Any way you approach it, online leads cost money, whether you’re paying for organic search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC) ads, or developing and maintaining a website. Because leads aren’t free, it’s all the more important to nourish those that come your way and for that, ladies and gents, you must have a plan.
Where are your leads originating?
It’s important to track where your leads are coming from. Are people contacting you via a direct phone number, email, social media, or through the contact form on your website? Knowing where your leads originate means you can review the marketing, advertising, and SEO surrounding that lead-building effort so you can see what’s successful and apply the tactics elsewhere.
Are you treating your leads appropriately?
Don’t assume that your administrative assistant, front desk associate, or answering service knows what to do or say when responding to leads. Even if you’re a small business and don’t have a dedicated sales team, a little training and education can go a long way. Write a script that can be referred to for phone calls or sent via email. Form letters can get the job done, but making something as personal as possible can be the difference between a successful lead and a lead that’s lost.
How quickly do you respond to leads?
Get an inquiry via your website at 7 p.m. on a Friday? That lead shouldn’t have to wait until Monday morning to hear back from you. Gone are the work days of Monday-Friday, 9-to-5. After all, the internet doesn’t stop at 5 p.m., neither should your sales efforts. Have an after-hours plan or you will lose leads: Pay your staff to stay later; send after-hours calls to your personal cell phone; transcribe voice mails into text messages for handy reference; auto-reply immediately at the very least and let them know exactly when they’ll hear from a human about their inquiry. Oh, and are you taking calls over your lunch break? You better be! Ultimately, you should be responding to all leads with lightning-fast speed, via phone and email if possible.
Treat each lead as a legitimate, worthwhile possibility to increase your odds of landing a brand new client or customer.
How do you communicate with your leads?
If you – the head honcho – are not in direct contact with every lead, make sure the people handling the leads you’ve courted know what you’re selling (you’d be surprised how many folks that answer the phones and respond to general inquiries for their employer don’t know these answers).
Your staff should not be afraid to quote pricing. Disclosing pricing helps qualify the leads – in other words, are they legit interested in your business or are they just fishing? That being said, your staff needn’t start dropping numbers immediately. The key here is the soft sales message – train employees to build a little value first, make small talk, connect with the lead. Ask what the lead’s budget is, ask their time frame for purchase.
And when you’re on the line with a lead, listen! Ask open-ended questions and hear the answers. Your prospect will tell you what they want and how to get their business. If you’re the one talking all the time, they know you aren’t hearing them. Boo hiss.
Finally, ask for the business. In sales this is called a “trial close.” You don’t have to flat-out ask if you have the job. Try phrasing like: “Can I schedule you an appointment?” or “When would you like to come in?” or “Can I send you a contract to sign?”
Are you following up?
Just as you should have a system in place for answering leads, you should have a log for tracking leads. A simple Excel spreadsheet is all you need. The most important thing is to follow up. Your leads may forget about you, they may get busy and distracted, they may get swayed by a competitor. Keep yourself and your business on their radar with an inquiry here and there, especially if you know their timeline.
Lead building can be costly and time-consuming – but that’s only if you don’t have working protocol in place. Every lead you snag and turn into a regular client or customer is worth the money and time you and your employees put into the lead building and should go right back into your business.
So, now what? Well, we build websites, we practice SEO, we advise on PPC, we are your online marketing geniuses who can aid in creating the online environment necessary to land the leads you want. Are you ready to hear from Pistonbroke? Get in touch – we promise we’ll follow-up. Quickly.