The importance of following up.
Recently, I went to a pet shelter and agreed to foster a couple of older kittens with the goal of a permanent adoption. They had been in the shelter for quite a while and there was a reason why.
They had various illnesses and some still lingered. The most notable one showed up after we had the kittens a week—ringworm. We weren’t too concerned at first until my daughter woke up with signs of it on her arm. So now, I’m concerned. I’m scrambling to get my daughter treated and the cats to the shelter vet.
First thing I do is jump on the shelter’s website because I need their vet’s help now! I’m thinking of all the ramifications of this highly-contagious but treatable infection. Will this affect my other cats, my dog, my kids, me? The shelter’s website is filled with cute pictures of all the pets who need help. I jump from page to page but find nothing on medical assistance. Finally, I find a page with one email contact that says, “If you can’t find what you want click on this link.” Now, I’m getting excited! I click on the link, explain my situation and hit send. I’m feeling really good about myself because I am on the path to getting help for my problem.
Now, I’m watching my email on my computer; then on my phone when I’m away from my computer. I wait a few hours. Nothing. I wait a few more hours before I send another email. Nothing. Now, I’m getting anxious and frustrated.
How many of you have been in a similar situation?
A Harvard Business Review study, “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads”, found that only 26.1% of leads are followed-up within 5 minutes and the remaining 73.9% are left to wander around your website and then your competitor’s websites. So, any wonder that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first? If a prospect has reached out to us, they have a need we can satisfy, they chose us to engage with, and most likely are ready to buy, should we not be making every effort to speak with them immediately?
The same study on lead response times shows that for every hour that slips by, the opportunity to qualify the lead goes down 6x. However, reaching out within the first 5 minutes increases the lead qualification 21x compared to responding 30 minutes or later. Further, the odds of making successful contact with a lead within the first 5 minutes are 100 times greater compared to 30 minutes later.
How many of you like playing email-tag or phone-tag with a lead that was hot when it came in? The average productivity loss for email and phone-tag for employees is about 1.86 hours per day according to Inc.com. Would you like to spend more time selling or playing the game of tag?
Harvard Business Review Study Conclusion? A delayed response is money lost.
By the way, I never did hear from the shelter so I found an alternative solution. How many of us will reach out to a vendor again who doesn’t respond to us when we needed them and were ready to buy?
Next blog post: Proven tips and techniques for lead follow-up.