The importance of reaching out to old leads

Let’s face it, one of the hardest parts of building relationships with customers is getting in touch with them. No matter what the business is that you’re in, the money is always in the list. One thing that so many small businesspeople forget to do (or just put in the too hard basket) is following up on old data. Here’s an example from within my own business that won me over $20,000 in swimming pool removal work with no additional advertising spend and only took a few hours of my time.

Things got slow (as they often do around the end of the year) and I was sick and tired of watching the Bobcat sit there doing nothing when I knew it could be on a site making me money. I took a look back through our old data. We had a total of 210 leads that had made enquiries about swimming pool removal over the course of the last 12 months, none of these had converted into jobs.

Over the course of 2 or 3 days, I resolved to call them all, find out if they still needed the work done and take the chance to do some quality competitor and market research while I was at it. Here’s what came out of it:

  • I converted six jobs for that week and the next, resulting in thousands of dollars in extra revenue at a traditionally quiet time of year.
  • I found out what my competitors were charging and had the opportunity to get customer feedback on the work they had done for them, this showed me some things that I could change to improve my own business.
  • I found out what it was that caused customers to choose a competitor over my own business, and no – the answer was not always price.
  • I now have more than 20 people who have said they will get the job done in the next few months and firm dates to follow up with them.

When things are quiet then you need to get creative, if you’ve got leads that aren’t being followed up then you’re giving money away to your competition. Following up doesn’t mean just doing it once, either.

[bctt tweet="When things are quiet then you need to get creative."]

If someone says they’re not quite ready and give them a call back in 3 months, do you do it? If not then why not? How difficult is it to make a calendar note on your phone (or an old-fashioned diary if you prefer) and put yourself into that discipline of picking up the phone and making a call.

I made enough money that week to buy a small car. All during a week when I would normally have my guys sitting at home hoping for work, my equipment sitting in the yard and me at home twiddling my thumbs stressing about the mortgage.

This example is one where you’re dealing direct with customers. Picking up the phone and calling other contractors who you used to do work for but haven’t heard from for a period of time is also hugely powerful.

Business to business sales is all about maintaining relationships, if you give someone a call, ask how business is going and generally chew the fat once every couple of weeks then when the work does come up, you’re going to be at the top of their mind.

This initiative and others like it have been so hugely successful for me that I’ve actually hired people full time to do my follow ups now. What have my results been? Tremendous. It has transformed my business completely. I know that not all tradies are in a position to bring on a full time team, that’s why I’ve built a system that enables any tradie in Australia to access a team to do it for them for a fraction of the cost of doing it in house. Click here to get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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