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How to 2x (3x or even 4x) your sales conversion rate without spending another cent on ads.

Do you want 2024 to be a great year for your business? A profitable one? One that grows your business and helps you create the kind of freedom you’ve always dreamed of? OK, so this is a bit of a loaded question. I mean, who doesn’t want that, right? Stay with me and I’ll show you how… 

 

As we dive headlong into another new year, many of us are madly planning our marketing and advertising strategies. We’re developing content to help position us as experts in our chosen fields (or at least we SHOULD be!) We’re busily coming up with hooks, offers, stories and lead magnets to get more people onto our email and SMS lists, and generate more inquiries for the products and the services we sell. But you know what most businesses are NOT building into their marketing plans? Follow up.  

Time and time again, I talk to business owners asking for help to generate more leads because they’re not getting the number of sales they want. Sometimes they’re not even getting the number of sales they NEED to pay the bills. But when we dig a little deeper as part of our marketing audit, we find that more leads won’t help because they’re not even following up the leads they already get. They’ve already paid for all these leads, in some cases they’ve paid quite a lot, and if those leads don’t convert on the first call, they get totally forgotten about. Even when they’re struggling to find the money to pay the bills, they’re still not making those follow up calls.  

More leads will not fix your lack of sales if you don’t fix your sales and follow up process. It will just mean you spend more money and have more leads that also don’t buy from you. 

 

I recently spoke to Jim who wanted more leads for his home renovation business. Jim was already getting 2-3 leads a day at an average cost of just over $50/lead but not getting any sales. With an average sale value of over $20k, $50 leads are brilliant if you’re converting even 1-2%% of them right off the bat. Sam wanted to know how to get more leads, cheaper leads and better leads. When we looked more closely, Sam’s rep was only calling leads on a Friday, only calling them once and then sending one follow up email. So, if someone submitted a lead on Saturday, it was a whole week before they got a call. Guaranteed, those people were submitting leads to other renovators too, and getting calls the same day, or the next business day at the absolute worst and then multiple follow up calls. Who do you think they went with?  

I’ve heard all the reasons under the sun why people don’t want to make those calls. ‘I don’t want to be a pest’ or ‘If they were genuine leads, they’d answer the phone’ or my personal favourite ‘Oh, we sent them an email’. Seriously, these are from business owners who have invested thousands of dollars in copywriting, ads, graphic design, CRMs, agency fees and they STILL don’t want to follow up their leads because, lets be honest, making sales calls sucks.  

 

I get it. Making sales calls DOES suck. But that’s how you’re going to close more sales.  Were you hoping for a magic bullet? Sorry, there isn’t one… But here’s some stats tips to make it a little easier.  

 

The sales follow-up process is often the linchpin that determines success. Nurturing leads, persistence, and strategic timing play pivotal roles in converting potential clients into loyal customers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the sales follow-up process, addressing how soon to follow up, the average number of calls required to close a sale, and the common pitfalls that lead to premature abandonment. 

  

The early bird catches the worm (or the sale. You get the drift) 

  The adage “time is of the essence” holds particularly true in the realm of sales follow-up. Research consistently emphasises the critical importance of prompt responses to new leads.  

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, businesses that contact potential customers within the first hour of receiving an inquiry are seven times more likely to qualify the lead than those who respond after an hour  

It’s not always possible to phone within the hour. Maybe it’s outside your work hours. Maybe you’re with clients. There are a ton of reasons you may not be able to call immediately. There are also a ton of apps that will allow you to at least send an automated message acknowledging the inquiry and setting expectations for when you are going to call. Then make sure you call when you say you will.

  

Actionable Tips 

  • Aim to respond to new leads within the golden hour to maximise the likelihood of conversion. 
  • Incentivise your team to get the average response time down to under 60 minutes.  
  • If you don’t have a team, or if you’re not at your computer a lot, set up some automations to notify you when a new lead comes in.  

 

This isn’t something you should delegate to the junior, or the receptionist, this is mission critical stuff. But you already know that… 

  

The Art of Persistence: How Many Calls Does It Take? 

   

While the number of calls required to close a sale can vary greatly depending on a load of variables, understanding the typical sales cycle is key. A widely recognised statistic suggests that, on average, it takes about eight touch points to convert a prospect into a customer. These touches can include a combination of calls, emails, and other interactions.  

More recent data suggests that figure could be much higher (over 30) but that includes micro-touchpints such as having seen a social post, reel or story, receiving a text message, or even having simply seen your email in their inbox even if they didn’t read it. Whatever the actual figure, it’s clear we need to be persistent in following up if we genuinely want to convert our leads into sales.  

