Communicating to create ‘sticky’ clients

by 17 Nov 2015
Stickiness’ can be defined as the art of keeping your customer engaged at each stage of the sales cycle. When accomplished, stickiness increases sales conversion ratios and differentiates your offering from those of your competitors. The object herein is to keep the customer ‘stuck’ to you via your messaging. To do so your messaging needs to reflect the customer’s stage in the transaction cycle and contain messaging that induces them to move to the next stage of the cycle.
Four considerations to effect ‘sticky’ communication
• Timeliness
• Relativity
• Validation
• Call to action
Ask yourself this question: how often do I receive email, even from a known service provider, that goes directly to my deleted or spam folder? The object of this section is to ‘not to be like those senders’! By creating timely messaging that is relative to your client’s request and stage in the transaction, you can validate their concerns, answer questions and, by doing so, induce them to complete your call to action. Here are a few suggestions on the subject:
Know the logical timeframe associated with the given stage of a transaction. Frequency and timing of messaging are critical to your messages being either read or dumped. As an example, it is not uncommon to have three emails in a week inviting a newly assigned contact to return your call; it would be a poor practice, however, to send a prequalified home buyer three emails in a week telling them about the home buying process. In one instance you have a defined sense of urgency: “you have a question about a loan; I have an answer – please return my call”. In the other, you have a prolonged sales cycle while the client shops and finds their eventual home. The timing and your frequency need to reflect these nuances. Finally, with respect to timeliness, know when to quit. If a consumer fails a given sales cycle (the newly assigned contact doesn’t return your call or email) it is safe to assume that they have ‘tuned out’. This doesn’t mean you want to burn them out with incessant messaging. You will want to, however, have different messaging that emails out at longer intervals with messaging inviting them to re-engage where they left off. These ‘nurture’ emails are great follow-up emails that, when delivered in a timely fashion, reconnect the client to you.
The messaging in your CRM must be relative to the pipeline stage of the client and the length of time they have been in that stage. As an example: you wouldn’t send an email inviting a client to call you about their appraisal if they hadn’t completed an application yet. Keep the message relative to their actual position in your pipeline. Finally, keep the message short. The best-read emails contain only a few sentences that convey a welcome, the steps they need to take to move forward, and a close. Providing excessive ancillary information in a preformatted email risks not being relative to your client’s interests. If you’re not relative you’re one step closer to your client’s deleted folder.
In order to move a client from one stage to another, you will need to have content that provides the consumer with validation. Validation in simple terms is the answer to the client’s question: “What’s in it for me?” Additionally, validation at one stage of the pipeline is different than at another. A client who has made an application could be induced to lock in a rate and move forward, with a message that speaks to interest rate volatility. A prospective client could be moved to contact you about an application with a message that validates the terms of the mortgage they are looking for. In each email that you send at a particular stage you’ll need to validate why the client should progress forward in the pipeline.
Call to action
If you have kept your message timely and relative, and provided validation, then you are in position to place a call to action in your email. Without the aforementioned, however, the call to action will be shallow in nature and will not be acted upon. The call to action should be simple: a ‘Do This Now’ statement. Depending on the pipeline stage, the call to action ranges from “call me” to “send in your documents”. In each email you will want a call to action that induces the client to move forward accordingly.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Adam Stein, CEO of LoanTek, Inc. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.

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