three coworkers in a meeting with laptop and paperwork
There are a variety of methods to try when improving your business's sales conversion rates, from building a reputable website to ensuring that your personality is genuine. — Getty Images/Jirapong Manustrong

The ABCs of business — “always be closing” — aren’t easy to master. Turning a prospect into a paying client involves hard work and a lot of attention. In fact, three out of four companies indicate that converting leads into customers is their top priority; yet only around one in five businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.

Of course, there is no single magic tactic for landing clients and closing deals. But attempting different approaches can increase your chances. We reached out to a handful of experts for advice, and here are three strategies they suggested.

[Read: 4 Steps to Bring Your Business Idea to Life]

Nurture your client relationship

Jessica Magoch, CEO of JPM Sales Partners, said there’s no more effective way to convert a candidate into a client than building a trusted and friendly connection with that contact. The key is developing a relationship before attempting to sell them or ask any questions.

“People buy from people they know, like, and trust,” she said. “But salespeople typically spend less than two minutes developing rapport on a sales call. If your salespeople take the time to understand the client and express a genuine interest in helping them solve a problem, your results will increase.”

Magoch noted that this involves a major shift in mindset, as most sales staff are focused on closing the sale early in the process.

“Have your salespeople spend at least 10 minutes building rapport with these prospects on their calls — longer is even better. The client will tell you when they’re ready to move on,” she added.

Before dialing the phone or meeting up, find out what the other person’s title and responsibilities are (LinkedIn can help) so that you can be more personable and address their needs. During the conversation, be politely personal. Inquire how their day is going; use small talk and humor where appropriate. Ask open-ended questions and engage in active listening.

“If you’re genuine, this process will feel natural to both of you,” she said.

[Read: How to Build a Sales Funnel for Your Business]

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

Jessica Magoch, CEO, JPM Sales Partners

Amp up your website

Few resources in your arsenal are going to be as effective at producing leads as your company’s website.

“It’s important to create a powerful and interactive site, which describes what you do and will become your main inbound lead generator,” said Peter Gillett, CEO of Zuant. “This is where a small business can actually have an advantage over a large corporation, because of the freedom to be creative without rigid corporate guidelines.”

To generate more leads via your website, create custom landing pages with unique phone numbers that specific sources can be directed to, and then employ call tracking to evaluate which pages and numbers are most effective. Scrutinize your analytics and determine which pages on your site are generating the most traffic. Use lead capture forms on your contact page and other pages.

“Easy-to-use software [is] available nowadays at reasonable prices that can automate the entire inbound process without having to invest large sums of money or time training,” Gillett said.

Use psychographics in social media ads

As a small business, chances are you’re selling a product or service that’s ideally targeted toward a smaller base of customers than a big corporation. This is where psychographics — the study of your desired customers’ values, attitudes, habits, hobbies, opinions and lifestyles — can come in handy, especially when used in social media ads, suggested Christoffer Sorensen, founder and CEO of Virtual Visibility Media Inc.

“When you’ve narrowed down the specific audience you have in mind based on these criteria, you can seriously improve your sales conversion rate,” he said.

Sorensen advised first researching and clearly outlining your ideal customer, learning about their interests, hobbies and activities. Then, decide which social media platform to pursue. “LinkedIn is more effective than Instagram if you’re B2B; Instagram might be better than Facebook if you’re B2C and have a visual product; and Facebook is best if you’re B2C providing local services,” he noted.

Next, publish a unique landing page for your social media ad campaign to ensure you have an inviting offer that’s clearly presented with a simple action.

“Create your social media ads account for your business and translate your psychographic findings into the many different filtering options available. Be sure your ad links to the landing page,” Sorensen continued. Lastly, “ensure clear messaging and replies so that you can act on a lead’s interest as soon as possible.”

[Read: A Guide to Conducting Market Research]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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