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The Power of Sales Follow-Up

We often think of good salespeople as those people who have charisma, great product knowledge, and the ability to hold a conversation with a fence post. These are all great traits, but they mean little without consistent structured follow-up.

If you don’t follow up quickly on an inquiry from your Facebook ad, your sparkling charisma won’t improve your odds of making contact with that prospect.

If you don’t follow up on the quotes you send out, your vast product knowledge won’t improve your conversion rate.

While following up on leads and quotes is critical, consistency and structure for those follow-ups are the essential keys to successfully increasing sales.

 

The importance of following up

Here are statistics from various sources on sales follow-up:  Only 2% of sales are made during the first contact.  80% of sales require at least 5 follow ups.  Fully 45% of salespeople give up after just 1 follow up attempt.  Only 8% of salespeople follow up more than 5 times.

Based on those stats, simply increasing the number of follow up attempts could greatly increase your overall sales.  This begs the question:  If your sales are dropping, do you need more sales leads or do you just need to follow up more frequently?

The impact of time

Here are some additional stats that show the impact of time on follow ups:  If contact is made in first 5 minutes of receiving a lead, you are 10 to 20 times more likely to make contact.  After 5 mins, the odds of connecting drop 80%.  30%-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.  Mobile devices drive 45% of all leads.

The takeaway here is timing is everything.  If you are struggling to make contact when you get a lead, the solution may be improving the speed of your response.  The quicker you respond to a lead, the higher your probability of making contact.

The financial impact

Let’s quantify the sales impact from following this advice.  For our analysis let’s assume you are currently making contact with 10% of leads you receive, and you are quoting half of those.  So, for every 100 leads, you make contact with 10 prospects, and you generate 5 quotes. If your conversion rate is 40% (converting quotes to orders), then those 100 leads generate 2 orders.  If your average order is $10,000 then that’s $20,000 in new revenue.

Let’s assume you are currently taking 30 minutes, an hour, or longer to follow up on new leads.  If you convert to a system where you follow up within 5 minutes of receiving the lead, then those 100 leads could become 40 contacts which generate 20 quotes, leading to 8 orders.

That’s $80,000 in revenue from those 100 leads. Just changing to a quick less-than-5-minute follow up can increase revenue.

If you are currently only making one follow up attempt after a quote, then increasing follow ups to 5 to 12 times could easily double your conversion rate.  Combine that impact with the short less-than-5-minute follow up and the original $20,000 in sales becomes $160,000.  It’s clear that, to increase sales, you don’t necessarily need more leads.  You just need to make better use of the ones you already have.

Structuring the follow ups

Structuring your follow up sequence and timing ensures your follow up process is consistent.  If you decide to change any aspect of the follow up program, having a consistent process gives you good baseline data from which to evaluate those changes.

A typical recommendation for follow up cadence is 6 to 8 touches over 3 weeks with a maximum of 3 days between touches.  These recommendations include rotating emails, phone calls, and texts as communication methods.  A sample follow up sequence would look something like this:

 

Part of structuring the follow ups is to also structure the content of each follow up message.  What is the content of each voice mail?  What is the content of each email and text?  What is the content of the ‘break up’ voice mail?

Crafting the content for each of the messages is important since the wording and tone of that content leaves a lasting impression with the prospect.  It is worth noting that each message doesn’t need to be a ‘push’ to close the sale.  For the emails and texts, you can always offer some helpful bit of information that will be useful to the prospect.  You can include tips on how to prepare for their template and for their install (separate messages).  You can offer information on the differences between the various materials you offer so the prospect can make a better-informed decision.  Certainly, all messages should be tailored to reflect whether you are following up on a lead or following up on a quote.

That’s a lot of work!

If you had to manually send all those emails and texts, this certainly would be a lot of work.  The good news is you can automate all these follow ups with a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) software package.

Current CRM technology can not only automate sending emails and texts, but it can also remind your salespeople to make calls.  Additionally, a CRM will allow you to track lead performance, conversion rates, and contact success rates while also tracking the performance of your salespeople.

Another benefit of a CRM is, as you collect email addresses from leads, quotes, and customers, you can begin to build email campaigns that run automatically over long periods of time.  A consistent email campaign can offer lots of useful information to help prospects understand the countertop process better and understand trends in colors and materials.  You can also share generally useful information about remodeling, kitchen and bath design, new housing construction – pretty much anything that could be useful to a potential countertop purchaser.  These long-term campaigns can help build your brand with prospects.  It can also give recent customers helpful information that keeps your company front-of-mind.  When someone asks that person who they recommend for countertops, your company will be the first one they think of.

As the economy shows signs of slowing, the cost of leads from social media is increasing.  This makes it more critical than ever to fully utilize the leads you get.

Lack of follow up on sales leads and on quotes is one of the biggest missed opportunities in the countertop business.  Companies that have a robust system for follow up find their prospect acquisition costs stay lower and their sales are more consistent.  If you need more sales revenue, look long and hard at your follow up process for leads and quotes.  It may just be the key that gets you through an economic slump.

If you are struggling to reach your business goals or if you’re just stressed out and are ready to regain some sanity in your business, hit the GET YOUR ASSESSMENT button on my website and schedule an assessment or contact me at Ed@FabricatorsCoach.com

This article was published in the October 2023 Issue of the Slippery Rock Gazette, find it at: 

https://www.slipperyrockgazette.net/index.cfm/pageId/5062/The%20Power%20of%20Sales%20Follow-Up/