(EDITOR'S NOTE: A constant creator of marketing campaigns and
sales strategies, Rene Gnam is a full-time direct marketing
consultant wbo assists with marketing plans, wites copy, and designs top-pulling mailings and ads for
business, consumer, and professional audiences. You can reach Rene at
1-813-407-8400 or Info@ReneGnam.com)
(AUTHOR�S NOTE: This column was adapted by Johanna C. Chappell
from my more detailed presentation in an article entitled Proven
Techniques to Turn Sales Leads Into Customers which appeared in
Zip/Target Marketing Magazine. See Article #33 on my web site.)
How many follow-ups should you attempt in your effort to convert
a lead to a sale? At least two by mail, plus one by phone, produce
better-than-average sales conversions.
Because no one else in your field is doing such a thorough job
and I'll likely buy from the company that treats me individually and
promptly and who continues to remind me. Example: A few years back,
as a test, I mailed requests for free literature to 100 companies.
Only 82 sent the literature and only 2 of the 82 called
Because it's more exciting to create the ads and mailings that
get the leads than to create the follow-ups. Because most assume
that sending one piece will do the job.
When your first mailing arrives, I may be too busy to concentrate
on it today...or out of the office...or in a rotten mood for a
reason you can't predict. When the next mailing arrives, maybe I'll
be better disposed toward buying from you.
And a phone call before your mailing service starts...or
in-between...can indicate to you how hot a prospect I really
am...whether you should follow up or mail even more...whether you
should make further calls or even send a salesperson.
No one knows the ideal number of follow-ups.
It varies for every product or service, for every industry, for
every audience. I've successful used 11 (yes, 11) follow-up mailings
and made them pay. You will determine how many to send by noting the
fall-off in conversion by effort.
Wait a minute. A long minute.
How much is an order worth to you, or...how much is a new
customer worth over a period of time?
Sure, the standard mailer mentality tells you to knock names off
your mailing list if they haven't bought anything in the last two
years. Nonsense.Consider this...A few years back, Joe Reisner
attended one of my advertising seminars in New York. He didn't buy a
thing. But I kept him on my mailing list and kept sending
follow-ups. Four years later, he paid $660 to attend a Chicago
seminar and two years after that he finally bought $470 worth of
consulting time. That's $1,130 so far. How much did it cost me to
keep mailing to Joe? Maybe $50 for two dozen efforts...but I finally
landed him...and now he gets more mailings.
A good business prospect should stay on your list forever, even
when he or she moves to another company. If he liked you enough to
respond once, keep after him.
That's why I use seven follow-up mailings and two phone calls to
sell boiler valves to boiler room supervisors. That's why a number
of my clients now send continuing mailings to prospects that
initially expressed only minor interest.