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How to Follow Up With Sales Leads

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First – the key is to follow up! Many promising leads are lost simply because someone didn’t take the time to follow up, or the follow-up wasn’t impactful.

The first point of contact with a lead is critical. You never get a second chance to make your first impression! Many salespeople and marketers make a great first impression, sending the perfect email or hosting a great meeting, or running a fantastic product demo, but then fail to follow up and follow through.

Your sales follow-up is what will encourage your prospective customer to take action. A lack of follow-up is likely to close that door. They’ll find a similar product or service with a different company where they feel they’ll get the support they need.

Respond promptly
If someone expresses interest in your products or services, do not make them wait to hear from you! Strike while the iron is hot. Show your potential customer that you value their time by being responsive.

How many times should you follow up?
Sales follow-ups can be done in many different ways; the most common methods are phone calls and emails.
Often, one follow-up won’t be enough. Persistence will pay off! 44% of sales reps will only follow up once before giving up. 94% of salespeople will have given up after four follow-ups, but 80% of sales require an average of 5 follow-ups to close the deal!

What is the best way to follow up?
First, categorize your leads. Different leads require different levels of messaging. Some are ready to move forward, and some are still essentially cold calls that will need some warming up. Even leads coming into your website will be different. A lead that found you through an opt-in campaign will need a different approach than a lead from your “contact us” page.

Organize your leads into at least three groups. Your categories can be as simple as hot, warm, and cold. Cold leads will require a very different approach than hot leads. Segmenting your leads lets you determine the right direction for your first outreach.

You can organize your leads yourself in excel, or you can find many different software programs that will guide you through comprehensive lead scoring systems. Businesses who take the time to categorize their leads see an average of a 77% higher return on investment.
Your leads will change groups as you work with them and move them closer to paying clients. (1) Your messaging will also change as you learn more about your leads, their business, and their needs.

Personalize Your Communication
Before your first outreach, do your homework. Spend some time on your lead’s website and social platforms to gain better insight into their organization. You may need to do some research into the industry to understand where they fit.

Begin your relationship by gaining a better understanding of your lead’s business and needs. You can ask some simple questions to learn about their challenges.

  • What is your biggest obstacle to business growth?
  • What are your most significant marketing challenges?

Once you start to understand their business needs, every follow-up message should be focused on how you can help them achieve their goals or alleviate their pain points. Keep the focus on how you can help. Don’t let your communication devolve into a features and benefits show and tell.

Use Various Communication Channels
You need to speak to your lead in their language. If they contacted you through social, reply there. If they sent an email inquiry, email them back. You can offer a phone call, but some people will prefer to use digital communication.

Texting is gaining popularity as a business communication tool. Texting after initial contact, on average, results in 112% higher lead engagement.

Your communication channel will often shift throughout your follow-up. A warmer lead may be open to a phone call, where a cold lead may be better handled via email.

Create a follow-up schedule
A conversion doesn’t usually happen after one meeting or one conversation. Most sales take 7 to 10 interactions. Building a schedule will help keep you consistent with your communication. A plan will also help prevent your solid leads from falling through the cracks in your busy day.

Building a calendar lets you walk the sometimes fine line between too little and too frequent communication. Following up too many times won’t be off-putting to a potential client, but following up too frequently can be.

Some standards for communication:
Emails: once a week
Phone calls: once a month
Face-to-face: once a quarter

Track your communications
Building a schedule helps keep your timing on target. Tracking your communications ensures you are moving the conversation forward. If you can’t remember what sales piece you have provided or what you have discussed, you will never move towards the sale.

Qualify your leads
Are you speaking to the right person in the company?
Is the business one that could benefit from your products and services?
Is the timing right? Or should you set a reminder to follow up again when they’re finished with a big project or merger?

Provide value with each interaction
This is where your notes will come in handy. Referring back to your prospect’s pain points and challenges will help you keep your conversations centered on where you can help. A follow-up isn’t meaningful if it is nothing more than reaching out.

What value are you providing? How are you helping them with their business? If you are just calling to follow up with nothing new or beneficial, you will soon find your leads go cold.

Always define the next steps
Keep the momentum moving forward. What is the next step? Will you be sending them some relevant and useful information? Will you be getting the answer to a question they asked? Will you be setting up the next meeting? Set the right follow-up expectations during the call.

Summarize each meeting
Post-meeting follow-ups should briefly summarize what was discussed and the agreed-upon next steps. Short and courteous is best; this doesn’t have to be exhaustive with in depth details.

Know when to quit
While perseverance and persistence pay off, there are also times when a lead will go cold for whatever reason, and it’s time to quit. If you are not getting responses from your outreach, it may be time to move on to another prospect. You can elegantly put your communication on hold with a final note saying you understand that now is not the right time, but you look forward to working together in the future. Keep the door open. Very often, a lead will become warm again when the time is right!

The team at StreetDog can help you move your sales leads to solid customers. Talk to us today about how we can refine your digital presence, develop email templates, and craft compelling blogs so you can provide your prospective customers with value in each interaction.

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