5 Ways to Pull in ProspectsSubmitted by Ameritas on July 31st, 2018
Developing a lead management process will help maximize your investment in leads.
According to research1 from Forrester, only 25% of prospects are ready to talk about buying any product or service at a given time. Another quarter of them might be unqualified altogether. That leaves 50% of prospects who are just not ready to buy… YET.
These prospects represent potential revenue — not to mention, half of your lead investment. To maximize that investment and increase sales, it's critical to develop an effective process for following up with leads to warm them up over time until they’re inclined and in position to buy.
Here are five tips and strategies to help you pull in prospects using a lead management process.
Call Early and Often
Time is key to converting prospects into sales. The sooner you respond to new leads after they first request information, the better chance you have at making a connection. Due to the speed of technology today, consumers expect a more instantaneous response than ever. Conversely, the longer you wait, the colder your leads get. Time can make the difference between making you look like a helpful agent responding to their call for help, or seeming like a spammer. There’s a fine line between being persistent and pushy, so follow-up frequency can be tricky. There’s not one right time or way, but the point is to keep following up. Companies invest billions of dollars annually to generate leads and build brand awareness, but some of those dollars go to waste if sales teams don’t follow up.
Leave a Voicemail… or Don’t
This is a gray area. Some agents leave a voicemail every time. Others skip messages and rely on the curiosity of prospects to call back. Others might only leave a message after every three attempts or so, trying to strike a balance of persistence that’s not too annoying. Consider leaving a voicemail for these key reasons: It’s professional. Other professionals like doctors, accountants and realtors leave voicemails when they call. Spammers typically don’t, because they’re hoping to catch consumers off-guard. It puts the ball in the lead’s court to call you back, which can qualify their interest if they take initiative.
The more detailed notes you take about each conversation you have with each lead, the better positioned you are to follow up. When you’re calling lots of leads having similar conversations every day, detailed notes can serve as helpful reminders about each prospect’s unique situation and location in the sales cycle. It enables you or a colleague to easily pick up the conversation where it left off. This goes beyond the “official” notes in your lead management system and includes more personal information about family members, friends, employment, volunteer commitments, favorite sports teams and hobbies. As helpful as these notes can be for you, they also demonstrate to prospects that you paid attention and cared enough to remember their personal details. By mentioning details from previous conversations, you subtly remind prospects they already have a relationship with you.
Use All Channels to Stay in Touch
It takes multiple touches to turn a prospect into a customer. One study2 suggests it takes an average of eight touches to produce a sale, while other research3 claims the number could be even higher. One method uses four touches, ranging from “introductory” to “persistent,” and then, if the prospect hasn’t responded to the first three attempts, a “break-up” email/phone call — which often moves a prospect to buy. It’s a good idea to directly ask a prospect which communication channels they prefer. Call early and often, but use email and other channels if you have their contact information. And in this digital age, sending a card or letter can add a personal touch that’s increasingly rare.
Include a Call-to-Action in Every Communication
Make the next steps clear so prospects know what to expect. Do you want them to download a whitepaper from your website before your next call? Should they look for a package from you in the mail? Do you want them to call you back, or wait for you to call back at a certain day and time? Telling prospects what you want them to do moves them closer to the outcomes your strategy offers—and moves you closer to a sale. Keeping your sales pipeline healthy over time means continuing to fill it with more high-quality leads as you nurture prospects through the funnel toward sales. Watch your sales reports to identify leaks in the funnel before you lose opportunities altogether. The more time you spend managing your sales pipeline, the more efficiently it will flow.