As B2B lead generators, the question we get asked most by our clients is “when will we know whether a prospect is going to turn into a customer?”
There’s a common misconception that making too many follow-up calls will lead to a prospect outright rejecting the product or solution. Being tenacious has become confused with being a pest. The evidence, however, paints a different picture.
Why salespeople give up too soon
Research by the National Sales Executive Association founds that trying to complete a sale within the first few discussions doesn’t reflect the reality of how people do business.
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Only 10 per cent of salespeople make more than three contacts with a prospect. With tenacity, you can achieve an 80 per cent success rate by making quality follow-ups as part of a robust prospecting plan.
When to give up on follow-ups
Being tenacious doesn’t mean continuing to follow up even when there are clear indications that the prospect isn’t going to convert into a customer; you just need to listen to what they are saying.
Here are three valid reasons to stop making follow-ups.
1. The prospect is not a suitable fit
After speaking to the prospect about their needs, you realise that they are not a fit for your product or solution. This discovery should happen during your first interaction with the prospect. Check that your data is accurate before any other sales activity takes place.
2. The prospect has no need
The second goal is to establish that the prospect has a genuine need.
If they do not have a need right now but may be interested in the future, we record their information for a call-back so the lead can be followed up on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. They are placed in the pipeline as one to revisit – they have said “no” for now, but not necessarily forever.
3. The prospect gives you categorical “no”
After establishing that the prospect is a fit and has a genuine need, continue to follow up on your conversations until they give a definitive “yes” or “no” answer. At this point, you will have either converted the prospect into a customer, or the prospect will have made it clear that they would like to end discussions. Until you have a solid answer from the prospect, follow-ups should continue.
Don’t give up, secure the next step
The most important thing to remember with any follow-up discussion is to always secure the next step. This could be:
- an email with information about your product or solution
- a phone call back
- an agreement to have an online or face-to-face meeting
Here at Straightahead UK, our role is to establish that the prospect is a good fit with a genuine need for your solution, then guide them to the first step of their journey with you.
We’re keen to work with tenacious businesses that are ready to follow up on discussions and turn high-quality prospects into happy customers.
Get in touch to find out how we can generate promising leads for your B2B business.