One of the biggest LOSSES in business is the grossly inadequate follow-up on opportunities and prospects. Based on a number of sales research reports, it’s estimated that 80 percent to 90 percent of all sales leads never get followed up on, and even then the follow-up is limited to one, maybe two, e-mails at most. From my own personal experience, I’d say close to 95 percent of all leads never get followed up on.
Further, VERY few salespeople will conduct phone follow-up, and almost no one gets offline with some type of direct mail package simply due to laziness and misplaced thrift. So if you want a really easy way to generate more sales, all you need to do is implement a more thorough, aggressive follow-up system for every lead that comes in. So first, let’s look at the math ….
80% to 90% of sales leads never get followed up. Shocked? You shouldn’t be. Read more from @RobinRobins
Reasons leads don’t respond
Let’s suppose you generated four leads per month via various means: referrals, trade shows, direct mail, LinkedIn, whatever. You can count on 20 percent to 50 percent to be “unresponsive” after the initial show of interest. (That’s 10 to 24 leads a year.) Why is that? Lots of reasons. They might have only been *thinking* about replacing their IT company, but they’re not fully ready to pull the trigger yet. (They’re only gathering information.) They might suddenly have a big project, problem, or distraction land on their desk, which puts hiring YOU waaaay on the back-burner. They may be a little hesitant to respond. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested; they are just not ready right now.
Therefore, if all you do is send one or two e-mails or make one phone call, you’ll get swept under the rug, forgotten. There are a lot of products and services I’ve shown interest in buying and, with a little bit of follow-up and nudging, would have bought — but I didn’t because I simply got caught up in the day-to-day and forgot to buy. I guarantee that is the same for you.
Benefits of following up the right way
Now let’s suppose you implement a follow-up sequence that includes mailing a well-done package of information to sell the appointment, along with a series of five to six e-mails and three to four phone calls, all coordinating together to secure an appointment. They don’t respond, so you mail them a second package 10 days later, with three to four more calls and e-mails. If they are still unresponsive, you put them on a newsletter drip and pull them out every six or seven months with another sales-letter package designed to get them to book a consultation.
I know, I know … sounds like a lot of work. But you could easily expect at least half of those leads to finally book, giving you an additional five to 12 leads. Splitting the difference, let’s say you get nine to agree to a meeting. Let’s see what that does to your numbers.
If you typically close only 30 percent of the appointments you go on and your average client is worth $24,000 in the first year of business (not counting referrals and cross-sell opportunities), that gives you three additional sales for a total of $72,000 in additional revenue without a lot of additional cost (other than the physical mail you might send, which won’t exceed $100).
Stop ignoring semi-warm leads
By the way, this also goes for appointments you go on but don’t close. Most salespeople abandon the opportunity, thinking they gave them their best pitch and lost to a competitor. Even if they did, you should stay in touch since not all relationships work out. Further, not all prospects buy from a competitor. Some simply do nothing and stay put — even after hearing your best sales presentation.
As I said before, you can’t get rich on the “buy now” crowd. Leads need to be generated and then kept warm until they are ready to buy, even if that’s a year or two later (yep, you heard me). The only time it’s excusable to ignore semi-warm leads is when you are so unbelievably swamped with opportunities that you can afford to cherry-pick only the hottest of the hot leads — and I don’t know of anyone with that luxury, including yours truly.
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