Closing the deal with live chat

Closing the deal with live chat

How marketers can speed up the sale cycle

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression.

In the year 2000, the average human attention span was 12 seconds, dropping to 8 seconds in 2015. In internet terms, how we use those 8 (or often fewer) seconds can mean the difference between gaining and losing a sale.

With so little time to convert, a live chat system can help you to generate leads, book meetings or even close deals. The secret behind this is adding value, helping you to meet the prospect’s needs more easily with a well-timed, personal approach.

What is live chat?

Live chat is a non-invasive communication tool that invites web visitors to discuss their needs with a human operator. A pop-up window will usually appear at the bottom right on a desktop webpage to invite users to chat.

While live chat can be used on mobile, it’s great on desktops, allowing users to continue browsing the site while having their questions answered. Chat boxes can be timed, for example to appear on particular pages, or when a user has taken a specific action/browsed for a certain amount of time.

Timing is everything

As discussed in a previous blog, your chances of reaching a lead are 100 times higher if you reach out within the first five minutes. Live chat can provide that urgency!

The beauty of a chat system is that it can convert customers at any time in the buying cycle. The definitions of a buying cycle vary depending on the industry, but typically, it will comprise:

  • Recognising the “problem”
  • Searching for information
  • Evaluating alternative options
  • Considering a purchase
  • Purchasing
  • Analysing the purchase

As marketers, we will most likely deal with customers in the consideration and purchasing stages.

However, live chat also serves to provide answers. Take for example, a local business whose digital advertising is not making returns. A decision maker might be searching for a marketing agency, only to tell an operator that his/her marketing is failing and potentially identifying a specific “problem”.

Your team can suggest potential issues and thus start the sales cycle from a simple conversation. Likewise, during the purchase analysis stage, live chat can be used as consultancy tool for existing customers, helping to upsell new products.

Quickening the pace

So how exactly does live chat speed up the conversion process? The desktop-friendly interface naturally lends itself to B2B enquiries, so it’s likely a person engaging in a chat will be a decision maker.

Live chat provides an instant response in place of tedious website navigation, or worse still, contact forms. Rather than having to wait days for a response, purchasers can speak to a knowledgeable employee there and then.

Speeding up the consideration stages

Sometimes, a well-written services page is not enough. We’ve seen above that users will exit a site within 8 seconds, so live chat helps your operators present your services to align with the customer’s needs.

A key conversion at this stage is arranging a meeting. By speaking one-on-one with your staff, purchasers can agree a suitable meeting time while your sales team follows up with a courtesy email.

Closing that sale

Let’s say a purchaser has finished evaluating and is now returning to close the deal. How can we make that happen faster?

Using behavioural analysis, for example tracking cookies to identify previous visitors, marketers can point customers in the right direction faster. Marketers can use automation to recognise behavioural intent and direct them straight towards the relevant personnel – no starting from scratch!

Making the best of live chat

Like all conversion software, live chat is only as good as you make it. To gain more leads and convert faster, remember to:

Keep it human

By all means, use automated messages where appropriate, for example to display office opening hours, but intervene when your staff are in the office. If it’s an international enquiry, for example, have a human direct the chat to a native speaker.

Understand intentions

Live chat can appear based on conditions you set. Human staff are finite, so to optimise your operators’ chatting time, try setting it to appear only on pages which suggest interest, for example services or contact us.

Set expectations

Make sure customers can clearly see your opening hours, or consider turning your chat off out of hours. You can also let them know average response times to improve the customer experience.

Wherever your buyers are in the funnel, a live chat system can provide an informative, humanised experience that increases conversions.

About Project

As part of a content series for GoSquared, I wrote a blog on the benefits of live chat.

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