Effective selling isn’t about finding people who are interested, talking to them once or twice, and then closing the deal. It’s about building relationships with prospects. In fact, at least 80% of all sales require five or more follow-ups. Despite that, a typical salesperson only tries to reach out to a potential customer twice; 44% of all sales reps give up after only a single follow-up.
If you want to be a successful salesperson, you must be diligent about reaching out multiple times and connecting with your prospects regularly. Occasionally, you’ll need to dig through your dead leads and try to re-engage them again. Now could be a better time for your prospect, and the odds are good that you’re the only salesperson who’s stuck with them this long.
Of course, you can’t simply reach out to an old lead and ask them if they’re ready to buy. You need to be a little more elegant than that. Here are five ways you can reconnect with cold leads and develop warm relationships with them:
1. Leverage your content
A strong reconnection is low-pressure. Your first goal is to get top-of-mind with prospects. Content is a great way to do just that. If you have a recent blog post or whitepaper that could be relevant and useful, make sure to send it their way along with an explanation of how you think it can benefit them. To improve on this outreach strategy, you can start segmenting your dead leads and create content specifically for each segment.
2. Highlight new features
When you’re updating an existing product or launching a new one, it’s the perfect time to resurrect dead leads. Look through your book of business and see who might find the new feature especially useful, and let them know about it. To make it easier for yourself in the future, tag leads in your CRM that request a particular feature. Later, this allows you to pull their information quicker when you’re finally able to fulfill their needs.
3. Make it about them
Reconnecting with dead leads doesn’t always have to be about your company. It can be about their business too. Set Google Alerts for their companies and follow them on social media. When you notice positive news about them, such as the opening of a new office, a recent fundraise, or the launch a new product, send them a brief congratulatory note. It reopens the lines of communication and shows that you care about building a relationship, not just closing a single sale.
4. Find new connections
It’s not unusual to learn that you’re not making much headway into a company simply because you don’t have the right contact. With dead leads, it’s often a good idea to simply try and find new connections. You can be honest and simply use your existing contact as a foot in the door: “I’ve been talking with John about this, but we haven’t had the chance to work together yet. That said, I’d love to discuss this opportunity with you too.” Considering that most corporate buyers require more than one person to sign off on a purchase, making more connections is always a good idea whether a lead is cold or not.
5. Get out of your rut
If you call somebody every business day at 2:30pm in the afternoon and never get an answer, it could mean that they aren’t interested. However, it could also mean that they go for an hour-long walk every afternoon at 2:00pm and turn off their phone. The point is that if one method isn’t working, you need to switch it up. Try leaving a voicemail, reaching out over email, sending a message through LinkedIn, delivering snail mail, and whatever else you have at your disposal. If they don’t answer their phone during normal business hours, send a message before their workday starts or shortly after it ends, when they may have more downtime.
Reviving dead sales leads can be a major undertaking. Thankfully though, the odds are good that you have at least two or three great potential customers on your list. Just remember to follow the advice above to be able to successfully recapture value from those lost relationships.
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also does marketing at Conversio (your all-in-one ecommerce marketing dashboard), Tenfold (your modern phone intelligence platform) and Big Drop Inc. (your preferred web design and development partner) . To connect, tweet him @dannywong1190 or message him on LinkedIn. For more of his clips, visit his portfolio.