However, many times, lead management, not lead generation is the main bottleneck. Let me explain.
There are 3 main phases to any solid sales process:
- Lead Generation (often referred to as “Lead Gen”)
- Lead Management
- Sales Management
All 3 phases are equally important to achieving meaningful sales objectives. Lead Management is the phase that begins once the lead has been generated, often in the form of a phone call or feedback form.
Everyone these days is extremely busy. Both vendors and customers are rarely on the same schedule and with the majority of sales happening online, rarely are both available at the exact same time. Many times, the buyer is shopping online after hours or even in different time zones. These feedback forms can come in all hours of the day and by the time the vendor or business owner is available, the potential client has moved on with his or her busy routine and thus begins the phone tag or email tag back and forth.
Business owners often think they will simply email the client and when they get a chance, they will simply reply back with the same enthusiasm they had when they generated the inquiry. However, this is simply not the case, again for a variety of reasons. Here is why:
The psychology of the buyer:
Buyers are impulsive and often “in the moment” when about to purchase or looking to purchase. A person submitting a form at 2PM has completely forgotten about the form they submitted by 6PM that same day. Reply to that same person at 9PM at night, they won’t be looking at your email until noon the next day and they have already had 5-10 other more important things in their lives since that 2PM form submission the day before. How receptive will this person be to opening up your email from the day before when their kids are late for school, work is pressing them for deadlines, or they are trying to get a heating repairman to fix their boiler? Your email has gone from priority 1 or 2 when they were in the moment to priority 14 or 15 and will be parked. This is assuming you are lucky enough for the buyer to even open and read your email. Worse, if they were in the moment at 2PM, they may have submitted 2-3 other inquiries to competitors that were quicker to the draw than you were.
The reason why returning phone calls is often ineffective is the same reasons as above, but even with an added irritant. Most people are not going to recognize your phone when calling, even with a caller ID. Remember, they are out of the moment and may not even remember the business they reached out to. Many business owners call from personal cell phone numbers without caller ID and how many of us answer phone calls from unknown numbers? Not many. I know my phone is full of so much spam and random salespeople, that I simply hit the “decline” button with Clint Eastwood precision. Lastly, even if the client does answer, they are usually busy and not ready to discuss. Again, the phone tag games back and forth commence.
Slow Vendor response times:
Business owners are swamped with a ton of tasks and many small business owners do not have a sales staff or manager sitting by their emails. They get to them when they have time. Well, this is the kryptonite to lead gen. New Leads not responded to within 5 minutes or less go ice cold like the dark side of the moon. A lead just 60 minutes old has 20 times less likely chance of engagement than a lead responded to within 5 minutes. If the service is food-related, emergency-related, or anything that is the same day, like a cleaning service or auto repair, the odds get even worse. Respond 24 hours later and you are almost wasting your time. Conclusion: Respond FAST or you are throwing your marketing dollars out the window.
How common is this? EXTREMELY common. In fact, the open rate for emails is often less than 25%. After the 3rd or 4th time reaching out, the business owner simply stops trying to reach out, and thus, the once warm lead goes ice-cold as does the sales opportunity.
This is one technique that will triple your engagement with clients if not more. Often we see a 5-10 fold increase with engagement, especially if automated. Here is why:
Over 90% of texts are received and READ
My inbox is jammed packed with unread emails. Many I simply delete just by reading the subject. However, how many of your texts go unread? Not many. Everyone has their phone in their hand and that number by your unread text messages rarely gets very high. Why? Convenience and nonthreatening.
Before you beat yourself up and think that this is all your fault and you are disorganized out of control business owner, think again. You are not! You are busy and usually busy taking care of existing clients which of course should be your main priority! The key is to come up with tools, techniques, and solutions that make life easier. Business owners first and foremost should be problem solvers. By making it easy to respond to clients reaching out to you in a timely manner and at the same time solving their problems, we are killing two birds with one stone while not losing sight of existing issues at hand.
I don’t know any business owner carrying a laptop under their arm while installing drywall or out to lunch with a client. However, ALL business owners have their phones with them. Here is the strategy:
- Make sure your business email can be received on your phone. This is critical.
- Check your phone often for new inquiries. If you can, have your new client inquiries go to an email dedicated to new clients. Something like firstname.lastname@example.org or whatever. If you can, make it have a unique sound or vibration for sales inquiries so you don’t have to stare at your phone every 5 minutes.
- If you have a sales manager, make sure they are performing #2 for you
- Have a prewritten text message ready to copy and paste to ALL new inquiries.
- Make the text PERSONAL: Something like the following: Dear Brian, I just received your text message. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Can you please respond to this text and let me know when is the best time to reach out to you, or if now is a great time to talk, simply respond now and I will call you back within 3-5 minutes.
Note: Now this message can be changed up and customized to your needs, but this will START the engagement process and you will also be able to see if the potential client actually read your text.
Lastly, this is not to say… “Don’t Email”, but rather, when you receive the form… this is the order to engage.
Responding to an inquiry within the first 15 minutes?
- Respond via phone if they called, if they answer and talk to you, you are good to go.
- Respond via email if they emailed and mention you texted as well.
Responding to inquiry After 15 minutes?
- Respond via text
- Respond via email
- Send a 2nd follow-up text 24 hours later if no answer is received.
- Send a 3rd follow-up text 72 hours later and 1 more voice message if no answer is received.
- After 72 hours and 3rd follow-up, the lead has probably gone ice cold and a 4th follow-up is optional a week later and put on a mailing list.
For an advanced strategy that is even more efficient or any business owner with 50+ leads per month, you will need to make this process automated so that text messages with your customized message go out within 2-3 minutes of every inquiry. We can help! At givemeservice.com, we have many affordable tools, like automatic texting to make your life easier so you can focus on putting out fires less and your business more! Anything we can do to help your business grow, we are here for you.
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