As business tasks go, following up on sales leads is pretty thankless. However, if you’ve taken the time to open a dialogue with a potential client and perhaps submit a proposal, you owe it to yourself to follow things through and give yourself the best chance of converting that client into a paying customer.
Here are five strategies to help you follow up on your sales leads and keep up a good flow of new clients.
Once you’ve started the sales process with a new client, don’t let the trail go cold. If, for example, you’ve sent a proposal for services on a Monday, set a reminder to get back in touch with the client on the following Monday.
You can do this by setting reminders in Outlook, or by using a sales database or CRM solution. It doesn’t really matter HOW you do it, as long as you DO do it!
Emails often get ignored – and not always willfully. Some people just aren’t that good at organizing their mailbox, so your proposals and follow-ups may have simply been missed.
Never be afraid to pick up the phone and nudge a potential client for feedback on your ideas. If nothing else, you may quickly glean that the prospect doesn’t intend to sign up, leaving you free to concentrate on other things.
If you’ve taken time to discuss a client’s requirements and put effort into producing a proposal, they really do owe it to you to give some feedback.
Sadly, arrogance often gets in the way. Some potential clients seem to think that ignoring you is an acceptable way to turn down a proposal. It’s really not – so don’t be afraid to follow up a few times.
There is a flipside to the point above: you really need to draw a line somewhere, and know when a certain client isn’t worth the time any more. If emails go constantly unanswered, and your client contact is persistently “out of the office” whenever you decide to call them on the phone, there reaches a point when you must “take the hint.”
Decide when your next follow-up is your LAST follow-up, and stick to the decision. You’re better off concentrating your energies on other prospects and avoiding the irritation.
Sometimes a potential lead just needs a little more encouragement. If you are dealing with a prospect you really want to close, it’s worth considering some kind of offer or enticement to convince them to sign up. Perhaps offer a free trial of your services, or a discount for an annual commitment. People always like to save a little money.
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