By Karen McNeill, Sr. Marketing Specialist
Regardless of how you generate prospects, the likelihood of them turning into clients depends greatly on your follow up efforts. A nurture marketing campaign is a great way to start. This allows you to keep your name and message in front of them and hopefully continues to build the ‘know, like, trust’ cycle. However, without personal interaction, these prospects are more likely to stay warm or go cold than they are to turn into hot prospects or even leads. I know this from first-hand experience.
As part of our Inside Sales and Customer Care Service I am personally making those calls and following up with our clients’ prospects. I can assure you that developing a personal relationship is still the best way to move those prospects along through the sales cycle. It’s not always easy, or fun, as it takes multiple interactions in multiple forms to finally get in front of them. This is where you either gain or lose leads. If you feel like your follow up process is somewhat stagnant, here are some easy ways for you to invigorate your own Inside Sales approach:
1. Timing: Send your prospect(s) the offer you promised the same day. Keep your email short and to the point giving only the information they requested. For example, a one line sentence such as: “Please find the information you requested (attached/below/etc.). I’ll follow up with you in a soon to see if you have any questions.” This gives them what they asked for and opens the door for future communication.
2. Do what you said you would do: Call them when you said you would. I like to call the prospect within 24 to 48 hours after my initial email. Avoid leaving a message at this point. If you get a voice mail try calling back later that day or the following day. If you find that you simply can’t reach them, leave a quick voicemail with your name, company name and phone number, letting them know you’ll try again later.
3. Talk about them, not about you: During your conversations ask them about their system problems or “pain points”, but don’t talk about all of the wonderful things you can do for your prospect, this is not the time to start selling your product. Though it may be tempting, they don’t care at this point. Try some open ended questions such as: ‘How is your current product/service not meeting your needs?’, ‘What are you looking to change?’, ‘What do you most like about what you are using now?”. Attempt to set up time to meet face to face to learn more about their business and how you might be able to help them.
4. Persistence: Recent studies are showing that it can take up to 8-12 attempts before you get in front of your prospect. Don’t give up and keep contacting them!
5. Vary your forms of contact: Calling a prospect weekly or monthly might not be the best avenue for following up with them. Vary your communication by using email, snail mail, or possibly even connecting with them through social media once the relationship has been established. The key is to get in front of your prospect every 3-4 weeks so they remember who you are and have your information handy when the time comes for them to begin the purchasing process.
On average I will follow up with a prospect for about two months before I have a really good conversation with them. While this may seem daunting let me assure you that it’s worth the effort! Once that initial conversation happens I am usually able to connect the prospect with our client, which typically leads to either a face to face meeting or even a proposal! If you are looking for someone to work with you in helping moving your leads through your pipeline with follow up methods such as those I’ve talked about please give me a call. I’d love to help you!