Following up on online sales leads that come in is a crucial task for all businesses with an online presence to keep up on. Most businesses spend an inordinate amount of time trying to capitalize on the latest lead-gen methods including SEO, social, posting ads in relevant publications, and others.
However, if you’re not capitalizing on each and every lead like your business depends on it, all of that marketing is just a waste of time. Getting on top of leads before they dry up is paramount. When people/businesses are ready to buy, they’re ready to buy – if not from you then from someone else.
Here’s 3 simple ways to get more out of each and every online sales lead that comes through your business:
1. Follow Up Quickly
Some of you might be thinking that this is the most obvious of all, and not really a relevant tip for you. If that’s the case, you’re likely ahead of the curve when it comes to capitalizing on your leads.
Failure to act quickly is actually a big problem, largely for small business owners – either lazy, uninformed (ie., new), or just plain foolish SMB owners.
When you tell a customer that you’ll call them as soon as a product arrives at your store or shop for them, you call them as soon as the product arrives, right? Same with a promise to send them an email as soon as a product is shipped. Otherwise, it’s poor service.
When a lead arrives in your hands, the speed with which you act on it is a direct reflection of your service levels, and desire to gain that customer’s business. The type of business and/or how “busy” you are has nothing to do with outcomes either – unless you’re the only criminal lawyer in some remote Appalachian town in the middle of nowhere!
More than 24 hours is too much. Yet, you’ll find business owners and sales reps that take up to 2 weeks to follow up. Every hour you’re not talking to them is another hour they have to talk to someone else. And many buyers send out multiple queries at the same time when considering a similar product or service, to look for the best value and price.
This old HBR study from a few years ago showed businesses were 7 times more likely to get the sale if they contact online leads within an hour of that prospect indicating interest. Want to hear something even more shocking? Those companies who waited an entire 24 hours were 60 times less likely to get the sale compared to the one-hour group!
2. Stay in Touch
Maybe they don’t buy on their first query. Perhaps they were just “tire kicking” the first time they got in touch? Now they’re ready to buy and they haven’t heard from you in God knows how long.
Who’re they gonna call when all of a sudden they need reputable paranormal ghost removal services in the old Victorian they just moved into? Well, if you have a reputation beyond reproach in such a niche business, maybe they’ll remember you.
If you’re like the rest of us business slugs out there, trying to make a name for themselves, the customer has likely long forgotten about you. Use the “recency and frequency” mantra to keep your leads fresh.
Basically, don’t let them forget about you. Emails, lettermail, phone calls – keep in touch. Something as simple as a monthly flyer or newsletter is all it really takes though. After all, some people don’t want you calling them every week to see if they’ve decided to make a purchase.
Most important is to keep a database on hand that contains the customer’s contact details, what stage they’re at in your funnel, and what products/services they’ve shown interest in during past communications. This information is crucial to turn prospects into buyers.
3. Split Test and Measure Your Efforts
If you’re not measuring the effectiveness of what you’re doing, you’ll never know how to improve upon your processes. This applies to every part of your sales operation – from lead-gen, to follow up, to after-sales service, and customer satisfaction inquiries.
Since this is about following up on your online leads, lets take a look at the more important information you need to track:
- Leads captured per day/week (depending on frequency).
- How many visits to an online ad or email before they finally respond (ie., cookies).
- Percentage of leads that turn into prospects.
- Percentage of leads that turn into paying customers.
Once you have a handle on these three important steps to following up on your online leads and measuring those follow ups, you’ll find that your online business and sales presence will go to the next level much quicker than you ever thought possible.