4 ways to leverage live chat as a sales tool

Using chat as a sales tool: hands using laptop

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A guy walks into a hardware store looking for something to unclog his sink. After wandering around the wrong aisles for a few minutes, the man is approached by a friendly store associate who asks, “Is there something I can help you find?”

“No, I’m just browsing.”

Likely, you’ve been in this customer’s shoes before. I have—because that customer was me, just a couple weeks ago. And the story ended as it often does: after a few more minutes getting lost in the store, the customer (yours truly) returned to the front desk, a little embarrassed.

“So, actually, there is something I’m looking for…”

In an ideal world, perhaps, we wouldn’t need to ask for help. Maybe people would walk around wearing signs on their necks: “I need a new lightbulb”  “I’m looking for an affordable winter coat,” “I could really use an estate planning attorney.” We don’t live in that world (not yet at least), and that’s one reason selling to customers and clients—even when you know their needs and can meet their needs—can be so tough.

That said, it is possible to make it easier for the people you serve to share what’s on their minds—no neck-signs necessary. It’s not that they want to keep their needs a secret from you; it’s that you might just not be using the best platform to communicate with them.

That platform? Live chat, my friend!

Here are a few ways to use website chat as a way to boost sales:

1. Make a connection.

In numerous respects, your website is a lot like your lobby or storefront—it’s many people’s first impression of your business. That said, when someone chooses to visit your website, they’re probably in a different headspace than they would be walking into a physical location. They’re less self-conscious and inhibited.

Many people prefer to do business this way, especially people who may struggle with conventional verbal interactions.

A friendly and welcoming chat specialist can connect your business with website visitors before they’re ready to interact through voice or in person. Through chat, people are able to express their wants and needs on their own terms at their own pace. It’s about meeting people where and when they’re receptive about your business but may not be ready for a more “official” interaction. (And for those people who would like to turn the online connection into a live phone call, the right chat solution can make that happen.)

2. Gather the right information.

Live chat is a powerful tool for collecting information about customers, clients, or patients early on in their journeys with your organization. A live chat specialist can talk to visitors directly about what they need: What are they searching for? Why are they interested in your business? What questions do they have?

It’s an opportunity to discover, in real time, how you can better serve your market. 

 

Interactions with live chat specialists may reveal that a number of your customers struggle to find a specific product or service on your website.

Or that clients are coming to your website looking for something your business doesn’t offer.

Or that maybe your products or services aren’t totally consistent with your marketing and branding.

As you begin to see trends and patterns appear, you can adjust your business’ presentation business accordingly. And you can better serve people in real time, as live chat specialists guide visitors to the right information on your site—information they may not have been able to find on their own.

3. Root out the real prospects from general website traffic.

piggy bank with dollar sign

Just as important as being able to point your prospective customers in the right direction is the ability to recognize when your business may not be the best fit for them.

Generating the right leads for your business and distinguishing between potential customers can be a daunting task—unless you have the right tools at your disposal.

 

When someone gets as far as contacting your business directly without understanding that you will not be able to service them, it usually comes down to miscommunication. Somewhere along their journey, they have been misled.

Think of 24/chat as a sieve filtering real potential buyers from the people your business is unable to serve. By gathering information about the wants and needs of your website’s visitors, and accurately communicating what you can and cannot do for them, live chat specialists can help save you valuable time.

After all, no one wants to spend an afternoon on a call with a prospective client or customer only for the conversation to end with “I don’t think this is what I’m looking for.”

4. Address objections proactively.

Speaking of conversations we would all rather avoid, why subject you or your sales team to an angry phone call or email that could have been easily avoided?

Live chat specialists are trained to proactively address sales situations early and effectively.

Whether your website’s visitors are concerned about pricing, contracts, or competition, the non-scripted, listening-based approach of a live chat specialist can help relieve some of that pressure.

Part of a live chat specialist’s job is to recognize sales objections early and ask the right follow up questions. All with the goal of providing the right solutions to even the most complicated problems, or the most trivial of concerns.

How live chat can improve sales for your business

Let’s take a look at specific ways a 24/7 live chat service can help grow businesses of different kinds:

Law firms

If someone were to type “local law firms” into their search bar without specifying a practice area, it’s unlikely they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for.

Perhaps they’ll click on the first website that boasts a 4-star-plus rating without knowing the difference between trademarks and patents, or how land use differs from landlord representation, or what entity even awarded those stars.

Live chat can help visitors understand what kind of attorney or law firm may be of service to them, saving time for legal providers and their potential clients. 

A chat specialist can ask a visitor questions like…

  • What brought you to our website?
  • What legal service or services are you looking for?
  • Have you worked with an attorney before?
  • Would you like to schedule a consultation?

HVAC, plumbing, electricians, general contractors, and other home services businesses

For professionals like plumbers and HVAC technicians, sometimes it doesn’t matter how boldly you state “we only serve these specific neighborhoods” on your website.

You still may receive calls asking: “Are you sure you won’t drive 400 miles to clean my gutters?”

Chat can point visitors in the right direction and play “interference” for your business. It’s an easy way to provide your potential customers with basic information such as location, rate, and types of service your business provides—without getting into a lengthy back-and-forth yourself.

Chat can provide key information about your business to visitors:

  • Your hours
  • Your availability
  • The location you serve
  • What kinds of services you offer

Healthcare providers

Many patients tend to feel anxious when scheduling an appointment with a new healthcare associate, particularly if they’re dealing with painful or scary symptoms or feel as though they may need extensive treatment.

A friendly chat specialist can help new patients feel comforted and cared for, while providing helpful information regarding availability, frequently asked questions, on-site versus virtual visits, and more.

It’s a key component of a successful telehealth model, providing consumers with the speed, personalization, and convenient access to care they increasingly demand.

Marketing firms, business consultants, financial advisors, & other professional service providers

For professional service providers slick web design and online marketing can only get across so much information. Often, the real value these companies provide can best be communicated through real, person-to-person conversations. After all, the world of business services is built on in-depth, high-touch, personal relationships.

Live chat helps establish this relationship early on, providing visitors with highly individualized service. It’s the closest thing online to a friendly, knowledgeable receptionist at a business’s front desk.

Chat specialists can communicate the true value of a business—not only what it does, but how and why it does it—establishing rapport and trust. We’re talking about educating prospects about…

  • Your unique approach and values
  • Your team’s capabilities and expertise
  • How your service or solution helps clients right now and in the long-term

…all while getting real insights into visitors’ needs and expectations, so you can provide them with the personalized service they’re looking for.

How live chat can improve sales for your business

When you start looking at the visitors to your website as more than simply potential customers, but rather human beings with specific wants and needs, new opportunities begin to emerge.

Why not present your business the same way?

Live chat specialists don’t just provide a voice for your business—they add a personal touch to your website and offer visitors a safe space to express what they’re looking for. It’s like a customer service expert, an informed representative of your business, and a qualified problem solver all in one package.

Actually, it’s not like that; it is that.

Learn more in our guide: The rise of website chat.

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