Timing is everything in business. It can be the difference between a potential new client and being hung up on.
It’s not expected that you’ll reach a sales lead on your first outreach call attempt. It may take a few tries as some research suggests it can take as many as 18 calls before you reach a lead on the phone for the first time. Of course, this depends on many variables and circumstances, but it’s one example of why it can be challenging for businesses to master the sales prospecting process.
In this post, we’ll cover everything that you’ll need to know about making sales calls to leads, and more importantly, making sales calls that lead to new client conversions. Although every business will have a slightly different prospect outreach strategy, there are definitely some tips and best practices that can help you and your business along the way make better decisions.
Before we dig deeper into that, let’s take a quick glance at the state of sales, brown down by the numbers.
Sales Statistics At A Glance
- 40% of all sales professionals say prospecting is the most difficult part of their job
- Currently, only 3% of all clients trust sales representatives
- 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls, while as many as 44% of sales agents give up after a single follow-up (two total calls)
- Buyers report being more likely to accept a sales call if it’s made at a previously agreed-upon time
- It can take as many as 18 calls to connect with a potential client
The case for sales calls to leads can be confusing. However, it helps to understand where things stand so that you know how to move forward to achieve success for your business. And in answering the question of how long to wait between calls, you’ll be able to find the delicate balance of being persistent without annoying your sales prospects.
There is also plenty of available data out there that can help guide your outreach strategy, too.
Now, let’s actually talk about sales outreach itself and making sales calls.
Making The Sales Call
When you make the first sales call, you’ll want to be fully prepared for any potential outcome from the call. Be just as ready to have the call answered by your lead and deliver your pitch as you are to leave a message and try them again later. And that’s the million-dollar question—how much later?
Every lead and customer will be different, as is usually the case with just about everything else in life. However, when you make the initial sales call, you’ll want to make sure that you’re ready to open the door to a new relationship and potential new client. Too often, sales representatives go immediately to the close, which causes them to be quickly shut down before the caller even knows that they’re being sold.
If a lead doesn’t answer your call the first time, you should leave a pleasant but detailed voicemail if there’s an option to do so. Invite them to call you back at the best number to reach you or advise them that you’d be happy to connect at a time that works best for them. This way, you’re giving your lead options to choose from and a sense of control in the situation. Many people will change their decision simply by being offered the option to receive a call back at a scheduled date and time.
Follow-up By Delivering On Expectations
While most clients expect an initial response to an inquiry from a business within 10 minutes or less, in most cases, they give a bit more flexibility when it comes to ongoing contact and communications. Business development experts suggest that you should allow for 48 hours after you call a lead before you reach out again to them. This ensures that you’ve allowed time for their busy schedule without coming off as annoying or desperate. It also gives your leads time to consider your product or service and whether it’s something that they want or need.
You can also let prospects know that they can reach out to you and that they can do so via several channels. This lets them choose the channel that they feel most comfortable with and likely increases your chances of receiving a return response. And unless you’ve been specifically contacted or requested to return a call immediately, don’t call the same lead twice in the same day. It just leaves a bad taste in the lead’s mouth because it often comes off as a bit too pushy and desperate.
The happy balance, it seems, is somewhere between 24 and 48 hours for secondary and subsequent follow-up calls. For example, if you’ve already called your prospect twice this week, you might want to consider waiting until next week for another outreach call attempt. It’s a delicate balancing act of perspective here, of course, and you’ve got to see what works best for you and your business. By taking inventory of how well your follow-up call goes, you can often get a better idea of what works best for your team.
Of course, one way to ensure that all sales outreach calls are being made (and received) in a timely manner is to let someone else handle the work for you and your team. Outsourcing gives you the option to have a professional team on your side that understands all that comes with making effective follow-up sales calls, support calls, and more to keep your business operational. If you decide that you’d rather leave the callbacks to someone else while you focus on your customers, that will ensure that every call is returned in the right amount of time and with the best possible outcome.
Smith.ai agents make calls on your behalf, improving your speed-to-lead and unburdening staff who need to reach out to clients. They’ll call-back online leads who complete web forms, contact donors for donation renewals, chase down payments on unpaid invoices, and more. They’ll even send follow-up emails and texts after every call to ensure a connection is made.
Follow-up faster when Smith.ai virtual agents serve as your outreach team: