Many of you have Calls-to-Action (CTA) on your website where you suggest your visitors “Click for a Free Estimate” or “Sign up for our Newsletter”. When they click on these buttons, they’re taken to a form on your page to fill out their name and contact info.
Once they hit “Submit”, you’ve got a new lead.
But what happens next determines your success rate when it comes to contacting the lead and setting up appointments.
It’s a known fact that most leads are rarely ever followed-up on in a timely manner (and sometimes not at all.) According to a recent study conducted by Dr. James Oldroyd, most small businesses take too long to follow up:
We audited 2,241 U.S. companies, measuring how long each took to respond to a web-generated test lead. Although 37% responded to their lead within an hour, and 16% responded within one to 24 hours, 24% took more than 24 hours—and 23% of the companies never responded at all. The average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.
Okay, so many wait too long to reach out to their leads. Why does it matter? Well, Oldroyd’s study discovered that sales pros who followed up on website leads within 1 hour were over 30 times better at contacting and talking to the decision-maker than those who waited 24 hours to follow-up. It also showed following up within 5 minutes made the sales rep nearly 7 times more likely to set an appointment than those who wait up to 30 minutes after the lead came in.
By now, it’s understood that waiting too long on a lead is bad. Homeowners are used to instant satisfaction. They want it all and they want it now. If you’re not available or don’t call – immediately – they move on to the next business.
Here’s where most contractors get the sales process wrong, according to the study:
Most of you have lead forms on your website and you have auto-responders in your email. So, when prospect emails come in or the fill out a web-form – an email response automatically gets sent.
We know this happens… Every time we send our database an email we get flooded with thousands of auto-response emails informing us that they’ve received our message and will get back to us as soon as possible.
Dr. Oldroyd’s team research has shown that email-only responses sent right after lead capture are never effective. A phone response has consistently been shown to be 35 times more effective than an initial email response, especially if it’s an auto-responder. Many homeowners have received these automatic emails and they ignore them now.
90% of sales appointments are set when the sales rep calls immediately and then send an email follow-up later (not an Auto Responder). Immediate emails and a follow-up call don’t work anymore. Maybe it seems desperate to them? Or maybe they’re turned off by ALL the contact attempts?
What’s the answer?
The trick is to call every Internet-generated lead as quickly as possible. Within 5 minutes is, apparently, the ideal response time. While that’s not always possible, the sooner is obviously the better.
For our customers, we set up a workflow to automatically take the website lead and enter the details into the improveit! 360 CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. An email is instantly created and sent to your smartphone and all other locations you have access to your email. When you’re notified by email, you get the prospect’s phone number – you simply tap on the link and your smartphone should dial the number.
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This gives you the ability to call them as soon as possible. Even if you’re not able to talk, you can call and let the prospect know that you’re busy at the moment but will follow-up within an hour or so. The prospect will respect this and appreciate you making the call anyway – and, hopefully, he or she will wait for you to call back.
Whatever your follow-up process, do this:
- Turn off your Auto Responder emails – they don’t work.
- Call as soon as you can – the faster the response, the higher the lead conversion rates
- Set up a way for your web-generated leads to be pushed to your phone so you can be notified right away, instead of seeing the lead at the end of the day
- Follow-up later that day, after contact or after several attempts to contact, with a personal email and not an automatically-generated, general response
You’ll make more contact, satisfy your leads, and close more deals.