Following up with leads is a task many managers dread. Many think of a “follow-up” as a one-time occurrence – you speak to someone about an offer, you wait a few days, and then you follow up with a call or email. But to truly master the art of following up with potential customers, you have to view follow-ups as an ongoing process. Here, we’ll dig deep into the science of following up on leads to determine why it’s hard, what works, and what some of the most common mistakes are.
Be Persistent, Not a Pest
Studies show that it takes a persistent five follow-ups before a sale is closed. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that 44 percent of businesses give up after just one try. Yet another study shows that it takes an average of nine to 12 attempts before even reaching a lead over the phone. Considering all of this information, it’s easy to see how companies may be leaving money on the table.
So what keeps these companies from closing more deals with semi-interested prospects? Oftentimes, it’s the simple desire to not be too sleazy. You don’t want to agitate your leads and push them further away. However, you need to be clear about convincing them of your product’s value. The solution in these cases is to be more convincing earlier on. You won’t need to make a fifth follow-up call if your first one goes phenomenally. The Daily Egg highlights an eight-step process for doing this, which includes defining your customer’s journey, standing out in your industry with your unique feature and making it super simple for customers to make a choice.
Find Your Perfect Time-Frame
Another thing you’ll hear professional marketers and salespeople disagree on is the appropriate time-frame for following up. Some studies claim that there is a difference between online leads and face-to-face leads, suggesting that your window of opportunity is quite small in the digital world. Harvard Business Review found that responding to online leads within one hour boosted conversions by seven times the original number. However, this isn’t common practice for businesses. The same study found that just 37 percent of businesses followed up within one hour.
From past experience, you might disagree with the accuracy of this time-frame. Thus, it’s important to track your follow-ups and subsequent sales to determine what time-frames have the highest success for your business. If speed isn’t your strong suit, try setting up an auto-responder to follow up with online leads. Just make sure this automatic email is authentic, straightforward, and not too generic.