I try to be a nice person. I really do. But there’s one thing that happens too often in my work life that tempts me to throw my phone at the wall. Or at least shake my fist at the sky.
This is how it sounds [Linda]: Pat, I’ve got a great lead for you! I’ve worked with these people a few times and they’re great. All you have to do is give them a call and they’ll meet with you. I’ve told them you’ll be calling and I’ve recommended you.
Pat: Thanks Linda that’s great! I really appreciate it.
And what happens next?
Let’s talk sense of urgency
A sense of urgency is highly correlated with top sales performers. No wonder, because to make the sale you have to show the prospect a sense of urgency. If you don’t have one yourself, you’re paddling upstream!
You don’t know what’s behind the door until you open it
I’m not sure why people so often don’t follow up on leads. My best guess is that you can’t see the new opportunity. You’re wrapped up in your own busy day and the demands that come with it. You know the new lead isn’t guaranteed, so you shelve it in the back corner of your mind.
People … and you know I’m talking to you … you have to follow up leads right away! Within 24 hours. Max! For two reasons:
- If a colleague gives you a lead, or better yet, an email introduction, you are raining on their parade if you don’t follow up. It’s not just common courtesy – it’s a strengthening of your supportive business network. Be grateful and show it. You’ll be surprised at the tangible difference this makes, over time.
- Fast follow-up is powerful. It works. Here’s a stat that illustrates (true, we’re not talking about Internet leads right now, but you get the idea): If you follow up web leads within 5 minutes, you’re 9 times more likely to convert them. http://www.slideshare.net/JakeAtwood1/20-shocking-sales-stats
And if that prospect doesn’t respond?
If your prospect doesn’t respond? Give them a week. Follow up again each week for a few weeks until you hear back. After about 3 weeks, move to a bi-weekly schedule. Then monthly.
And … don’t ever let go of that prospect until they say, “STOP CALLING ME, I’LL NEVER MEET WITH YOU!”
Otherwise, keep following up.
Recently a colleague and friend, Tibor Shanto, told me that 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact. 80% – on the 5th-12th contact! I suspect that’s because we now live in a digital world where contact is fast and easy. As a result, more reach-outs are expected and required.
I have a prospect in my funnel that I’ve been reaching out to since January (KJ, if you’re reading this, you know I’m talking about you!), and I’m not going to give up until she meets with me. And KJ knows this.
Recently the president of a very successful company told me that she has had one particular sales person calling on her for months. And she expects him to keep at it. Right now, the timing is not quite right. But when it is, she will meet with him.
This salesperson’s message should include something that is relevant to this president’s business, as it just may help move his issue higher up in the priority of things.
So all you sales professionals? Listen up:
- Follow up on leads right away
- Continue to follow up on a regular basis unless and until you hear a very loud NO
- Let the person who gave you that referral know what has happened. And express your gratitude, at least once.
Thank you for following these recommendations. Thank you thank you thank you. I’m so tired of throwing my phone at the wall.