Keeping a steady flow through the sales pipeline can be challenging, especially at certain times of the year or between marketing campaigns. Finding new leads can be tough and time consuming, and actually it can be just as effective (if not more effective) to go back through your sales database and try to reach out to past clients and lost sales opportunities.
It is much easier to convert people who have already had a connection to your business, than starting fresh on a completely new lead. If they were interested in your product or service at some point, there is a likelihood they could be interested in it again – you just need to make contact and remind them how much they need you.
In terms of re-engaging past or prospective clients, it’s helpful to understand why the relationship broke down, as it will be different for each customer. Were they simply not in a financial position to commit, or did a competitor swoop in and close the deal? Were they unhappy with your service or price, or did they simply not have time to respond? Was your main contact cut off, and months of hard work building up to a sale lost forever?
Loyal customers make up a huge part of the business – they’re your bread and butter. So in addition to finding new clients, you should be spending time reconnecting with past clients and picking up those sales which almost made it but never did. Here are some strategies to consider for old leads and past clients, and bear in mind that the same thing doesn’t work with all prospective clients.
Rebuild the relationship
First things first, you need to understand the reasons behind the breakdown in communication and why the person in question is no longer an ongoing client (or never made it in the first place). If you don’t know the reason, then ask! Many people are willing to divulge the reason as to why they didn’t buy from you, you just need to make the process simple and pain free. Not everybody is comfortable speaking with a sales person on the phone about their buying decisions, but most are willing to fill in a short online survey or reply to an email. From here, identify ways to make up for lost time and get them back on board – put together an individual action plan for re-engagement.
Wait in the background
When it comes to contacting cold leads, understand that in many cases the prospect simply isn’t in a position to buy. They are probably doing research and they are somewhere in the sales funnel, but will be impossible to move further down the pipeline until they are ready. That doesn’t mean spending time on this prospect is useless – this is your time to be helpful and stand out from the crowd. Don’t be pushy like your competitors, simply check in with them now and again, send them some offers and give useful advice. This can all be scheduled into a strategic email marketing campaign.
Nurturing this lead will be valuable when the time comes. Make sure your company is top of the list when their position changes and they are ready to buy.
Change the record
If you’re still not receiving a response then it’s time to try something different and go in with a different angle. With so many different communication channels available today, messages can get lost in transit. If the majority of your communication with a lead is email based, why not try picking up the phone or sending something by snail mail? This should make them pay a bit more attention to your sales pitch if it’s been lingering in the back of their mind.
Play on FOMO
Once you’ve made initial contact once again, it’s time to send the prospect an offer they can’t refuse. Get in touch with something like “I know you might not be ready to buy just yet but I thought I’d send you this limited time offer on the off chance your circumstances have changed. It’s a great deal and I wouldn’t want you to miss out!” Special deals are a great way to play on the consumer’s natural fear of missing out, and can bring forward the commitment to buy.
Be a person, not a pitch
People are unlikely to re-engage with a standard sales pitch. Try and have a general conversation with your cold leads to warm them up again. Not all communication has to be about the product or service you’re trying to sell – send other relevant content and ask unrelated questions to strengthen your relationship.
Try a less cluttered inbox
Unfortunately, sometimes the reason why leads turn cold is simply because they miss your messages. It doesn’t matter how many emails you send or voicemails you leave, people are busy 24/7 and have millions of unread emails they can’t get through. So why not try and reach out in a more informal way on social media? Inboxes on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are rarely as cluttered as an email inbox. So why not try a different approach and get social?
Remember that lost opportunities are not lost forever – don’t let all that hard work go to waste. Try some of these strategies and if you need help from the relationship experts, Prospect Research are on hand to supplement your lead nurturing efforts.