A typical question when we do a LeadFlow client campaign review or on-board a new sales associate is,” So, what is working best for following up on the leads these days?”
Tongue-in-cheek, but with the utmost honesty, I always reply the same, “D, all of the above.” There is usually a chuckle, but after the moment of levity, I revisit the answer with complete sincerity because I truly did mean; D, all of the above.
The value of simplifying your approach when chasing down leads is important BUT the first goal cannot be to be so rigid in your protocol that you don’t let the prospect determine their preferred method of communication. In the old days it was pretty straightforward, you called until they called the cops and then you had achieved efficiency in your follow up. Next came email and then texting, and in this day and age even some eighty year olds would prefer a text over a phone conversation in their attempt to gather information and insulate themselves for the dreaded sales person! Your first priority in your mission to establish credibility and trust is to get in their “happy information gathering space”, be it phone, text or email.
In my world as a marketing specialist, I often have deadlines. A typical chain of events in my attempt to get a budget determined or a proof reviewed is to first create or get my hands on a draft of whatever I need reviewed. Then, since Grandad said, “get it in writing,” and they do need the details in writing, I submit either a proof or budget memo via email. The next step, right after I’ve hit send, is to pick up my phone and text my prospect or client and let them know I have just sent them a time sensitive email. I most often, 80-20 rule invoked, get a text back letting me know when they can get to it… mission accomplished; the info I needed disseminated got to the destination intended and the recipient confirmed that it was on their radar.
In a world where you are a sales professional working for a retailer or a service provider, you have the distinct advantage of outperforming, therefore earning much more income, than the average sales associate. Let’s be transparent (isn’t that the word they use in DC?), the world is full of lazy sales associates on a retail floor waiting for their next “up”, burning valuable time by not having their past contacts’ information organized and ready to work. It is the travesty of the retail world. A whole new revenue stream for a retail sales company and their staff is available by NOT merely trusting floor traffic or proactive folks who appear via SEO and working that organic traffic, but also by building (or having someone build for them) a lead generation sales funnel which can feed them opportunities to chase on a daily basis. Service companies tend to do a better job of up-selling and warming up leads but most of that happens as a result of them training their technicians
Here’s a couple of retail “what if’” thoughts for you:
What if a hardware store gave away a complimentary $25 gift certificate redeemable toward anything in the store in return for profile information and a survey about the home improvement needs or interests of prospects harvested from Google audiences or Facebook targeting? A good digital landing page optimized for conversion could provide many email addresses, phone numbers and prospect proclivities.
What if they had a dedicated digital marketing specialist who called, texted and emailed the leads generated to make friends with them and invite them to always consider them to be their best source of advice (the helpful hardware person benefit) and suggest products and solutions. The goal would be to become the “go to” person for any hardware information they needed. The possibility exists that not only would another revenue stream be created, but the company’s reputation as being the best place to get good information would be invaluably enhanced! Wouldn’t it be great if you had a friendly, industry specialist in every area of interest? A “go-to” concierge for X… whatever X might be: jewelry, cars, outdoor furniture, boats, pools and spas etc., etc. So the question is, what if you changed the lazy furniture store culture of old and installed a “D” all of the Above one. Culture is king, trust me on this.
Knowing that online communications have created a tsunami of technology, worldwide, doesn’t it make sense to add effective lead gen and follow up to your sales culture regardless of what you are selling? Rhetorical, I know. Since we adhere to the often stated “The Company with the Most Friends Wins!” strategy, we urge you to consider what a sales funnel, fueled with a “D” all of the above attitude, could mean to your business. The tsunami hit years ago; denial is no longer an option. A lead generation culture with a “D” all of the above attitude is the solution that needs to be applied if you want to take your sales staff to the next level. True sales success is inevitably the sum total if doing a lot if little things right, things that don’t need to be remembered if done repetitively because then they become muscle memory.
In summary, let the prospect do the driving where the preferred method of communications is concerned, sell the credibility of your company and your ability to be the prospect’s most valuable information resource and see what happens. Selling is not a thing in and of itself, it is a result. Selling is the result of quality activity; it is a by-product of such therefore, if you install the proper sales funnel and follow up protocol, you can look for a new world to be unveiled!
I’ll end with this, one of my absolute favorite quotes from Peter Drucker, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!” but add this… setting the table properly in this context means talking to the prospects in the manner they most prefer.