Every new month brings with it a new challenge to meet sales targets. And, sadly many fall short of their sales targets, which lowers profitability and causes lots of stress and disappointment.
The most surprising thing is achieving sales targets doesn’t need to be stressful or a disappointing experience!
Read on to discover a simple formula you can use to extract the Gold you need from new and current customers to say goodbye to the stress and frustration of meeting your sales targets.
And, what ‘Gold‘ are we talking about? The information your team needs to know about your customers to close a sale: What vacation experiences your customers want now and when they intend to book them.
Last year ICE Vacations Asia-Pacific applied the Golden Leads formula for its Cruise Megastore brand and generated 8433 Leisure Travel Leads that close at 25.35% – 621% HIGHER than their other lead sources!
In explaining the phenomenal increase in their close rate, ICE Vacations CEO Kevin Sharp says:
“If you know what really interests a person, where they want to go and when they want to go there, then it just naturally helps our close rate go up. It just comes back to a more cost-effective lead.”
Now, without taking anything away from their great closing performance, let’s be honest…
…with Gold like that, your team couldn’t help getting really high close rates too, right?
Here’s the 4-Step “Golden Leads” Process You Can Replicate to Acquire a Flood of Leads that Convert at Higher Rates
STEP 1 — Developing Your Strategy
The easy part with generating ‘Golden Leads’ is knowing what you want – hot leads who will share the following:
What vacation experience they are considering purchasing now; when they want to go; and how soon they want to book their next vacation.
However, unlike other lead generation activities where you’re usually happy just collecting basic contact details (e.g. during a newsletter sign up), the key to getting ‘Golden Leads‘ that’ll crush your sales targets is gathering the right consumer intelligence. This added knowledge consistently translates into high sales conversion rates.
The best way to go about gathering consumer intelligence data is to invite your past and current customers to enter a contest giveaway or sweepstakes to win a great vacation to a popular holiday destination.
Let’s face it, you already know your customers enjoy taking vacations and will continue to take future vacations, so providing them with a free entry to win a desirable vacation is very likely to be attractive to them, and this is one of the reasons why ICE Vacations was able to attract a large volume of participants.
You also need to think through the process and consider a number of key areas:
- Which customers are you going to target? Do you need to segment your customers or engage with all of them?
Here’s a tip – At the end of the day it’s really just a numbers game, so invite them all. You never know when someone’s planning their next dream vacation or weekend getaway.
- Which Vacation Prize can I give away that has enough perceived value to really get their attention?
Here’s a tip – Regardless of whether you’re segmenting your customers or not, be sure to have a great prize. You don’t have to spend the earth on your prize giveaway, but don’t skimp on it either—make the prize attractive enough to the majority of your audience.
You might even be able to talk one of your suppliers into giving you the prize at no cost!
- How long should I run my contest?
Two weeks is the absolute bare minimum, however, the length really depends on the prize giveaway and the size of your customer base.
ICE Vacations usually run their contests for 6 or 12 months, which gives them the opportunity to spread their prize costs over longer periods to keep lead costs down and generate more ‘Golden Leads’.
- Which marketing channels or customer touch points will you use to inexpensively drive customers to the contest?
The short answer is to promote your contest in any communication that reaches your existing or potential customers. You’ll see more on this later in Step 3.
- How are you going to engage with customers once you know what vacation they want next and when they’ll book that vacation?
I’ve included the contact methods ICE Vacations has been using and have added a few more suggestions in Step 4.
STEP 2 — Design Your Contest Site
A lot of companies use very basic contest landing pages when running contests on their social media pages to capture contact details.
That’s okay if you just want to capture contact details, however to extract the Gold you need to crush sales targets, you need to go just a little further.
And, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on developers or graphic designers to create a terrific contest site that delivers all the elements you need–there are a number of inexpensive platforms you can access to build your contest sites.
For instance, ICE Vacations uses Your Lead Engine to create their contest sites to maximize lead flow and reduce costs.
Click here to see the contest site ICE Vacations created with Your Lead Engine to generate 8,433 Leisure Travel Leads that close at 25.35%.
When building your contest site to generate ‘Golden Leads’, here’s the blueprint of elements you want to include:
The only contact details you really need as required fields are your contestant’s first and last name, email address and contact phone numbers (at least cellular/mobile). The important thing to remember is to keep it simple to keep participation rates up.
Add Survey Questions as required fields to your Entry Form–this is where the ‘Gold’ comes from!
Here are examples of the types of survey questions and answers you want to ask:
- What vacation experience have you planned for your next vacation?
□ Ocean Cruise □ River Cruise □ Resort Stay □ Escorted Tour □ Hotel/Motel
- Where are you planning to go on your next vacation?
□ Destination 1 □ Destination 2 □ Destination 3 □ etc.
- When will you book your next vacation?
□ I’m Ready Now □ Looking for a great deal anytime □ 1 to 3 months □ 3 to 6 months
□ 6 to 9 months □ 9 to 12 months □ More than 12 months
Sponsor/Promoter’s name and address
Make sure you include your company’s full name and street address (not PO Box) on the entry form so contestants know who is running the contest.
This statement contains the ‘Opt In’ wording your legal team should provide to obtain consent from contest participants to receive promotional offers from you in the future by email, SMS text messaging or telephone, so you’re covered for Anti Spam and Do Not Call legislations.