  

Actionable Tip: 

Tailor your approach based on your industry and the complexity of your product or service. The more complex or more costly your product or service, the longer the process could be. If you’re in the B2B space you may have existing supplier contracts or decision making panels to content with. Fun times hey! Be prepared for a series of interactions to nurture the relationship and use a calendar to set follow up reminders. 

  

The Rule of Seven 

  

The “Rule of Seven” is a marketing principle suggesting that a potential customer needs to hear a message seven times before taking action. No, you can’ just call them once and say it over and over again. We know, we tried… 

While this rule applies to the broader marketing context, it underscores the importance of repetition and consistent communication in the sales follow-up process. The most effective approach seems to incorporate a broad range of delivery formats. Traditional marketing messages from your business to the consumer. User generated content, for example a testimonial or a client showing themselves opening or using the product. Having an influencer give you a plug, or even submitting an article for publication in a magazine, paper or on a blog. Bonus points if you can get yourself on someone’s podcast too.  

  

Actionable Tip: 

Develop a multi-channel follow-up strategy, incorporating calls, emails, SMS and even social media engagement to reinforce your message. Be purposeful and develop a predetermined strategy with messaging specifically designed to move people through the buyer journey, or decision making process. You can even automate some of the process such as your emails, SMS and social media ads and posts.  

  

Common Pitfalls: When Do Salespeople Give Up? 

 Premature Abandonation (no, that’s not a word, but now that I have your attention)  

One of the biggest errors, and easiest to fix, in sales is premature abandonment. Many salespeople, under pressure or discouraged by initial rejections, give up too soon. According to The Brevet Group’s research as many as 44%  of salespeople give up after the first call. THE FIRST CALL. 80% of sales require 5 or more calls.  

 

That means if you’re giving up after the first, second or even third call call, you’re missing out on 80% of your potential sales.  

 

Actionable Tip: 

Establish a documented follow-up schedule that includes specific messaging and reasons to call your prospect, so you’re not just calling to say ‘hey, wanna buy something yet?’ Include the frequency of calls, emails or SMS and a call framework with goals and objectives for the call, not just a script that doesn’t give your salesperson freedom to inject their own skills and personality. Goals might be things like… 

  • Give some useful insights
  • Make a sale 
  • Book in a quote 
  • Secure a meeting 
  • Get permission to follow up again
  • Get a NO so you can cross them off your list.  

When you have specific goals it’s easier to make the call, the call is more valuable for you and the prospect and you almost always get better outcomes.

  

  

The Psychology of Follow-Up 

   

The sales follow-up process isn’t merely about pushing a product or service; it’s about building a relationship. Prospects are more likely to convert when they trust you and your company. This trust-building process requires time and consistent communication. Most of us have had bad experiences with sales people, for one reason or another, so we tend to be skeptical. Following up when you say you will helps to alleviate that skepticism.  

A great way to make sure your prospect never takes your call is to be pushy and be always looking for a sale. We find a more successful approach is to include some value based content in your follow up schedule. Information that helps your prospect get a little bit closer to their dream outcome. It’ll be refreshing for your prospect to get a call that’s not a sales call, and it’ll help position you as an expert too. Next time you call they’ll be more likely to speak with you.  

  

Actionable Tip: 

Use pre-written and scheduled emails and SMS to share value based content. Call to share current insights, industry news, advice or resources that showcase your expertise and build credibility over time.  

  

 

Timing Is Everything 

Understanding the psychology of timing is crucial. There’s a delicate balance between persistence and annoyance. The key is to be present at strategic moments in the prospect’s decision-making process without being intrusive. Calling too often can get your number blocked. Too infrequently can look like you’re disinterested or unreliable. There is no right or wrong answer here. Every industry and every person is different. As a rule of thumb, we like weekly emails, and maybe monthly SMS.  If your CRM allows you to track when people open emails or click on links, you can use that data to determine when to phone them. 

Actionable Tip: 

Leverage tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software to track prospect interactions and tailor your follow-up timing accordingly. When you speak to a prospect who says no, ask when you should follow up again, or ask ‘is it OK if I check in with you in X weeks?’ Then make a diary note or create a task in your CRM so you don’t forget. Remember, to build trust you’ve gotta do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. Our favourite CRM to help with all this is Go High Level. Check it out HERE. 

  

  In the competitive landscape of SMEs, mastering the art of sales follow-up is a game-changer. Swift responses, persistent yet respectful engagement, being helpful and adding value and an understanding of the psychological nuances involved contribute to a successful follow-up strategy. By avoiding common pitfalls and adopting a proactive approach, you can elevate your sales game, increase your sales conversion rate and foster lasting customer relationships. Remember, the fortune often lies in the follow up. 

 

Need help plpanning or implementing any of this? Reach out for a chat with us, or just book time for a free Marketing Strategy Audit HERE

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