A successful business needs three simple things:
Leads – people who need what you do
Sales – if you’re not selling, you’re not in business
Follow ups – keeping the customers you have is much cheaper than getting new ones each month
Leads come from – well, everywhere, in my experience. Most of our work at aXent comes from referrals and networking, which is absolutely fantastic. But the work we do is to generate leads for our clients using a range of online tools – websites, blog articles, social media, Google ads and email marketing.
Unfortunately, that’s where our job ends, and yours starts. Leads need to be called back – preferably within half an hour! As part of a project I’ve been working on with the Academy of Small Business, we reviewed the conversion rates of over 600 000 leads generated by Google Ads campaigns over a two year period.
Just let that number sink in for a while … 600 000 leads.
We wanted to see how many of those leads converted into sales, since we knew the leads we high quality, interested potential buyers.
How many do you think got a call back? I’ll tell you how many didn’t: 400 000.
That’s nearly half a million sales with no chance of closing, just because the person who got the lead didn’t pick up the phone.
This got me wondering … why would people just leave the money on the table like that? I know I’ve been guilty of doing that, too. And I was curious.
Peter Carruthers, small business guru and founder of the Academy of Small Business, explains the phenomenon in more detail – and I’ll link to his explanation as soon as it’s live.
But today I had an experience that gave me a different perspective.
I was given a lead to build a website. As is (becoming) my wont, I called to find out what the client needed. What he needed as a call back on Monday, so we booked a time and I diarised it. In pen. Then I gently asked if I could send him an email with an overview of what we do, how it works, and some questions to think about in advance of Monday’s meeting.
And he laid into me.
He shouted and stormed and said that if I was going to be that pushy, could just forget the whole thing! And then he slammed the phone down on me.
Now, I have been called many things, but pushy is not one of them. If anything, I’m usually accused of being too soft.
I unloaded my drama to my sister, who told me she’d just had a similar experience with a customer who changed his email address without telling her, then yelled at her for not guessing that he had – and what the new one was!
And when I told my fellow writer, she said she’d had a similar experience this week, too. Is something in the air?
The truth is we don’t know what happened to any of those people, or why they chose us to let loose. We do know it almost never happens. Which means the problem probably isn’t any of us. Maybe those guys just had a really bad day, and we happened to be the last straw.
But altercations like these are the exception, not the norm. Our job is to keep doing our jobs – and not take it personally. And to keep picking up that phone. We’ll learn infinitely more by doing than by reading about it, or avoiding it altogether. And with enough of these altercations under the belt, we’ll become Lead Ninjas!
I hate confrontation of any kind, and I’ll usually run a mile rather than face a show down like this one. Which is probably my reason for not picking up the phone more often than I do … just in case. I’m working on it – and it’s paying off!
What keeps you from calling back? And what strategies have you put in place to deal with your call back reluctance? Let’s hear your ideas.