By Alice Lucette Fast response to Internet leads increases chances of positive results Having a lead response strategy or process in place that is followed by all members of your sales team will drive customers to you. Internet leads are as valuable as walk-ins; internet leads come from people that want information right now and the quicker they receive a response, the higher the chances you’ll have of actually speaking with them. Marketing research on internet leads shows that a lead becomes 50% less hot 2 hours after it comes in; slow response time on your part might mean losing a customer to the competition.

Follow up thoroughly

Follow up with every lead that comes through. For best results follow up at least 5 times at different hours of the day: at least one time during mid-week in the evening when people are home, and at least one time during the weekend. The response that will be most valuable however will be the first one, so regardless of when you anticipate your prospective customer will be available, reply as immediately as possible.

Don’t judge the book by its cover

First impressions can be misleading; allow your potential customer the benefit of the doubt when you encounter a poorly completed online-form. When clients fill out a request form online they are not always as meticulous as you would like them to be. As a result they might not put in any helpful comments, misspell or shorten their first and/or last name, or just put in few random letters because the fields are required to be filled out. Consider that they may have been rushed or aren’t computer savvy. Following up politely and respectfully will ensure that you are making the best possible first impression.

Invest in your sales team

Ensure that all staff members know the process for following up on leads. Review procedures and expectations with each person coming in contact with sales inquiries to ensure that none are unanswered. If you (or the primary contact) will be unavailable, arrange for a contact person who will follow your standard of timely responses, and who places the same high value on leads. Alternatively, create an email distribution list to make sure that your online leads are delivered to the whole sales team. Each lead has a cost and lost opportunity cost associated with it, and these costs can be in thousands of dollars. Invest into a good lead tracking system to make sure that none of the leads are lost or wasted. Be sure that your technology adequately serves your volume of business. It may seem like an obvious detail but it’s disheartening to find out that leads fell through the cracks due to an avoidable system or email error.

Email opens the lines of communication

The internet lead you receive is like gold because it opens a line of communication between you and your potential customer. View this communication as your chance to set yourself apart from your competition and lay the groundwork or stepping-stone toward a sale. Practice excellent email etiquette and follow principles of effective communication; they will be your best tools in turning a lead into a sale. Remember that first – the customer wants to know what you have to offer, it’s the reason that he/she emailed you in the first place and that means you need to effectively explain advantages of your retirement community. Always thoroughly answer customer’s questions, have a professional info kit ready in electronic format, and always attach it to your first email. The bottom line is that you know you’ve got a great service but you need to be the one that the customer responds to best. If you are looking for more idea on how to increase your conversion rate, check out this article: How to Increase Conversion Rates for Your Senior Housing Business

Alice Lucette is a senior writer for SeniorsZen is a free resource for finding local senior housing in Canada. We provide comprehensive information on Independent Living, Assisted Living, Alzheimer’s Care, and Home Care in all Canadian provinces.

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