Seeking out leads is like fishing. You’re the fisherman, your product is the bait, and the leads are the fish.
A cold lead is a fish that swims right by your bait without even acknowledging it. Maybe it doesn’t know that the bait is there, or maybe it just doesn’t care. To get a cold lead to bite, you have to constantly dangle the bait in front of its face until it shows any interest.
A hot lead is a fish that sees the bait and goes, “Ooh, that looks delicious! I must have it!” and swims right up to it, examines it for a split second, and then chomps its teeth on the bait and the hook without second thought.
A warm lead is an unpredictable fish. It sees the bait, nibbles at it, and then hangs around for a moment. You can’t figure out if it’s going to swim away like a cold lead or if it’s going to embrace the bait like a hot lead.
Warm leads are tricky. They’re on the fence, and you want to lure them over to your side. That means making contact, being persistent, and following up with them frequently. If you contact them too often, you’ll come off as an annoying stalker and they’ll swim, er, run away. If you’re impersonal and ignore them a lot, they’ll eventually forget about you and move on to the next thing. You don’t want to come onto them too hard or ignore them too much, so what do you do?
If someone shows lukewarm interest in your product or service, follow up with them and show them that you want to bring them on board. Here are three ways to do it right:
Tip #1: Follow up with them right away.
This isn’t a dating game. You don’t wait a few days to call your lead to avoid looking desperate. You want to look prompt, attentive, and eager to win their business. If you see that someone has downloaded a trial from your website, or if you see that someone has signed up for your mailing list, follow up with him within 5 minutes, when your product or service is still fresh in his head. He’ll be more likely to respond to you with questions or comments than if you had waited until the next day to contact him. Any lead not followed up within 5 minutes is most likely a dead lead.
Tip #2: Create an auto responder that’s personal.
When you receive a generic auto responder after having filled out an online form, what usually comes to mind? “Someone will get with me soon? Yeah, right, more like 6 months.” Nobody likes generic auto responders. They want information and any sort of indication that their information/comment is being addressed in a timely fashion.
If you have a website that has a contact form where people submit their lead information, create a personal auto responder that gives them a time frame and details. A good example is, “A salesperson is reviewing your form and will reach out to you within an hour.”
Tip #3: Create a system to make sure no leads are being ignored.
If you don’t follow up with your warm leads on a regular basis, they will slowly forget about you and become cold leads. To prevent that from happening, implement a system to ensure that the leads are being contacted on a regular basis. Also be sure to monitor your salespeople and keep them accountable.
For example, you can keep track of the leads’ birthdays and send them a birthday card each year. Another example is to have your salespeople log every conversation they’ve had with each lead and use the log to figure out who hasn’t been contacted in a while.
Your main goal is to keep your organization fresh in the warm leads’ heads, and the best way to do that is to follow up with them on a regular basis. If you keep it up, they’ll be likely to turn into hot leads and eventually your customers!