You might not realize it yet but, like my internet marketing team, you live in the world of the slight edge… Tiny improvements over your competition can tip the scales in your favor in a major way.
When we see a 10% improvement we do a quick chair dance and then go mine for the next golden 10% increase. Over time, all those 10% increases add up to massive results.
So when we find an easy way to get a 700% increase in lead effectiveness that requires absolutely no special skills, knowledge or training, some table-top river dancing may be on the horizon.
This is legit so put it on your schedule to start implementing right away!
These are the facts from the Havard Business Review:
These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold—a phenomenon we explored in a separate study, which involved 1.25 million sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S. Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.
In other words, if you respond within an hour, you’ll close more deals. Period.
Any time someone tells my team that the quality of the website leads they have been receiving isn’t very good, my first question is always, “how long does it take you to respond to the leads?”
When I say it’s almost not worth responding if it takes you more than an hour, most people are shocked.
But really, is it that hard to believe?
Back in the days when Yellow Pages (the actual big, fat books, not the online variety) were a primary method for people finding service businesses, everyone knew that if you couldn’t respond to inquiries quickly, they were just going to move down to the next listing, your competitor, and call him.
Consider a different example. If I’m shopping online for a water softener Saturday morning, I’m probably going to contact you and a few other companies. Heck, I may even decide to take a ride over to Home Depot and see what they have to offer. If one of those companies responds to me before I get in my car to go to Home Depot, then I’m obviously going to trust them more than the guy I don’t hear from until Monday afternoon.
Do automated emails help?
E-mails can be scheduled to be automatically sent to everyone who fills out a contact form on your website and they can be a good idea to help confirm for the customer that their message did indeed go through.
It may buy you an extra hour.
But I’ve personally received automated emails from a company and that’s it. No follow-up whatsoever. Actually it just happened to me when trying to get my rims fixed for my car.
I contacted 3 companies.
The first had the best website and an automated email response… But that’s it. No follow-up and their phone line was just a voice mailbox so I didn’t leave a message.
Another emailed me back the next day saying he couldn’t help me.
The 3rd website probably hasn’t been updated since it was created in 2006. But…
He called me within 30 minutes of emailing him, explained what they do and what makes them unique, answered my questions and truly allayed my concerns about straightening bent aluminum rims.
He also got my $170. His website was outdated but his service, guarantee, and personal attention were great. More importantly, he delivered exactly what he promised since my fixed rims look great!
How do you get your sales reps to respond quickly?
So you see the value in a quick response, but aren’t real sure your salespeople will instantly start responding right away.
4 tips to improve your web lead quality and sales closing ratios by helping your reps respond quickly:
- Show them the data I listed in the first paragraph of this blog. Everyone responds better when they know WHY it’s important for them to do so.
- Make a list of your top 5-10 most common web inquiries a sales person would receive and then write up the perfect email response for each. Then have each sales rep save a copy of those responses in their email client and smart phone in “Drafts”. Now they can quickly copy and paste the best response for each inquiry while still having it come from an individual’s email address to make it personal.
- When your rep’s email a response, have them CC the sales manager. That way he can see when the lead came in and how long until a response was sent. Put up a chart or whiteboard showing the average response times for each rep each week. Salespeople are competitive (some with others and some just trying to break their own personal goals) so use that competitiveness to your advantage.
- As with all marketing, as your ROI improves, re-invest more marketing dollars online to keep your business growing.
What if my reps are paid on commission?
In my experience, paying commission does not translate into not providing any tools, resources, education or assistance for your sales team because they are all perfectly organized and hyper-motivated.
In other words, no matter how you pay people, provide them the tools they need to be successful and everyone wins. Especially your prospective new customers.
If you’re not already responding to all of your web inquiries within 60 minutes, or you really want to set yourself apart and respond to everyone within 5 minutes, then make internet lead response time a high priority in your next sales meeting!
To your success in closing more web leads, Bryan