It’s particularly important to have this statement on your entry form to capture opt ins from new potential customers.
The statement sits under the Privacy Statement with a tick box contestants must check to have their entry registered. The statement basically says that they have read and agree to the Contest Rules and Privacy Statement.
Important: Depending on the legal jurisdictions you operate in, you need to be sure that you incorporate all local, state/provincial and federal requirements related to running contests or sweepstakes, as well as, Privacy, Anti Spam and Do Not Call legislations to make sure you’re compliant with all the rules and regulations.
Other elements you should include in your Contest Site are:
About Us – inform prospects and remind customers how terrific you are to deal with and the types of products and services you provide.
Contest Rules – be sure to have comprehensive contest rules that include specifics about the prize giveaway, how and when the draw will be conducted, and how the winner will be contacted at the end of the contest.
Website Terms and Conditions – you probably only need to include these if your contest site is not located on your website–best to check with the legal team.
Thank You Page – this page closes the loop of the contest process and should tell contestants what happens next: how and when the draw will be conducted and how the winner will be notified.
To really extend your reach and generate more leads you should also incorporate:
Extend your reach even further by allowing contestants to invite their family and friends to enter the contest by email or by sharing on social media.
Make it worth their while by giving them an extra entry in the contest for everyone they refer that enters the contest.
Once contestants have referred their family and friends, have an Offers Page appear with “Special Travel Offers” that provide terrific value with a call-to-action to a toll free number or a booking page on your website.
Now that you’ve got their attention, you may as well grab some low hanging fruit, right?
And whenever someone selects one of your offers, have your system send you an ‘offer alert’ with the contestant’s contact details so your team can get onto this HOT lead straight away!
Regardless of whether they selected one of your offers or not, provide the functionality that allows contestants to send one of your offers to their family and friends by email or social media.
This allows your offers to go viral and drive bookings from people who didn’t enter the contest.
If a contestant selected one of your offers, give them the opportunity to tell you how and when to contact them to discuss your offer.
This is the best type of lead you can get, so be sure that your system sends you this information straight away!
STEP 3 — Drive Traffic to Your Contest Site
Driving customers to your contest site can be done very inexpensively.
Just think about all the marketing channels and customer touch points you use now to drive sales traffic or engage with existing or potential customers, and include a contest invitation in the copy.
A few very inexpensive ways to drive traffic are:
- Email invitations to new prospects and both existing and past customers to enter your free contest.
Here’s a tip – You should also have a look at previous prospects in your database that have been designed as ‘not interested’. They may have been ‘not interested’ in buying last time you contacted them, however, many would likely be interested in entering a free contest to win a great holiday.
By answering the survey questions (as we saw in Step 2) many turn themselves into new leads!
- Text messages inviting both existing and past customers to enter the contest is a good way to engage if you don’t have email addresses.
- Showcasing a Contest on your website.
Generally less than 95% of people visiting websites or landing pages leave their contact details. Consider how much of that traffic you’re missing out on now would be enticed by an attractive contest.
- Have a Pop Up with a contest invitation appear on your website or landing pages when visitors are about to leave—you may as well have these assets working harder for you, right?
- Promote your contest in your regular Newsletters—engagement rates are typically high!
- Promote your contest on your Blog or Social Media profiles to reach your customers and increase the chances of your contest going viral.
Here’s a tip – Many companies are having great success using Facebook Ads to inexpensively drive traffic to their contest posts on their timelines.
STEP 4 — The Sales Process: Following Up with Contestants
Now, the best part!
Based on the answers to the survey questions contestants provided on the entry form, develop contact protocols to ensure optimal messaging and timing to engage with your Golden Leads for the best sales conversion rates.
When thinking through this process, consider:
- Calling contestants that selected an offer as soon as possible!
- Contacting contestants at the time and date that they asked you to call.
- Calling all contestants that indicated that they’d be booking their next vacation within the next 3 months, as soon as possible.
This is when they’re looking around for the best deal, so get to them before they choose someone else!
- Setting up an auto email campaign for all other contestants with relevant and timely content about the destinations and vacation experiences they’re interested in.
Here’s a tip – Don’t try to sell them a vacation with these emails!
You should certainly have a call-to-action that invites them to contact you if they want additional information about the destination or vacation experience—just remember you are trying to help them at this time, so don’t go in with a hard sell.
Follow up with a call about 6 weeks before the time they indicated they’d be booking their next vacation. They’ll remember and appreciate your earlier emails and give you the time you need to sell them.
Crushing Your Sales Targets is Easy When Following the Golden Leads Formula
Like any new lead generation strategy it takes some thinking and a little time to put everything together to generate highly responsive and cost-effective leads.
However, once you have the process set up and refined, you’ll have a machine that will constantly deliver the Golden Leads you need to surpass your current sales targets!
Click on the video below to hear what Ice Vacations CEO Kevin Sharp has to say about their success using Your Lead Engine to generate their Golden Leads.
See the Golden Leads Formula in Action!
Click here to see the actual contest site ICE Vacations created for its Cruise Megastore brand that generated 8,433 Travel Leads that close at 25.35%…
…and how easily you can replicate their success and create your own Golden Leads Machine!