You have a prospect on the line, and now you just have to reel him or her in. Once you get him or her to shore, you’ll have money in your pocket and the admiration of your co-workers. While you could pick up the phone and beg the prospect to take the bait, handwritten sales follow-up letters are much more effective. Include the following components in your follow-up sales letter to increase your conversions, regardless of your industry.
Write About Benefits Instead of Features
Your handwritten sales follow-up letter should focus on the benefits you can offer instead of the features you provide. This is often referred to as selling the sizzle instead of the steak. Don’t tell people that the car you’re selling has an amazing engine. Tell them it will go fast. Don’t tell readers that your keyboard has low-profile keys. Instead, tell them it will speed up typing. Focusing on the benefits over the features will make your products stand out to the reader, which is a huge step in converting prospects.
Keep the Ball in Your Court
Control is an important part of sales. The person who has the control gets to take the lead. If you relinquish control, you will have to wait for the prospect to contact you, which might not happen. Maintain control by letting the prospect know what your next step will be, whether it will be a phone call, email, or another letter. Prospects can reach out to you before you take that next step, but if they don’t, you can follow up without feeling intrusive since they are expecting it.
Reference Past Communications
Personalization is key with sales. You will be more successful if you personalize your communications. With that in mind, reference past communications or interactions you’ve had with your prospects. If you make your prospects feel special, they will be more likely to take the next step and become customers.
Your sales letter is possibly the most important tool you have in your sales arsenal. If you use the tool wisely, you will turn a high number of prospects into paying customers. Consider using a service for your handwritten sales follow-up letters so you will have ample time to handle your other sales duties.
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Miss Manners could probably write an entire column about the death of thank-you notes. Instead of thank-you notes, businesses fire off impersonal emails or send out bulk mailings to their customers. Emails end up in spam folders, and bulk mail-outs make their way into trashcans, so customers don’t realize they have been properly thanked. If you want to make Miss Manners proud, it’s time to consider handwritten thank-you notes. You can hire a service to create and send the notes for you, so you can enjoy the benefits without spending any time on the process.
Handwritten Thank-You Notes Show Appreciation
According to the Harvard Business Review, companies send out more than 100 emails each day, while young adults send or receive around 100 texts each day. At the same time, people receive approximately one personal letter every seven weeks. These numbers mean your thank-you emails and bulk mailings get lost in the shuffle, but your handwritten thank-you notes stick out to the recipients. They show appreciation in ways that other forms of communication don’t, making handwritten notes well worth sending.
Customer Loyalty Is Based on Beginnings and Endings
Most businesses put a lot of emphasis on the first impression with a customer. They go out of their way to ensure that customers like them from the get-go. Then, they make the sale and forget about the customer.
Endings are just as important as beginnings. If you end the transaction the right way, you will build customer loyalty. Customer loyalty translates into additional sales, plus referrals. The easiest way to build that loyalty is with a handwritten thank-you note.
These notes put a heartwarming end to the transaction. They make people think of your business in a favorable way, and those thoughts will stand out the next time they look for goods or services. They will also make people more likely to become advocates for your business.
Writing your own notes is time-consuming, but you can simplify the process by using a service. Services that provide handwritten thank-you notes handle all of the details so you’ll get the accolades without the hard work. It’s nice to get the credit without putting in the time, so don’t pass this opportunity up. Need help with what to put in your thank you note? Click here for more help.
Do you know the right time to follow up with leads? It can be tricky to know the best time. If you follow up too soon, before a lead is actually ready, you run the risk of losing them. Conversely, if you wait too late to follow up, you also run the risk of losing them, albeit to the competition. While it is a bit of a balancing act, lead follow up can be best accomplished when you have the most relevant information available. The best way to obtain that information is with website visitor tracking.
One of the most important benefits of website visitor tracking is that it gives you the opportunity to determine exactly where your lead is in their specific stage within the buying process. It is absolutely vital that you monitor each lead’s online activity. Website visitor tracking gives you incredible insight into exactly where a lead is in the buying process. A variety of triggers, such as visiting your site’s contact page can prove to be a strong indicator that your lead is nearing the end of the buying process. This is information that you will not have available if you do not have website visitor tracking implemented. If you should happen to miss that particular trigger, you could also easily lose the opportunity to reach out and follow up with your lead. That could result in a lost sale. Naturally, losing a sale is something you never want to happen.
Some leads take a little time to warm up and are not immediately ready for follow up. Yet, other leads are ready, willing, and able to make a purchase right away. When that is the case, you also need to know about it. Website visitor tracking is incredibly effective for identifying interested buyers. If the online behavior and characteristics of a lead indicate that the lead is ready to make a purchase right away, you can take immediate action and ensure you do not lose that opportunity.
