I sent out a newsletter last week on this topic and had a tremendous response…which tells me what a pain point this is for most people. It really doesn’t matter what industry you’re in…when you’re making connections, you need to follow up on them. Whether it’s business prospects or referral partners, cultivating these leads is the key to seeing results. With other companies vying for your customers business…can you keep your warm leads from growing cold?
Let’s take a look at your prospect list. The hard part is finding them and collecting their information. Forty percent of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process. Once you have that information, you need a follow-up plan in place to keep those leads from growing cold. If you’re only concentrating on the leads that show immediate interest, you could be letting future business slip through the cracks.
And what about possible referral partners? I know myself I meet many people that would be a great referral source…but if we aren’t nurturing those leads, someone else will. The system that I outline below works for anyone you come in contact with that you need to stay in touch with.
When you sit back and think about the leads you’ve collected throughout the year…can you say you’ve done a good job nurturing them? If you were to reach out to them tomorrow, would they remember you or your company? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, then it’s time to put a better follow up plan in place. You need to keep your warm leads from growing cold!
Whether you’re a solopreneur or a company with a sales staff…following up with your leads should be part of your workflow. Setting up a process BEFORE you get your leads will help keep them fresh, and keep you and your business top-of-mind.
1. Once you’ve met someone or have been referred to them, follow up with a personal phone call followed by a personal email within 24 hours of your interaction (only 24% of automated sales emails are opened). Try to get a physical address if it’s not on their business card or website (more on this later).
2. Connect with them on social media. If you use LinkedIn, an add-on like Rapportive is a great tool that will populate a contact’s LinkedIn information within your email account and allow you to connect with them immediately instead of having to visit the LinkedIn site.
3. Have an email/newsletter in place to send helpful tips and information to stay in front of your prospects on a bi-weekly or monthly basis.
4. Create a follow-up system of personal calls and emails to make sure your potential customer knows you’re there to help them when they’re ready. Twenty percent of prospects want to talk to someone during the decision stage.
5. Consider some good old fashion Relationship Marketing. This goes back to #1 and why it’s still important to collect someone’s physical address.
Relationship Marketing is a tried and true strategy that many companies built their businesses on before digital marketing came crashing on the scene. In addition to your other efforts, using a system like Send Out Cards to create that personal touch will truly enhance your prospective clients or referral partner’s experience with minimal effort. This is a great lead nurturer to add to your follow-up because you’re not selling to them…unlike a marketing piece that is trying to promote your product…it’s a piece of the relationship process that adds a personal touch from a different avenue.
Let’s face it, only 24% of sales emails get opened. But if your prospect is seeing that you tried calling, emailing, and then they receive a card from you saying “nice to meet you”…you’ve touched them 3 times with little effort. Now put this system in place 3 more times and you’ve touched them 12 times…spaced out and in different areas. Do you want to be unforgettable? This is a great way to start.
Sales 101 tells us that it costs more to find and generate new leads than it does to nurture the ones you already have. When you’re taking the time and effort to get out and meet new people, or your sales staff is out meeting new people and collecting lead information…make sure you have a follow-up system in place to keep your warm leads from growing cold!
Laura Licursi is the Founder of Elite Virtual Assistants. If you find yourself caught in the cycle of collecting leads and not having time to nurture them, this is a great area to outsource to a virtual assistant. For more information, call Elite Virtual Assistants at (440) 973-7005 or schedule a call with Laura today for your free 30-minute strategy session!