Last week, we went over “3 Ways to Avoid Demo Failure” during the presentation. Last week, I had the opportunity to head out the OLTCA & ORCA conference where we showcased our software to decision makers and those individuals who influence the decision makers. Two hundred and ten live demos later, I’m now tasked with following up with all of the people that I was able to connect with and those who were introduced to our product. How do you avoid losing the lead? Here are my 3 tips for following up with purpose and success:
1. Divide and Conquer! ~ Whenever you meet with someone, try to figure out which category of lead they belong in:
- Leads ready now (hot),
- Leads that will be ready soon (warm—these leads are critical to your success), and
- Leads that may never be ready (cold or bad leads).
Here’s my philosophy…
Your hot leads are the ones you get to be most persistent with. Email and call them. Don’t let them forget you or your solution. Stay on top of the situation by using different methods. If you keep sending the same email, your lead will know that they’ve been ‘templated’. It’s always best to send something personal based on the last conversation you had with the individual.
Your warm leads are the ones that require some finessing. In this case, I don’t aim be persistent in my follow up (mass emailing and filling the prospect’s voicemail box). In this case, I look to build the relationship. Be proactive: invite them to breakfast or lunch, connect with them at a networking event, send them a thank you card. The key here – get creative!
The cold or bad leads represent those that can be defined as ‘beating a dead horse’. They will likely never be interested for whatever reason (at least, that’s what they’ve told you). The only real potential here to reach them is by word of mouth from another customer. I personally never spend too much time on these leads. My time is spent and our company is better served by me placing my focus on the other two types of leads.
2. Pick up the phone! ~ No, this isn’t going to be about how telephonic communication helps you work faster. This is about how the phone makes you work better. Because unlike e-mail, the phone forces you to be more emphatic, more accurate, more honest. We are still wary of picking up the phone. We don’t want to bother people. We think they don’t want to talk. And maybe they don’t. But you’re not ever going to find that out through e-mail. You’ll find it out on the phone. If they stammer, hedge and pause, then you have valuable information. Maybe not the information you were looking for, but valuable info nonetheless. You now know that what you considered to be a hot lead may in fact have been a cold or dead lead.
I can think of countless examples where someone failed to answer my email and it would have been easy to assume that they were uninterested in what I was selling. However, when I call them, they tend to respond. It might be more intrusive but it’s also more personal. This resonates even more strongly with a follow up. Take the time, pick up the phone and call! You’ll likely get an answer either way!
3. Remember to remember! ~ Two points here: If you bump into a lead, never, ever ask them if they remember you! You risk the person forgetting and making the entire situation uncomfortable. On the flip side, it’s your job to remember them! It’s up to you to go to them, shake their hand and reintroduce yourself. You want something from them. While you have an answer to their problem, you are not at the top of their priority list. Make it a point to say the person’s name when meeting with them. Make eye contact with them and try to remember a distinct feature. After any meeting, grab their business card and write any notes directly on the card after you leave the conversation.
That concludes 3 weeks of tips on avoiding demo failure (before, during and after). Allow yourself to stand apart. Be personable and be memorable.