With website visitor tracking, you know precisely when to implement lead follow up so that you are always in touch with visitors at precisely the right time.
For more posts from this series see:
Uncovering lost opportunities with website visitor tracking
Getting the most from website visitor tracking
Going beyond page views and gaining insight into online activity
Actionable data from tracking visitors
Understanding when to follow up, the importance of tracking
Using website visitor tracking over time to build higher quality leads
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When your salespeople do their routine lead followup, they could be using client personalization to better appeal to clients. You may find that many sales people in your company do this without prompting. It might not be difficult to remember the location, job title or basic info of your warmer leads. Having more advanced data allows sales people to connect more heavily with the potential client and to demonstrate they’re listening to the client’s needs. Lead personalization is also viewed as a precursor to excellent customer service for many warm leads
Lead Followup: When to Personalize
Potential clients who enjoy talking to salespeople on the phone disclose many trivial details. Things like favorite vacation spot, recent travel or names of family members or pets tend to slip out. Many salespeople are so focused on getting the sale during lead followup that they tend to leave out the trivial details that personalize a lead’s experience.
When notating a lead, sales people often make notes about the potential client’s work schedule, any hesitations to buy, best times to call back and more info about the competitor products the lead currently uses. Personal details are often seen as sketchy to discuss or are outright neglected by sales people, but discussion about any personal snippets you pick up – when done the right way – can help a salesperson strategically close a sale.
Recording Personalization Information
The last thing a sales person wants is to feel they’re getting over-personal with a potential client. The modicum of respect necessary for good communication in business dealings is always on the table – however, throwing in personal details that warm the relationship can nurture the lead when done strategically.
Here’s an example lead followup and personalization scenario – a sales call to a particular warm lead isn’t accepted because the lead mentions she’s taking her sick dog to the vet. Let’s say that the lead gives more information about her pet – the nature of the problem, the name of the pet, is it a routine vet visit, etc. Rather than blanking on these details or scribbling them in a personal notebook, tools exist that allow salespeople to map out these personal details for future use. This is particularly helpful when lead follow up is conducted by multiple members of a sales team – e.g., “HI Anne! Dave told me what was going on with your dog Scrapper – is she okay?”
The right marketing automation system will help sales people keep track of lead followup and personalization details across platforms. Lead Liaison’s easy-to-use customer details interface allows you to input custom fields where you can store customer birthdays, pet names, preferences or any general details that will help sales people relate with a client and get closer to a sale.
To find out more about lead followup and personalization, visit us at leadliaison.com.
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Marketo put together a nice wall-hanging-graphic on marketing trade shows in the United States. Attending all marketing trade shows would be exhausting; but, surely there are a few shows to highlight for attendance. The graphic groups marketing trade shows by region and orders them by month. Dreamforce and MarketingSherpa are two of the biggest shows around. SXSW is a great show that adds lots of social events to the agenda, mixing entertainment and business together. But before you invest $10K+ per show, let’s discuss how to make marketing trade shows successful.
Making Marketing Trade Shows a Success
Keep three rules in mind when you attend marketing trade shows. Plan, qualify and follow-up. A great teacher once told me, “Output equals input”. Make sure you make a list of targeted prospects or customers, schedule meetings before hand, get promotional material in place and assign roles and responsibility to your team. Next, qualify your leads at the show. It’s amazing to me how many marketing trade shows I’ve been to where the marketing person comes up to me – while I’m chatting with someone else – and asks, “Can I scan your badge”. I think they’re just doing that because they’re paid on how many contacts they can collect. Make sure you engage with attendees at your booth. Try not to sell, but to listen. Finally, make sure to follow-up. It’s amazing to me that some of these companies do not follow up after I’ve expressed some interest at marketing trade shows. So, how can lead qualification and lead follow up be improved?
Simplifying Trade Show Qualification and Follow Up
By using Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software sales and marketers cut through the clutter of qualifying and following up with leads from marketing trade shows. Using our software allows marketers to:
1. Upload collected contacts into our database 2. Send relevant email communications to their contact list (email marketing) 3. Listen to how recipients respond and engage with your communications (lead tracking) 4. Automatically qualify respondents based on how they engage with your brand and marketing content online (lead scoring) 5. Keep a complete record of the respondent’s current and future engagement with your company (lead management) 6. Nurture the contact by sending them relevant communications over time to further build the relationship and educate them on your solution (lead nurturing) 7. Surface only the hottest marketing trade show leads ready to be handed to sales (lead distribution)
We’re compiling our own list of top marketing trade shows for 2012. Are there any shows that are missing in the graphic? Which marketing trade shows are your favorites?
