No matter what you sell. . . products, services, or causes. . . one of the key ingredients to your success will be the attention you give your sales lead follow-up system.
Notice that I used the word ‘system’ to describe your follow-up program. It's an important conceptual word. If you do not have a well planned, step-by-step system for lead follow-up you are leaving a lot of profits sitting on the table.
It is widely accepted that it takes a minimum of five attempts to close a sale (any sale) before the customer has enough information and confidence to buy from you. My own experience, based on years of in-the-trenches experience suggests that the minimum number of timed follow-ups is anywhere from nine to thirty. . .depending the complexity and/or cost of your products or services. If your idea of follow-up is to bounce one autoresponder message back to your on-line inquiry and expect the cash register to ring, you are in for a shocking surprise.
You have heard often, and will continue to hear, that internet marketing is based on the building of relationships with your potential customers. It's true! Indeed, this is one of the true Power Principles of internet marketing.
One of the great benefits of the internet is the ease and cost-effectiveness of relationship building.
We must understand that our potential customer is inundated with competing advertising messages from various media-television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, point- of-purchase, direct mail-and now the internet.
All of these marketing methods attempt to build a relationship with its audience in order to make the advertising message credible and believable. Credibility and believability lead naturally to sales.
The one media that stands head and shoulders above the competition is the internet. No other vehicle provides the opportunity to connect with your audience in such a timely and intimate way. Using the combination of web sites and email you have the graphical power of television and the intimate targeting of direct mail-without the associated high costs. It's a powerful combination. Add-in a timely telephone call or two. . . and you are on your way to increased sales.
If you really want to ‘Reach Out And Touch Someone', the way to do it is with the real Killer Application of the internet e-mail.
The two most powerful e-mail tools for effective client follow-up are:
=> Your own e-mail newsletter, ezine, discussion list, etc.
=> A programmed system of timed e-mail follow-up messages.
Let's look at each one briefly:
YOUR OWN E-MAIL NEWSLETTER, EZINE.
I can't say enough about what a regular newsletter or ezine will do for your bottom line. By communicating useful information to your clients and prospects on a regular basis you are building a strong bonding relationship with them. Over time, they will begin to see you as a partner in their success. The trust and friendship you have built through your newsletter will translate to added business and increased profits for you.
Managing a newsletter or ezine does not have to be expensive or very time consuming. There are several free services that will host your publication and provide an automated subscription process. I just switched one newsletter over to the YahooGroups system for new subscriptions and it seems to work fine. It has eliminated all the hand subscription process and automated it for me, all at no cost.
If you are a network marketer, you simply must communicate regularly with your downlines. . . and your product customers. In addition to the tools available through your company provided websites, you should give serious consideration to producing your own periodic e-mail newsletter. In doing so, you will be building relationships which will fatten your profits quickly.
AUTOMATED E-MAIL FOLLOW-UP:
The use of autoresponders to supply immediate and comprehensive information to your prospects is a very powerful use of e-mail technology and, I believe, a good one.
But, what do you do after the initial lead response? How do you continue to follow-up at regular intervals? If you deal with very few leads of high quality, it's not a problem to follow-up with custom one-on-one messages and it is imperative that you do so if you expect to convert these leads to sales.
If your lead flow runs to big numbers, however, you have a problem. You simply must automate the follow-up process to insure that every prospect inquiry gets properly timed, on-going, information and reasons to buy-a ‘minimum’ of 5 times. To do less is to waste your lead generation investment. . . more is better. You must maximize this return-on-investment if you are to succeed and the only practical way to do this is with automation.
A number of e-mail services provide an autoresponder system that will send a series of pre-written, timed, follow-up messages to your leads. This is a powerful use of technology. The real power comes, however, when the messages you send are professionally crafted works of benefit laden sales copy. These timed responses can be profit-enhancing selling tools. . . or downright intrusions. The difference will be the skill with which you use the tool.
Fortunately for you, you have available numerous high-tech tools. In order to maximize your income you will want to take aggressive advantage of all lead generation tools and systems available online.
The reward for building an automated follow-up system is always worth the effort. The time you spend nurturing your follow-up program will result in:
* Increased sales and profits
* Improved image
* More sales leads
* Lower sales costs
* Shortened selling cycles
* Improved cash flow
* Faster Team Building
* Higher Income
* Faster Return-On-Investment (ROI)
Remember. . . the profits are in the FOLLOW-UP!
(C) Copyright 2005. . . Thom Reece is the CEO of On-Line Marketing Group, a direct response marketing agency with headquarters in Hawaii. His firm builds custom lead generation & follow-up systems for organizations & individuals. He is the creator of the Online Marketing Resource Center [ http://www.e-comprofits.com ] . Thom can be reached by email at: thomATe-comprofits.com