Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with sales leads expert Jennifer Dunham, @jen_dunham. After owning several companies (at one time), Jennifer found that the kind of leads we have on our email list really do matter. She’s been supporting entrepreneurs in B2B and B2C business for years to help them nurture the leads they already have and create more income in the process. She is a professional speaker and contributed to 3 books in 2018. Jennifer is based in Sacramento, California. For more information: happinessmatters.com
SmallBizLady: Tell us a bit about your concept of a Profitable Lifestyle – what does that mean?
Jennifer Dunham: Have you ever known a workaholic who feels out of balance with the rest of their life? This was me. I am a recovering workaholic, and it really wreaked havoc in my personal life. I had a huge transition moment when my husband and I decided to buy a 5-acre chicken farm an hour away from where we both work with our clients in downtown Sacramento.
I am a mathematics girl and love numbers and wanted to create a tangible way for others to feel like their whole life is profitable, not just their work. Once we moved, I found what was really missing from a successful career (I was running my IT firm and photography studio at the time), and I created my Profitable Lifestyle Formula.
A profitable lifestyle is about supporting and working through all aspects of a woman’s life, including business, happiness time and impacting others. And I’ve learned that balance is possible when you realize that balance is unique for each person.
SmallBizLady: What is the biggest challenge small businesses have with closing sales from their email list?
Jennifer Dunham: A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs know they need a list and work really hard (maybe event pay for ads) to get those leads to their list. But they forget about nurturing them. They don’t know how to keep top-of-mind, and be the go-to expert, with their list.
I teach my clients that a good welcome sequence can do wonders in nurturing a lead through the buying process. When a small business doesn’t know what to add to that sequence, the correct order to send helpful information to their list, and how to track their numbers, it can be a huge challenge towards nurturing their leads to a buying decision.
SmallBizLady: How can leveraging the leads you already have shorten their sales cycle?
Jennifer Dunham: This is one of my favorite things to talk about. I’m sure your audience has heard how your email list size is like your currency in business. Collaborators always want to know your list size. BUT I have to disagree.
A healthy list that has been nurtured doesn’t need to be huge. They need to be well cared for and supported. When you have a healthy list of leads that love hearing from you, they are more likely to trust you and move through the sales cycle faster without you having to constantly hustle to add more NEW leads to your list.
SmallBizLady: Why must online entrepreneurs make the most out of the leads they already have?
Jennifer Dunham: First off, it costs WAY less money to nurture an existing lead than to get a new one. (It costs 5x less, in fact!) Online entrepreneurs, especially those just starting out, have really small budgets. And it makes a big difference when you can spend less money on getting new leads onto your list and gain more income from taking care of the ones that are already there.
Second, your existing leads…they are your community of raving fans. Fans are loyal. They will be the one to refer you to others and affect your bottom line positively.
SmallBizLady: I’m curious; I read that you teach Tiny Habits to your clients. Why are habits to important in sales?
Jennifer Dunham: Having a habit of asking your list for referrals and sales is a must for a busy online world. I use the power of Tiny Habits to create no-brainer times in their day where they are asking their list for a sales call or for a referral. By creating a Tiny Habit of asking for the sale, my clients free up their brainpower for the harder tasks in their business.
SmallBizLady: How do you harness the power of Tiny Habits to help close sales faster?
Jennifer Dunham: Again, I go back to that I’m a numbers girl. It’s a lot of statistics. The more you ask for the sale, the more conversations you will have. Tiny Habits help my clients consistently ask for the sale with their nurtured leads in order to increase their cash-flow.
As an example, I recommend my clients start just 1 conversation with an existing lead every day. It’s that simple.
SmallBizLady: Why do you teach Tiny Habits along with your Cash Injection strategies?
Jennifer Dunham: Tiny Habits and my ideas on cash injection go hand in hand. I help my clients create a plan that fits in their Profitable Lifestyle to take the anxiety out of asking for the sale and make it something they are excited to do. The Tiny Habit is like putting a sales conversation on autopilot. When it’s in your business routine, you’ll never miss it and often get excited about reaching out and finding a new way to inject cash into your business. Some of my clients get REALLY creative when I run the live round of my cash injection course.
SmallBizLady: What is the science behind why creating habits contributes to success in closing sales?
Jennifer Dunham: When you create one habit, then another…you can start to stack these habits and create routines. Creating business routines is essential to maintain a successful business. By batching tasks that are similar in nature, entrepreneurs are able to save a lot more time. Entrepreneurs who batch the nurturing of their leads find they have more time to create truly meaningful relationships with their leads and clients (which helps them either convert to a sale or become a raving fan that recommends you to others).
For example, when you create a consistent routine for the batch-creation of bi-weekly training emails or freebie offers (value emails) to your list, then you’ll have more time to reply to inquiries or take time to reach out to them personally on Facebook or Twitter. This can greatly increase the probability of making a sale.
SmallBizLady: Once someone has their nurturing on autopilot, what other habits can they implement that affects their sales?
Jennifer Dunham: Well I won’t get back on the cash injection soapbox, so let’s talk about visibility. I always say that you have to be seen in order to be heard. When you leverage the existing content you have, you can increase your visibility, and save LOADS of time. When you create a habit to repurpose your content, you can expand how often you are giving value and being seen. We are starting to talk beyond your email list now.
For example, I have this process for turning one blog post into 30+ promotional pieces of content. And it honestly does not take that long. It just takes commitment to form a new habit.
SmallBizLady: What about when people don’t keep up with their Tiny Habits?
Jennifer Dunham: It happens to us all. Maybe there’s a life-changing event, or it’s summer break, and you get out of your routine of asking for sales in your business. All hope is not lost, but there’s no reason to wait any longer. You’re leaving money on the table by NOT nurturing your leads to sales so get back out there and get into the habit today!
SmallBizLady: What’s the cost associated with not nurturing your leads?
Jennifer Dunham: This is steep. Without nurturing your leads, entrepreneurs are leaving a lot of money on the table. Their buyers are sitting right there ON THEIR LIST! They just need to hear from you and know they are in the right place. As we have already talked about, it costs 5x more to go out and find new leads as opposed to nurturing that potential buyer on your list.
SmallBizLady: Do you have other tips for new people starting out with a small or no list to nurture?
Jennifer Dunham: There’s never a better time to get into the habit of nurturing leads than from the beginning. Even if you have 10 people on your email list, you have made an unspoken promise when they signed up with you. You promised to support them in their venture with you; this includes education, insight, and value. Give them your best AND create those amazing Tiny Habits. They will come in handy when your list grows to thousands.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
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For more tips on how to start or grow your small business, subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.