Last month I was interviewed for an article on how to revive leads that have gone cold. In case you didn’t see that article online, I shared some useful info that might apply to you, so here are the suggestions I gave in response to the author’s questions.
Q. When is it a good idea to approach a cold lead? When should you leave them alone?
Art: I suggest the more time and the further you have gone into a process the more emphasis should be placed on revisiting a lead. You’ve already done a lot of heavy lifting, another attempt might break the logjam.
Q. Is there typically a lot of business to be had from leads that have gone cold? Haven’t those leads gone cold for a reason?
Art: There could be, if the “lead” truly was good to begin with. If a salesperson doesn’t do a good job of qualifying and getting a person interested and engaged, then there never was potential to begin with, therefore there might not be any potential.
Q. What should you change about your approach when you’re re-engaging a cold lead?
Art: It depends. If you are having a difficult time getting any response, then I suggest trying all modes of communication to get a response. Phone, fax, email, handwritten note, FedEx, carrier pigeon…whatever. Otherwise, a call is the fastest, cheapest approach.
Q. What is the biggest mistake made by reps who are following up with cold leads?
Art: Not having anything new to bring to the table than, “Uh, I’m just checking back with you.”
Q. What should a rep do first when reestablishing contact?
Art: Remind them of what they were interested in previously, and then bring some new possible value to the table to re-engage them.
Q. How can you approach your lead without risking their annoyance?
Art: See the previous answer. Have new possible value.
Q. When should you cut bait on a lead?
Art: It’s a case by case decision. Depends a lot on the possible return vs. investment of time, figuring in the futility of attempts to this point.
Q. How should it be done? Is there a way to cut bait that still leaves the door open for contact in the future or should a rep just wash his or her hands of that prospect for good?
Art: Leave a voice mail reinforced with an email that says, “I’ve attempted to reach you multiple times, and I’m a bit puzzled since I thought that we were in agreement that (x-solution) would help you to (benefit). There’s just a few letters difference between ‘persistence’ and ‘pest’ and I don’t want to cross that line. If this is something that is no longer a priority, I understand. Could you please simply hit reply in the email I’m sending to let me know how I should proceed?”
Q. What is the biggest mistake made by reps who are giving up on a lead?
Art: Not EVER calling or keeping in touch. Things change. Reps should have some type of long-term nurture campaign that initiates some contact of value at least a couple times a year… reports, videos, anything they might find useful that keeps your name in front of them.
Q. Is there an ROI on cutting bait?
Art: Of course, time is more important than money. We can make more money, not time.
Q. Any other tips?
Art: Ask for and get decisions… commitments on next steps in the sales process. This minimizes leads that go cold. A NO today is better than following up repeatedly on a black hole.