You have set up a strong supply of leads – they keep pouring in continuously. You pounce on them and establish contact with the prospects. But deals are not closed with one call or one e-mail – you have to keep working on the leads. This is where many salespeople fall short because they do not follow-up in the right way or do not follow-up at all.
A new lead always excites a salesperson – it means a new prospect and hopes of a new deal. However, once the initial contact is done, salespeople tend to move on to newer leads and the previous leads go into the background and gradually get forgotten. Not having an efficient follow-up system ends up effecting your sales negatively – this is a big mistake made by salespeople which needs to be amended so that no opportunity gets wasted.
Your follow-up system should comprise of both short-term and long-term methods to maximise the utility of leads, whether fresh or aged. A step-by-step method which outlines the manner in which the follow-up should be donewill help to get a clear idea.
You should try to contact the lead as soon as possible after you get his information. The prospect might have displayed his interest through some online form which would include his contact information. Ideally, your first response should be through the channel you received the information. If you got a query through your Instagram page or Facebook page -you reply through that medium. Respond to an e-mail enquiry with an e-mail and so on.
After the initial contact, you should reach out through a more engaging medium. A direct formal e-mail to the prospect with a suggestion of carrying the process forward would be a good approach. You can also try to have a conversation over telephone to establish a more personal contact with the prospective customer. The old school method of sending a personalized letter, if the mailing address is available, can sometimes help to make you stand out among others.
Whatever method you use, be sure to feed the lead into your database or CRM so that you don’t lose track of them.
The first two steps typically would take around 3-4 days from receiving the lead. Give a period of about another 4-5 days before you contact the prospect again, if there is no response from his side. Around the eight or ninth day, the initial interest starts waning from the prospect’s side due to other engagements or distractions. Salespeople also may start losing focus if nothing very positive has happened so far.
This is why this step is so crucial. By now you have understood the prospect’s requirements – it is time to make him realize you are best quipped to fulfil that need. You can send another e-mail with more information about your clientele, your manner of dealing with similar cases, your level of commitment etc. At this stage, you push a little – not too much – so that the prospective customer is convinced of your prowess in the field and can start serious consideration about purchasing your product.
After about two weeks from your initial contact, you have had at least two more engagements with the prospect, you want to know whether to go ahead or stop for the time being. By now, you have conveyed to the prospect about your expertise and how your product will benefit him. Some people will take time to respond and might get irritated if pushed continuously. So, you have to tread carefully so as not to make the prospect run away. Just a simple short email asking about the level of interest should be sent.
By the end of the fourth week, you have to take a decision. By this time, there would be three possible situations. You have understood there is no hope of pursuing the lead any further, you are on your way to closing the deal and you have not received a positive response but it is not totally negative either. If it is the last scenario, it is time to put that lead into your long-term lead nurturing system. You need to follow-up again in the near future and your system should remind you of that. You should be alert about receiving any response from their side within this time so that you can attend it immediately.
Once your lead has entered the long-term follow-up phase, your approach will become different. Firstly, you should have an efficient CRM system which can sort and organize your leads. Connecting through social media is an effective way to maintain indirect contact without being too assertive. You have to keep your presence felt but discreetly. An occasional phone call can also prove to be fruitful to let them know your level of dedication.
Consistent attempts and patience are the key to successfully utilize your leads to the maximum and increase your sales figures.