There are some people in the world who love the challenge of “cold calling” — that is to say, they enjoy calling people who they have never met, have never had any contact via email or phone, and asking them whether they need your product or service.
But what about those people who DO contact you and ask about your products and services? Do you follow-up with those “warm” phone calls and emails?
Most people will make at least one follow-up phone call or email to a prospective customer. But if they don’t get a response back, they often drop the whole thing. No one wants to feel like they’re being a pest.
But you have to remember two important things:
1. The prospect called YOU.
2. There are many reasons why a prospect might not call you back.
Let’s look at both reasons. In the first place, the prospect contacted you. They ARE interested or they wouldn’t have gone to the effort of leaving a voicemail or sending an email. People who take action, even these seemly simple actions, are motivated and interested.
In the second place, just because they don’t return your phone call or email doesn’t mean they’re not interested anymore. Think about your own life for a minute: I bet you’re a very busy person and there’s always something going on that needs your attention. Items on your to-do list slip off, including returning phone calls and emails. Well, your prospects are just like you! They’re busy, they’re time-constrained, and they’ve got to put out fires, first, before they can take on another task.
I’ve done an unscientific test over the past six months. I’ve continued to call and email people who have expressed an interest either in my business coaching work or my website design work, just to see what happens. Amazing! In nearly every single case, the prospect was grateful that I took the time to continue to follow-up, even though they hadn’t replied to me.
So why hadn’t they replied to me? In short, life happened:
- A family member died and they had to go out of town to take care of funeral and house-selling tasks for a month.
- A child was preparing for a big college-entrance exam and needed a lot of extra time and attention.
- They, themselves, were working on a big proposal for a prospect and put everything else on hold until the proposal got out the door.
- They had never gotten my reply email (a spam filter had captured it).
…And any number of other reasons. All legitimate.
How often should you follow-up? Here are the rules of thumb I work with when I get a prospect call or email:
- First contact: we try to follow-up within one business day.
- Second contact: we re-try 7 days later, always via phone (darn those email filters!)
- Third contact: 10-14 days later, both by phone and by email
In marketing and sales, being shy or lacking confidence is a killer for your business. If people express interest in you, now is the time to connect with them, repeatedly if necessary, and not avoid it.
Read the complete Why Marketing Fails blog series here:
- Why Marketing Fails: Introduction
- Why Marketing Fails #1: Market Research
- Why Marketing Fails #2: Follow-the-Herd Marketing
- Why Marketing Fails #3: No Follow-Up
- Why Marketing Fails #4: Blindfold Marketing
- Why Marketing Fails #5: Niche Exhaustion
- Why Marketing Fails #6: Lack of Repetition
- Why Marketing Fails #7: Not Tracking Success and Failure
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