Many years ago, I was talking to a mortgage broker whose 10-person company was growing, but not as fast as he would have liked. He was a classic stage three business, crossing into stage four, with just over a million dollars per year in sales. He was enjoying a degree of success, with many of his friends and family members now patting him on the back.
But Doug was not taking home as much money as he wanted, he wasn’t taking vacation like he wanted, his employees were cherry-picking the good leads and ignoring the mediocre leads, and he was spending more and more on marketing to keep the company growing. Then he discovered the leaks in the bucket that were costing him growth:
Doug’s loan officers (sales reps) were not following up with leads and prospects who had shown interest.
This is a form of “follow-up failure” and it costs small businesses untold sales and profits year after year.
People buy when they’re ready to buy, not when we’re ready to sell. It’s all a matter of timing. But, they express interest in your offering at various points in their buying journey. So, if you get 10 leads, two or three might be hot, four or five might be warm, and two or three might be cold. If you only work with the hot leads, you’re leaving tons of opportunity on the table.
Doug found that his loan officers were only working the hot leads. This is called “cherry picking” in the sales world. Big companies can get away with it, but it kills small businesses. When Doug fixed his cherry-picking problem by creating a follow-up process for the leads that weren’t hot and being worked by his team, his sales and profits soared.
SBS Idea of the Day: Consider the “warm” and “cold” leads that come into your business each month. Do you have a process for following up with them to warm them up to the point they’re ready to buy? Fix your follow-up with warm leads and like Doug, you will see sales and profits soar.