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Stay in Touch with Leads and Get More Closes

How many leads have come into your business since the beginning of time that never closed? That is a salient question. Who knows how many, but I bet there are a lot.

Whether a small company or a large one with a sales force, the leads that are always best are the ones that are easy to close. But what about the prospects that were reached but never closed? They are in an abyss - The Unclosed Sales Lead Abyss, technically speaking.

What are you doing to follow up? Are you following up? Do you have a fixed idea in mind about some time frame that those leads then become dead?

What does it cost you to get that lead? Let's look at a hypothetical analysis:

? Postcard marketing experts will tell you to send out 5000 postcards.

? It costs you $2000.00 to send out those postcards.

? Say you do that and you get 50 calls;

? That is $40.00 per lead.

The Return On Investment (ROI) of this example is as follows?

? You make $2000.00 off of every close.

? You close 20% out of those 50 calls (10 sales).

? You made $10, 000 less the 2G's for the postcards = $8000.00.

That is decent Return On Investment (ROI), but what about the 40 leads that never closed? That is $1600.00 sitting out there on table, spent with no return.

Now ask yourself, how many of your leads don't close per month? Take that theoretical situation and multiply $1600 by the other 11 months. That is a chunk of change that you are basically blowing.

Don't get discouraged. Getting educated in marketing and determining your ROI is a major step in the right direction. Great ROI is what you should be going for, but don't stop there. There is more to sniff out.

So, what are you doing to get all of those that initially reached for your product or service?

How many phone calls do you make before you decide that a lead is "unclosable" ? zero, two, three? Did you leave a message on their voice mail and they didn't call back so you dropped them?

Most likely a one-man-band or a two to three-person operation is working harder than a sales force in following up on their leads. How many in a sales force are simply cherry picking their leads, so to speak, and not closing or following up with the rest? How many of these dropped leads do you have built up? Can you see the waste?

You need to follow up. Even if you didn't get the ROI you anticipated or needed, you still need to follow up. But how? More specifically, what kind of campaign should you do to get even more ROI? Good question. Here's the answer.

First of all, realize that these prospects reached for you, your product or service and you CAN rehabilitate that initial interest. They are much easier to close and more valuable than someone who has never shown interest in your product or service before. Build on that.

You don't now have to send out a mass mailing of postcards again to revitalize their interest ? we're only talking about 20 to 100 leads that need to be followed up with a catchy message each month.

Yes, they responded to a postcard (if that is what was sent) and will respond again if it is the right communication. The same postcard may work, but what you are trying to do is send repeat communication to those initial "reachers" and word it in such a way that they will want to reach again. Send a direct mail postcard or an email or both ? follow up with repeat mailings to that small cluster of people that is a different, more personal communication than what got them to reach the first time.

What would that message be? When you get calls off of your initial mailing, get as much information as possible ? cull the data.

Have you ever heard of "Database Marketing" or "CRM" (Customer Relationship Management)? This means getting data about each one of those customers/leads and putting them in a database.

What is it that you need to find out? All kinds of things, such as, but not limited to:

1. How they found out about you in first place?

2. What kind of product they are looking for?

3. Do they have a deadline for that need? (This tells you how hot they are as a lead.)

4. What is going to cause them to purchase or not purchase? Ask!!

5. What makes them want to do business with someone or not? Again ? ask!

You can find out all of this information while talking to the person on the phone when that person first calls. The more interested you are in that lead the more they will like you and will want to do business with you. It is not how interesting you are or how low your price is, or how great your company is ? it is how much you actually are interested in them. Your initial closing percentage will actually go up and likewise you will have simple information that can be put into a data base (or a simple Excel spreadsheet) about your leads and you'll be able to find out what is the common denominator about those people. Then do a communication to those people based on those common factors.

By the way ? this is what the big companies are doing, they already know about this. If you want to get big ? do what the postcard marketing experts are saying and doing.

Take the information that you gathered and send out tiny little mailings. These particular mailings are for different segments of the people that have already reached for your product or service; the message is based on what they have told you.

Wouldn't it be great if it was really easy to send out a full-color glossy postcard that was specific to that one customer, all from your own computer? Where are you going to get beautiful postcards that have variable data and can get your small mailing out? Usually you have to send out the same piece and order a large quantity ? companies have minimums. The reason why they have minimums is because that is the way it is cost effective to sell to you. At this juncture, though, you want to get your mailing out more inexpensively and still get results.

"Variable Data" is data that is printed on a postcard that is variable ? it changes from postcard to postcard and can be taken from any database. What if you could put that on the front of a full-color glossy postcard and not have to type a specific letter?

Like "John Murphy, it is time for your dental cleaning" or "John Murphy, how about that pair of sunglasses you wanted?" or of you're doing mortgages, "John Murphy ? what about refinancing that house for Johnny Jr.'s college tuition?"

On the back of the postcard, you could say:

"Dear John,

I understand that you were interested in "product" for the purpose of "purpose". (It is in the database ? fill it in.)

Call me if I can help you make a decision.

Sincerely, Your name, Your number and information"

You can find companies that do this. Research on the internet and look for companies that allow you to stay in touch with variable data postcards. Research well and make sure they are going to do a good job for you. Get referrals, check samples ? will they give you a chance to try out the product and see their turn-around time?

A final tip is that different people need different amounts of communication. When postcard marketing experts tell you to hit your target list of 5000 postcards over and over again, the reason why some call after just the first time and some others call after the second time and others call after the 5th time, etc., is because people move at different speeds in life and in business.

Now, with those that have called in you have closes that are slam dunks, but others operate differently when it comes to closing. So don't just waste those leads. Consistently put out your communication in the same way you did with your initial mailings, but with a more personalized message.

That is Database Marketing. That is how you get people to buy from you after they have reached by following up with them enough.

Put in your calendar to make three different follow up phone calls; if you get voice mail then leave a message that really communicates to them. Send a variable data postcard, send an email, but stay in touch. You will be glad you did ? in fact you'll be smiling all the way to the bank.

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998, her only assets a computer and a phone. By 2004 the company did $9 million in sales and employed over 60 people. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. As an Expert Author, she is always willing to share her marketing advice through articles, interviews and speaking engagements; visit http://www.postcardmania.com

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