Following up with leads can be a tricky, delicate business, especially when trying to juggle many leads in a timely manner. Approaching the process with the care and effort it deserves is essential, however, to doing business effectively. If you’ve been having difficulty getting your sales leads to pay off, take a look at your process for following up and compare it with the tips below. You may find that you’ve been neglecting a major aspect of the process, or accidentally doing something to put off your potential clients. Use these ideas to get back on track.
Always follow up quickly.
Leads can go cold in as little as one hour of wasted time. Studies have shown that those who follow up on leads within the first hour are more than 60 times as likely to garner a meaningful response than those who take more than a day. Even room-temperature uncooked meat stays good longer than a sales lead. Gathering sales leads takes a substantial investment of both time and money, so always be sure treat that investment with the respect it deserves.
Always follow up, period.
Every inbound lead you ignore costs your business money, and could potentially cost you an unknown amount of sales. It may seem obvious that businesses don’t succeed by ignoring opportunities to move product and make money, but in practice many sales teams often let leads slip, or forget about them for days at a time. Any lead that goes unexamined represents potential money that has, essentially, been thrown in the garbage, even without accounting for the actual cost of acquiring the lead.
Stick to a schedule.
This tip actually has two nuggets of wisdom: schedule, and actually stick to it. Set a time to follow up with sales leads and new clients. Dedicate part of each workday entirely to this process, if you have enough leads to do so. Making it part of your routine will help you make more sales, and in turn improve both persistence and consistency when following up with each new lead. If you don’t take the time to plan, your sales leads will notice, and you’ll lose them.
Offer solutions, not sales.
Fundamentally, those who show the sort of interest necessary to become an inbound sales lead are asking a single question: “Can you help me?” Don’t try to aggressively sell your leads on a particular product. Provide them with answers. Can your product or service actually help them meet the need behind their question? If so, how? For that matter, how did you find each other? Don’t tell them they should buy your product, and especially don’t try to strong-arm them or “remind them” that they were going to. Start the relationship between your business and theirs on the right foot.
Follow up in a unique way.
It’s important to follow up with everyone, but don’t have a script. Leads find businesses in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons, so make sure the approach you take fits the needs of your lead. Take a minute to deeply review the information you have on your lead, and if it doesn’t seem like enough, consider searching for a little more. Once that’s done, it will be much easier to come up with a solution that fits the lead’s needs.
Don’t follow up with each lead each day.
While it’s important for you to be constantly following up, that’s because you presumably have many leads. Doing business with you represents only a tiny sliver of what a potential lead wants to do in a given week of business. Track how often you follow up with a lead, and avoid creating a deluge of calls and pitches. Respecting a lead’s time can go a long way toward establishing that healthy relationship.
Feel like you’re not getting traction? Just ask.
Part of following up successfully is knowing when to give up. If a potential client simply isn’t buying what you’re selling, ask them outright: “Should I stop following up?” Tailor it to the signals you’ve been given. If a lead is slow to email back, mention that when you ask. Similarly, if their responses have been curt or dismissive, find a diplomatic way to note that. Drawing attention to the signals you’re getting gives the lead an idea of where communications have broken down, and doing so in a respectful manner will garner respect in turn.
Though this seems clear, actually following up on it can be a challenge. Don’t take slow communication, tentativeness, or even a rejection personally. Even if a given lead doesn’t work out, you’ve still put your company in the person’s mind. They may come back to you after finding out that your product or service really is the best fit, or recommend your company to an associate, but only if you remain polite and courteous.
What are you thoughts?
Some of these tips don’t take much to implement, and adding them to your sales repertoire should help you close more sales and convert more leads into long-term customers. If you’ve enjoyed reading these tips, you might also enjoy this article on ways to craft the perfect email subject line. If you think this article is missing something, or have a follow up strategy that’s worked well in the past, let us know in the comments!