The fortune is in your follow-up
Salespeople and comedians have something in common: More often than not, success comes down to timing. Sometimes we get lucky. We’re in the right place at the right time and meet the perfect prospect. Other times prospects read content we’ve posted, and our phones ring off the hook. You never know when people are ready to buy, or how something you say will resonate at just the right time. But luck is not a sustainable advantage.
To keep your pipeline full of hot prospects and referral leads, make your own luck. How do you increase your chance of being in the right place at the right time? By following up on business opportunities and staying in touch with your referral networks.
The early bird gets the deal
Clients value speed, which means we must always be prepared to move quickly when opportunities arise. According to InsideSales.com, for inquiries submitted on the Web, 78 percent of deals go to the first companies that respond. Yet, 35 to 63 percent of companies fail to respond at all.
Mark Hunter and Andy Paul shared similar data at Dreamforce 2013, suggesting that 40 to 80 percent of sales leads are never followed up on. Unbelievable! How could salespeople pass up opportunities to sell?
Your job is to follow up quickly…in fact, immediately. Most buyers research us before they ever contact us. They have fewer questions and are more pressed for time. Simply put: leads now have a shorter shelf life. As Andy says, “Later lives on the same street as never.”
The only thing dumber than dropping the ball on inbound sales leads is failing to follow up on referrals. I’m always baffled when salespeople tell me they have referral leads on their desks or in their inboxes, waiting for a response. Are they understaffed, overwhelmed, or just unaware that referred prospects convert into clients more than 50 percent of the time?