There's a lot to do as a small business owner before your leads ever get the chance to fall in love with you. Just like dating, you start by identifying who'd be a good match for you (target market), then draw their attention (create interest) and finally lock it in by building enough trust to get their contact info (lead capture). Only then do you have the chance to make your leads fall in love with you, but there's still a lot of work to be done.

It's an attention game at this stage, and to convert leads into loving customers, you need ongoing interaction and education. Only then will they be in the right frame of mind to convert. As you build out your content strategy, consider how your message serves your target customer's basic psychological or self-fulfillment needs. Then, build foundational content in your targeted email campaigns and on your website, blog, social networks or other communication platforms that addresses those needs.

Sounds easy, right? Not exactly, but there are some truths I've discovered that help bridge the sometimes frustrating gap between lead and buyer. Here are three ways I've learned along my entrepreneurial journey to make your leads fall in love with you.

1. It's not me, it's you

This is the opposite of the famous line George uses in a Seinfeld episode when trying to break up with a girlfriend. He says, "It's not you. It's me." But when you're talking lead conversion in a business setting, it should always be about the potential customer--not the business doing the selling.

Focus on customer problems and their desires and goals. Give them the info they need to solve those problems. It's important to be slow to talk about your product. No one wants the hard sell--just like on a first date when one person talks about himself or herself the whole time. You're much better off asking questions of the other person and learning what they like.

A business that produces a high-quality, customer-focused monthly newsletter would be an example of this. The newsletter would focus not on highlighting new products, but rather have content that comes from the customer perspective and talks about the challenges they face and how to overcome them.

2. Be transparent and give more than expected

There are two parts to this one, but they are equally important. First off, when you're working to close a sale, it's important to be transparent. There shouldn't be any secrets, as those can spread distrust and kill a potential deal. At Infusionsoft, we released a straightforward and transparent payments solution because we didn't want to follow in the footsteps of others who advertise below market rates only to then add an assortment of fees after. Because we're transparent and upfront, there's no hidden surprises and trust is established from lead to long-lasting customer.

Now to the second part of the equation. You prove yourself transparent by giving your leads things they wouldn't expect. Or put another way, give them things for free they would normally expect to pay for. This includes things like insider industry info and potential pitfalls to avoid.

This level of openness might make some businesses nervous, but it's a great way to separate your business from the competition. If you act as a trusted advisor during the education process, your leads are more likely to decide on your product or service when they are truly in need.

3. Make it easy to learn more.

Delivering useful content on your schedule is one thing, but being able to provide info and insight exactly when the customer needs it is another matter altogether.

The key thing to remember here is not to be pushy with your content. At Infusionsoft, we've built and entire platform dedicated to simply educating small business owners with helpful articles and more. Our purpose is small business success. We know when we focus on that, the leads will come.

If you overwhelm your leads with pushy product pitches, you're likely to turn them off right when they're considering a purchase. Instead, make sure you are highly responsive when leads come to you asking for info or help. Part of this is just good customer service, but it goes further than that. If you've already anticipated the questions your leads are likely to ask, and have answers ready, you're going to have an advantage over competition that moves more slowly.

The journey from lead to buyer is one that every business grapples with, and it's a challenge that never goes away. Customers are always evolving, and so are the businesses that court them. But even with those changes along the way, staying focused on interaction and education will ensure that all the work you put into capturing those leads pays off.

Published on: Apr 14, 2016