Times have changed. Getting a lead is not easy and it is definitely pricier than in years past. Nurturing the lead into an appointment is not easy either, but in the end it’s what will be required to keep your doors open.
What is a Qualified Lead?
A qualified lead is a prospect in your lead-tracking system who has expressed interest in buying your product and passes a set of lead qualifications in order to progress further down the funnel.
This does not mean that they are ready to buy today. But it does mean that they have been qualified to need your services and/or products.
What Should You do With a Lead?
You’ve launched an ad campaign and started to attract great leads. Leads captured online are typically from individuals who saw a proposal and took an action (usually a click that takes them to a landing page). At that point they took the time to read your ad and then took the extra step to provide you with their name, phone number and email address. These are not disinterested individuals.
Your job now is to keep those leads happy, while gently leading them through the sales cycle. If your sales cycle is a long one, the task is more complicated. And, by the way, hearing aid sales fall into the category of having a long sales cycle.
If you aren’t getting sales from leads, there may be several reasons why:
- Lack of lead nurturing is the most common cause.
- Lack of persistence. Kapture CRM reports that it can take up to 8 to reach an actual prospect.
- Lag time. Your staff does not respond to the lead quickly enough.
- You aren’t providing feedback to the individual handling the marketing that will allow them to refine the quality of the leads.
- Unqualified or untrained salesperson. The person returning the calls has to understand that their role is to function as a salesperson. The staff member’s role is not to act as a just a receptionist whose sole purpose it to schedule an appointment. Give the “salesperson” the tools they’ll need to convert the lead to an appointment. At a minimum make sure they understand the offer being promoted through the ad that attracted the lead in the first place.
Good News/Bad News
It’s important to keep in mind that 50% of qualified leads aren’t ready to buy. They might be open to education, and delighted that you can identify their pain points, but actually signing up for your solution? They’re not there yet.
So, what’s the good news?
Research studies state 80% of these people are going to buy from someone in the next 24 months. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
The biggest mistake you can make is to think that one contact, for example, one message left on an answering machine is all that is required to “nurture a lead”. If you have a lead that has responded to a “call to action” by providing their contact information, they’re a qualified lead.
How Many Contacts to Make a Sale?
Some articles say 12. A few of the more optimistic ones pick 7 as their answer. Some go for a range between 10 and 15. The truth is, it takes as many contacts as it takes. If you’re lucky enough to get an impulse buyer, 1 contact may be plenty to cement the deal. If you have a cautious buyer in a bad economy, you could be looking at 20 or more contacts prior to conversion.
An often cited statistic suggests that more than 80% of conversions take place sometime after the 5th contact. A study from Dartnell Corp investigated the number of times a prospect was called before a salesperson waved the proverbial white flag. Here is their data:
- 48% quit after the first contact
- 72% stop after the second contact
- 84% give up on a prospect after the third contact
- 90% wave the white flag after the fourth contact
As you can see, almost half of all salespeople quit after the first call. And the vast majority (90 percent) quit relatively soon after.
What Most Entrepreneurs Get Wrong
It’s all about the sale, so why do 90 percent of salespeople quit so quickly? There are many reasons, and the simplest is that they let business and life get in the way. Some get caught up in busywork because it is easier than having to follow up. Others just lack the discipline to make those follow-up calls.
The fact is that 10% of salespeople make the 5th call, and studies show that 80 percent of sales are made after that fifth sales call.
The difference between success and failure is persistence. It’s true with most things in life including turning a lead into a sale.