How to nurture and convert warm leads

How can you turn the 'curious' into clients?

Qualifying your leads

Most companies place leads into one of three piles:
  • Hot leads are those ready to sign up right now
  • Warm leads aren’t quite ready to buy from you, but they show an interest and display high intent
  • Cold leads who will never use your company, or are only just beginning their search for a product or service

For many, hot leads are to be prioritised and cold leads can be safely ignored (for now, at least). That’s the easy part. Yet, warm leads often present a tricky grey area.

You know they have an interest in your business. They’ve shown that by using your company before, following you on social media, or even gently requesting information about the services you offer. On the other hand, it’s perfectly clear they’re not at the conversion stage – and chasing a warm lead that never gets hot costs you precious time.


What not to do

Over the past few years, businesses have begun shifting from hard-selling to cold leads to nurturing warm leads. The reason is clear: it’s much more convenient and cost-effective to convert someone who’s familiar with your business, products, and services.

Despite this focus, not every company is getting it right. There are two sure-fire ways to turn a warm lead cold.
  • Doing nothing

Far too many businesses treat warm leads the same way they treat cold leads: to be ignored until the client is ready if they ever are.

Perhaps it’s indolence or lack of confidence or a desire to not be seen as too pushy. Whatever the reason, the result is the same – it pushes the lead away. On a psychological level, most people would rather be rejected than ignored.

It’s the equivalent of when you walk into a shop to browse. You still want to be acknowledged, so you can explain that you’re still deciding, giving the shopkeeper the opportunity to offer advice and make recommendations.

Being ignored creates uncertainty and the impression you’re not interested in addressing the lead’s needs.
  • Doing too much

A warm lead, by definition, isn’t ready right now. Approaching them as if they were a red-hot, ready-to-buy, right-here-right-now lead risks having the same effect as ignoring them: alienation.

These leads are shopping around. They know what they need, and they know which companies can help. They’re just not ready to commit yet. So, bombarding them with sales pitches and constant phone calls isn’t likely to swing them to your point of view.

Instead, the opposite is true. They’ll go elsewhere, becoming not so much a cold lead as a sub-zero one.


How to nurture and encourage warm leads

Properly nurtured, warm leads add incredible value to your business. Sales statistics show us that persistence is key to converting leads. While 2% of sales are made on the first contact, 80% of sales take between five and 12 contacts. The trick, then, becomes striking the right balance of frequency, and making those contacts meaningful.
  • Listen to your leads

When your lead is hot, you’ll usually find yourself doing a lot of talking – about your company and how you can help – to get them to choose you. That approach isn’t right for warm leads. Instead, you want to listen.

69% of buyers say listening to their needs is the most important in creating a positive sales experience. By listening to what they have to say, you show you value their voice. You can understand where they’re coming from and what they’ll need from you to help them convert, which crucially builds trust and rapport.

Let’s say a client comes to you considering a divorce. If you rely on a tried and tested ‘let’s take them for all their worth’ sales pitch, despite the client informing you that they want the split to remain amicable, you’ll likely never see them again.

It’s an approach that lets you be reactive and responsive, giving you the opportunity to personalise your approach on a client-by-client basis and respond to what they’re saying (and, crucially, what they want and need).
  • Respond quickly

A warm lead is often umming and ahhing – and the sooner you contact them, the better.

The value of a quick response time can’t be overstated. In one study, 78% of customers went with the first company to get in touch. And the longer you leave it, the more each lead degrades, as their problem becomes less relevant or is solved by a rival company. The money your business has spent acquiring that lead through marketing or lead generation services like The Law Superstore is effectively wasted unless you follow up promptly.
  • Follow-up regularly and with a reason

A common issue businesses face is keeping themselves in the minds of potential customers – especially in an age where inboxes ping with dozens of company messages a day. Use the data your company has to find the frequency that works for you, using all available channels to reach out to your leads.

And always have something to say.

A ‘quick check to see if you’re ready’ has far less impact than an email outlining the latest service you provide, a product change or interesting industry insights. It might be the very thing they’ve been waiting for. Personalise these contacts wherever you can to make them even more meaningful (reinforcing your ‘I’m listening’ message).
  • Share user case studies

Make user case studies a core part of your follow-up emails. What better reason to get in touch than to share an example where you’ve solved a client problem similar to their own?

Social proof plays a major part in helping convince and convert leads. It’s why 87% of buying decisions start with online research. You know yourself, when you need to hire a professional or make a big purchase, you’ll spend time reading online reviews and comparing companies. Even celebrity endorsements can swing the decision for you.

Case studies are an excellent example of social proof. They demonstrate success others have had when using your company, validating the customer’s needs, and showing your expertise on sometimes niche subjects. They also help further position your business as a trusted authority.
  • Create urgency through deals

Depending on your company, you may be able to provide   limited time offers that push leads further down the sales funnel. This should always be pitched as an exclusive offer personalised for them; it shouldn’t come across as a sales tactics, but as a genuine way to meet their needs in a timely manner.
  • Be patient

Instant conversions are rare – and often, a lot of work and research for both parties has occurred behind the scenes to create the illusion of an instant conversion. A warm lead might not be ready to commit for several reasons. You’ll need to use your knowledge of the sector, the psychology of people, and the data you hold to explore what will help them convert.

You shouldn’t aim to bounce them into making a decision that isn’t right your them (or for you). Doing so often does more harm than good for your brand and a lead’s perception of it. Instead, give them time and the information they need to gently help them make the right choice. Make sure you’re presenting a warm and helpful impression, displaying your expertise but not concerned that they’re not ready yet. That you’ll be here when they are ready.

An auxiliary benefit of making this type of connection early in the sales cycle is that they’re then much more likely to recommend you to others, even having never used your services themselves. Perception, here, is critical.

Don’t write off warm leads

Often companies ignore warm leads because they’re not ‘quick wins’. Converting them takes time and effort – though perhaps not as much as you might think when correctly nurtured – and putting the work in can add incredible value to your business.

It's easy to forget that leads are people – and they’ll almost always have a negative reaction to being rushed to sign, or that niggling feeling that it’s all about the money. This is especially true for legal leads. These leads are likely experiencing stress and doubt and confusing over specific (and hitherto unknown) legal situations. They’re uncertain, sometimes frightened, their judgement clouded. Because of this, most warm leads benefit from the softly, softly approach.

When partners first join The Law Superstore, we offer a few tips for making the most of the leads that come in. One of those is the prepare a set pitch, and questions, which allow you to show clients how you can help, and quickly ascertain the value of the lead. Remember, just because a lead isn’t converting now, doesn’t mean they won’t in the future – treat every warm lead as a valuable future customer to get the most out of lead generation as a marketing tool.