The American Rosie Movement

“I Only Call Customers Back Twice” and Other Dumb Things Business Owners Say

I talked to a friend the other day whose website I manage. He’s a home improvement contractor. He generally gets at least a couple of leads per day from his website, and several more through referrals and other sources.

While we were chatting, I asked him two questions:

1.       How soon do you call the lead after you get the text message saying you’ve received an inquiry?

2.       If you get their voicemail, how often do you try to reach back out?

I was pretty horrified by his answers.

He said he tries to call the leads within a day, and he will try them twice before “giving up.”

This might sound perfectly reasonable to many people, but I was stunned by the lack of follow up on his part.

Some background: My friend’s average job is about $3,500, he does about $150k per month in gross revenue, and his net margins are around 30%. He claims to sell “everybody” he talks to, but I’m sure that is an exaggeration. Even if it were accurate, it would still be problematic because if you win every bid you make, you’re definitely not charging enough.  Still, he probably closes at least a quarter of all of his prospects if he at least gets them on the phone.

All this means that his average lead – if he can reach them – is worth about $250 in net profit to him.

Here’s what I told him he ought to be doing:

1.       Call the first time within 15 minutes. 

Returning voicemails and website leads within 15 minutes is important for a few reasons. First,  it shows that you are reliable and responsive, which can help build trust and strengthen your professional relationships. It can also help you stay ahead of the competition by demonstrating that you value their time and are committed to providing excellent customer service.

That is to say, it’s your one and only chance to make a great first impression and demonstrate that you are on your game.  It shows that you’re not only dependable, but also trustworthy, and studies have demonstrated that 95% of customers are more likely to stay with a business that has earned their trust. Compare that with the 74% of customers who report that they are likely to choose a different company if they have a bad phone experience with yours.

That return call within 15 minutes of receiving a voicemail is crucial to laying the foundation for trust that will turn that lead into a conversion.

2.       Call two more times within three days. 

This is not to say that you should be immediately pestering your leads. There’s an important distinction between diligence and pushiness, and you never want your follow ups to have a whiff of the latter. Let your leads breathe a little! 

Experts have demonstrated that you should give your leads a second call after about 48 hours with your next call coming about 24 hours after that. That’s two follow up calls in about three days.

You already know that you offer the best service and that your lead would greatly benefit from it, and those two follow up calls seem to be the sweet spot for reminding your leads of this fact.

3.       After three calls, use a texting system.

This just so happens to be one of the fortes of my business. What we do is set up an automated text follow up campaign to remind your leads that you can do the best job for them.

After your initial calls, text messages come into play, provided your lead form captured an opt-in. They’re less of an interruption than phone calls, and are more likely to lead to conversions than emails. In fact, 42% of texts are opened compared to 32% of emails!

With sales, the ball is always in the customer’s court. However, by putting technology and administrative services to use, you can remind your leads that the ball and the court exist in the first place.

Speaking from my own experience, I’ve bought plenty of things just because a salesperson has been diligent to follow up with me. And I’m busy, so I can be a hard guy to get a hold of. It takes persistence. Converting leads takes effort and a lot of tries in most cases. Only after six months would I think about “giving up” on a lead. Even then, I would just begin to think about it.

If you need help improving your follow up game, get in touch with us today!

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