Lead Management Begins With Prospecting
When do you begin tracking your leads? Once you have had an opportunity to get in front of the prospect? At the point of sale? If yes to either of these, you may already be missing out on information that may help you reach a point of sale for more people and in a more timely manner.
Lead Management Includes Gathering Contact Information!
As we all know, a lot of effort goes into getting names and contact information of people who have an interest in our product or service. Already from the very first contact, you should have a nice and legitimate way to ask for and get phone numbers, email addresses and direct mail addresses in addition to the product or services your prospect may be considering.
By this, I do not mean that you should just gather names and contact information from anyone who will stop long enough to give it to you. You want your database to have pertinent information that will help you grow your business, so the names that go in there should be legitimate prospects. Maybe it was someone who called in for an estimate. Perhaps it was someone who stopped by your booth at a show. Maybe it was someone who contacted you online. Maybe it was someone who downloaded information from your website. The places and ways of gathering information are endless, but the point is, use that information to help you!
What Do I Do With That Prospect Information?
There are many things you can do with that information. For this moment though, I am only going to focus on one thing: a prospect list of people who have contacted you in some way at some time or another, but you have been unable to get out there to meet with them face to face or talk with them in person on the phone.
How Many Times Do You Try Contacting a Prospect?
How often do you try calling those people who have inquired about your product or service? It is not unusual for a business to try only once or twice. In fact, here is how it goes: the name and number was jotted down on a paper from a voicemail, a return call was made and a voicemail left, and that is the end of it. If the inquisitive one calls back, great. If not, they were forgotten anyhow!
Did You Know That It Takes About Eight to Ten Touches Before You Are Able to Connect?
Yes, that is what the stats are saying nowadays. Eight to ten attempts before you actually connect. Well, the two call backs that were made are a long way off from eight to ten!
Why Do People Stop Calling After Only Two Attempts?
That’s a very good question, especially when it takes eight to ten tries. There are a couple answers. First, they figure that the person does not want what they have to offer any longer. They chalk it up to a passing fancy. (By the way, some would say these salespeople are easily put off and not persistent.)
Second, they have no simple way to keep track of the people who have expressed an interest. All those notes with names and numbers are too easily lost, notes get too scrambled, and it is just too hard to keep track. This is by far the greatest reason for lack of follow up calls. It is a very legitimate reason, although it is no longer a good excuse.
What Can I Do To Make Tracking Prospects Easier?
Get a lead management system. If nothing else, you can set up an Excel sheet for no cost or search for some other lead management system online. There are even some free ones out there. Usually FREE does not include some pretty important features, but the point is, at least start somewhere! (As I’ve said before, of course I’m partial to By The Numbers!)
What Should I Track?
For prospecting, at least get names, addresses, date of first meeting, where you met them, what they were interested in, and what your conversation was. Then as you follow up with them weekly, monthly or yearly, be sure to keep track of what your conversations were about and when they can expect you to contact them next. If you sent a letter, mark it down. If you sent an email, mark it down. If you called and left a message, mark it down. If you called and talked to someone else, mark it down. In other words, keep track of each contact you have with that person! Follow up when you have promised to follow up. If they say not to call them anymore, then don’t call. Send mail until they buy or ask to be removed from your mailing list.
The point is, you have to be proactive. There are probably 10 or more others in the same area selling the same thing that a person can go to just as easily as they would come to you.
Next time you go to a trade show, get those contacts in there even if they are not buying right now! Nurture and foster the relationship, and become the expert so that when the time comes for a person to buy, you at the top of minds because you have kept in touch.