September 6, 2018 | 4.5 min read

Stop Scaring Away Customers
Companies are in a constant battle to focus their resources on the things that produce the biggest results, close sales, and hit goals. Frequently, sales models often put the focus on the highest cost products and ignore the long-term benefits of smaller purchases. They can’t afford to “waste time” on small sales, so they direct all their leads toward big purchases.

“Bad leads” are scared away by the big price tag. “Good” leads don’t flinch at it.

But what if all those leads you scared away could have eventually become customers? What if starting with small asks eventually led to big sales?

Every team has their own process for vetting leads and determining which ones are “serious” and worth spending time on. But if you scare away leads by pushing them towards a big commitment, you might be missing out on future big purchases.

If you’re burning through leads like crazy, and you have abysmal conversion rates, you might need to start with a smaller ask.

Sometimes that means using a well-developed drip campaign, which keeps your leads warm and gives you more opportunities to ask for the sale later. But it could even be as simple as promoting your lower priced products or services, turning more leads into customers and driving them further down your sales funnel.

Starting with small transactions keeps your foot in the door with leads who just aren’t ready for the big purchase yet. It gets them used to purchasing from you. And if they have a good experience and benefit from that small purchase, they’ll be more likely to trust you with a big one.

Here are three reasons why you should consider starting small and waiting to make big asks.

1. It gives leads more time to warm up
Sometimes your pitch is great, but the timing just isn’t right. Maybe they just don’t know enough about you or your brand to feel comfortable yet. Or they’re still struggling to connect your value proposition to their personal situation.

If you start with a small ask—like downloading a white paper, signing up for an email list, or purchasing a low-priced product—it gives your leads the chance to keep learning more about you and from you.

As your leads learn more about your brand and your product or service, it gives your pitch more context, which can make it more likely to land.

2. It gives you a chance to earn their trust
Before someone makes a big purchase, they want to be confident that it’s going to be worth it. They want to know it will solve their problem, help them reach their goal, and do what it says it will. If they aren’t confident in that purchase, they’re probably not going to hand over the money.

There are some ways organizations can address a potential customers’ concerns up front. You could:

Offer a free trial.
Provide a money-back guarantee.
Include a warranty.
Each of those things can make people more comfortable by reducing the risk that comes with a big purchase. But depending on your product or service, you might not have those risk-reducing options. And that means people need to be more confident that you can provide what they need.

This is why it’s so valuable to “get your foot in the door” with a more affordable product: it gives you a chance to earn your customer’s trust with something small, so they can be more confident in your ability to deliver on something bigger.

Do you have outstanding customer service? A robust onboarding experience? Resources to help customers get the most from their purchase? Free training?

These are things someone probably wouldn’t be familiar with until after becoming a customer. By allowing people to experience these things at a lower price point, you can earn their trust, so they’ll be more willing to spend more money with you.

3. You can continue the relationship after the pitch
When someone says “No,” to your sales pitch, what happens next? It depends on what came before the pitch and how you communicated with your leads. Was it a cold sales call? Did you pay to send to a partner’s email list? Did you use targeted advertising?

If you make a big pitch before you’ve taken the time to build an audience, you’re not going to be able to talk to most of those leads again. The ones who don’t become customers are gone, back into the abyss of the Internet.

Making a smaller ask ensures that you have a larger pool of people you can continue communicating with—even if you still make the “big ask” later.

And even if these leads never wind up making a big purchase, they can become advocates for your brand or refer their friends, family, and colleagues to you. So it pays to preserve the relationships you build with your leads.

Make the most of your leads
If you want to get the most from your leads, it might feel counterintuitive to not focus on big sales. You put time and resources into getting these leads, so why not cash in on that investment as soon as possible?

Well, it’s kind of like withdrawing early from your retirement plan: you’re not going to get the most value from it, and you’re wasting some of it.

A retirement account takes time to reach maximum value. So do your leads.

By asking your leads to make smaller commitments earlier on, you can increase the number of leads who ultimately convert, and you still get value out of the ones that don’t.