It is an unfortunate fact of life that a surprisingly large number of businesses don't follow up on leads. How on earth can this be in a time where we all have so much competition and we are all chasing business? We all know the challenge and frustration of chasing a company that we want to buy something from, but no one ever returns our calls or our emails.
From my experience, there are a lot of businesses like this. They spend a fortune on fitting out great shops, building flash websites and then spend another fortune on advertising and marketing, yet they are not organized enough to capture enquires and respond accordingly.
To me their disorganization can be defined by five typical problems:
There is no particular person responsible for following up on leads. They often end up in a collective pool that floats from desk to desk until they are dropped into the bin. All leads should be given to an individual who should follow them through from start to finish (and it they should report on every lead, what happened and why?).
Often businesses don't have enough promotional material that is in a format and easily accessible to be sent quickly in response to a request. A potential customer calls and asks for information and prices about a product and because it is complicated and difficult to get information together, it gets forgotten. Sometimes one person spending a few hours pulling the information together that can be emailed through to any possible lead can simply remedy this once and for all.
As a professional speaker, I get asked all the time for a head and shoulder photo, a copy of my bio and some images of my book covers. Most speakers struggle to get these together (and clients are forced to chase them over and over). I have a simple page on my website that has all of this information so all I need to do is send that link. It took me a little time to set it up, but now I can respond to a request in seconds. I'm amazed at the positive feedback from my clients.
The third reason is that businesses often don't know what to do with a lead when they get it. Should they ring the person or should they send them an email? It really does depend on the individual situation. If you are not comfortable with talking to someone on the phone, drop them a line by email and make sure you include some promotional material about your company. The worse thing you can do is nothing.
The fourth reason for people not following up on leads is simply that they are too busy. If this is the case in your business you may be losing a lot of money. Perhaps it is worth employing that extra person on a casual basis simply to process sales leads on a daily basis. This will free up your time and take some of the pressure off you. New customers are an absolute priority in any business and devoting time and resources to managing these leads is simply essential.
The final reason for businesses not following up on leads is simply that people have no systems in place because they are disorganized. They lose bits of paper with important messages, they forget things they have to do something with, they can never find the information required and they are in a constant state of 'getting back to you'. The only way to fix this problem is to get organized.
How confident are you that you customer enquiries are being well managed? Assuming they are is not a sound strategy. Try mystery shopping, get your team to run through their sales process or simply admit to the process weaknesses that you know exist and commit to doing something bout them today.