Does this sound familiar?
You’ve had a great initial conversation with a prospect. They were asking all the right questions and giving you all the right signs that you would be the ‘chosen one’. You take the time to prepare an impressive proposal or quote, especially tailored for them. You email it through and then….. crickets.
You wait a few days, or maybe a week, then you send the “did you get my email” email.
You either receive no reply (the new-age term “ghosting”), or an eventual reply stating that they have been busy and haven’t had a chance to look over it yet.
You are now crossing your fingers and relying on luck or hope for this opportunity to convert.
When Does New Business Convert?
Research suggests that 80% of new business is converted after sending your proposal or quote through. Which is certainly logical, particularly for leads that have new relationship with the company.
Furthermore, the also suggests that it takes between 5 and 12 value-added phone calls before opportunities convert.
Not emails, but phone calls.
And value-added phone calls at that.
In fact, I’ve always argued that emailing or calling to ask a lead if they received your proposal and if they have any questions about it, is not follow up. Well, it’s not effective follow up.
Whilst you might be able to get away with doing that once, any more times doing that, and it becomes counter-effective and sets you back several steps.
Make sure sales teams are trained in the very trainable skill of having ‘value-adding’ phone calls – and several of them.
Respect the Process
If you’re conducting initial conversations or “discovery meetings” as they are often referred to, and you’re expecting the prospect to decide then and there (or soon after) to engage your services, you’ll very likely be disappointed.
You must expect and respect the science that people usually don’t make larger decisions based on a single encounter, and following up is necessary over the coming months, or year, before they convert.
9am. Every weekday.
That is the time that my CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) pings my inbox with follow up tasks for the day.
Because I am meeting with between 3 and 6 new prospects per week, (and remember, I don’t expect any of them to buy from me right away), I can receive up to 10 of these tasks every day.
There are 3 major tasks categories that occupy about 85% of my time:
- Prospecting and networking
- Following up
- Delivering client work
Valuing the time to make these crucial follow up phone calls is the #2 activity that helps me and my clients convert at much higher rates. (The #1 activity is Prospecting)
If businesses didn’t follow up and reactively left prospects to respond when the time was right, the conversion ratio would be significantly lower, and certainly largely outside the control of the business.
People are busy, with competing work priorities, their families, their hobbies and their households, so in many situations, what each of us (me included) are selling, is likely not the single more important thing our prospects need to invest in before sundown.
Make the deposits before you make a withdrawal
If you’re only contacting your prospects to ask if they are ready to work with you, you’re on the superhighway to Annoyance-Town and you’ll risk being recorded in your prospects phone as a ‘Spam Caller’.
If we want our prospects to value us, we have to invest in them first.
By making value-adding phone calls to your prospects, you’ll enjoy a more meaningful professional relationship, you’ll learn more about them and you’ll be helping them – what’s not to love about that?
Here are some great ways you can add value as you keep in touch with your prospects:
- Introduce them to someone meaningful in your network
- Invite them to a networking event you’re attending
- Make a referral to them
- Become a customer of theirs
- Recommend a resource the relates specifically to something you’ve spoken about: a podcast, a book, a webinar, a service
- Share some genuine advice
- Ask them a (legitimate) question about their company
If it’s been 3 months and you haven’t had good dialogue with a prospect, then it’s time to pick up the phone, pick up the contact and add some value.
If you’d like me to share with you the wording I use on those phone calls, then click here to email me and I’ll describe some of the scripts I use.
Following up changes everything for your conversion ratios. It allows you to stay relevant, stay in touch and help other professionals and it’s my absolute favourite part of the sales process.