When it rains, water runs off into stream and other channels. Those channels come together and flow into rivers.
Rivers will go into larger bodies of water, many end up in the ocean.
Smart consumer services also have multiple channels for bringing in leads.
The streams of leads come together and can really drive customers into your location. This process leaves you with a constant flow of new clients.
By consumer services, I mean brick and mortar businesses which provide services. Things like:
- Gyms (Personal trainers, CrossFit-types and other independent gym chains)
- Salons (Hair, Nail, Etc.)
- Health (Physical therapy, Spas, etc.)
Anywhere someone comes to you for a service. Now back to the streams and rivers.
Here are just a couple of broad examples of streams and rivers of leads.
- River: Existing Customers
- Stream: Upsell (products clients can use)/Cross-sell/Recurring payments
- Stream: Referrals from current clients
- River: Marketing and Sales
- Stream: Outbound sales (via cold email, calls, direct mail, etc.)
- Stream: Inbound marketing/sales (via SEO, email, live chat, product/service education)
It’s an illustration, not science. But you get the idea. Optimize your current streams, add new ones and soon enough you’ll have that river of clients coming to you.
Here’s Where Gist Comes Into Play
Gist is an all-in-one tool which helps consumer services better optimize and harness all of these streams by:
- Automating follow up with current customers
- Booking and scheduling appointments using live chat, bots and our meeting scheduler tool
- Capturing contact data and nurture leads via email marketing
In this article, I’ll cover an in-depth game plan to start using Gist for getting new and repeat business.
One: Get Live Chat setup and looking good. Create a chat prompt to start the conversation with site visitors.
Two: Link your Google Calendar and set up Gist’s Meeting tool to start booking sales calls via email and chat.
Three: Create a meeting scheduling bot to book calls and qualify leads when you and your team aren’t in the office.
Four: Begin collecting email addresses and automating your referral outreach.
1 First Things First, Set Up Live Chat
Having live chat on your site is an inbound and outbound sales tool.
If people search for your services and find you, having live chat there is a fantastic way to start the conversation. And if you sent out a cold email, many times a prospect may check out all of the links in your email signature before they make an effort to reply.
And last time I checked, having conversations with potential customers is a priority for consumer services.
Live Chat set up is a breeze, especially if you’re using WordPress.
Just login to your WP Dashboard, install the Gist plugin, go to “Settings” > “Gist” and put in your workspace ID from the Gist dashboard.
The Live Chat will now be on your site.
You can go into the Messenger settings and change the appearance to match your brand. If site visitors start a conversation with you, it will show up in the “Conversations” tab of your Gist dashboard.
Note: You may notice that live chat is not on our blog content. We do this on purpose and you can also set the display conditions for your live chat.
Discretionary income gets spent quickly and if you’re not the first available, it’s lost. Our live chat allows you to communicate with site visitors immediately to get them in your door and not with the competition.
Now, It’s Time to Start the Conversation (with Chat Prompts)
Sure, those who are really interested may click on the chat icon. But most people will not start the conversation.
To get those visitors talking, you’ll need a chat prompt.
I recently wrote a deep look into creating a prompt. Essentially, it’s like a store owner greeting someone who walks into their shop.
2 Next, Start Booking Appointments Online
Everybody’s busy nowadays.
Even if you can get people to want an appointment, they may not know when they’re available. It’s hard to nail down a solid time.
It’s for these reasons, meeting schedulers were invented. And it’s been a wonderful tool. They’re so wonderful, that Gist comes with our very own Meeting Scheduler tool on all of our plans.
All you have to do is connect your Google Calendar and set up your meeting preferences (which you can access in “Profiles and Preferences” in the upper right of your Gist dashboard).
It’s once you have the meeting link the magic happens.
A meeting link books on your calendar and can be used in various ways.
- Email Outreach: Put a meeting link in the P.S. to appointments without talking to customers.
- Live Chat: Turn chats into appointments by offering your link via live chat.
- Bots: Gist offers a few types of bots, including a meeting scheduler bot to book appointments when you’re not available via live chat.
Setting appointments is a great way to increase revenue when booking them over the phone is a hassle. Our meeting scheduler allows customers to book the most convenient time while making sure you’re not overbooked.
3 Then, Create a Chat Bot
What happens when you’re not there?
Site visitors (aka potential customers) will move on and keep searching.
If you and your team are in the office, you can make yourself available via live chat or having your number right there for a quick call.
But during the off-hours, people can still come to your site. Could be a decision maker from a different country, or just someone who’s working late.
Here’s the thing, you can have a virtual rep that is available to talk 24/7. In other words, a Chat Bot.
No, you don’t have to know how to code. Gist has a couple different bots for our Support and All-in-One plans.
Starting with the Support plan ($29/mo for 5 users), you can get a qualification bot which asks certain questions to your prospects to help you separate prospects (those genuinely interested) and suspects (leads who won’t likely buy).
- How many employees at a company?
- Current solution for target industry?
- Looking for a new solution?
These are likely questions your reps will work into a conversation on the phone or over live chat. The bot can get to the point and ask these questions to new site visitors who initiate the conversation.
For Gist’s Pro plan users, your bots can actually book calls for you and your team!
In addition to the automated booking bot, you can create custom bots to do things, like answer frequently asked questions.
But what about when you and your staff isn’t available to take calls? You can use our chat bot tool to create a booking bot in about 15 minutes. Bots get appointments 24/7 and there’s no coding required.
4 Finally, Start Using Email
Gist has Live Chat, Meetings and Chat Bots. And we’re also a full-fledged Email Marketing tool (not to mention several other tools)!
As a service business, you may understand the power of content and inbound marketing. (If not, don’t worry. You can still use Gist’s email marketing.)
Working hard to provide resources (like this one, to be honest) isn’t going to do you any good if the right people don’t get to it.
If you’re reading this very article, it’s likely because you’ve signed up for a free plan for Gist and are in the onboarding sequence. (Notice, how we’ve segmented it for different verticals like B2Bs, SaaS and more.)
With email you can also prompt customers to come back by sending things (like coupons) right to their inbox.
All of the aforementioned nurturing is via our drip campaign feature in the email marketing tool.
But what if you’re just doing outbound.
Either way, an email marketing tool is vital for your success.
No, I’m not going to try to sell you on inbound. If you’re having success with outbound sales (like fliers or sending mailers) already and don’t want to add inbound, that’s totally up to you.
But what about referrals?
Using behavioral emails (another Gist email feature), you can set an email to automatically send to every new client after a few weeks. The email asks them to set you up with any colleagues that could use your services.
Doing this automates your referral system, making it a stable stream of lead generation.
Repeat business takes more than making a good first impression on your customers. Gather emails and use our marketing tools to send offers automatically. Set it up once and all of your customers will receive a series of emails to keep them coming back.
Features for the Future
These first 4 steps are designed to give you the most bang for your buck starting out with Gist.
That said, there are a number of features we didn’t cover. Again, I suggest getting the steps above up and running first. Then, check out a few of these.
Marketing Automation (and Workflows): Essentially a visual workflow builder showing how and when new users get certain emails, start campaigns and make changes based on behaviors (like when leads become customers).
Support Tools: Gist has a Help Desk and Knowledge Base to explain complex features and make sure your customers become diehard fans.
Event Tracking: See every interaction with visitors, leads and current customers on your site. Then, use the data to better automate.
I really hope this article helps you utilize Gist to gather the streams and have success in your company.