According to industry leaders, 70% of revenue for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) comes from local clients and businesses, though most sales come from referrals rather than from pursuing solid leads. Customers seek local vendors for products and services because it's convenient, so it's crucial for you to implement strategies that help you grow locally. Here are 10 facts about approaching local leads that can help increase sales.

1. Brand consistency generates lead conversion. Venturing into national or global branding begins with local branding. Tweak your local branding campaign to local clientele, then develop the most successful initiatives to make your brand more consistent.

2. Local leads respond to changes and updates in your marketing strategy. Keep your marketing efforts consistent by eliminating outdated product and service information, old logos, and ineffective marketing initiatives.

3. Lead information is an asset. The easiest way to get local leads is to capture information during your interactions with the client. Train your sales staff to recognize and capture local lead information.

4. Local leads require a regional approach. Unlike national and global leads, locals need direct questions, coupons and discounts to generate and close sales.

5. Segmented targeting works best. Targeting is vital for business, and segmented targeting can result in better conversion. It's especially effective when you offer products and services to a range of demographic groups -- highlight appropriate benefits to prospects in each segment.

6. Local search engine optimization (SEO) companies are ideal partners. SEO is one of the easiest and most effective ways to convert your local leads. Establishing an online presence through a website, social media and local directories such as Google Places is an effective way to reach local prospects. It's also an important part of your branding campaign. Engage an SEO consultant to help local prospects find you and to educate potential customers.

7. Your online traffic stats are important. Establishing an online presence is important and the analytics are invaluable. To convert local leads, you need to get the right information to the right client -- analyze how many visitors your site gets, which pages they access and the links they click. You'll have in-depth information on demographics and psychographics to enable more targeted marketing.

8. Teamwork works. You don't always have to compete with other local businesses. Consider partnering with companies that offer complementary products or services and streamline delivery to clients. You'll both maximize local lead capture and conversion.

9. Referrals create leads. Most SMEs rely on verbal referrals to identify potential customers. Increase your conversion rate with a robust referral strategy. Ask for referrals when your clients are happy -- during post-sales follow-ups, for example. Don't ask for a referral until your client is satisfied!

10. Local support equals lead conversion. Local businesses are the backbone of the community. Local organizations, associations and community groups rely on you for sponsorship and support. While sponsorships are an expense, they are an excellent opportunity to promote your brand and company, and to create and pursue leads.

Local businesses still have the advantage when customers need a convenient source for a product or service. However, even if you have sales skills and are a successful closer, converting local leads requires a slightly different strategy than converting other leads. Use these 10 facts to convert the leads closest to you and you'll grow your business locally and beyond.

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