Keys to Lead Follow-Up for Professional Services

Lead follow up is an important strategic marketing and sales practice that, when thought of correctly, never really ends. While many professional service providers try to spend as much time as possible on lead generation strategies to bring new leads in, whether through search engine optimization (SEO), advertising in publications, utilizing social media and networking sites, speaking and other channels. You might even do what you can to track leads online through programs like Google Analytics and the like.

However, how much time and effort do you put into your lead follow up system? This is an incredibly important part of the sales process, but one that many professional service providers don’t devote enough energy to.

If fact, the practice of lead follow up has changed so dramatically over the last few years that you must revisit everything you think you know about lead follow up.

What is a Lead?

A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.

In other words, instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased your contact information, you’d hear from a business or organization you’ve already opened communication with.

For example, maybe you downloaded the 300,000 mile commercial fleet guide to learn more about how to get 300,000 miles out of your vehicles. If you got an email from the B2B auto care company that created the guide on their website about how they could help you take care of your commercial fleet, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about business vehicle maintenance … right?

And from a business perspective, the information the B2B auto care company collected about you and your vehicles from the guide would help them personalize that opening communication to meet the existing needs of the potential client.

To take control of your lead follow up system, take some of my advice below.

Follow Up on Leads Within 5 Minutes

The first important thing to note when you follow up on sales leads is that you must do so in a timely manner – 5 minutes specifically. While you might think that it’s no problem to get in touch within a couple of weeks,  plenty of research says differently.

Nearly half of all sales are made by the person who gets in touch with a lead first.

Unfortunately, a timely follow-up time isn’t always realistic when you’re a small professional service provider. You might be in the middle of a meeting or speaking engagement. If you’re serving clients globally, different time zones become a challenge, you might even be asleep when your leads raising their hand.

The numbers don’t lie, though. If you want to close more deals, you need to get in touch with your leads as quickly as possible.

Develop a Purpose For Every Contact

Once you have your lead, it’s important that you create a clear reason you’re getting in touch, one that demonstrates you understand their wants and needs and that you are the right business to help them.

What’s tough about professional services is that you’re dating before you get married, which is what makes your purpose so important. The purpose needs to reinforce that you can help them reach their goals.

In addition to your purpose, make your point of contact brief and to the point, starting every contact point with a statement such as, “The reason I’m getting in touch today is…” will help to separate you from the rest of the crowd.

But first you have to make sure you have a clear purpose for the contact.

Focus On Repeating Your Value

What I’m essentially saying here, is focus on finding ways to repeat and remind leads about the value your services can provide. Leads don’t really care about what you or your competitors sell. All they care about are that their problems are solved and that you can help them solve them.

Since it’s likely that your leads maybe getting multiple calls from multiple companies you need use repetition as a differentiator. One way to use repetition is to send a summary or meeting recap that repeats all the main points after your discovery call or consultation.

Lead follow up, just like the most effective marketing and advertising, works best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Just like marketing, advertising works best through repetition. Get the point?

Don’t Give Up After One Call

So many professional service providers give up on a lead after one call, the numbers don’t support this follow up practice.

In fact, if you call a prospect three times, you have an 81% chance of getting in touch with them. Calling six times gives you a 93% chance.

So the most significant driver of lead follow up success today isn’t making one phone call, it’s making multiple phone calls. This means that on one hand, you want to get in touch with a lead as soon as possible, and on the hand you want to be calling multiple times in a short period of time.

For the best results you need to be tracking your follow-ups efforts and adhering to a proven system that works for your professional service. Whatever your data shows, create a follow-up schedule that’s realistic for you stick to. A  lead follow up system can only ever be as good as possible if it is improved and refined over time. To do this, you must continually test and measure your system and the results you achieve from it.

A Lead Follow Up System is The Solution

At the end of the day, professional service providers that are successful in closing deals do so because they have a lead follow up system.

Any well run professional service provider is a collection of systems. Billing is a system, HR is a system, Service delivery is a system, Sales is a system, Marketing is a system and one of the best ways to keep lead follow up from becoming your 10-hour job is to create a system for how you respond and engage.

There are many other important factors that lead to a successful professional service business, but nailing the points mentioned above is a great start.

What have you found to be helpful when executing your lead follow up ?