Don’t F-Up Your Follow-Up!
Building An Effective Follow-Up Process
Just because you bring in the leads doesn’t mean your job is done. You do want to sell to them, after all. Properly managing incoming and long-term communication with leads is key when operating and growing your business.
Follow-up communications are essential to generating more revenue for your business. If you fail to follow-up in time, you may miss out on the sale. Whether you are still in the sales process, trying to generate positive reviews, or asking for more business or referrals from an existing client, getting what you need is much easier if you have created and maintained a working relationship with them.
Retaining Your Leads
If you’re going to dedicate the time and money to capturing the leads in the first place, why not create an effective follow-up process?
Foregoing follow-up can cost you an immeasurable amount of business. Not only do you lose the initial revenue that could have come from the client, you also lose out on any possible reviews, referrals, or recurring business that could have resulted from the closed sale.
Worst of all, though, is that when you fail to capture those leads as clients, they go to your competitors instead, adding value to their organization and increasing their ability to outperform you in future customer generation.
Why Is Follow-Up Important?
It’s important to follow up on leads because it will greatly improve your odds of converting your leads to clients. It also builds a positive relationship with leads, and lets them know that you’re interested in their needs.
Establishing a good foundation for follow-ups is a surefire way to outpace your competitors. Many businesses struggle with following up, so staying on top of your leads can position you far ahead of the pack.
To build a good follow-up process, there are two key factors to take into account:
- How Quickly You Follow-Up
- How Frequently You Follow-Up
By following up quickly, you increase your odds tremendously of closing the sale faster. While if you follow-up frequently you increase the odds of closing the sale over time.
The Value of Following Up Quickly
Customers appreciate a sale that is done quickly and at their convenience. By following up with the lead immediately after their initial call, you ensure that you don’t catch them at a bad time. This also applies if you missed the lead’s call, being able to call them back immediately may turn a negative first impression around, especially if you’re sincere and apologize for the mistake.
It’s safe to assume that the people who call you probably lead busy lives. According to a survey conducted by James Oldroyd, the odds of being able to contact a lead drop by 100 times if a lead is called back in 30 minutes versus 5. That shows just how important it is to make timely follow-up a priority. While that 5 minute window is small, it’s important to make it a priority if you want to secure the lead.
Following up quickly also leaves a good impression. If you were a potential client, how would you feel if a company immediately followed up with you? Then think about how you’d feel if a company followed up with you 1 or 2 days later while you’re out at lunch with your family or a colleague.
Frequency of Follow-Ups
Sometimes you have the grace of being able to schedule a follow-up call with a lead during the first call. But other times you may have missed the call, the lead came in through a form, or the lead was too busy to schedule another call. This is why establishing the frequency of your follow-up messaging is important.
Robert Clay from Marketing Wizdom says that only 2% of sales close in the first call. That’s 1 out of 50 calls, but by continually following up with the lead, you can increase the odds of the sale closing.
A general rule of thumb is to follow up with the lead for the first 5 business days after initial contact. Then once a week for the next 4 weeks. If the sale hasn’t closed by this time, then it isn’t worth actively pursuing the lead, unless the client has given you a legitimate reason to believe otherwise. What can be done is to move the lead into a long-term marketing strategy with the hopes of winning their business further down the road.
This long-term marketing strategy is one that persists indefinitely. Leads may not immediately become a client for a multitude of reasons, stemming from their current situation, needs, or budget all the way to simply not seeing your business as the right fit for their needs. However, those situations may change with time and leads may return even years down the line.
It’s crucial that you ensure you have the best contact information for both phone and email, so that you don’t lose contact with a lead during the long-term marketing plan.
Following up on leads increases your odds of closing a sale, no matter how you look at it. Leads very rarely become a client on the first call, and it can take a lot of time for them to eventually convert to one. But with an effective follow-up procedure that is followed every time, your business can capture those leads in the long run and outpace the competition.
To recap, following-up is important because:
- A positive business-client relationship can be built on follow-ups.
- Following up quickly drastically increases the chances of reaching the lead and converting them to a client.
- Quick follow-up gives a good first impression to possible clients.
- Following up overtime increases the chances of the lead eventually becoming a client.
- A lead can be moved into a long-term marketing plan that may eventually bring them back down the road.