If you’re a typical entrepreneur you’re interested in seeing your business achieve steady, continued growth. If you rely on repeat customers, it’s important to keep those customers coming back again and again. Taking into consideration the churn rate, that is the rate at which existing customers leave your business for one reason or another, you must keep adding new prospects to the top of your sales funnel. The idea is to not only replace any lost customers, but to add new customers beyond the churn rate so you can achieve the growth you’d like to see.
Your first step toward growth is to ask your person in charge of marketing to begin running campaigns that will attract new prospects that turn into paying customers. Because they’re good at it, they start to bring new prospects into the top of your sales funnel. Now it’s time for the follow-up to kick in and convert those prospects into long-term customers.
Studies show that it can take up to six attempts at contacting a prospect to connect with them and begin the sales process. Unfortunately, many salespeople give up after one attempt. Some make it to two attempts, but very, very few make enough attempts to reach the prospect and engage in a meaningful conversation.
Sure, everyone would like to reach the hot prospect that closes on the first call, but that’s not realistic in the real world. Focusing on the best opportunities seems to make sense, but the problem is that some prospects just require more time and nurturing. They have to deliberate and fully grasp how your product or service is going to benefit them before they are convinced of the value.
The other factor that helps convert prospects into new customers is how quickly they are contacted after “raising their hand” and expressing an interest. Again, studies have shown that only 7% of salespeople respond within five minutes and 50% hadn’t reached out within five business days. In many cases, no attempt is made to even reach out to prospects.
It’s very important to respond as quickly as possible. Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Prospects reach out when their interest is at the top of their mind and they’re searching for more information or are convinced that your service or product will help them in some way. The longer you wait to contact them, the more opportunity for other priorities to come up and their original interest to take a back seat. Plus, more than likely if they’ve reached out to multiple firms, your competitors may have gotten to them first and convinced them that they had the best solution. Getting back quickly shows that you’re responsive, organized, interested, and are a professionally run organization.
So, the takeaways are to respond quickly and as many times as it takes to connect. You’re investing good money to attract new customers so ensure that your salespeople are following through and take new leads seriously. You never know which one will turn into a profitable, long-term customer. Don’t give up on them before they give up on you.