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Does your organization struggle with lead follow up? Does your sales team have a less than stellar process responding to marketing generated leads? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions help is on the way. Follow 3 rules to lead follow up to help your company produce a higher number of well qualified leads.
The 3 rules to lead follow up are speed, process, and persistence. Let’s analyze these rules to better understand how they support and improve the lead management process.
Speed – Follow up quickly with leads
A recent study done by Leads360 sampled 25 million data points to find conversion rates (people converted from inquiry to qualified lead) increased dramatically with faster response times against initial inquiries. Below is a short list of data points from the sampled leads:
• When called within 1 minute of inquiry, conversion rates are 391% higher
• When called within 2 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 120% higher
• When called within 3 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 98% higher
• When called within 30 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 62% higher
• When called within 60 minutes of inquiry, conversion rates are 36% higher
As evidenced by the data, the lead follow up advantage is less significant after the first 2 minutes have passed and greatly decreases after the first hour. It’s undeniable that fast response time drives loyalty. Businesses create strong psychological and social bonds with rapid lead follow up. If the prospect sees sales ultra-attentive to their inquiry and pre-sales interaction with your company it gives them a feel for how they’d be treated once they are a customer. Additionally, fast lead follow up blocks out competing offers as your prospect invests time into a relationship with you, who is the fastest responder.
Process – Lead follow up is not a one-and-done thing
Companies must not think once initial follow up occurs the lead follow up process is complete. In fact, it’s just started. Unfortunately, most sales and marketing teams heavily invest in the first 3-5% of inquiries that have short-term potential. However, sales people who are not aggressive and tenacious may lose interest in continued contact and neglect lead follow up with these 3-5% of inquiries. Then you have the other 95% of leads that don’t have short-term potential, which businesses commonly ignore. Sadly, 70% of those leads will buy from someone. If companies neglect follow up it results in lots of opportunity left on the table.
The first thing sales, and marketers, need to do is stop thinking a sale will happen in the first call. B2B buyers do not buy on a whim. A relationship must be built. Lead nurturing technology will automatically send personalized and intelligent communications to your prospects to develop your lead until they’re ready to speak with sales. Put the inquiries not yet ready for sales into a lead nurturing campaign. See our post on Lead Nurturing Programs to get an active of 5 different lead nurturing tracks you can drop your leads into.
Forrester Research reported companies that implemented an effective lead nurturing process have a 300% (3x) higher closing rate than their competitors who fail to make a long-term investment with their prospects. – Forrester Research
Concentrate on how buyers buy before you can master how to sell. Buyer’s usually want educational content in smaller, bite-sized chunks, over a period of time.
Persistence – Make a concerted effort to reach your leads
In a similar survey, 15 million sales leads were analyzed. Results showed persistence increased the probability of contacting a lead. The same study revealed a disappointing 50% of leads are never called a second time. When making two calls versus one it increases the chance of contacting a lead by 87%. The report also found six contact attempts resulted in the maximum possible contact rate; however, nearly 60% of sales people made less than sixth contact attempts.
Timing contact attempts will also increase conversion rates. New inquiries should receive a response within 5 minutes and include a 6-call lead follow up process to produce the maximum conversion rate and minimize workload. Here’s the suggested contact attempt schedule to maximize lead follow up ROI:
• Day 1: call 3 times. The premise is new inquiries should be called immediately and in two subsequent time windows during the first day until contact is made.
• If contact has not been made, call on day 3, 4, and day 11 or 12 to maximize contact and conversion rates.
• Day 3, call once.
• Day 4, call again.
• Day 11 or 12, make 2 more call attempts.
Realizing the effort to track and schedule lead follow up, businesses can use marketing automation software to automate scheduling of tasks. For example, revenue generation software from Lead Liaison can schedule call follow up tasks and reminders at once. At Lead Liaison we use 6 sales pipeline stages to map the flow of a person through the revenue cycle. Once a lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) by achieving a particular lead score the lead is handed off to sales. Our system automatically assigns a lead to the sales lead owner and schedules the reminder process in a CRM, such as Salesforce.com.
Keeping the 3 rules of lead follow up in mind and leveraging revenue generation software to help deliver lead nurturing and schedule sales lead follow up will help businesses become more efficient in lead management and generate more revenue from marketing dollars. Contact Lead Liaison to better understand how we can help your business with lead follow up.
We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. What lead follow up tactics have helped you?
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