge, but it can also be exhilarating.
At Chili Piper, we can help you take this process one step further. If you want to gain an advantage over your competitors, let’s talk.
Maybe we can schedule a meeting, hm?