Monday February 16, 2015
In a study reported by Entrepreneur.com, there is a direct correlation between the speed at which a company’s sales force follows up with the leads and the company’s lead-conversion rate. The same study shows that many companies are extremely weak in their follow-up.
One of the primary challenges in lead-conversion is the pressure of closing the sale immediately. This takes the focus away from the prospect and understanding his or her business needs. Through a more studied sales approach that includes a timely response, persistent communication and person-to-person contact, lead-conversions increase and deeper client relationships develop.
“If they stress responsiveness, resourcefulness and relationship-nurturing during the sales process, they'll put themselves in position to beat their competitors--even the most entrenched ones--to the deal.” Entrepreneur
Improving follow-up can be made easy by taking just a few steps:
Be first to respond
According to Alice Taylor, founder of Mortgage Solutions LLC in Las Vegas, "The first person to [respond to] the client typically is the person who's going to close the client.” It can be said that prospects that contact your business do so with a sense of urgency, meaning they expect the same type of urgency in your response. Replying to an inquiry even within an hour of receiving it can open the door for competitors to close that prospect. #bethefirst
Communicate with all leads
Leads can be divided into three different categories. Those that are ready now, soon to be ready, and may never be ready. It is important to develop a follow-up strategy for all types of leads. It is natural to spend all your time on a hot lead, but neglecting the warm leads eventually turns them into cold leads to be added to those you will never close. By putting the time in to develop and nurture the warm leads, salespeople will get more out of their leads and see profitability increase. #everyleadisgold
Take it personally
While the web has made it increasingly easier to communicate with prospects and clients, it has also taken away the personal touch of a phone call or face-to-face meeting. Despite widespread use of virtual communications, people remain people, meaning they appreciate personal contact. Salespeople who follow-up via email are less successful at closing a deal than those who call the prospect personally.
Another piece of advice worthy to note, is the information learned from personal conversations. While emails can generate initial interest, a one-to-one conversation can open up much deeper discussions that often lead to a better understanding of the client and the client’s business. #takeitpersonally
Track your touches
Tracking contacts with prospects serves multiple purposes. First, it keeps you accountable for following-up with all prospects and not losing track of those you have connected with and those you have missed. Most successful closings take place after the fifth touch. Keeping detailed notes about each contact not only reminds you where you’re at in the follow-up process, but also helps track the various conversations you’re having with contacts individually. #trackyourtouches
Be the prospect
Understanding and caring about a client’s business is essential to standing out among competitors. Companies can give themselves a distinct advantage by making the extra effort to understand their clients' businesses and the problems clients are trying to solve. Going above and beyond to understand your clients’ patrons elevates you to the next level and provides your client a greater service.
There are a number of tools you can use for effective follow-up and lead conversion, but the greatest of all is personal and consistent communication. It is human nature to do business with those you know, like and trust, but you have to follow-up to become that company. So who will you talk to this week?
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