A business can be made or broken by the way it’s sales leads are handled or fumbled. The lead is just that, a possible connection to a potential customer. Without a firm method of following up that lead, a sale will never be made.
Knowing just when a contact becomes a prospective customer must be defined and a system set up to make sure the lead is quickly directed to the appropriate sales person. Various market studies have shown that nearly nine out of every ten leads falls through because it was diverted to the wrong department or was sent to sales too late for the lead to be followed up on. This can be prevented by developing an efficient customer relationship management system that will allow instant access to all the data from every contact made with a potential customer so that they will not be put off by having to repeat their needs every time they contact your company.
Conversely, it is of extreme benefit to find out from your lead just where he found the information that led to his contacting you. By knowing which advertisements and methods are drawing attention, you can more successfully expand the ways that work and eliminate advertising venues that fail to attract attention.
Speed is of the essence. Make sure your sales force acts promptly to any request for information. Replies within the first 24 to 48 hours will help prove that you are interested in the customer’s business. Everyone has competition and it must be remembered that if you do not answer the call, someone else will. You do not need to make the sale on the initial call but do need to interact with the customer so they can feel appreciated. By nurturing your leads you are proving that you care enough to help them now and on any future business they may have later.
With the previously mentioned customer relationship management system in place, anyone in the sales force can more easily have the customer’s data on hand and there is less loss of confidence by an individual salesperson being unavailable when the potential customer re-contacts the company. Along with this information should be notations on what services your competition offers and how they compare to what you offer. Having this information in a centrally accessible place will allow your entire sales force to be knowledgeable for each call rather than just the specific leads they individually are responsible for.
Routine meetings with the sales force as well as any other relevant staff can provide a perpetual fine tuning for the types of information needed from leads and the right data to return to them. It allows for new ideas on the important areas of sales and lead management to be learned and implemented by everyone together. A regular review of the system will help work out the deadwood and streamline just what information is critical to the sales process.
Finally, understand that each lead is important, as they may each become a future customer. Be friendly even if it does not seem like a sale is imminent. Demonstrating a caring attitude will help make your company stand out and will increase the number of sales leads that turn into paying clients.