We’ve all been there. You meet someone and feel that special twinge in your heart–the “spark” some call it. You realize this person is interested in you as well. Did they feel that same feeling? There’s only one way to find out: communicate with them. Find out if they’re what you’re looking for and if you’re what they’re looking for.
Just like dating, lead nurturing is a delicate dance between two people who share some initial common ideal. Perhaps you meet at your favorite coffee shop when you order the same obscure fresh ground cold brew. Or they ventured to your Contact Us page through a well-targeted Google Ad. Either way, the only way to find out if this is going somewhere is to give them more information about you and hope it’s enough to get them to stick around.
Dating and lead nurturing follow many of the same rules and cadence. Here are some general guidelines for cultivating a great (lead) relationship.
Don’t put everything on the table all at once. Most likely your lead came to you because they have an interest that aligns with your products or services. Great! You have something in common. This would be like someone saying “I like cats”. The appropriate response would be “I also like cats”, not showing them your entire phone’s worth of the 20 cats you have living in your home.
The same should be said for a brand new lead. If they find value in something you offer, affirm that as part of your core beliefs, but don’t overwhelm them with every little detail about your product. For example, if they found your brand after clicking on an ad that focused on the eco-friendly nature of your goods, reply with information that goes deeper into that aspect–don’t just send them your entire catalogue and hope they’ll call back.
Ghosting is just as bad as hounding. Building a good relationship means maintaining regular communication. You want them to know they’re on your mind and you’re thinking of them. Yet, you don’t want them to think you’re stalking them, nor do you want them wondering if you remember their name. Regular, valuable communication with your leads is just as important. Find the right balance for your audience and make sure every touch point is not only valuable, but works to move them through the sales cycle.
Know when to introduce your friends and family. After you’ve invested enough initial time to see if this is going somewhere, it’s time to bring them further into your world. You would probably introduce them to your friends first, to gauge the response, and then move on to your family. But you wouldn’t throw them into a room with both at once. The same rule applies to how you introduce your product or service. Start slow with your introduction. Find the friends (products/services) that are most welcoming and relatable to your new beau. Once you know it’s a sure thing, bring in Aunt Betty (less compatible product/service), who might not be the most relatable, but something that’s still important enough for them to know.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, the spark fizzles. You realize that the one thing you both had in common was the only thing you had in common (i.e. Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s). The best thing you can do in this type of relationship is to end it quickly and civilly. There’s nothing wrong with walking away when you realize it’s just not going to work. If the customer you’re speaking to would not be the right fit for your product/service, that’s ok. Make sure they appreciate the time you spent together, and make sure they also understand why you’re breaking things off.
No one likes to get dumped, either. You may not be the one to realize the relationship isn’t working. It is going to sting when you find out the feelings aren’t mutual, but the best option for everyone involved is to walk away with your head held high. Trying to force a bond that doesn’t exist will only make you come off as desperate or clueless as to what your customer really values as a person. Be able to recognize when a lead is dead. Otherwise you’ll just end up looking like a spammer.
But sometimes, it’s love at first sight. Everyone has a friend of a friend who has that fairytale love story. They locked eyes with that person and just knew they were destined to be with each other. They had an instant connection that brought two halves of a whole together. Even in lead nurturing, this happens. When it does, don’t over-think it. Accept your excited new customer with your warmest embrace. In other words, think about how you can create a loyal customer and brand advocate–not just make another sale. When a consumer has an instant connection with a brand, more likely than not they’ll share that connection with others. And we all know that word-of-mouth endorsements carry more weight than any other marketing initiatives.
Remember, despite what eHarmony and Match.com will tell you, dating is not an exact science. The same holds true for lead nurturing–it’s more of a dance in which you try to anticipate your partner’s moves and follow their rhythm without stepping on their feet. When you’re both in sync, it’s a delightful and harmonious salsa. If you’re trying to force something that isn’t working, it’s a clumsy, off-beat electric slide that results in a few bruised toes and frustration from everyone involved.